Two people who maintained and illegally distributed music prior to official release on file sharing site Dancing Jesus have been condemned to four years and five months in prison.
The pair were sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court last week, with owner and administrator Kane Robinson, of North Shields pleading guilty and receiving a sentence of 32 months, reduced from four years for an early plea.
Richard Graham of Leicestershire was sentenced to 21 months for distributing more than 8,000 tracks, two thirds of which were pre-release.
The court heard that the Dancing Jesus website had over 70m users with over 22,500 links to 250,000 albums available between 2006-2011.
Director of BPI’s Copyright Protection Unit, David Wood, said: “Today’s sentencing sends a clear message to the operators and users of illegal music sites that online piracy is a criminal activity that will not be tolerated by law enforcement in the UK or overseas. Piracy – particularly pre-release – can make or break an artist’s career, and can determine whether a record label is able to invest in that crucial second or third album”.
Wood continued: “In this day and age with so many quality digital music services available offering access to millions of tracks through free and premium tiers, there is no good reason to use pirate sites that give nothing back to artists and offer a sub-standard experience for consumers. Speaking as a music fan, it just doesn’t make sense to help criminals when you can support artists”.
The case was investigated by the BPI with assistance from the IFPI, City of London Police, the Intellectual Property Office and the US Department of Homeland Security– though the sorry saga is perhaps unlikely to inspire the next season of popular thriller TV show Homeland.
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