Prison terms for ringleaders.

A gang of 10 music pirates from Teesside, England, has been sentenced for its role in running an illegal music and film operation.

The gang -- dubbed "the Teesside 10" -- was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud the music and film industries after the British Phonographic Industry launched a private criminal prosecution.

The group ran a sophisticated racket selling pirated music and film across a network of market stalls and through illicit membership clubs and mail-order set-ups.

In the Teesside Crown Court yesterday (April 11), judge Moorhouse sentenced each of the gang's ringleaders, Mark Bailey and Paul Canning, to three-and-a-half years in prison. Of the remaining gang members, five received jail sentences, three community service orders and two were fined.

"This is one of the most significant cases yet seen in the United Kingdom. These people ripped off artists, record companies and the public to the tune of £1.2 million ($2.2 million)," says BPI director of anti-piracy Dave Martin. At its peak, the BPI estimates that the operation was generating £11,000 ($20,700) a week.

The BPI's case forms part of a wider piracy crackdown in the region.