Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Fraud law used to fight P2P

(via Suw Charman) A man in London has been arrested for being the UK's representative of AllofMP3, the Russian infamous for selling subscription services at a fraction of "legal" downloads sites, but that does not pay royalties to artists.

According to the IFPI, the arrest is part of a growing set of actions against the site, which include IP blocking, and denial of credit card transactions for purchases on the site. While I have no sympathy whatsoever with AllofMP3, I find the legislation used to arrest this man quite an interesting change in strategy for the copyright industry. The man was not arrested under copyright enforcement legislation, he was arrested under fraud prevention, namely section 2 of the Fraud Act 2006. This section reads:

"Fraud by false representation
(1) A person is in breach of this section if he-
(a) dishonestly makes a false representation, and
(b) intends, by making the representation-
(i) to make a gain for himself or another, or
(ii) to cause loss to another or to expose another to a risk of loss.
(2) A representation is false if-
(a) it is untrue or misleading, and
(b) the person making it knows that it is, or might be, untrue or misleading.
(3) "Representation" means any representation as to fact or law, including a representation as to the state of mind of-
(a) the person making the representation, or
(b) any other person.
(4) A representation may be express or implied.
(5) For the purposes of this section a representation may be regarded as made if it (or anything implying it) is submitted in any form to any system or device designed to receive, convey or respond to communications (with or without human intervention)."
The original press story is wrong, the arrest is not about licensing music, it's about fraudulent misrepresentation. The above criminal offence also applies for online communications, and it seems a fair enough fraud-prevention type, if you misrepresent for your own commercial gain or to cause loss to another, you will be commiting a crime. This particular case applies to Allofmp3.com because the Russian site states that it gives money to artists, which does not seem to be the case. This is false representation in accordance to the above, and therefore the site's London representative can be held criminally liable.

As a wider implication, it seems like people should be careful about what they post online.

1 comment:

Andrew Mills said...

Well done for picking up this story. Exactly what I thought would start happening. Have a look at my post:
http://impact.freethcartwright.com/2007/01/fraud_act_2006_.html