back to article UKNova drops torrents after threats from FACT

UKNova, a torrent indexing site for British TV and radio, has announced it is shutting up shop after threats of legal action from the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT). The site, which is much beloved by expatriates, overseas members of the UK's armed forces, and certain El Reg hacks as a source of media from back home …


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  1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  2. Tascam Holiday

    FACT: Tossers

    Ridiculous miserable sods. UKNova probably did a huge amount of good for rights owners as free market research in what old content people were willing to pay for. Certainly they played by the spirit of the law (if not the letter of it) and did everything to ensure that the only content available wasn't commercially available elsewhere.

    UKNova will be greatly missed, it's really a model for what the broadcast companies ought to be doing themselves.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: FACT: Tossers

      How much do you want to bet that FACT's sponsors are planning to do exactly that?

      Once they have killed all the low-hanging fruit and pioneers, out comes the paid service.

      Its called eliminating the competition.

      B*stards, there ought to be a law

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Eliminating the competition?

        Shutting down one site usually leads to two or three more opening to fill the void.

        The only difference is their operators probably won't give a damn about annoying the content holders and will probably situate their servers in panama or something.

      2. 4.1.3_U1

        Re: FACT: Tossers

        Umm no, this is stuff "they" apparently couldn't be bothered to release (according to the article we're commenting on) but was provided instead by UKNova.

        As an expat myself I must confess that I heard of UKNova too late to have had the chance to use it; I came across this news by chance a few days ago (I think on tellymad; best used with jdownloader - thanks magz).

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shame on Fact

    Thousands of British forces families, diplomatic staff, relief workers, overseas expats etc relied on UKN to keep them in touch with the comforts of British *free-to-air* TV shows. Not a penny ever changed hands, nothing which was on sale in shops was ever distributed.

    FACT have killed a charitable community enterprise. I hope they're proud of themselves.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Shame on Fact

      Sorry, they have no shame, just the will to extort money. (allegedly to fund the coke & whores account) I recall the story of an ex-employee who had reported his company to FACT, maliciously. The IT Manager and his team spent over a week rounding up licences, orders, cal's &c. to present to the inquisitors. They discovered, in the licence round-up process, that they had hundreds & hundreds of Windows & Office licences in excess of their actual user numbers, half a dozen more Autocad licences than workstations, etc. etc. They were done over, like the proverbial kipper and fined, because some numpty had downloaded a snide copy of Photoshop for home use, installed it on his WS to see if the keygen worked and forgotten to delete it.

      This happened to someone else.......


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Shame on Fact

        I know of several instances of pressure from FACT prompting a switch to Ubuntu. As you say, the realisation of the wastage in excess licenses and the downtime (and damage in one case) caused by the inquisition is a bitter pill.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @AC 21:17


        I'm in an eeeeeevil mood right now. And I know my employer has f*ck all in the way of compliance procedures.

  4. Christoph

    Vexatious litigation?

    It's about time FACT were put on the list of vexatious litigants so they can't start any legal action without getting permission first.

  5. garetht t


    As an expat living in the states I'm not ashamed to say that when I read the site notice on Sunday I cried.

  6. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    A great service

    I used it everyday to check for new interesting radio programs which I then downloaded perfectly legally from the BBC iPlayer site to my not_an_iPod.

    Although the BBC spent 120M quid on new channel idents for the TV it doesn't seem to know it runs some radio stations.

  7. tkioz
    Black Helicopters

    The thing that makes me maddest is that they were forced to close down because of legal blackmail.

    There are serious problems with the current system when as is the case here people will give in to threats of legal action, not because they think they are in the wrong, but because they simply can't afford to fight it.

    Something needs to be done about this, cases that drag on for years, ending up costing millions of dollars/pounds/whatever, appeal after appeal... It's putting justice out of the reach of anyone but the mega-rich.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      What's that quote?

      If a man tries to take my wallet by force I will fight him, if he threatens to take it by law I will give it to him and consider myself lucky!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      This happens to the NHS daily. If someone decides a nurse looked at them funny, it's cheaper for the NHS trust to bung 'em a few thousand to go away rather than to pay the snake oil salesmen... sorry I mean solicitors.... It’s costing the NHS millions every year.

      I'm personally aware of cases where the patient was 100% in the wrong, with an as airtight case for the NHS as it's possible to conceive, yet the NHS settled out of court for a low 6 figure number to make the patient go away; Patient is sent letter asking them to come for routine screening appt. No contact from Patient, patient fails to attend appt, patient is sent another letter asking them to attend, no contact from patient, patient doesn’t attend. Patient sent a third letter asking if they would like to opt out from screening programme. Nothing heard from patient.

      Three years later, screening comes around to area again. Patient sent invite letter. Irate patient phones up upset that they should have the front and audacity to keep contacting them by mail to offer free cancer screening. Patient asked to send in opt out form. Patient refuses. Patient threatens to sue NHS for harassment. NHS cannot opt someone out of a screening programme without it in writing, regardless of how idiotic the patient is.

      Member of staff uses own initiative and visits patient so opt out form can be signed and we won’t have to bother patient again. Patient reluctantly signs. All is well.

      Fast forward four years patient presents with symptomatic cancer at their GP. Patient decides department hadn’t done enough to encourage them to come for routine screening in the first place. NHS legal services pay off patient rather than telling them to “fek off, see you in court”…

      Now for the final insult. Patient dies from easily preventable cancer. Patient’s family is currently suing the NHS for a high six figure sum and will in all likely hood get it... You couldn’t make this shit up honestly.

      AC because this is a little too close to home for comfort....

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So our mission is clear

    Abolish all lawyers.


    1. Callam McMillan

      Re: So our mission is clear

      Is that the order in which they're electrocuted?

  9. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. pPPPP

    It would be OK if you could just pay for the TV that you want for a nominal charge. But here in the UK, to get the one or two programmes you actually want to watch, you have to pay for the rest of the channel, and on top of that countless of shitty shopping channels and other crap that you couldn't care less about.

    And to add to that, Virgin Media increased the amount they were charging recently, presumably so they could afford to send me junk mail telling me to buy a mobile from them every TWO F**KING WEEKS.

    Very few people would have an issue with paying a few quid for a legitimate version of UKNova. I'd sign up, and ditch the crappy V+ box while I was at it.

    I haven't used UKNova for ages, mainly because most stuff worth watching is on iplayer and I'm in the UK. But I bet those living abroad will be annoyed. Or get their torrents elsewhere.

  11. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects


    Anonymous takedown.


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cue:

      Funny, i had my post moderator deleted for saying the same thing.....

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Phuck around, go to prison

    Not rocket science here folks.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Phuck around, go to prison

      Can I "report abuse" for pointless, not-even-trying, 0/10 trolling by random 'tards posting from their parents' basement?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good one, FACT

    Now those torrents and users will go to a less legitimate site run out of your reach / out of the country.

    Vale UKNova

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Good one, FACT

      There ain't a server that can't be taken out at any time. Soon more perps will do the walk. It's entertaining to see them squeal.

      1. lotus49
        Thumb Down

        Re: Good one, FACT

        Come one Andrew O, as an Reg staffer you shouldn't be posting anonymously.

  14. YouStupidBoy

    It's just not cricket

    If anyone knows someone who works @ FACT, they should consider it their civic duty to beat them over the head with a rolled-up newspaper like the dogs they are.

    Honestly, you have a site that catered to thousands of ex-pats worldwide, enabling them to get their TV fix, whether their absence be caused by vacation, extended work assignment or something more permanent. Nothing was available there that would be used to generate revenue at a later date for the copyright holders, last weeks episode of Corrie (for example) is never going to be broadcast again or feature in a "Greatest moments of Corrie" DVD or whatever they come out with. So what was the point of them serving notice, except to drive home the point that they're a bunch of worthless fecks.

    Extra disappointed since I'd literally just found out about the place a month ago and was drooling over the cricket coverage they had there, which it seems nowhere else has. I've tried connecting through a free VPN (bestukvpn) to access the channel5 catchup service for the highlight shows - and it's a painful experience.

    If any sympathetic chap or chapess reading this knows where cricket coverage resides or any free, working, UK vpns can be found, info would be much appreciated.

    1. MrZoolook
      Paris Hilton

      Re: It's just not cricket

      Quote: last weeks episode of Corrie (for example) is never going to be broadcast again or feature in a "Greatest moments of Corrie" DVD or whatever they come out with. So what was the point of them serving notice, except to drive home the point that they're a bunch of worthless fecks.

      Its not that simple. After the first showing, within minutes of the episode ending, it could be listed and available worldwide for download. Now, lets ignore the fact that it will be repeated on ITV1+1, ITV2 a few days later, ITV2+1 an hour after after that, there is normally a soap round-up with signing in the early hours at least once a week, a sunday showing used to be available (unsure if now, but certainly less then the 10 years ago that the site was running) and that you absolutely do not know for sure in any way that a scene isn't going to be re-used in a 'best of' in some way. Ignore all that, and you still have the fact that Corrie is a big cash generator in other countries, which are typically showing the episode a few days (some cases even weeks) after it is first broadcast here. Therefore, its still commercially viable for a while after its first screening here.

      Which brings me to my next point. Everyone claims that UKNova wasn't listing content available in shops. Are they claiming that not one episode of "Only Fools and Horses", "Red Dwarf", "Soldier, Soldier" etc made it's way onto the site? That's a big claim, considering the booming 2nd hand market DVD box-sets are having nowadays. You can even still buy all the above (and pretty much anything from the last 20 years) brand new on digitally re-masterd and original DVD format on Amazon, eBay, HMV online, let alone them being sold in high street stores... Lets not forget either that a whole slew of DVD content is being transferred to Blu-Ray now also.

      Paris, because her 'box-set' is in need of being re-mastered.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's just not cricket

        If anyone on UKNova started a torrent of stuff available commerically, both it and the person's account typically lasted minutes before being deleted by the mod team. They even forbade torrents of some programmes with announced DVD release dates weeks away.

      2. shever

        Re: It's just not cricket

        Actually not one episode of Only Fools and Horses, Red Dwarf, Soldier Soldier etc. was available on the site when the DVD/Blu-Ray/whatever box-set was released. UKN had a strict policy of removing any and all content for which the DVD was available.

        A case in point is Coast. I'm an ex-pat and I used to like catching up on my UK telly through UKN. I was getting each episode of Coast until the DVD release date. Then all existing torrents were removed, and no new ones were permitted. The same with Doctor Who (even episodes from the 70's and 80's), Downton Abbey etc. etc. The list goes on.

        UKN was an ethical operator - the only one I've ever encountered - and I, for one, will miss it.

      3. Annihilator Silver badge

        Re: It's just not cricket

        "Are they claiming that not one episode of "Only Fools and Horses", "Red Dwarf", "Soldier, Soldier" etc made it's way onto the site?"

        Yes, they are saying that. Maybe you should have used the site to understand how it operated? As someone else has pointed out, even a release notice for an upcoming DVD meant you couldn't post it on UK Nova. It was screen caps only of non purchasable material.

      4. Paul Thomas 1

        Re: It's just not cricket

        Try for Corrie nearer 12 months gap when we moved to Canada, I think they have caught up a bit and are down to about 3 to 4 months now, but still significant.

      5. Tom 13

        Re: Are they claiming that not one episode of

        I can't speak to UKNova from direct knowledge, but my own experience with groups walking the fine grey line of reproducing/reshowing things which are not commercially available in the region where they are being traded/shown is that IF the group makes a point of ONLY distributing copies of things which aren't commercially available they've made a philosophical decision that they are trying to promote the commercial sale of materials they want to see and it is in their best interests to make sure no such materials exist in whatever it is they are trying to promote. And since they've made that philosophical decision, they'll be more vigorous in enforcing it at their venue then any paid troll ever will. To the point of, when a release decision is announced, even if the group knows the announcement won't come to fruition for a year and has a 50/50 shot at never materializing, they will none the less immediately remove all related materials and prevent them from reappearing.

        If they haven't made that philosophical decision, they won't make a point of publicizing it, and they won't give a rat's ass about what shows up on their site, including materials from companies that are known to strictly enforce their copyrights.

        My experiences are on the American anime scene back when tape trading was the only practical means of distribution.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good. Sod those miserable freetards. Why don't they get out, innovate, and create if they want content. Or just pay for it. Copyright theft is a crime, and should be punished as such. Your jobs rely on copyrights and patents, and these people are taking food out of the mouths of...

    ...okay, that's a far as I could get. I actually tried this time. Honest!

    Also: I hope both Phobos and Deimos wrench themselves from their orbits and turn FACT into a sheet of glass for this. Since the happy fun line is that $150,000 per infringement is a perfectly acceptable and proportionate response to personal use of an MP3 or video, I think "act of god" is proportional for demanding the takedown of torrents over which the licensing body in question has no jurisdiction.

    $deity help them if the site had rounded rectangles!

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So are they going to go after Google and YouTube?

    .... Thought not.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Go on, send the parting shot...

    This site is now closed. All torrent information has been uploaded to

  18. Mark 78

    Perhaps the BBC, Channel 4 and ITV should approach UKNova and give them permission to carry on, as long as they run it on the same rules. They could turn it into the first offical legal torrent site.

    This was my main source for finding old radio comedy which wasn't available commercially. The sort of stuff the beeb threw out and lost years ago, and people recovered from home recorded tapes, which the beeb then made news stories about people finding.

    Time someone FUCT FACT.

    1. wowfood

      A bit like crunchryoll then. That's an anime site which legally hosts subs of many anime from japan, some of which are same day releases, being broadcast just hours after the official broadcast in japan.

      Honestly, I look forward to the day where TV is entirely online, no adverts, just the shows you want to watch, all of them, avaliable for a nominal monthly fee.

      If people had a legal way to watch these shows there'd be no need to download / stream them from elsewhere.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Tom 13

      Even if the Beeb et al do that, it doesn't solve UKNova's fundamental problem: they don't have the money to defend themselves against the suit. Even a minimal IP case in the States will run you $20,000 if settled out of court and quickly. I don't imagine it would be any cheaper in the UK. What UKNova need is both explicit permission AND a defense fund. Although it might be worth them looking into organizing both.

  19. Piro Silver badge


    I had respect for UKNova. I guess these FACT guys can't sleep at night until they've made a certain quota of people miserable, and a certain quota of historical content unavailable. Basically scum.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not only did the BBC not complain to UKNova...

    ... several people providing content via it worked there.

    Doubtless it was much the same for C4/ITV/5.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I was a member of UKNova for a while and liked it. But didn't they do an awful lot of "capping" as well? That changes the dynamic from humble torrent links to something more prosecutable. The owners of TPB don't rip the content themselves...

    I'd put UKNova in the league demonoid, another recently departed site, which actually hosted an incredible history of media, a large percentage that would never be monetised by the rights holder ever again.

    There is another fine, similar UK site for all things on thebox, so UKNova people look for that...

    1. Annihilator Silver badge

      "But didn't they do an awful lot of "capping" as well? That changes the dynamic from humble torrent links to something more prosecutable"

      That's pretty much *all* they did, that was the point. Basically the idea was the 21st century version of taping stuff off the TV for your mates. But only stuff that wasn't commercially available, so no Sky stuff, nothing available on DVD, nothing available on iTunes etc.

    2. lotus49

      Please don't mention other sites by name

      FACT are a bunch of useless arseholes who probably don't know about half of the private torrent sites. Please don't assist their intelligence gathering by advertising other sites to close down.

  22. Arachnoid
    Thumb Down

    Isnt it odd that a well used, ethically ran website with a well known production team can be shut down by lawyers merely by threats.Whereas were the same site run on a server in a certain foriegn coutry popular for daffodills and drugs by avater laden keyboard hacks the place would still be open for buisness......

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Wales, then? Or do you mean tulips?

  23. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Lawfare? Download quickly, thread softly and use sneakernet.

    Back to the good old times when you swapped music cassettes in the schoolyard. Possibly in exchange for smokable substances.

  24. Ru
    Big Brother

    I blame Sky

    As UKNova told TorrentFreak:

    “There was one very big UK satellite provider some of whose content (a tiny percentage from their basic package) was available on UKN, there was also a football production company. The remaining members represent post-transmission marketing of DVDs etc. The major UK TV companies are not FACT members and were not mentioned.”

  25. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm tempted..

      You could always use the FACT site's crimestoppers link

      And don't forget to tell them where the offending content is being hosted

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