BitTorrent crackdown cops fail to pay music copyright fees
Six OiNK accused in court today
Cleveland Police, the force that will today bring six people to court for alleged involvement in the OiNK BitTorrent network, does not pay licensing fees to legally play music in its canteens, it has emerged.
Rumours that Cleveland Police was infringing copyright law have been circulating for several months. Yesterday the Middlesborough Gazette reported the force admitted the transgression and said it had not decided whether to pay its Performing Rights Society (PRS) subs.
The PRS collects royalties for artists and record companies from non-domestic performance of recorded copyright music.
A spokeswoman confirmed Cleveland Police's position to El Reg today.
A statement from Cleveland Police Deputy Chief Constable Derek Bonnard said: "We continue to assess the position and are seeking advice to determine if we are required by law to spend a significant amount of public money, which we consider is better committed to crime fighting, in this way."
The PRS argues that police forces are required to pay the same as other organisations. It issued a High Court writ against police in Lancashire earlier this year for the same infringment Cleveland has admitted.
PRS said only 11 forces nationwide have paid for the legal right to play copyright music in staff areas. Action against the Lancashire Constabulary has been suspended while the parties attempt to negotiate a settlement.
Depending on where and how it it plays copyright music, Cleveland Police can expect a PRS bill of between a few hundred and a few thousand pounds.
Alan Ellis, the 25-year-old administrator of OiNK, will face Teesside magistrates today on a charge of conspiracy to defraud. Five individuals who were arrested following last year's raids on Ellis and OiNK's servers will also appear, accused of criminal copyright infringement for uploading new trackers to the site.
All of the alleged offences could carry prison sentences. ®
Well , where is IFPI and BPA hiding when you need them to enforce the one law for all ?
Change the Law
A proposed solution, involving a small change to UK copyright laws.... (as a copyright holder, I think my proposal is fair.)
If a consumer, or business, purchases copyrighted material then they purchase the right to distribute that material, providing that said distribution does not bring any fiscal/financial profit directly to that consumer.
So, if I buy a CD and play it at a house party for my friends, or at work for colleagues, I have broken no law, but if I hold a ticket-only rave and charge for people to attend, then I owe the artists who made the material a slice of the profit.
Surely this is what PRS is actually trying to achieve? It's not fair to make a profit from someone elses labour without sharing that profit with them (Corporations, take note!), but it is equally unfair to charge someone for listening/sharing music they've already paid for!
The rules regarding the copying and illegal distribution of material should remain unchanged. If you want to enjoy copyright material at your leisure, you should pay for it, but it shouldn't be a crime to share that with others providing you don't give them their own copy or charge them for the experience of doing so.
Indeed, I think that such an egalatarian approach might actually increase the sales of copyright material as more people are exposed to it. Closing down the avenue of 'passive advertising through exposure to product' is surely not good for business?
Hear hear Alex Harper
I agree with you Alex.
We recently lost one of the best live music venues in Oxford when the Performing Rights Society rep told the landlord of the Ex that she owed hundreds of quids back payment for having a juke box. She objected, was taken to court and duly lost her stewardship of the pub. Cheers PRS !
A car mechanic in a village was presented with a bill for playing the radio in his workshop because it was within earshot of the general public when visiting his garage. If a client left the radio in their vehicle playing, it was OK.
Hmmm. and I thought that the Beeb paid to broadcast the music to the public.
It seems that the PRS potentially, get several million extra bites at this cherry.
Nice one fascist scavenging pig dogs.
What a lot of greedy get rich at someone else's cost tw*ts.
We fu**ing hate you.
But make them filthy m*f*king thievin' bobbies pay anyway !
Everyone else - Copyright Free music downloads this way - available from www.crackpots.org.uk - check out The Soil Brothers latest CD World Vegetable Peace available in mp3 format, then go buy a disc from the artist.
F*ck the PRS !