News item

Judge issues stark warning to music pirate

On Wednesday 17th April 2013 at Harrow Crown Court, Syed Ali, a 46 year old man from Harrow was given an eight week jail sentence suspended for eighteen months and ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work.

Mr Ali of Abercorn Crescent Road, Harrow, had pleaded guilty to six offences under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 at a previous hearing at Willesden Magistrates Court following a prosecution brought by Brent and Harrow Trading Standards Service for copying and selling copyright infringing music CDs on eBay.

During the hearing the court heard that Trading Standards had investigated Syed Ali following a complaint they had received in April 2012 from the British Recorded Music Industry also commonly known as the BPI (British Phonographic Industry) which represents hundreds of music companies to combat music piracy, including Warner, Sony and Universal.

A series of test purchases were carried out which were all confirmed as being illegal pirated copies and, subsequently in October 2012, the defendant’s home was searched which resulted in the seizure of 2843 CDs and computer equipment that was being used for copying the CDs. All the CDs were later confirmed by the BPI as being illegal pirate copies.

In court, the defendant’s Counsel stated that Mr Ali had started selling the CDs on eBay and had no idea that it was illegal and assumed that he could sell his pirated music as others were doing the same thing. However, when he did realise that what he was doing was illegal, it had become a routine and therefore difficult to stop.

In passing sentence, HHJ Donne stated that he did not accept Mr Ali’s mitigation and that he thought it likely that he was hoping to go undetected. He added that Mr Ali’s piracy undermined the legitimate music industry and that it was ‘like taking bread out of other people’s mouths’. After the sentencing, HHJ Donne concluded by giving Mr Ali a final warning by saying, “Do not come into the dock of a Criminal Court again!”

However, Mr Ali still faces the prospect of returning to court as Brent and Harrow Trading Standards have also commenced proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 to pay back the benefit that he has derived from his illicit activities.

Speaking after the case, Bill Bilon, Head of Brent & Harrow Trading Standards Service said, “This case sends out a clear message that the sale of counterfeit CDs will not be tolerated by this Service or the Courts. Counterfeit goods are often of poor quality and traders who try and sell them have no regard for businesses who are trying to operate in a legal and decent manner. We are determined to crack down on those who trade in counterfeit goods as it harmful to the local and national economies”.

     ENDS      

Notes for Editors

1. Under Section 107 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 it is an offence to make for sell, sell, offer or expose for sale, or distribute an article which is an infringing copy of a copyright work.

2. The maximum sentence upon summary conviction is imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months, or a fine up to a maximum of £5,000, or both.

3. For more information on this case please contact Ash Shah 020 8937 5511 or hashith.shah@brent.gov.uk

Date: 19 April 2013