A Derry film pirate who put the entertainment industry at risk of losing £120 million has been jailed for four years.
Paul Mahoney, who was described in court as a social recluse, admitted being responsible for a ‘highly sophisticated fraud’ which made him almost £300,000.
The 29-year-old, from Carnhill, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud, acquiring criminal property and concealing criminal property.
The offences were committed between April 2008 and April 2013.
Derry Crown Court heard Mahoney set up a website which allowed people to illegally view movies and TV shows which had only been recently released or had not yet been released.
It is estimated that movies were viewed over 12 million times and this had put the entertainment industry at risk of losing uo to £120 million.
He continued to run the website even after he was served a cease and desist order by the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) and after he was initially arrested.
The court also heard he had made over £280,000 in advertising revenue and some £82,000 was found in his property when it was searched by police.
Passing sentence Judge Philip Babington said ‘these offences represent offending which undoubtedly put at risk very many millions of pounds as far as the greater entertainment industry was concerned.
‘Offending such as this affects everyone in society at the end of the day although primarily the interests f those involved in film production, the results of which we all enjoy’.
The judge said Mahoney had put together a very ‘sophisticated scheme which allowed you to view films on very many millions of occasions for nothing and at the same time allowed you to make money from advertising’.
Judge Babington added that criminal conduct of this nature ‘must be deterred’ and said there was no alternative to an immediate custodial sentence ‘to show that behaviour of this nature does not go unpunished’.
He imposed a determinate sentence of four years, two years of which will be spent in custody and two years on licence.