Streaming fraud and manipulated audio are two of the biggest headaches in the music industry today – and a criminal case in Denmark highlights how the two problems can go hand in hand.

A man in Denmark’s East Jutland region has been sentenced to 18 months in prison, after he was found guilty of data fraud and copyright infringement.

Prosecutors said the 53-year-old man, whom Danish media have not named, used bots to artificially inflate the stream count on 689 tracks he had uploaded to streaming services including Apple MusicSpotify, and YouSee Musik.

During the trial in February, prosecutors said 244 tracks were “listened to” 5.5 million times in one week, with a majority of those streams going to 20 subscription accounts, Wired reported.

It’s impossible for genuine listeners to have racked up such a high number of listens on such a small number of accounts in such a short time, prosecutors said, and the defendant likely employed unauthorized techniques to rack up the streams (i.e. bots).

Moreover, prosecutors said the tracks the defendant uploaded were not his own: they were other artists’ work that had their tempo and length changed, according to The Guardian. He was found guilty of breaching copyright on 37 tracks.

The fraud reportedly took place between 2013 and 2019. Between 2014 and 2017, the defendant was the 46th highest-earning composer from streaming in Denmark.

Prosecutors originally claimed the defendant had earned DKK 4.38 million (USD $635,000) on the fraudulent streams, but ultimately only DKK 2 million in earnings ($290,000) could be proven.

The court ordered DKK 2 million to be confiscated from the defendant, and added a DKK 200,000 ($29,000) fine.

The defendant indicated in court that he plans to appeal the verdict.

According to the Danish Rights Alliance, as cited by Wired, the defendant had 69 accounts with various music streaming services, including 20 on Spotify alone.

Streaming fraud leads to prison sentence for Danish man in case called ‘historic’ by artists’ groups