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RnBXclusive Shut Down By SOCA
The Quietus , February 15th, 2012 07:53

UK's Serious Organised Crime Agency shuts down site and apparently arrests owners, leaving a threatening warning awaiting visitors to the site

The UK's Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) has arrested the owners of and shut down the site, reports Music Week.

In a move reminiscent of the actions of the US government against Megaupload last month, SOCA have claimed that the site's owners have been arrested for fraud, after apparently sharing music illegally.

On visiting the site, users are met with a stern and very decisive message from SOCA:

"SOCA has taken control of this domain name.

"The individuals behind this website have been arrested for fraud.

"The majority of music files that were available via this site were stolen from the artists."

They also very directly point the finger at the site's visitors, implicating people who download material from the site. The SOCA announcement displays the user's IP address to them, making it clear that their location can be tracked ("SOCA has the capability to monitor and investigate you"), and warns users:

"If you have downloaded music using this website you may have committed a criminal offence which carries a maximum penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment and an unlimited fine under UK law.

"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."

This move by SOCA suggests that the UK is likely to follow the US' lead in shutting down sites that host material that potentially violates copyright law. As with the fallout from the Megaupload shut down, where many users risk losing the legitimate data they uploaded to the site, questions will undoubtedly be asked about the damage such a blanket-bomb approach does to less well-known musicians using the site for legitimate means.

"rnbxclusive taken down," tweeted one user, whose profile lists them as involved in 'Music Production, Artist Strategy, Industry Consultation'. "Without it my last free to d/l single wouldn't have done as well but its wrong to pirate paid singles".