The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) has won a landmark judgement in the High Court against two illegal internet music file sharers.
The two unnamed men had refused to settle out of court, so the BPI pursued the case and won its first court judgement against peer-to-peer music file sharers.
The ownership and use of peer-to-peer programs is not illegal, but distributing copyrighted music to others free of charge is, the court ruled.
The men were found to have illegally shared their music files, and were ordered to pay the BPI a total of £6,500 compensation.
One of the men claimed there was no evidence against him, while the other claimed he did not know that what he was doing was illegal.
The BPI has launched around 140 other cases since autumn 2004, although up to now they have been settled out of court, with many file sharers agreeing to pay compensation.
The two men, along with three others, had been accused of sharing a total of 8,900 songs over the internet.
The pair was also ordered by the court to stop sharing songs in the future. Court cases against the other three are pending.
The BPI’s counterpart in the US has launched thousands of court cases in the last two years.