The British Phonographic Institute (BPI) has won a landmark court case after two individuals were found liable for illegally swapping music online. They now face bills running into thousands of pounds.
In the first cases of their kind to be heard in the British courts, a man from King's Lynn and a father of two from Brighton have both been ordered to stop sharing files illegally and to pay costs and damages.
The music trade association, which declined to name the individuals, began proceedings against the man from King's Lynn in August 2005.
The High Court rejected his defence that the BPI had no evidence of infringement, and he has been ordered to make an immediate payment of £5,000. Total costs are estimated at £13,500 and damages are expected to take the bill even higher.
The father of two from Brighton claimed that he did not know he was doing anything illegal and had not sought to gain financially. But Justice Lawrence Collins threw his case out of court stating that "ignorance is not a defence".
The defendant has been ordered to pay £1,500 immediately, on the understanding that this is not a final determination of the total costs and damages.
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