1709 Blog: for all the copyright community

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Will SOCA rue another Oink?

RnBXclusive.com , the British music blog that posted, amongst other things, alleged links to unlicensed music files, has been shut down by the Serious Organised Crime Agency. The website currently hosts a SOCA statement that says the UK government agency has taken control of the domain, and that the individuals behind the website have been "arrested for fraud". The SOCA statement also notes: "The majority of music files that were available via this site were stolen from the artists. If you have downloaded music using this website you may have committed a criminal offence which carries a maximum penalty of up to ten years imprisonment and an unlimited fine under UK law". The UK authorities’ previous criminal action against a similar website, Oink, was unsuccessful.

The SOCA ‘takeover’ is quite bizarre actually. I would never have thought a UK court would imprison someone for 10 years for illegally downloading and when I went online to check the site today (after it was closed) and my own IP address was noted, dated and timed and the site states that “SOCA has the capability to monitor and investigate you, and can inform your internet service provider of these infringements” which is rather odd as I have never illegally downloaded anything – even more odd as the message goes on to say “You may be liable for prosecution and the fact that you have received this message does not preclude you from prosecution. As a result of illegal downloads young, emerging artists may have had their careers damaged. If you have illegally downloaded music you will have damaged the future of the music industry."
There is also a message “Visit pro-music.org for a list of legal music sites on the web”.

You can risk it yourself at http://www.rnbxclusive.com/

4 comments:

Adam said...

As I understand Criminal liability falls under s107 of the CDPA 1988. It requires an act 'in the course of a business,' with the exception of distributing to such an extent as to affect prejudicially the owner of the copyright.

Merely accessing links to download material is not distribution.

Therefore the SOCA statement is an empty threat?

Unless the site was one which required an account and was set up in a way that users had to contribute.

Anyway this type of approach to enforcement is not needed because it actually damages copyright.

GrahamT said...

This is on the SOCA website today!
http://www.soca.gov.uk/news/401-music-website-takedown-latest

Ben said...

More here, including some discussion on why conspiracy to defraud was used (rather than a 'Newzbin2' injunctive route) and how the site was taken down - apparently voluntarily by the hosting provider, who is not UK based.

http://www.zdnet.co.uk/news/intellectual-property/2012/02/15/police-threaten-rnbxclusive-music-downloaders-with-jail-40095047/

Ben said...

Yup, thanks Graham for the update. The rather sinister logging box and quite frankly the rather odd set of messages have now gone from the website which now just says "SOCA has taken control of this domain name. For further information visit: www.soca.gov.uk "