Londonderry: Paul Mahoney pleads guilty to film copyright breach charges

A Londonderry man has admitted infringing copyright by facilitating streaming of illicit copies of films.

In the first prosecution of its kind in Northern Ireland, Paul Mahoney admitted four charges he originally denied.

The court was told that the financial cost to the film industry caused by the offending was several million pounds.

The court heard that Mahoney, 29, set up websites to provide links to other sites for people who wanted to view illegally downloaded films.

At Londonderry crown court on Monday, Mahoney, of Carnhill in the city, admitted a charge of conspiring with others to operate websites allowing illegal viewing of infringed films.

He also pleaded guilty to conspiring with the websites Hunter Grubbs and Adigitalorange to facilitate the viewing of infringed films.

He also admitted that he acquired income generated from his websites bedroommedia and fastpasstv.

A final charge of concealing criminal property, namely £82,390 that was found in cash in his home, from advertisers who paid to advertise on his websites was also admitted.

Deterrent

A barrister told the court that while the prosecution accepted that Mahoney did not lead an extravagant lifestyle as a result of his offending, he did spend a substantial amount of money in setting up and running his operation.

The barrister said there would be no application for compensation from the film industry.

The industry believed that the prosecution of Mahoney sent a deterrent message.

The barrister said millions of pounds of losses had been sustained as a result of the film piracy in the case.

And he added there was risk of further losses to the industry because of the widespread internet use of pirate films.

That figure, he said, could conceivably run into several millions of pounds.

Mahoney is due to be sentenced in August and was released on continuing bail until then.