A federal court judge in Sydney on July 29 ordered five club DJs to pay $140,000 Australian ($98,000) each after they pleaded guilty to copyright infringement.

SYDNEY -- A federal court judge in Sydney on July 29 ordered five club DJs to pay $140,000 Australian ($98,000) each after they pleaded guilty to copyright infringement.

The five were found to have produced and distributed illegal mixes of tracks by top acts such as Ja Rule, Jennifer Lopez and Missy Elliot. The remixed tracks appeared on a compilation series called "Black Label," of which 1,200 units were thought to have been distributed.

Also fined was Sydney retailer Anthem and its director Joe Sitoa, who promoted the CDs online.

Universal Music Australia, Sony Music Entertainment Australia and Warner Music Australia initiated the case in 2002.

Last year, three retailers working in a Sydney flea market appeared before the court and paid compensation after admitting to selling the pirate CDs. The compensation figures were not made public.

Michael Speck, GM of Music Industry Piracy Investigation, describes the case as "one of the most flagrant infringements of copyright by DJs Australia has seen."

Speck says piracy is endemic in the DJ market, with unauthorized mixes being openly advertised and sold in stores throughout major cities.

He adds, "Pirate copyrighters know they know that they are breaking the law. When they are caught they claim that infringing copyright is actually good for the industry. This ruling confirms that this proposition is nonsense."

Some of the DJs, who had not bothered to show up to previous hearings, face legal costs of up to $240,000.

The defendants in the case were Jun Miyamoto (DJ Moto), David Pacjeco (Chocolate Boy Wonder), Peter Papalii (DJ Peter Gunz), Tahi Croft (DJ Demo) and Nick Gracia (D-Day Tikelz).

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