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EasyInternet abandons CD burning court appeal

Pays damages, costs to BPI

By Drew Cullen, 9 Apr 2003

The British Phonographic Institute (BPI) has confirmed a major victory in its legal battle with EasyInternet, with the Net cafe chain throwing in the towel.

EasyInternet is to pay £210,000 in damages and costs to the UK record industry body for running unlicensed CD burning of music downloads in its stores. It is also to abandon its appeal against the ruling in favour of BPI's copyright infringement claim delivered in the High Court in January. EasyInternet had a novel defence - that it was simply helping customers to time-shift, an exemption under UK copyright law, allowing people to record programmes to watch at a later time.

As the BPI notes: "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."

In a press statement, the BPI said EasyInternet had now provided "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, said: "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."

Quite. How on earth did Stelios and Co. think they could get away with it? ®

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Stelios protests at threat of music biz CD burning gag

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