Record industry wins Easyinternet case
January 28 2003
The recording industry today won its High Court summary judgement ruling against EasyInternet Café Ltd. The well-known chain of internet cafés is part of the Easy Group, founded by Stelios Haji-Ioannou.
The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) took action against EasyInternet Café on behalf of UK record companies, because the cafés were offering a commercial service burning illegally downloaded music onto recordable CDs for customers.
From the outset the BPI has maintained that EasyInternet Café was infringing copyright by offering this unlicensed service, a charge that the company has consistently denied. The judge Mr Justice Smith has ruled that EasyInternet Café is liable, dismissing its defences - which he described as "speculations" and "fallacies" - while also rejecting EasyInternet Café's attempts to shift the blame onto its customers. The next stage will determine how much EasyInternet Café will have to pay.
The BPI is delighted with the court's decision. It confirms the fact that it is illegal to copy and sell other people's music without their permission.
One of the illegally copied tracks used as evidence in the case was a song by Blue. The members of Blue - who recently released One Love, the follow-up to their debut album All Rise - speaking after the case, supported the outcome:
"We really appreciate the fans who buy our music. We're passionate about our music but it's also the way we make our living. Everyone who works with us, from the writers, engineers, producers and crew really appreciates it when you buy our music rather than just taking it off the internet, because that shows you respect the time and work they've put into getting it out there in the first place."
As Blue point out, copyright allows everyone involved in making music to earn a living from their creative input. Copyright infringement is theft and getting this message across has never been more important at a time when a massive amount of music is being stolen online.
Peter Jamieson, BPI Chairman, adds: "Illegal copying jeopardises the livelihoods of artists and songwriters as well as putting at risk the thousands of jobs directly and indirectly created by the recording and publishing of music. We are delighted that we have won this ruling which sets an important precedent in support of authorised licensing services."
For more information please contact Sarah Roberts at BPI on 020 7803 1300.
Note: Annual UK music sales currently top £2.1 billion and the industry provides jobs for 126,000 people.