Market owners found liable for pirate DVDs and CDs sold on their site

September 2007

Record labels, film and TV

The UK’s music and film industries welcomed a verdict delivered by St Albans Crown Court which both the BPI and FACT (The Federation Against Copyright Theft) say could prove hugely significant as the UK’s creative industries step up their fight against copyright crime as the verdict against Wendy Fair Markets Ltd is significant as all previous commercial piracy cases have been brought against sellers or distributors, rather than the market owners themselves. Directors Nicholas Hobday and Sally Ward, together with the company itself, were yesterday found guilty of money laundering charges. Sentencing will take place in September. The case was brought by Hertfordshire Trading Standards after the BPI and FACT uncovered evidence that the defendants and company were benefiting financially from the illegal sale of counterfeit DVDs, CDs, and computer software at Hemel Hempstead’s Bovingdon Market. The BPI says it marks the first time a market operator has been convicted of accepting – in the form of pitch rents – money it knew, or suspected, had been earned through criminal means. Both the company, Wendy Fair Markets Ltd and the directors could lose their assets as they are now vulnerable to a claim under the Proceeds of Crime Act. Seven traders also face the possibility of custodial sentences; two of whom were found guilty of copyright offences yesterday after five others pleaded guilty earlier in the year.

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