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Three arrested for illegally distributing copyrighted songs online


3 Subjects Arrested for Illegal Distribution of Copyrighted Songs on the Internet
A pre-dawn raid on 3 locations by the Police on 17 August 2005 saw the arrest of 3 male subjects aged between 16 and 22 years old for distributing infringing copies of copyrighted music on the Internet.
The 16 year-old student, 21 year-old unemployed man and 22 year-old factory operator were arrested in their respective residences.
4 personal computers, 1 laptop computer along with an assortment of computer peripherals and storage mediums were also seized for investigation.
Sometime in March 2005, the Intellectual Property Rights Branch (IPRB) of the Criminal Investigation Department received information from the Recording Industry Association Singapore (RIAS) that a number of online users were illegally distributing songs in digital format, typically known as MPEG layer 3 or mp3 files, on one of the Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channels.
Upon receipt of the information, Police conducted extensive probes into the said IRC channel and managed to ascertain the identities of the perpetrators.
Police also established the modus operandi adopted by them. From the Internet, the perpetrators downloaded a particular program that would facilitate the sharing of mp3 files stored in their computers.
The program is then configured by the perpetrators to specify the IRC channel, the folder where the files are located, number of allowed active connections to their computers at any one time as well as the type of files they intend to share.
The perpetrators had also configured the program to send timely broadcast messages on the IRC channel to invite others to download mp3 files from their computers.
Preliminary investigations revealed that the perpetrators had in their computers, an estimated total of about 20,000 mp3 files that were intended for distribution.
It is also revealed that a person would be accorded priority when downloading mp3 files from others if he had distributed more files on the said IRC channel. The person will be placed ahead of others in the ˇ°queueˇ± if there is more than one person requesting for the same file simultaneously.
This operation, which is a first for the Police, is part of police enforcement efforts with rights owners in tackling music piracy. The Police will work closely with rights owners to take to task persons who think they can exploit the faceless and anonymous features of the Internet to perpetuate such activities.
Deputy Superintendent of Police Tan Kah Khin, Head of the Intellectual Property Rights Branch of Criminal Investigation Department said, ˇ°Police would like to remind Internet users that the distribution of copyrighted materials such as songs, software or movies on the Internet without prior consent from the rights owner is against the law and the consequences are severe.
"It is also an offence to download such materials from the Internet. Under the amended Copyright Act which took effect as of 1 January 2005 , it is a criminal offence for any person who wilfully infringes the copyright of another to obtain a commercial advantage, or to a significant extent or both. The offence carries an imprisonment term up to 6 months or fine up to $20,000/- or to both.ˇ±
Persons found guilty of distributing infringing articles of any work in which copyright subsists, are liable to a fine not exceeding $10,000/- per article, and up to a maximum fine of $100,000/-, or to an imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years or to both.
17 August 2005 @ 8.00 pm

Source: Media Release 17 Aug 2005


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19 August 2005