back to article Music pirate convicted in Led Zep bootleg case

A man described as "one of Europe's most notorious music pirates" has pleaded guilty to selling bootlegged recordings of Led Zeppelin gigs after a Glasgow court heard evidence for legendary guitarist Jimmy Page. Robert Langley's decision to plead guilty to two copyright violation offences and three charges under trademark law …

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  1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    Missed market

    While the music industry bemoans the fall in CD sales, and this guy has made £1/4M (alledgedly) from selling rare stuff that folk want, one wonders why they dont use the low overhead of digital technology to give folk what they are willing to pay for.

    Oh silly me, I forgot it would be DRM-infested and subject to the marketing deparment's whims about what is worth doing...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is it just me or...

    ... is this a touch unfair?

    Langley was releasing discs of material that the artists had no intention of putting out themselves- no foul there, Page and co haven't lost out any. Surely this is a service to the fans of the group? Caveat emptor would be what comes to my mind - assuming that those buying the discs knew that they weren't official.

    In addition, Page condones the trading of the material for free, but objects to an enterprising soul selling them: isn't that a bit of an odd stance?

    Finally- trademark law? Was he prosecuted for using the likeness of the band and their name then?

  3. Graham Newton

    Why now!

    I'm stunned. The last Led Zep concert was in 1979. Has it really taken 28 years to catch him!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "...amassed a huge personal fortune by ripping off musicians..."

    Sounds like the mission statement of most record companies!

    Then again, given some of the dross that's pumped out these days, ripping off the public is more accurate.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Value of counterfeit UK imports..... 65 million quid in 2006

    How much of his money went to funding Al Qaeda?

    Daily mail had an article day before yesterday on how fake goods fund Al Qaeda & IRA terrorism, child labour and gang wars:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=471679&in_page_id=1770

    They say these counterfeit goods are a £14 billion business in the UK mainly imported from China.

    Quick reality check:

    The US General Account Office measured the value of counterfeit goods by random inspection of imports and determined it to be 0.02% of imported 'IP' goods by value.

    http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d07735.pdf

    (First graph dotted line gives the average)

    The UK statistics office gives 2006 non oil imports goods (2006 BOKH) at 328736 million pounds = 329 billion pounds.

    http://www.statistics.gov.uk/STATBASE/tsdataset.asp?More=Y&vlnk=219

    So that gives 329 billion *0.02% = only 65 million pounds worth of counterfeit goods imported in 2006 into the UK.

    Even that 65 million figure is inflated, the GAO were counting only imported *IP* related goods, whereas I took the whole imported UK non oil goods (i.e. including raw material imports like steel and chemicals, food, etc. which inflates the numbers).

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  7. Owen Carter

    Ripping off?

    Says the man from the BPI:

    "He'd amassed a huge personal fortune by ripping off musicians, record labels, music publishers, and the state, but justice has finally caught up with him,"

    So, no mention of the general public then..

    That figures, I guess that only the BPI's puppetmasters are allowed to rip us off.

  8. James Summerson

    Never Buy A Bootleg!

    They're freely available if you know where to look, or use Google. Free trade bootlegs are practically a Dime A Dozen...

  9. Will Leamon

    @Hobbs

    Disney doesn't provide Mickey Mouse porn either so why shouldn't I be allowed to make it and distribute it. If they aren't going to offer it why shouldn't I?

    At the end of the day Page/Plant/Bonham/Jones/and all the musicians Zep ripped off own the material they produced. It's their call as to what happens to it. Are you guys honestly suggesting musicians have absolutely no say in what happens to their product?

    It sounds extreme but this stance is exactly the same as if I stole your car because you were out of town and weren't going to be using it anyway.

    James has a good point as well. The bootleg community is alive and well and lives on a spirit of trade not sale. I applaud Page for supporting that (same to the Dead and Metallica).

    In the end you guys are just using the sorry state of the music biz to justify any and all attempts to grab music for free. The end result of that is going to be that the advertising industry will completely take over the entertainment industry. If you think the music's bad now (and it is I'm not denying that) wait until coke and nike have their way with it.

    But hey at least it will be 'free'.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Saturday's my first name / last name is misery

    "ripped off"

    It's ironic that Led Zeppelin - a band famous for taking old blues standards, changing the words, and crediting them to Page/Plant - should complain about people ripping them off.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All this quibbling over specifics

    I admit this posting is applicable to this situation, though in honesty it has been inspired by all the dreadful news I've read so far this morning.

    Don't you get it? In a police state, it doesn't matter if these were never in print, or that they're almost 30 years old. The artists don't matter; the music doesn't matter; the revenue doesn't matter.

    The point is, in a police state, if they want you, there's got to be *something* you're doing. Find me a nice little old lady from Birmingham, and I'll show you why she's a threat to the Crown, Uncle Sam, NATO, and the established free world. Jaywalking. Smoking. Giving jars of preserves to her old-lady neighbors without the proper health information. Keeping her late husband's service revolver on the upper shelf of her closet.

    How about a kid from my own state of Colorado? Driving too fast, not wearing a seatbelt. Smoking dope, jaywalking. Defacing currency, spitting on the sidewalk. Downloading mp3s, using his tivo to skip commercials.

    Police state, edging on feudalism.

    OJ Simpson? Paid his way out of it.

    Enron? Still no meaningful conclusion.

    Halliburton, KBR? Don't even get me started.

    I'm American, so I can't cite as many good British examples. My point is, though, that worrying about the specifics of any one case is rather pointless, because at this point, we're all criminals in the eyes of our governments. What have we done? It doesn't matter; there's got to be something.

    Don't worry about it too much, though. It's already happened. Go back to your iPods; there's nothing left to see here.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Did Pagey appear as an expert witness...

    ... on IP theft ?

    I've seen the list and heard the (20 odd) a/b's. Claims of James the Magpie's expertise in this field appear unassailable.

    I have no use for for-profit bootleggers and have no objection to throwing the proverbial book at them. But if we want to talk about someone who "amassed a huge personal fortune by ripping off (other) musicians"...

  13. Morely Dotes

    Missed opportunities

    @ Will Leamon: "Disney doesn't provide Mickey Mouse porn either so why shouldn't I be allowed to make it and distribute it. If they aren't going to offer it why shouldn't I?"

    Are you any good at it, Will? There's a huge market for the stuff. Seriously.

  14. John A Blackley

    @Value of counterfeit UK imports.....

    "Daily mail had an article day before yesterday....."

    There's your problem, right there.

  15. adnim

    RE: All this quibbling over specifics

    You made me smile... I agree. I see this. But should we be so fatalistic? And did I ever, ever own my own balls?

    As for Jimmy's' stance. I, in my romanticism prefer to think of it this way: I make music, and I would be real pissed if I discovered someone selling shitty copies of my tunes and ripping listeners off. However, if they were selling high quality copies fair enough. Obviously it would be nice to get a few pennies, but what the fugg. The music, the message, the communication to me, is the point. Not the pounds, shillings and pence. Maybe Jimmy doesn't really think of it this way, it's just nice to think he might :) No, I don't wear rose coloured glasses, but it is nice to think through them once in a while. Not everyone w*nks over the almighty dollar.

  16. J

    2c

    As an amateur musician who used to be semi-pro a long time ago, I'd like to give my 2 cents... or whatever your currency's smallest unit is called. I agree with some of the comments here: people exchanging such bootlegs would be fine with me, but if some bloke was making money out of my work illegally, then I would definitely be against it. Well, the record labels barely escape the "making money illegally" by what I know (not much) of them. But again, I wouldn't mind much fans exchanging stuff out of love for our music (bootlegs or official, after all musicians make most of their money out of concerts and endorsements and all that, or so I've heard), but unless the guy selling the bootlegs cut us a share of his profits, no dice...

  17. Steve Roper

    Put the Toad in the Hole

    There is a difference between someone downloading a torrent and someone selling bootleg CDs. That is, the torrent downloader doesn't pay, and the torrent site and seeder gets nothing out of it either. It's no different to recording a song off the radio, or a show off TV. No money changes hands, so no money is lost. And I strongly oppose the record companies' stance on persecuting downloaders because of this.

    But when someone sells pirate copies, the artist (or the record company, whatever) IS losing money because the buyer is prepared to pay for the content and that money doesn't go to the content owner.

    I have absolutely no sympathy for this guy, regardless of how much money Jimmy Page has or even the RIAA, EMI, Viacom, Geffen or whoever. This guy is STEALING. He is profiting for no effort on the work of others. Downloading freely from someone else is NOT stealing. Selling pirated copies IS. This is where I draw the line.

    So to the record industry: Leave the downloaders alone. They aren't costing you anything, and are in fact promoting your content by sharing it. But guys like this are costing you plenty, so yes, go after them and bury them. Your anti-piracy initiatives would gain far more return and far less consumer animosity if directed this way. You might even discover a groundswell of consumer support in turning these guys in, because nobody likes to be ripped off with crappy-quality copies when they pay good money for them.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Capitalism.

    Like musicians or even production companies needed this amount of money..

    He was just giving away some adv for Zep.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well said Will Leamon

    This guy is profiteering on selling illegal recordings of a band. No matter how you dress it up, most the early posts here are just shameless justifications for downloading or copying music. I'm not saying don't do it, but at least be honest about what you're doing.

    Also fair play to Page - at least he recognises the difference between fans trading tracks of their favourite band, and some guy selling their music through his homemade music "label". Commendable.

    MikeC

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Value of counterfeit UK imports..... 65 million quid in 2006

    Having checked your Daily Mail article, there is no mention of fakes funding "IRA terrorism". There is, however, mention of both former Republican and Loyalist groups that now control 80% of their local fake market.

    You really make some incredible logical jumps. Definately a Daily Mail reader...

  21. Trevor

    What about...

    If he had still sold the music on whatever format and just charged for the cost of the media and a small addition for his electric and hardware costs?

    Would this still be acceptable?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The real price of their designer fakes is child slavery, gang warfare and even terrorism"

    You said:

    "Having checked your Daily Mail article, there is no mention of fakes funding "IRA terrorism There is, however, mention of both former Republican and Loyalist groups that now control 80% of their local fake market."

    Actually what it says is here, and readers can judge for themselves:

    "Closer to home, former IRA and UDA paramilitaries in Northern Ireland are now thought to control 80 per cent of their local trade in fakes. There are even fears that Al-Qaeda may be in on the action."

    And the lead paragraph is far from vague:

    "The real price of their designer fakes is child slavery, gang warfare and even terrorism"

    It was the worst piece of made up shite I've ever read from the Daily Mail. They were fed drivel from a lobbyists and printed it in full without even a sanity check on the evidence.

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