Britain's record industry has welcomed a court decision to hit directors of an open-air market with a £300,000 ($600,000) bill for allowing traders to sell pirated product on site.

Nicholas Hobday and Sally Ward, directors of Wendy Fair Markets Ltd in Bovingdon, south east England, have up to six months to pay the fine, after a court found the pair guilty of benefiting financially from the sale of counterfeit goods, including CDs and DVDs.

St Albans Crown Court declared on Monday that the company must pay back £250,000 ($500,000) that the markets took in rent money from traders selling illegal stock, plus prosecution costs of £50,000 ($100,000). The pair, who were convicted for money laundering last July, have until Sept. 10 to cover the costs, at which time they will be sentenced.

The BPI declared the financial penalty a "landmark" decision. "Until now, we have only seen prosecutions against the sellers themselves," comments David Wood, director of anti-piracy at the BPI. "This is the first time a market owner has been prosecuted and stripped of income made through the sale of counterfeit CDs and DVDs on their premises. So it is a hugely important ruling for music and the wider creative industries."

The BPI and audio-visual trade association FACT worked closely with Hertfordshire Trading Standards and Hertfordshire Constabulary on the case.