A MUSIC pirater has been handed a suspended jail term for cheating the British music industry out of £40,000 in lost sales.
Syed Ali, 46, of Abercorn Crescent, South Harrow, flogged counterfeit copies of copyright-protected albums via internet auction site eBay using the vendor alias ‘clubmixes22’.
Computer equipment used to rip and burn CDs in bulk were found at his home alongside 2,843 CDs in a raid in October last year.
He admitted six offences under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 at a previous hearing at Willesden Magistrates’ Court and was sentenced at Harrow Crown Court on April 17 to eight weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, and was ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work.
Speaking after the case, Bill Bilon, head of Brent and Harrow Trading Standards, which brought the prosecution, said: “This case sends out a clear message that the sale of counterfeit CDs will not be tolerated by this service or the courts.
“Counterfeit goods are often of poor quality and traders who try and sell them have no regard for businesses who are trying to operate in a legal and decent manner.
“We are determined to crack down on those who trade in counterfeit goods as it harmful to the local and national economies.”
In court, Ali’s defence counsel argued the 46-year-old did not initially know the practice of copying and selling CDs was illegal but by the time he realised it was prohibited the habit had become routine and it proved difficult to stop.
It transpired Ali had actually tipped off the British Phonographic Industry, which represents major music labels, about other piraters offering dodgy CDs for sale on eBay in July 2007 and February 2011 before investigators turned the spotlight on him.
Brent and Harrow Trading Standards has commenced Proceeds of Crime Act proceedings to recoup the profits of Ali’s illicit activities.