Led Zeppelin music pirate's stairway to jail

ONE of Europe's biggest music pirates, convicted after rock legend Jimmy Page gave evidence against him, has been jailed for 20 months.

Robert Langley had been arrested in 2005 after being caught with a massive haul of CDs and DVDs at a Glasgow record fair.

The seizure by the British Phonographic Industry included 11,500 of counterfeit Led Zeppelin material.

Page - lead guitarist with the band - told a trial last month he did not condone bootlegging and he would never sanction such items to be sold.

Langley - who previously walked free from three similar trials in England - then changed his plea to guilty by admitting three trademark and two copyright infringements

The 58-year-old returned to Glasgow Sheriff Court yesterday, where it was heard he continues to sell music - although he claimed by legal means.

Sheriff Sam Cathcart told Langley: "The volume of CDs and DVDs here was considerable. In my view, the gravity of this offence has to be dealt with by means of a custodial sentence."

Rock star Page, 63, told last month how BPI officials had asked him to Glasgow after the raid on Langley at the Exhibition and Conference Centre.

The load taken from Langley, from Buckingham, included a 220 box-set of a Led Zeppelin tour in Japan and a 40 set of a warm-up session in Denmark.

Also seized was material from The Rolling Stones and The Beatles.

Page told fiscal Judith Hutchison that he would "never sanction" such items to be sold. He said: "The legitimate part is where fans trade music, but once you start packaging it up and you do not know what you are getting, you are breaking the rules legally and morally.

Langley still faces a Proceeds of Crime hearing later this year, where the Crown are looking to strip him of assets totalling 250,000.

BPI's anti-piracy manager, David Wood, said: "Jimmy Page's decision to give evidence in person was instrumental in bringing this case to a swift and satisfactory conclusion, and for that we owe him our most sincere thanks."

However, Mr Wood warned that while Langley was a major bootlegger, the nature of piracy was being rapidly transformed.

"Serious organised criminals now control the distribution of fake CDs, DVDs, games and software, and internet piracy has engendered a culture of mass online copyright theft."