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UK Police and PRS Shut Down Karaoke Torrent Site 75

An anonymous reader writes with this news from Torrent Freak, from which he quotes: The City of London's Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit and copyright and royalty group PRS for Music have teamed up for what appears to be a first-of-its-kind action. Arresting a 46-year-old man, this week police shut down one of the Internet's few karaoke-focused BitTorrent trackers. While at some stages wildly popular in the East, to most in the West a night at a karaoke bar is probably more closely associated with too many beers and individuals belting out classics wearing the aural equivalent of beer goggles. The pastime is considered by some as a bit of a joke but karaoke is big business. According to the people behind the web-based Playstation software SingOn, the global karaoke market could be worth as much as $10 billion.
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UK Police and PRS Shut Down Karaoke Torrent Site

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  • by Cafe Alpha ( 891670 ) on Saturday March 14, 2015 @05:16AM (#49255297) Journal

    takes agents off of less important subjects like preventing the next bus bombing to arrest despicable criminals who share unlicensed lyrics!

    • by Anonymous Coward
      City of London Police are not Scotland Yard. They are a small police force covering the Square Mile (City of London) and specialised in investigating financial crime. They are a completely separate force from the Metropolitan Police, based at Scotland Yard in Westminster, and covering the rest of metropolitan London.
    • --- can multi-task.

      The geek shares at least one thing with the white-collar criminal, the unshakable belief that the world revolves around him, and that it would take the entire police force to bring him down.

      There is money in Karaoke.

      Karaoke Bar in Trafalgar Square []

  • by symes ( 835608 ) on Saturday March 14, 2015 @05:26AM (#49255307) Journal

    $10B?! I find this utterly staggering. Mostly because I cannot imagine karaoke being that popular. Second, because most of this, as far as I know, happens in bars. Who would buy/download karaoke for personal use? What is more, why is this a target for the police when there are plenty of other, and larger, trackers out there? Nothing in this story makes any sense.

    • They're no doubt counting every drink and whore paid for in every karaoke providing bar or restaurant in Asia...
      Of course those bars probably don't do Karaoke all day, but they sell drinks or food all day. In other words the number is bullshit.

      You know, that's how you always excuse draconian laws, by lying.

    • You have to understand that the licensing for these kind of performances is big because they hit you twice. First, if you were to purchase an officially licensed karaoke track or a normal song track for DJing between singers, you will be paying between $3 and $4 US for each new song. But then you also need a public performance license on top of that. So when they figure the 10 billion value, they are probably thinking the licensing costs and increased unit costs. Technically, you aren't supposed to be abl

    • In the West, I would think that most of karaoke happens at home or private parties.
      Just like there are games where you play the guitar (Guitar Hero) there are karaoke games where you sing as well (Lips, SingStar).and some that include both. Those games alone sold about 50 million units (3 billion dollars), mostly in Europe.

      Then there are a lot of people who just get stuff off of youtube and use a normal mic.

    • by donaldm ( 919619 )

      I cannot imagine karaoke being that popular.

      Rather than debate this if you have and Android phone or Apple iPhone for that matter go to to the App Store and search for "karaoke", you will find that there are quite a few apps (I counted 250 on Android) dealing with that. Now just for fun why don't you "tap" on an app (don't install unless you want too) and see how many downloads of that app has had.

      Basically you are going to see 100's of thousands and even millions of downloads per app so just because you can't see karaoke being that popular I think

    • $10B?! I find this utterly staggering.

      The weasel words here are "could be worth as much as..."

      So, by the same token, my cat's old scratching post could be worth as much as 27 trillion dollars on the open market. I mean the probabilities are strongly weighted towards zero, but with the right buyer it could be worth that. I just need to find an insane trillionaire is all :)

      Add to that the fact this is all just someone's opinion ("according to the people behind the web-based Playstation software SingOn")

    • Who would buy/download karaoke for personal use?

      Singstar sold 16million copies.

  • Really? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nospam007 ( 722110 ) * on Saturday March 14, 2015 @05:43AM (#49255335)

    What's next? Some razzias to throw grannies in jail, who 'illegally' use Disney figures on their embroidering machines for the little ones?

  • by Wowsers ( 1151731 ) on Saturday March 14, 2015 @07:07AM (#49255453) Journal

    The police going after easy targets, while the city police protect criminal banks who have done well documented money laundering for Mexican drug cartels by the city's own banks. If you do crime, do it big, or give police backhanders to look the other way.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    “The unlicensed BitTorrent site directed users to a catalogue of tens of thousands of copyrighted music files, in particular the latest chart music and karaoke hits,” PIPCU said in a statement.

    Directing users is not the same as infringing copyright.

    “The public needs to be aware that by accessing sites like this, they are putting money directly in the hands of criminals, which often then funds other serious organized crime, as well as putting their own financial and personal details at risk

    • without the prosecution present

      Did you mean without the defense present?

  • The site was really just the same software/format as The Pirate Bay, only it didn't use any text...

  • "Police"? (Score:4, Informative)

    by CanEHdian ( 1098955 ) on Saturday March 14, 2015 @01:08PM (#49256683)

    TF keeps calling them "police" so they keep answering their inquiries. We're talking here about "The City of London Corporation, officially and legally the Mayor and Commonalty and Citizens of the City of London, is the municipal governing body of the City of London" (source: Wikipedia []). Part of this is PIPCU, which is funded with taxpayer money.

    "Since at least 2011 the BPI (= the british branch/version of RIAA, C.) had built close ties with the City of London Police's National Fraud Intelligence Bureau as well as advertising agencies to remove payment channels from pirate sites. The dedicated unit itself was first announced in December 2012 by Vince Cable MP. It was funded by £2.5m over two years of public money via the Intellectual Property Office and became operational in September 2013. In April 2014 Mike Weatherley, the Prime Minister's Intellectual Property Advisor called on the Prime Minister to commit to the permanent funding of the unit to extend its existence beyond 2015. In October 2014 additional funding was revived to operate until 2017."

    Don't be as dependent on scraps like TF and stop referring to them as "City of London Police" which might to the ininitiated be the metropolitan police of the British capital, while in fact it's some corporate task force that abuses the old City situation to give themselves public powers. Think of them like a Omni Consumer Products enforcement group, by Big Business, for Big Business, and paid for by the taxpayer. Can it get any better?

    • "in fact it's some corporate task force that abuses the old City situation to give themselves public powers."

      While the specifics of the City of London Corporation may be unique, the fact that the city government is an incorporated legal body makes it just like any other chartered city government since chartered cities were invented.

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