Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Crackdown On Vinyl Counterfeit Operations Aims To Protect Artists’ Integrity

A man has been arrested in Dorset for selling illegal reproductions of vinyl records and violating trademark and copyright legislation.

Having pleaded guilty to 13 offences of trademark and copyright malpractice and one offence of money laundering, the 55-year-old has been provided with a two-year suspended prison sentence and 250 hours of unpaid work.

Richard Hutter, who had been producing and distributing counterfeit vinyl records to the public, had amassed over £1.2 million in profit prior to being sentenced. His current available earnings of £373,589 have been requested under the Proceeds of Crime Act, and Hutter’s sentence could be extended to three years imprisonment if this is not returned within three months.

Each counterfeit album was sold for up to £35, featuring music from artists including Guns N’Roses, The Beatles and Amy Winehouse.

Hutter was identified when a customer purchased a vinyl album online for The Clash and realised that their purchase was a counterfeit, shortly thereafter contacting the trading standards team in Dorset. Upon investigation, several items sold by Hutter were identified as counterfeit, which had been distributed and sold across eBay, his personal website, and an American website.

In looking to the future of vinyl distribution and upholding trademark and copyright laws, the Head of the British Phonographic Industry’s Content Production Unit, Paola Monaldistated: “Vinyl has seen an incredible comeback in the past few years, with around 5.5 million LPs purchased in the UK alone in 2022. Sadly, this renaissance has been accompanied by a disturbing rise in bootlegging and sales of unauthorised recordings.”

“This is a serious crime that denies artists the rewards for their creativity, exploits fans, and impacts legitimate retail and the record labels that invest in music – but worse, it can feed into other forms of criminality that can impact us all.”

Alanya Smith


Imageby Samuel Regan-Asante on Unsplash

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