18 October 2016

UK man pleads guilty to Top 40 music leak

A UK man has pleaded guilty to two counts of copyright infringement and fraud after he illegally distributed singles from the UK’s Top 40 chart online.

On September 3, TBO reported that the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) arrested a man on suspicion of illegally distributing singles from the chart.

The investigation was conducted in conjunction with collecting society PRS for Music and saw the organisations seize mobile phones and computers at the suspect’s home.

Wayne Evans, 38, unemployed from Liverpool, appeared before the Liverpool Magistrates’ Court on October 7.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of distributing an article infringing copyright and possessing or controlling an article for use in fraud.

The investigation also found that Evans “ignored the necessary licensing and permissions from copyright owners” to distribute hundreds of thousands of songs through his website, deejayportal.com.

Evans also uploaded UK Top 40 singles to torrent sites on a “weekly” basis at the same time that the official UK Top 40 was published online.

Investigators found that the songs included music from Calvin Harris, Ariana Grande and Ellie Goulding.

He also “specialised” in illegally distributing acapella music.

Steve Kettle, detective constable of PIPCU, said: “This result highlights the issue of digital piracy and its profound effect on the music industry. In illegally distributing music on an industrial scale, Evans caused significant losses to the music industry.”

Simon Bourn, head of litigation, enforcement and anti-piracy at PRS for Music, said: “Music piracy has a severe impact on the livelihoods of the entire song-writing community.

“We are therefore pleased to see the first [success] from our partnership with PIPCU, and we hope that this sends a message to all those involved in such criminal activity, that this is treated as a serious offence and consequences will follow.”

This was first published on  Trademarks and Brands Online.

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