Two men last Friday were sentenced to jail and two others were given suspended sentences for making and selling tens of thousands of niche counterfeit vinyl records in the UK.
The four men were part of a group which distributed unlicensed recordings of 1960s Northern Soul artists. All of the men were over the age of 60 and had be selling and distributing these unauthorized records between November 2013 and October 2016.
The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) that represents record companies in the UK including Warner Music, Sony Music Entertainment, and Universal Music Group came across these unofficial copies online when it was noticed many had defects, like misspellings, blurred typefaces, a large quantity with the words “not for sale”, “promotional copy”, and “DJ Copy” written on them.
Police later seized close to 55,000 unlicensed records valued over £500,000 that included Marvin Gaye’s This Love Starved Heart Of Mine, Bettye Swann’s Kiss My Love Goodbye, Major Lance’s Investigate and Art Freeman’s Slippin Around With You.
Photo: British Phonographic Industry