SOCA takes down music site, threatens visitors with jail

SOCA warning shows IP address as it warns against downloading illegal music

Nicole Kobie
15 Feb 2012

A website has been taken offline by the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), which left behind a message warning visitors they could be identified from their IP address.

The takedown of appears to the first time a site has been removed by SOCA, although other sites in the UK have previously been taken offline via court order.

UPDATE: SOCA removes jail threat from file-sharing site

"SOCA has taken control of this domain name," the message reads. "The individuals behind this website have been arrested for fraud."

The majority of music files that were available via this site were stolen from the artists

A spokesperson for SOCA said one person was arrested yesterday morning, and the site was taken down because it breached the terms and conditions of its hosting provider, but would not say who raised the original complaint.

The message left behind by SOCA echoes the legal warnings used by the US Department of Homeland Security for its takedowns, but also features claims the music was stolen from "the artists" - and links to a legal music information site run by rights holder lobby groups.

SOCA message

"The majority of music files that were available via this site were stolen from the artists," the message continues. "If you have downloaded music using this website you may have committed a criminal offence which carries a maximum penalty of up to ten years imprisonment and an unlimited fine under UK law."

The warning message also surfaces your IP address and time of visit, saying the information "can be used to identify you and your location".

"SOCA has the capability to monitor and investigate you, and can inform your internet service provider of these infringements," it adds. "You may be liable for prosecution and the fact that you have received this message does not preclude you from prosecution."

A spokesperson said the IP address information was "merely a warning", and admitted that visiting the site was not illegal.

SOCA, a department of the Home Office, says on its website that it targets "Class A drugs, people smuggling and human trafficking, major gun crime, fraud, computer crime and money laundering".

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