The City of London Police’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) claims to have “dismantled a gang suspected of uploading and distributing tens of thousands of karaoke tracks online.” However, it turns out that this “gang” is actually three blokes, aged 60, 53, and 50: one man is from Barnstaple, Devon and two men live in Bury, Lancashire.
PIPCU’s press release says “hundreds of albums have had their copyright uploaded by the men, leading to thousands and thousands of tracks being accessed illegally and depriving legitimate music companies of a significant amount of money.” That sounds dramatic, but once again the reality is rather different.
An online list of the karaoke titles provided by the “gang,” which calls itself KaraokeRG, says “they were created primarily because they are not available from any professional karaoke manufacturers.” This means that far from losing “a significant amount of money,” music companies were actually deprived of little or nothing, since there were no legal copies that people could pay for.
As Ars has previously reported, when legal offerings become available piracy is reduced, and the converse is also true. When legal offerings are unavailable people turn to unauthorised versions.
The KaraokeRG website emphasises this is not about money: “These…