The UK record industry is claiming a landmark victory after the High Court ordered two men to pay thousands of pounds in fines and damages for illegally distributing music downloads using file-sharing software.
In the first case, a man from King's Lynn was ordered to stop file-sharing illegally and told to make an immediate payment to the BPI of £5,000. The High Court rejected the man's defence that the BPI had no evidence of infringement and granted the summary judgement without the need for a trial.
-- Peter Jamieson, chairman, BPI
He now faces a bill for costs estimated at £13,500 with damages set to take that figure even higher.
In the second case, a postman from Brighton claimed he was unaware his actions were illegal and that he did not seek to make any financial gain from it.
His case was also thrown out of court, with Judge Justice Lawrence Collins declaring that "ignorance is not a defence". The man was ordered to make an immediate payment of £1,500, pending final determination of costs and damages.
The BPI has declined to name the two men.
BPI chairman Peter Jamieson said in a statement: "The courts have spoken and their verdict is unequivocal: unauthorised file-sharing is against the law. We have long said that unauthorised file-sharing is damaging the music industry and stealing the future of artists and the people who invest in them."
The BPI said it has settled the majority of the 139 legal cases it started launching against individual file-sharers from October 2004, with some paying up to £6,500 to avoid going to court.