Jobless brickie made fake Lady Gaga CDs in spare room, court told

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AN out-of-work bricklayer who turned his spare room into a small business for manufacturing fake CDs and DVDs, was given a four-month suspended jail sentence at Magherafelt Magistrates Court.

Terence Robert Simmons (40), of Sandymount, Magherafelt, admitted eight charges of selling goods with a registered trade mark, fradulently using a trade mark on packaging, and infringing copyright between May 2011 and January last year.

A prosecuting lawyer said the offences arose following an investigation by trading standards officers.

She said in May of last year officers, accompanied by recording industry specialists, visited defendant’s home and found that he had turned his spare room in to a small business for manufacture and sale of counterfeit CDs and DVDS.

The officers seized a quantity of pre-recorded and blank CDs and DVDs and their associated art work. Computers, CD/DVD rewriters and master copy CDs and DVDs were also seized.

The court heard Simmons had been operating a website ‘My Lady Gaga’ which he used to sell illegal copies of both trademarked and copyrighted works all over the world. He also used various identities on eBay to sell the fake goods.

A defence barrister said the defendant had made about £30 a week from the sale of the goods and stressed that there were financial reasons behind the offending.

He said defendant is a father-of-three young children who found himself in difficult financial circumstances after being laid off from work.

District Judge Des Perry told Simmons that he may have thought himself to be a small man in the scheme of things but it all added up to an immense loss to the industry.

He ordered Simmons to pay £31 costs and made an order for the forteiture of two computers and other equipment.

Outside the court, Nicholas Lane of the Trading Standards Service said: “Counterfeit goods are a big business and a drain on the economy.

“This was a concerted effort to exploit fans of Lady Gaga throughout the world and to profit from her success.”