UK police threatening filesharers with 10 years in prison and unlimited fine
Today I was made aware of the takedown of UK music sharing website RnBXclusive.com and the aggressive message that the Serious Organised Crime Agency placed on the site in order to frighten its 70,000 users. I was appalled and have written the following letter of complaint, which I have sent both to SOCA and the Independent Police Complaints Commission. Wonder what the response will be?
The takedown message that SOCA put on RnBXclusive.com on 14th February is misleading, threatening, and shows a conflict of interests where there should be neutrality.
Can SOCA explain why the message reads like a cross between a bully’s threat and a music industry press release? Can they explain precisely what their source is to back up their claim that having downloaded a file illegally someone has damaged the music industry?
RnBXclusive.com is popular with a demographic consisting mainly of young black men – a demographic already alienated and wary about law enforcement. SOCA’s stance is to treat these music fans like hardened criminals, threatening them with a prison sentence twice as long as that of a repeat-offending child rapist.
If SOCA is using the IFPI’s claim of £15m yearly losses to justify this threat, have they asked the IFPI for evidence of this, or have they simply believed it without question? The IFPI’s claim is clearly a gross distortion and for SOCA to simply believe and promote this claim is ludicrous and irresponsible.