TV studios playing catch-up over online copyright piracy

The body which fights copyright theft on behalf of film and television studios says it is playing catch-up with people who break the law.

The Federation Against Copyright Theft (Fact) also says it is coming up with new ways to try to tackle piracy.

It says it is now targeting people who host links which allow other internet users to access illegal copyrighted content online.

Fact is warning users of similar sites that they should "watch out" too.

Britain's television and film industries say copyright theft costs them hundreds of millions of pounds a year.

The director general of Fact, Kieron Sharp, says: "We're not after the ones who download a few films or watch something from a streaming website, we're after the people behind that."

screen grab from Fact
A notice appears on the home page of a website closed down by Fact

One tactic Fact says is working well is "a domain sign over".

Investigators go to the home of the person hosting a website which is making protected content available to everyone for free.

The host is then given a cease and desist order, asking them to take down the website and to hand over the domain rights to Fact.

That means when a user goes to that site they are redirected to other places which show material legally.

If a website host refuses to hand over the rights, Fact says it has other options to explore and will take action.

Investigators say they will take the evidence they have gathered to the police to start criminal proceedings.

Fact says Tom's website, featured in the video above, provided access to a certain type of file, called NZBs.

It claims those files are used to find and download data easily from the internet.

Once all the bits of data are downloaded they can then be used to play a film, TV show or piece of music.

The investigators have told Tom the studios they work for do not release their content using the NZB file format.

Tom says that he doesn't feel he has done anything wrong.

Fact says it has successfully taken action against other websites who've used NZBs for copyright infringement.

In 2011, piracy cost the television and film industry in the UK £511 million, according to Fact.

Kieron Sharp says a lot of "criminal money" is being made.

"It's harming the industry which produces those films and TV programmes in the first place," he adds.

The broadcasting watchdog, Ofcom, released a report by Kantar Media in September about trends in online copyright.

The study found almost a quarter of downloads in the UK infringed copyright.

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