Serious Organised Crime Agency Takes Down Music Site

Glyn Moody | Computerworld UK | February 15, 2012

Here's a pretty interesting development: As part of a criminal investigation the UK Government has shut down the popular blog RnBXclusive which posted news, commentary and links to music. Authorities have arrested the owners of the site for allegedly defrauding the music industry. In addition, the Serious Organised Crime Agency is threatening users of RnBXclusive that they face 10 years in prison if they downloaded music through the site.

What's particularly noteworthy is the Web page that SOCA has now placed on the site:

  • SOCA has taken control of this domain name.

  • The individuals behind this website have been arrested for fraud.

  • 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 10 years imprisonment and an unlimited fine under UK law...

This obviously raises some questions, so I took the matter up with SOCA, and here's what its spokesman said in response.

In fact, just one person has been arrested, "on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud." That is, this is not a standard copyright infringement take-down. As the spokesman emphasised, this is a fraud investigation, which changes things rather dramatically, and is also why "10 years imprisonment and an unlimited fine" is being mentioned, rather than lesser punishments for copyright infringement...