A married couple who operated streaming website SurfTheChannel has been hit with fresh legal action after some rather complex wranglings by US copyright lobbyist group, Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).
The Vickerman duo operated the site back in 2008 and had their first - although unknown at the time - contact with the MPAA through a private investigator who posed as an investor. He met publicly with Mr Vickerman, who he then followed over 250 miles back to his home. With the couple's address in hand, the MPAA then sent around another stealthy individual, this time posing as a prospective house buyer. He took pictures, especially of computer equipment.
This all culiminated in a raid by British police, who allowed MPAA "experts" to examine electronics and be present during the raid and even take part in the questioning of the couple.
However that led to very little as the case was eventually dropped by British authorities. The MPAA didn't stop there though. Instead it targeted the American programmer of the site and attempted to charge him with conspiracy to commit copyright infringement. Faced with a potential five years in jail and quarter million dollar fine, Mr DeBeasi agreed to give evidence against the Vickermans.
Ultimately this weird turn of events has seen the copyright charges against a US man dropped, so he can provide evidence against a UK couple in a fraud case. This is first time this has taken place.
It could all be for naught however. A case against torrent tracking site FileSoup was dismissed last year after it was found that all evidence was gathered by industry lobbyists. That seems to be the case in this instance too.