The BPI have announced two landmark legal rulings against illegal filesharers.
Courts have ruled that a father of two from Brighton and a man from King’s Lynn are liable for illegally distributing music over the internet using peer-to-peer file-sharing networks.
The cases mark the first of their kind to be heard in the British courts, though the BPI have opted not to name the pair.
BPI chairman Peter Jamieson said: “The courts have spoken and their verdict is unequivocal: unauthorised filesharing is against the law. We have long said that unauthorised filesharing is damaging the music industry and stealing the future of artists and the people who invest in them. Here is clear confirmation of what we also said – that unauthorised filesharing is illegal.”
The unnamed man from King’s Lynn was first notified of legal action by the BPI in April of last year and the organisation issued proceedings in August after he failed to reach a settlement.
The High Court rejected his defence that the BPI had no direct evidence of infringement.
He has now been ordered to make an immediate initial payment of £5,000 with total costs estimated to hit £13,500. Damages are expected to take the bill higher.
The second man, a postman and father of two from Brighton, claimed that he was unaware that what he was doing was illegal and said that he did not seek to gain financially through illegally downloading.
However, his case was thrown out of court. Judge Justice Lawrence Collins said: “Ignorance is not a defence.”
The defendant must now make an immediate payment of £1,500, before the final amount of costs and damages is decided.
The BPI have launched 139 legal cases against filesharers since October 2004 and have settled the majority of them.
The organisation are currently seeking settlements in a further 51 cases, which were launched in December 2005.