TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: UK Music Filesharers Ordered to Pay Fines

UK Music Filesharers Ordered to Pay Fines

Tim Castle (
Fri, 27 Jan 2006 21:00:32 -0600

By Tim Castle

Britain's record industry said on Friday it had won a landmark court
case against two people caught illegally swapping music on the
Internet, forcing them to pay thousands of pounds in bills.

In the first case of its kind in Britain, London's High Court ruled in
separate judgments that the two men were liable for illegal internet
distribution of music, the British Phonographic Institute (BPI) said.

"It's the first time our assertion that file sharing is illegal has
been tested in court," a BPI spokesman told Reuters.

"These individuals felt they had a case to defend, and the courts
ruled that they emphatically don't."

The BPI said it had decided not to name the two men, a postman from
Brighton in southern England and a man from King's Lynn in eastern
England, who it had taken to court for breaking the Copyright and
Patents Act.

The judgments were made earlier this month and in November.

The man from King's Lynn was ordered to make an immediate payment of
5,000 pounds ($8,860), and faces legal costs of 13,500 pounds and as
well as an undecided sum for damages.

The postman, a father of two, was told to pay 1,500 pounds pending a
final decision on damages and costs.

Until now the BPI has reached out-of-court settlements with
individuals it has traced uploading large amounts of music over
so-called peer-to-peer networks, which distribute data between users
instead of relying on a central server.

The BPI has launched around 140 legal cases since October 2004 against
individuals as it cracks down on illegal filesharing.

In the United States the Recording Industry Association of America has
sued thousands of individuals for unauthorized downloading of music.

The music industry estimates there are 900 million unauthorized music
files are on the Internet.

But the BPI said the growth of illegal file sharing has slowed
following the emergence of legitimate music download services such as
Apple's iTunes and a greater awareness of the possibility of legal

Copyright 2006 Reuters Limited.

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