Four pirate CD traders have been convicted for running a £5 million illegal operation that imported discs from the Czech Republic and sold them in shops and stalls across South East England. The recording industry’s UK and international trade bodies, the BPI and the IFPI welcomed the verdict at Snaresbrook Crown Court finding the four guilty of conspiracy to infringe copyright. The case was brought by the Fraud Prosecution Service acting on information from the two music industry organisations. A jury found two of the defendants guilty, while the other two had previously pleaded guilty in January 2008. Farhat Nissa and Mohammed Shaikh were found guilty after an eight-week trial. The court heard that Nissa’s company, SFH, one of the largest independent brokers, based in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, was commissioned by Waseem Mir, a market trader, and others to import the CDs. Waseem Mir admitted supplying market stalls and shops throughout the South East. The operation involved the manufacture and distribution of unlicensed pirate urban music compilations. Some of these became brands in their own right with the “In The Club” series running for more than 15 editions. BPI made a test purchase of a CD which was dispatched to IFPI’s Forensic facility. Using state-of-the art forensics, investigators were able to pinpoint the source of the discs and trace them back to a manufacturing plant in the Czech Republic, whose operators helped identify the convicted four UK traders. Waseem Mir was arrested and his storage facilities raided by police. During that raid 25,000 infringing discs were recovered and again samples were sent off for forensic examination by IFPI. BPI estimates suggest that more than 400,000 boxsets containing between two and five CDs, some with DVDs, which sold for around £12 a title, were imported during the fraud. The conspirators now face an application for their assets under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
www.bpi.co.uk and for statistics on music piracy seehttp://www.bpi.co.uk/pdf/BPI_UK_Commercial_Music_Piracy.pdf