Belfast Telegraph

£120m film piracy scam man is set to appeal sentence

By George Jackson

A man sentenced to four years for running an international film piracy operation from his bedroom is to appeal against the sentence.

In the biggest case of its kind in Northern Ireland, Paul Mahoney pleaded guilty on Tuesday to charges of conspiring to defraud relating to the infringement of copyright in films, as well as to money laundering. During the case at the Crown Court in Londonderry, a prosecutor had claimed that partially-sighted Mahoney's racket had enabled users to view about £120m-worth of film and television.

The charges covered a five-year period from April 2008 during which Mahoney (29) was estimated to have earned £280,000 from selling advertising on the pirate website he set up and ran from his bedroom.

His four-year sentence includes two years in jail and two years on licence after release.

Social recluse Mahoney, from the Carnhill area of Derry, had created and operated websites that allowed people to view films and television programmes for free.

His websites offered users links to third-party servers on which the illegal movie and TV show copies had been uploaded.

The court heard that Mahoney also operated one of these servers himself and found illegal content on others by using complex software he paid others to develop for him.

Judge Philip Babington described Mahoney's operation as cunning and said that by his offending Mahoney had caused many millions of pounds worth of damage to the entertainment industry.

"The organisation of your websites was cunning and clever and when you were first detected you took moves to continue your illegal work and further cover up what you were doing," he said.

Mahoney has instructed his legal team to appeal against the sentence. It is understood the notice of appeal will be lodged with the courts service this month.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph