Easyinternet pays damages to record industry
April 9 2003
EasyInternet Café Ltd has agreed to pay compensation to BPI, the organisation representing UK record labels, following the record industry's victory in the High Court this January*.
Under the settlement, which also covers cafes outside the UK, EasyInternet Café Ltd will pay BPI £80,000 in damages for copyright infringement plus BPI's legal costs that brings the total amount paid by EasyInternet to date to over £210,000, not including its own legal fees.
The settlement follows the provision by EasyInternet of new financial information that enabled BPI to assess the level of compensation that EasyInternet was liable to pay. EasyInternet also confirmed that it would not run unlicensed CD burning services in the future.
Peter Jamieson, BPI's executive chairman says, "EasyInternet Café is liable for a clear and profound breach of copyright and I am glad that Stelios has seen sense and agreed to settle this case. The irony should not be lost on anyone that someone who aggressively protects their own intellectual property, as is the case with Stelios and the Easy Group, should seek to offer a commercial music service without paying the creators of the copyright."
In the summary judgment hearing in January, the judge dismissed all of EasyInternet's defences including its argument that what it was doing was exempted as "timeshifting". UK copyright law grants a narrow exemption for timeshifting, specifically introduced to allow viewers to record programmes for watching at a more convenient time. In EasyInternet's case, this defence was clearly not relevant since it was offering a commercial service. Nor does the exemption cover unlicensed online services and CD burning for domestic purposes - the law is clear and there are no loopholes.
EasyInternet had sought to appeal against this part of the summary judgment, claiming that it was doing so for the benefit of the consumer. However, after obtaining leave to appeal it immediately approached BPI seeking settlement. As a result of this agreement, EasyInternet's appeal has been abandoned and the judge's decision will stand.
For more information please contact Sarah Roberts at BPI on 020 7803 1300 or 07971 188758.
The well-known chain of internet cafés had been charging customers to burn illegally downloaded tracks from the internet onto recordable CDs.
The BPI took action on behalf of UK record companies and successfully established in the courts that EasyInternet Café had infringed BPI