Man Sentenced to Four Months in Prison for Selling Pirated Music

57-year-old pleads guilty to 23 offences, pirated records all by the Beatles.

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57-year-old Paul Parkin from northern UK was sentenced to four months in jail for selling pirated copies of the Beatles records. After the police raided his house in West View and discovered bootleg vinyl LPs and illegal CDs, Parkin pleaded guilty to 23 offences, 10 of which were on counts of attempting to distribute vinyl records. The remaining 13 presented counts of possession of goods with intent to cause loss to another. As BBC reports, the confiscated albums include "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," "Rubber Soul," "White Unplugged Album," "At the Hollywood Bowl" and "Please, Please Me." Angela Jones, trading standards service manager for Cumbria County Council, later stated: "Internet trading has made it easier for individuals to distribute counterfeit goods. The unauthorized use of registered trademarks damages legitimate traders who trade lawfully. "Anyone found to be selling or distributing counterfeit goods can face prosecution, confiscation of illegally earned assets or even - as Parkin has found out to his cost - imprisonment." Do you think incarceration is the right method to beat piracy, or do you consider such punishment too harsh? Let us know in the comments.

38 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Jacques Nel
    "Do you think incarceration is the right method to beat piracy, or do you consider such punishment too harsh?" Well obviously you should take the offense into consideration. Selling is worse than possession. 10 Albums would be worse than one album. In many communities there are guys doing far worse things than this guy did. I think the police should spend more time on more serious crimes than making the rich richer. PS In South Africa, I know it's customary for the court to first hand down penalties and fines, only repeat offenders face prison time.
    A crime is still a crime. They do have people dealing with more serious crimes but a tiny department is set aside for the smaller things, that is where this went through.
    Jacques Nel
    I understand your point. Just frustrating to hear sometime that someone got off scott free for doing far worse things.
    I think with stuff like that, it comes down to who gets caught. It's not so much that they're specifically out looking for piracy and ignoring rapes and murders.
    They don't go after white collar crime unless it's literally proven FOR them. Nobody on wall street or in the banks has gone to jail. So the lesson is; if you're going to commit a crime, go big!
    Close, but not quite. It's more like: If you're going to commit crimes, make sure you can afford your own attorney. Using assigned counsel invariably ends up with you copping to a "deal", part of which is a lengthy list of stipulations almost guaranteed to open the revolving doors to your local county/city detention centers.
    i think they are trying to make an example out of him as this doesn’t happen often.
    Lets see, the UK is prison for 4 months. I can see how that is a just sentence. US is 250k for 12 songs... yeah... I will say i stand by the 4 month sentence given the alternative, and given that he was producing copies to sell it is 100% theft with intent to sell.
    Given the school teacher in Montana who just got 30 days in jail for raping a student, this seems disproportionately harsh.
    Lol Natures
    "10 of which were on counts of attempting to distribute vinyl records" I feel bad for UK audiophiles/hipsters, having to settle for "inferior quality" media like CDs and MP3s.
    Yeah downloading to listen, profiting off of it big difference imo.
    Plus, 4 months seems pretty lax, and I doubt he's going to be in some maximum-security extremely-dangerous kind of jail. He's a non-violent offender. He was stealing, and I'm glad he got caught. He needs to face consequences of his own actions.
    I hope that this laws about piracy get a little sense, i know its stealing, but internet is just... a strange thing. I live in Argentina and there are no piracy rules, so if there is ever a law about it here then almost 70% of the population in my country would be behind bars lol. The problem about this massive piracy is that there are no new bands here, just commercial crap and pop artists, that makes having a succesful rock band a really hard task. Cheers
    downloading for yourself only its good in my eyes (****ed up) but selling things what steal.. cmon
    I think the punishment is going to make things worse, depending on the situation. In countries where the prisons are complete hellholes that fail to re-educate the smallest criminals because of the old methodology of "just lock him/her up" (UK included, sadly), imprisoning people for piracy would not only be ineffective, but would bring up the risk of turning them into far worse people. In such cases, I like the idea of "rehabilitation" programs a little better. If we're going to deal with piracy following criminal procedures, we should at least make sure that the offenders are changing for better and not for worse. If someone is going to jail for piracy, this person needs to be re-educated, under a small/non-existent degree of abuse, violence and little jail time, something like a couple of months. There are some prison systems that are notable for working under such policies, like Scandinavia and Netherlands, for example. It is possible. Anyways, I think it's naive to try to fight piracy like this. Such method was proven ineffective over and over again through history, even before the Internet existed...
    im surprised it was just 4 months. every time I see someone get arrested for this kind of thing, its for a few years. 4 months is ok, but its really not enough to change peoples mindsets on not selling pirated music. if you really want people to stop selling pirated music, the penalty should at least be a year.
    Seriously? That's what Goverments are doing to make the world a better place?
    I thought competition was allowed in a free market system. Apparently it's not.
    The dude is nearly 60. Why the hell would you put him in prison over some vinyls?
    I'm guessing those who bought them didn't have computers to download them themselves.
    Sometimes it baffles me how this guy gets prison time, yet rapists, killers and pedophiles get (relatively speaking) a slap on the wrist. It's obvious the system is f*cked I'm not sure exactly how this situation will be handled, but they should put this much effort on more serious crimes.
    I think this is a little different from digital file downloading, as in this case, your reproduction completely replaces the commercial product, directly affecting sales.
    Selling pirated copies? Seriously? How stupid can someone be?..maybe selling copies happened in the 60-90´s..but now?
    Ya know, I don't like the precedent this sets. As a musician and writer, I don't like the thought of someone making money of my hard work without consent. However, I don't like the way we hound music "pirates" like they are drug lords. Seems like we could be using our tax dollars to enforce more important laws.