If a private citizen comes to your home, threatens to take your property unless you comply with a threat and then takes that property from you, they’re likely guilty of several different crimes. For the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT), which operates in the UK, this is the normal course of business.
FACT has been going to the homes of USENET Indexers. They show up, tell the indexer that their indexes contain copyrighted material and basically offer the indexer a choice. Sign over the domain to FACT and shutdown or end up in court.
This tactic, according to TorrentFreak, has been used primarily against smaller indexers. A video released by the BBC shows representatives from FACT going to the home of an indexer and shaking him down for his domain. They make threats, some of them completely based on lies and, eventually, the man relents. He was the owner, in fact, of FindNZBs.info. FACT now owns that domain and the site is shut down.
The first thing that anyone who owns a website should do is turn on domain privacy. Aside from the fact that it makes it harder for the type of people that work for FACT to find you, it also prevents you from having your privacy compromised by other entities, as well, such as marketers who might find your email address and turn it over to a spam list.
You should also make sure that you don’t live in the UK! The UK is apparently okay with this type of activity and that means that, for all intents and purposes, anyone in the UK running an NZB site can probably go ahead and consider themselves to be the next target of FACT or whatever other group gets in on this sort of activity, as that could well be the case.
There are still plenty of NZB indexers out there and, in a truly ironic moment, a representative from FACT gives factually incorrect information, telling the owner of FindNZBs.info that all NZBs are illegal. They’re not. Neither is looking them up on line. Whether you’re hosting them or just looking through them, however, privacy is always a big concern. Turn on your domain privacy if you’re an admin. If you’re a user, make sure your USENET service uses SSL encryption and that you use a VPN if your surfing sites that might be the target of groups such as FACT.