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Counterfeit vinyl pressing plant busted by authorities in Wales

A ring of bootleggers earned thousands from unlicensed sales...

Four men have pleaded guilty to being involved in a counterfeit vinyl ring following a collaborative operation to uncover them between the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) and South Wales Police.

The BPI came across the ring a number of years ago, and they and the police have worked together for four years to bring the men to court. The group of bootleggers produced unlicensed recordings of 1960s Northern Soul artists, with the vinyl pressings featuring numerous notable defects, including misspellings and blurred typefaces.

When they arrested the men, police recovered 55,635 7” records, 26 10” records and 907 12” records. There were also a number of bootleg CDs and DVDs recovered after the sting. The men made thousands from sales of the records.

Three of the group pleaded guilty to six counts of unauthorised use of a registered trademark, while the other pleaded guilty to two counts of unauthorised making of a copyrighted work and three counts of unauthorised use of a trademark. All were given jail sentences ranging from 8-10 months.

“These important prison sentences send a very strong message to music pirates around the country,” said Kiaron Whitehead who represented the BPI in court. “Whether it’s an illegal music website or fake vinyl being sold on eBay and Amazon – the BPI and the Police are watching you and you will be prosecuted.” 

A recent study from Discogs found that rare records being sold on the site are getting more expensive. 

Chicago recently got a new legitimate pressing plant which will serve local artists, meaning that vinyl is being pressed in the city on a large scale for the first time in over 20 years.