Owners of ‘Dancing Jesus’ music piracy site jailed
Kane Robinson, 26, was sentenced to 32 months, and Richard Graham, 22, was jailed for 21 months at Newcastle Crown Court, for running the illegal file-sharing site.
The website allowed members to upload tens of thousands of illegal links to music. It was named after a scene in an episode of the Simpsons, in which Homer Simpson visited a website featuring an animation of Jesus dancing.
Robinson was identified as the owner of the site following an investigation by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) – the UK’s music industry trade association – police and Homeland Security in the US.
Investigators also found Graham was one of the most prolific uploaders of music. The men pleaded guilty to two counts of distributing, which infringe articles under the Copyright Act.
The site had posted links to more than 250,000 songs by artists such as Adele and Kanye West, between 2006 and 2011, often before their official release. The site attracted 70 million visitors, the BPI said.
“Piracy – particularly pre-release – can make or break an artist's career, and can determine whether a record label is able to invest in that crucial second or third album,” said director of BPI's Copyright Protection Unit, David Wood.
“In this day and age, with so many quality digital music services available, offering access to millions of tracks through free and premium tiers, there is no good reason to use pirate sites that give nothing back to artists and offer a substandard experience for consumers.
“Speaking as a music fan, it just doesn't make sense to help criminals when you can support artists.”
In 2010, more than 1 billion tracks were illegally downloaded in the UK, with a retail value of almost £1 billion.
The original site was eventually shut down.