The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has dropped all charges against a teenaged boy accused of illegal file sharing, in a "landmark case" which highlights the strong influence the record industry can have on law enforcers in these situations.
Matthew Wyatt was 17 when he was held to account in 2007 by Cleveland Police for illegally distributing copyrighted content.
Wyatt shared three albums on one torrent site, however, it is claimed that Wyatt was arrested without any warning and effectively used as a scapegoat by the record industry.
The case was dropped by the CPS a few weeks before his trial was due to start.
"At no time during the course of this prosecution did the CPS actually produce any evidence that the material in question was in fact copyrighted," said David Cook, of Burrows Bussin Solicitors, which represented Wyatt.
In an oversight, the CPS and the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry did not trace the digital watermarks of the copyrighted material back to the source, meaning that Wyatt could not effectively be prosecuted.
Cook said that the case was nothing more than a music industry rubber stamp.
"Matthew Wyatt was the victim of a cynical attempt by the record industry to legitimise its heavy-handed tactics and dubious methods by using police resources and the public purse," he said.
"Cleveland Police and the CPS allowed themselves to be manipulated throughout this investigation and were content to rubber stamp reports commissioned by private bodies rather than scrutinise the merits of the case."
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