Four guilty of £5m pirate CD conspiracy
London, 7th March 2008
Four pirate CD traders were today convicted for running a £5 million illegal operation that imported discs from the Czech Republic and sold them in shops and stalls across South East England.
The recording industry’s UK and international trade bodies, BPI and IFPI, today welcomed the verdict today at Snaresbrook Crown Court finding four guilty of conspiracy to infringe copyright. The case was brought by the Fraud Prosecution Service acting on information from the two music industry organisations. A jury found two of the defendants guilty, while the other two had previously pleaded guilty in January 2008.
The operation involved the manufacture and distribution of unlicensed pirate urban music compilations. Some of these became brands in their own right with the "In The Club" series running for more than 15 editions.
BPI made a test purchase of a CD which was dispatched to IFPI’s Forensic facility. Using state-of-the art forensics, investigators were able to pinpoint the source of the discs and trace them back to a manufacturing plant in the Czech Republic, whose operators helped identify the convicted four UK traders. Waseem Mir was arrested and his storage facilities raided by police. During that raid 25,000 infringing discs were recovered and again samples were sent off for forensic examination by IFPI.
BPI estimates suggest that more than 400,000 boxsets containing between two and five CDs, some with DVDs, which sold for around £12 a title, were imported during the fraud. The conspirators now face an application for their assets under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
BPI Director of Anti-Piracy David Wood, who ran the UK investigation said: "These types of counterfeits can fetch significant sums, but none of those involved in creating the music received a penny for their work. It is simply not acceptable for people to line their pockets at the expense of the music community and the creative endeavours of others should be respected and paid for. We're delighted the FPS chose to take on this case and hope that this successful outcome will serve as a deterrent to others. Brokers have a responsibility to ensure that they only deal in legitimate product and that they take precautions to ensure that they do so."
IFPI’s Head of Enforcement, Len Hynds, said: “This was a sophisticated criminal conspiracy of international proportions. The pirate’s business model netted them vast profits dispelling the myth that music piracy is about street level rogue traders – the truth is that it’s highly organised with far reaching societal impact. Essentially this case was cracked through cooperation between the industry bodies and law enforcement in the UK and Czech Republic. Of course none of this would have been possible without the efforts of the Metropolitan Police and I applaud its foresight and efforts pursuing this case. Experience tells us that organised crime will turn its hand to what ever makes a profit – if it thought that music piracy was a soft option it should think again.”For further information contact:
BPI Press Office
Tel: +44 (0)20 7803 1395