UK's SOCA seizes domain of popular music blog, rnbxclusive.com

By Lee Kaelin on February 15, 2012, 4:30 PM

The UK’s Serious, Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) took down hip-hop news and track exchange website rnbxclusive.com yesterday as part of a criminal investigation into allegedly defrauding the music industry. The site started in 1998 and has since become a popular R&B and hip-hop blog online with over a quarter of a million fans on Facebook.

It appears the UK is following in the footsteps of previous US DHS/ICE seizures with one of their own. The process is less involved here though, with Nominet (who handle co.uk domains) usually just requiring a request from UK law enforcement to seize a domain, rarely with any court interaction during the process. This is, however, the first non-Nominet listed domain to be subjected to UK law enforcement action.

The owner of the website has been arrested and SOCA has replaced the usual content with an ominous page. According to PC Pro, the official line from the agency is the website was taken down because it breached the terms and conditions of its hosting provider but they refused to comment on who raised the original complaint. The same person also confirmed the IP address information was merely a warning, and admitted that is was not illegal to visit the website.

This is the first non-UK domain to be seized by UK law enforcement. It is likely various US agencies are aware of SOCA’s actions, but considering the DOJ and DHS claim .com domains are their jurisdiction, it's questionable if they would allow any foreign country to set precedence by seizing what they maintain are domestic domains.

There also appears to be some confusion with the following point made by SOCA: "The majority of music files that were available via this site were stolen from the artists. If you have downloaded music using this website you may have committed a criminal offence which carries a maximum penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment and an unlimited fine under UK law."

Copyright infringement is not a criminal offence under UK law. Those doing so for personal use are subject to civil laws. It is only a criminal offence for those that distribute copyrighted materials illegally in a commercial manner and therefore does not apply to anyone visiting the site.

Displaying the IP address of your computer alongside the date and time of accessing it is somewhat confusing and suggesting that simply visiting this domain makes you liable to prosecution is a very strong point to make as well.  SOCA’s copyright notice is a touch ironic though.

At the very bottom is a URL to pro-music.org which is a website promoted by rights holder lobby groups.




User Comments: 14

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TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I'm OK with this because it's just hip-hop which needs to DIAF anyway.

PinothyJ said:

The page on rnbxclusive.com has since page to a less ominous and intellectually insult page...

Guest said:

Since SOCA seems rather confused about the law, maybe there is some confusion about the facts. On occasion in similar situations, apologies have apparently been due (per a techdirt article). One would think since this site dates back over 10 years that they might first have a bit of a chat and a look around before they acted. Worth watching for further news.

Mindwraith said:

I guess they didn't care that rnbxclusive actually helped a number of young indie artists create names for themselves.

TomSEA said:

I'm OK with this because it's just hip-hop which needs to DIAF anyway.

There are people who say that about every genre, would you be happy if pop, rock, soul and country all DIAF too?..

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

No, just hip-hop (and rap). Because it's not music. It's nothing more than bad urban poetry put to riffs stolen from other music genre's ad nauseum - especially rock n' roll. We can thank rap and hip-hop for lip-synching, auto-tune, "sampling" (which is nothing more than fancy way of stealing) - basically everything to do with artificially manufacturing supposed music and performances.

Scshadow said:

TomSEA said:

No, just hip-hop (and rap). Because it's not music. It's nothing more than bad urban poetry put to riffs stolen from other music genre's ad nauseum - especially rock n' roll. We can thank rap and hip-hop for lip-synching, auto-tune, "sampling" (which is nothing more than fancy way of stealing) - basically everything to do with artificially manufacturing supposed music and performances.

Your post is funny. I can't tell if you are stupid or just trolling but its funny regardless.

Puiu Puiu said:

TomSEA said:

No, just hip-hop (and rap). Because it's not music. It's nothing more than bad urban poetry put to riffs stolen from other music genre's ad nauseum - especially rock n' roll. We can thank rap and hip-hop for lip-synching, auto-tune, "sampling" (which is nothing more than fancy way of stealing) - basically everything to do with artificially manufacturing supposed music and performances.

TomSEA i though you were a better man than this. This is the first time i've seen you post such a comment. It's a shame that you look at something else besides the music. Every genre has it's own share of problems ->from POP to Rock to HOUSE to HIP-HOP.

It's my believe that the industry is the one destroying good music, not a genre or an artist.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

You guys think what you want about my comments - I'm not losing any sleep over it. I was a studio musician for 8 years for Epic - and let me tell you - the musicians - the REAL musicians, those who play their own instruments and write their own music point their fingers and laugh at rap/hip-hop. For them, it's just an incredibly easy way to make a buck because it's so artificial.

Guest said:

yay !

can they take down fart book as well ?

:-p

Darkshadoe Darkshadoe said:

"No, just hip-hop (and rap). Because it's not music. It's nothing more than bad urban poetry put to riffs stolen from other music genre's ad nauseum - especially rock n' roll."

Rock and Roll was stolen from Blues artists. Whats your point?

Guest said:

You can illegally download music from youtube with a converter are the going to shutdown youtube and google aswell its preposterous to try and stop people downloading music for free because there will always be ways when will this nonsense end

Guest said:

It is a sad, sad world. Greed s a plague.

TJGeezer said:

Guest said:

Since SOCA seems rather confused about the law, maybe there is some confusion about the facts. On occasion in similar situations, apologies have apparently been due (per a techdirt article). One would think since this site dates back over 10 years that they might first have a bit of a chat and a look around before they acted. Worth watching for further news.

It's not really about the facts, it's about control. The power players and their wealthy masters are scared of how people use the net to get in touch in decentralized ways. The copyright extortionists only provide a nice excuse to step on areas where net users have made central control irrelevant. That what the lawfare is about - control, not facts.

That opinion and $2 might still get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks, of course.

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