The Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) has taken down a music file-sharing site and threatened users they could face 10 years in jail or an unlimited fines for downloading illegal content.
The site, rnbxclusive.com, now features a large message from SOCA saying it has taken the site offline as it was offering huge amounts of copyrighted content for free, and the site's operators have been arrested.
"SOCA has the capability to monitor and investigate you, and can inform your internet service provider of these infringements. You may be liable for prosecution and the fact that you have received this message does not preclude you from prosecution," it reads.
"As a result of illegal downloads young, emerging artists may have had their careers damaged. If you have illegally downloaded music you will have damaged the future of the music industry."
The site also displays the IP address, operating system details and browser of any visitor, in order to prove it can track those that have accessed the site.
Below: Screengrab of SOCA takedown notice on rnbxclusive.com
SOCA confirmed that an individual had been arrested and subsequently bailed pending further inquirers. A SOCA spokesperson said it was committed to clamping down on illegal download sites.
"Much of the music offered for download by the rnbxclusive.com website was illegally obtained from artists, leading the industry to attribute losses of approximately £15m per year to the site's activity," they said.
"Members of the public can become facilitators of organised crime by obtaining property or services from its perpetrators. SOCA is committed to raising awareness of this threat, its potential consequences, and the steps people can take to avoid involvement."
The takedown raised concerns at the Open Right’s Group, with member Peter Bradwell revealing the organisation has asked to meet with SOCA to discuss the implications of the action.
"We have requested a meeting with them [SOCA] as soon as possible. We must urgently establish the basis for this and future actions. This is a matter concerning considerable power over access to information,” he said.
The actions of SOCA mirror that of the FBI in the US which earlier this year took down the hugely popular file-sharing site Megaupload, which prompted outrage from many internet users, including Anonymous which launched attacks against the organisations.
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