The Director General of the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) has welcomed the sentencing of a Derry man convicted of copyright infringement.
Mr. Kieron Sharp addressed the press outside Derry’s Court House on Tuesday moments after Judge Philip Babington sentenced 29 year-old Paul Mahoney from Carnhill to four years - two of which will be served in custody with the remaining two years to be served on licence.
Mahoney set-up several websites which allowed people to illegally watch films and television programmes. Mahoney committed the offences between April 2008 and April 2013 and it is estimated that he made almost £300,000 from advertising revenue as a result.
“I think this case will convey to the public that there is definitely crime being committed here and that what has happened is not an invisible victimless crime,” said Mr. Sharp.
“People are suffering as a result of this sort of crime and people need to know that - I think that that message comes across with this sentencing.”
It was estimated that Mahoney’s offences cost the film and television industry up to £120 million but Judge Babington conceded that the figure was “speculative”. It is also believed that people using Mahoney’s websites to watch films did so more than 12 million times.
“It’s the people who are employed by the film industry, particularly here in Northern Ireland, they are the ones who suffer. Without the backing and funding that comes with the film industry, television series like ‘Game of Thrones’ would not be made here in Northern Ireland.
“This type of crime can happen anywhere,” said Mr. Sharp. “It was very clever and anyone with the kind of ability displayed by this gentleman, can operate it,” he stated.