Responding to the Serious and Organised Crime agency’s take-down of rnbexclusive.com:
Nick Pickles, director of privacy and civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch, said: “I welcome targeted action against websites profiting from infringing content, but the message displayed by SOCA is potentially misleading to the public, along with the threat of putting your internet connection under surveillance.
“It is fair to question whether the involvement of SOCA has diverted resources from investigating serious public threats such as people trafficking, drug importation and gun running and it is laughable to suggest that anyone downloading a few songs from a music blog constitutes organised crime.”
James Firth, CEO of Open Digital Policy Organisation, said: “Artists have a right to get paid and we support action through the UK courts to stop people profiting from the work of others. Despite the manner in which the site was taken down and the aggressive message displayed it is important to note that there is an on-going criminal investigation and no one has yet been convicted of any offence.
“With reference to the insinuation by SOCA that downloaders may receive 10 years imprisonment for a copyright offence, copyright law is clear. End users cannot be prosecuted under criminal law for what remains a civil matter. Criminal sanctions under the Copyright Act are limited to distribution offences. “