Belfast Telegraph

Guilty, film piracy man who cost the industry millions

By George Jackson

A man has pleaded guilty to running a website that allowed users to illegally download movies in a legal first for Northern Ireland.

A prosecution barrister told Judge Philip Babington that the cost of Paul Mahoney's offending to the film industry could run "into several millions of pounds".

Mahoney (29), from the Carnhill area of Londonderry, yesterday pleaded guilty to conspiring with others to operate websites which allowed for the viewing of infringed films between April 2008 and May 2011.

Mahoney also admitted charges of conspiring with two websites - Hunter Grubbs and adigitalorange - to allow copyrighted material to be illegally downloaded between May 2011 and April 2013.

He had originally denied the charges.

Mahoney also admitted acquiring criminal property - the income generated by the websites bedroommedia and fastpasstv between April 2010 and April 2013.

He further admitted concealing criminal property - namely £82,390 in cash found in Mahoney's home - from companies that paid to advertise on his websites.

A prosecution barrister said while the Crown accepted that Mahoney did not lead an extravagant lifestyle funded by his offending, he had spent 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 because it believed the fact that Mahoney was being prosecuted sent out the relevant deterrent message.

But he described the loss to the industry because of the widespread internet use of pirated films as a figure that "could conceivably run into several millions".

He said Mahoney set up his websites to provide links to other websites for people who wanted to illegally view downloaded films.

Mahoney is to be sentenced on August 25 following the preparation of a pre-sentence report and he was released on continuing bail until that date.

Belfast Telegraph


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