Two Britons, Kane Robinson and Richard Graham, were this week sentenced to jail for allowing free downloads of music from some of the world’s biggest musicians, costing the music industry up to £240 million.
They admitted to the court that they have, over the course of a few years (at least from 2006 to 2011), managed the DancingJesus website that hosted tens of thousands of illegal links to different music content, including songs from the likes of Adele, Arctic Monkeys, Jay-Z and Kanye West.
Investigation against the duo was initiated by the British Phonographic Society organization, representing music authors, in cooperation with the London police.
During the course of the investigation, around 250,000 links to pirated music were found on the site which was eventually used in the court as evidence.
The Newcastle Court also heard that the site attracted some 70 million visitors.
Robinson, 26, admitted two offences under the Copyright Act and was jailed for 32 months, while Graham, now 22, admitted similar offences to Robinson and was jailed for 21 months.
Defence lawyers claimed both men are now hard working at legitimate jobs and were very young during the illegal Internet activities.
"It is easy to think of activities such as this as victimless crime but I have seen evidence that it is far from being the case,” said Judge Deborah Sherwin.
“The music industry in the UK loses around a billion pounds per annum. This affects the industry's ability to find and promote new artists.
“Existing artists are deprived of royalties and while some may be wealthy and successful, many are not so and struggle to earn a living”, she added.