The Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) has taken control of RnBXclusive.com after the music website was accused of hosting music illegally.
Despite being a .com site, SOCA was able to take control of the domain after it claimed the owner of RnBXclusive, which attracted two million visits monthly, broke the terms and conditions of its host.
The former homepage was replaced with a statement from SOCA that declared: “Much of the music offered for download by the rnbxclusive.com website was illegally obtained from artists, leading the industry to attribute losses of approximately £15m per year to the site’s activity.”
That holding message, along with a warning that displayed the visitor’s IP address, desktop and OS, has now been replaced with a shorter notification directing the user back to the self-tasking police unit’s site.
SOCA issued an update and revealed it had been monitoring responses to the closure on Twitter.
It added that three other music sites had responded as a result of its action: “One has taken itself offline voluntarily, one claims to be considering taking itself offline and another has posted a claim on its homepage to now only be dealing in legal music.”
David Cook, a cyber crime expert at law firm Pannone, previously defended individuals in the FileSoup filesharing case last year: “There is clearly a fine balancing act between protecting the legitimate interests of copyright holders and imposing overly restrictive legislation on the internet-using public.”
“Spanish courts seem to suggest that peer-to-peer networks are ‘mere conduits’ for the transmission of the data and therefore not liable. The difficulty that RnBXclusive will have is that the mere conduit defence relies on the host being unaware of precisely what the material was and that, if copyrighted material was being distributed, it was the users who were responsible.”
The closure, which bears some resemblance to the recent crackdown on US “cyberlocker” site MegaUpload, could signal the beginning of a nationwide crackdown on intellectual property theft.