Four men have been jailed after pleading guilty to copyright and trade mark crimes following the manufacture and distribution of unlicensed Northern Soul Records online.
The British Phonographic Industry (BPI), which represents record companies in the UK such as Warner Music, completed a four-year investigation alongside the South Wales Organised Crime Squad after it discovered and tested vinyl records online. The BPI noticed how the records were inconsistent with spelling and had words such as DJ Copy and “not for sale” emblazoned on them. Copies of records were discovered at all the men’s houses bearing Warner Bros trade mark labels.
Alan Godfrey, 66, Christopher Price, 68, Robert Pye, 66, and Stephen Russell, 65 were taking of advantage of the resurgence of vinyl records which can reach up to thousands of pounds when sold on the Internet. Although Godfrey, Pye and Price had all registered with them, only Price had purchased licences which covered the manufacture of 500 copies if a specific artist’s work whose work was not included in the scam. Through the manufacturing and distribution scheme, the men caused £500,000 in lost profits to the music industry, which is already struggling due to illegal streaming and downloading of music.
Mr Greenwood, the Prosecutor in the case heard in Newport Crown Court stated: “all defendants were engaged in the large scale commercial sale of counterfeit goods infringing both trade mark and copyright”.
All four men pleaded guilty with two being convicted and two being handed suspended sentences with the judge in the case stating that then men had made a market for what there was no legitimate source.