Saturday, 7 May 2016

Dancing Jesus

"No music ever leaked first on Dancing Jesus, we were just a message board.” - Kane Robinson, the first person in the UK to be prosecuted for illegal file sharing.

"Dancing Jesus never actually hosted any illegal files. It didn't have the means to. It was simply a forum. Users would find files or links elsewhere, and use the forum as a place to share and discuss them. If MegaUpload or Pirate Bay were kalashnikov guarded Colombian cocaine meccas, then Dancing Jesus forum was a dead end British nightclub one thousand miles away, with a small crowd of regulars and a handful of part time dealers - and Kane was the owner. Yes, he was breaking the law - guilty of what is called 'authorising copyright infringement' - but he was so far down the food chain, it was barely worth thinking about. Kane didn’t see himself as a cyber criminal. He wasn’t part of some dark cabal exchanging links on encrypted messenger services, gleaning leaks straight from CD pressing plants, or sending ship loads of pirate copies to China. He’d never heard of the warez scene and he didn’t use the darknet. He was just a reasonably tech-savvy indie fan with a little forum, who dabbled in a bit of file sharing. Didn’t everyone?" - Joe Zadeh (How a Kid Running an Obscure Music Forum Became the Target Of the UK's Biggest Ever Piracy Case).

Two jailed over Dancing Jesus website music piracy

Kane Robinson and Richard Graham imprisoned for illegally distributing music which, in total, could have cost industry £240m

'Piracy – particularly pre-release – can make or break an artist’s career.'

12 November 2014

Two internet pirates behind illegal music internet forum Dancing Jesus, which could have cost the industry more than £240m, have been jailed.

The forum allowed members to post tens of thousands of illegal links to songs, often before they had been released, undermining record labels.

Site owner and administrator Kane Robinson, 26, of Wyndham Way, North Shields, North Tyneside, was jailed for two years and eight months at Newcastle crown court after he admitted earlier this year illegally distributing music.

More than 22,500 links to 250,000 individual titles were made available on Dancing Jesus between 2006 and 2011.

The site had more than 70 million user visits during its life span. If half of them illegally downloaded a single track, the cost to the industry would be around £35m, but if half of them downloaded a whole album for free, the cost would be £242m.

Kane on the trollies at Tesco

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Richard Graham, 22, of Station Road, Broughton Astley, Leicestershire, was jailed for 21 months. He illegally distributed thousands of files on Dancing Jesus, including about 8,000 tracks, around two-thirds of which were pre-release.

Graham pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to illegally distributing music. Judge Deborah Sherwin said it would be easy to consider such activities a victimless crime but added that piracy reduced the ability of the industry to promote and fund new artists.

After the case, the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) said it linked with other organisations including the US Department of Homeland Security and City of London Police to investigate Dancing Jesus in 2010. The inquiry identified the creator and operator of the site as Robinson and in September 2011 he was arrested. The servers were seized in an operation involving law enforcement in Dallas.

The director of the BPI’s Copyright Protection Unit, David Wood, said: “Today’s sentencing sends a clear message to the operators and users of illegal music sites that online piracy is a criminal activity that will not be tolerated by law enforcement in the UK or overseas.

“Piracy – particularly pre-release – can make or break an artist’s career, and can determine whether a record label is able to invest in that crucial second or third album.

“In this day and age, with so many quality digital music services available, offering access to millions of tracks through free and premium tiers, there is no good reason to use pirate sites that give nothing back to artists and offer a sub-standard experience for consumers.

“Speaking as a music fan, it just doesn’t make sense to help criminals when you can support artists.”
Jeremy Banks, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry’s director of anti-piracy, said: “This case is an excellent example of law enforcement agencies co-operating to tackle online criminal activity, which has a real impact on record companies and their ability to invest in artists.

“The illegal uploading of pre-release music can have a potentially devastating impact on the commercial success of an artist, making it more difficult for them to maintain a career in music. I would like to thank the authorities in the UK and the US for their work in resolving this case.”

Huw Watkins, head of the Intellectual Property Office Intelligence Hub, said: “The IPO is committed to supporting rights holders in enforcing IP rights and this sentence shows how seriously the court takes such activity.

“This case demonstrates how successful intelligence and enforcement agencies working in partnership can be in stopping IP infringement.”


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