12 March 2015
PRS for Music and the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) work together to shutdown illegal karaoke website
Detectives from the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) shutdown an illegal UK karaoke website (www.karaoke-world.co.uk) yesterday (11 March 2015) following a referral from PRS for Music, a membership organisation that represents the rights of songwriters, composers and music publishers in the UK.
The unlicensed BitTorrent site directed users to a catalogue of tens of thousands of copyrighted music files, in particular the latest chart music and karaoke hits.
Like most BitTorrent trackers, the site had rules for its members to abide by. One of the rules required users to immediately ‘seed’ files, which means to upload any file they have downloaded so that others can download it too. If a file is not seeded for more than 24 hours, the user was deemed as a ‘Hit and Run’ and their account was disabled.
The music service also offered VIP memberships for users of the website, which ranged from £5.00 to £90.00.
PIPCU detectives arrested the man believed to behind the website yesterday at a police station in Dewsbury. The 46-year-old was taken to a police station in Halifax for questioning and later received a caution.
Head of PIPCU, Detective Chief Inspector Danny Medlycott said, “The public needs to be aware that by accessing sites like this, they are putting money directly in the hands of criminals, which often then funds other serious organised crime, as well as putting their own financial and personal details at risk of being compromised and used for other fraudulent scams.
“These websites are stealing from the creative industries that employ thousands of people and PIPCU will continue to work closely with our partners to tackle the criminals behind these sites and bring them to justice.”
Simon Bourn, Head of Litigation, Enforcement and Anti-Piracy for PRS for Music said, “The livelihoods of song-writers represented by PRS for Music, both within the UK and internationally, and of all those who contribute to our diverse creative community, are underpinned by fair licensing and the protection of copyright.
"PRS for Music’s Anti-Piracy Unit is committed to actively pursuing those who use our songwriters’ and composers’ repertoire without permission, particularly the operation of online music services without the necessary licensing. The unit’s dedication in this case, involving careful investigative support which it provided to the police, ensured that an unlicensed UK-based BitTorrent music service for karaoke was located and closed down.”
PIPCU is based within the Economic Crime Directorate of the City of London Police, the National Policing Lead for Fraud. It is a specialist national police unit dedicated to protecting the UK industries that produce legitimate, high quality, physical goods and online and digital content from intellectual property crime.
The operationally independent unit launched in September 2013 with funding from the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) until June 2015. It was announced in October last year that PIPCU will receive a further £3 million from the IPO to fund the unit up to 2017.
About PRS for Music
PRS for Music represents the rights of over 125,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers in the UK. As a membership organisation it ensures creators are paid whenever their music is played, performed or reproduced, championing the importance of copyright to protect and support the UK music industry. The UK has a proud tradition of creating wonderful music that is enjoyed the world over and PRS for Music has been supporting the creators of that music since 1914.
PRS for Music provides business and community groups with easy access to over 10m songs through its music licences. In an industry worth over £4.1bn PRS for Music is uniquely placed to be a voice for music and music creators. Collecting £537.4m in 2015, PRS for Music is one of the world’s most efficient combined rights organisations. With over 100 representation agreements in place globally, PRS for Music's network represents over two million music creators.