| 16 Jun 2024
PIPCU and PRS for Music pull down unlicensed UK music site

MUMBAI: Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) pulled down an illegal karaoke website in the UK- Karaoke World, on 11 March, after receiving a tip-off from PRS for Music, an organisation which represents the rights of composers, songwriters and music publishes in the UK.

Through the unlicensed BitTorrent site, users were directed to a catalogue which spanned tens of thousands of copyrighted music files, including the latest karaoke and chart music hits. Detectives from PIPCU are said to have arrested the 46-year old man behind the website. After taking him to a police station in Dewsbury for questioning, he is believed to have been given a caution.

In a statement, PIPCU head, Detective Chief Inspector Danny Medlycott said, "The public needs to be aware that by accessing sites like this, they are putting money directly in the hands of criminals, which often then funds other serious organised crime, as well as putting their own financial and personal details at risk of being compromised and used for other fraudulent scams. These websites are stealing from the creative industries that employ thousands of people and PIPCU will continue to work closely with our partners to tackle the criminals behind these sites and bring them to justice.”

Like many other BitTorrent sites, the illegal karaoke website also had rules for its members, which included ‘seeding’ files so that others were able to download it. Users were deemed as ‘Hit and Run’ if they did not seed a file for over 24 hours, after which the account was disabled. Additionally, the site is said to have offered users VIP memberships as well, ranging from £5.00 to £90.00.

PRS for Music, Head of Litigation, Enforcement and Anti-Piracy, Simon Bourn said, “The livelihoods of song-writers represented by PRS for Music, both within the UK and internationally, and of all those who contribute to our diverse creative community, are underpinned by fair licensing and the protection of copyright."

He added that the organisation was committed to finding and shutting down unlicensed music services that were using PRS for Music’s composers’ and songwriters’ repertoire without consent, especially online music services.