A court in Leicester, England has sentenced a local man to jail after finding him guilty of managing a commercial counterfeiting operation from home.

A court in Leicester, England has sentenced a local man to jail after finding him guilty of managing a commercial counterfeiting operation from home.

Mathew Peter Rodgers, 33, was sentenced March 19 in Leicester Crown Court having been found guilty of offences under the Trade Marks Act (1994) and the Video Recordings Act (1993). Although it was his first offence, Rodgers was jailed because of the sheer size of the counterfeiting operation.

Rodgers received a nine-month sentence on trademark offences, and two months on video recordings offences. The sentences will run concurrently.

Leicester Trading Standards Service had conducted a raid November 15, 2002 following an investigation by Britain's Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society (MCPS) anti-piracy unit.

Authorities confiscated about 4,000 illicit CDs, DVDs, and games that were to be sold via the Internet. According to the MCPS, the product had a retail value of £100,000 ($182,000). Eight duplication devices were also seized.

In his defence, Rodgers had pleaded that as music is "widely available to download from the Internet for free anyway", he should not be prosecuted.

His defence was discounted since the act of downloading of music for free without permission from copyright holders is in itself an illegal activity.

The maximum sentence for counterfeiting and trademark offences in Britain is 10 years' imprisonment.