A couple from Bury was arrested in their home today for music piracy and illegal distribution of content. The man and woman, aged 55 and 39, respectively, were found to be in possession of hard drives containing hundreds of thousands of popular songs and videos. Officials have appraised just one of the hard drives at more than £350,000 (which comes to $560,918.75 in U.S. currency).
The City of London Police took the couple into custody with support from the Greater Manchester Police. The case was referred to them by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), with suspicion that they had been selling up to 200,000 files of copyrighted material. The content of the drives included chart-topping music tracks and music videos, as well as karaoke versions of numerous songs.
“Counterfeiting criminals who believe music piracy is a low-risk activity that carries no penalty are flawed in their views. Put simply, it is illegal and it will not go unseen by the eyes of the law,” said David Wood, Director of Content Protection for BPI. “Anyone trying to build a business on the back of someone else’s ideas or copyright should ask themselves if making a quick buck at the expense of musicians, local businesses – and indeed their own future – is really worth it?”
It is unclear what the specifics of their charges will be, but there will more than likely be similar cases in the future. The government-funded Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PICPU) that is handling the case was recently granted an extra £3 million to continue its investigations until 2016. The funding was highly reported on, with emphasis on the fact that the division was just launched in 2013.
“Our creative industries are incredibly important,” said Detective Chief Inspector Daniel Medlycott, Head of the PIPCU. “Not only are we recognized worldwide as producing great films, TV and music, but these industries are playing a large part in supporting our country financially, contributing a huge £71.4 billion to the UK economy and supporting 1.7 million jobs. The vast majority of people who work in the music and film industries are not making vast amounts of money and we have a responsibility to protect the industries they work in.”