The 70,000 daily visitors to popular music site RnBXclusive.com were met with a purposely terrifying message on Tuesday and part of Wednesday. The UK’s Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCA) took the site down, arrested its operator, and threw up a splash page that warned downloaders of “up to 10 years imprisonment.” Thought statutory damages of up to $150,000 per infringement in the US were ludicrous? SOCA warns that downloaders from the site could face an “unlimited fine under UK law.”…
…While RnBxclusive.com might have been a hive a scum and villainy, SOCA agents hardly give the impression of acting as neutral agents of justice. The takedown was clearly pushed by the recording industry, which in itself is fine; all sorts of private parties complain to police when laws have been broken. But the SOCA warning page on RnBxclusive.com went well beyond a mere legal statement and warning.
"As a result of illegal downloads young, emerging artists may have had their careers damaged," it said. "If you have illegally downloaded music you will have damaged the future of the music industry."
Random aside: The Serious Organized Crime Agency? That’s a Monty Python skit waiting to happen.