Pirate Party hits out on Scottish sentencing of filesharing woman

The Pirate Party has hit out at the sentence of a Scottish woman found guilty of sharing illegally music files, calling it a “disproportionate.”

Anne Muir, 58, from Ayrshire, was today given three years probation and has become the first person in Scotland to be convicted of sharing illegally downloaded music.

While the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) and right holders has cracked open the champers, the Pirate Party isn’t impressed. Loz Kaye Leader of Pirate Party UK said today that the group was “hugely dismayed” at the disproportionate sentence.

“The evidence should have been properly tested in court. It seems now there is a pattern of rights holders targeting vulnerable people to score quick wins for publicity,” he added.

Anne Muir was given her sentence at the Ayr Sherriff Court. She had been caught with more than 30,000 files worth an estimated £54,792 in the mainstream market back in June 2008 following a joint investigation with the BPI and the police. This usually means the BPI moaned to the coppers who looked into it.

In between sips of champers a BPI spokesman told us: “Having identified that an unknown individual was illegally distributing tens of thousands of music files via a P2P hub, information was passed to the Scottish authorities and they decided to prosecute.

“Today the Court has recognised that illegal filesharing on a massive scale is a serious matter and has imposed a sentence aimed at preventing such behaviour in future.  We would like to thank the Strathclyde Police and the Procurator Fiscal Service in Ayr for their diligent work on this investigation”.

Inspector Knacker of the Ayr Yard  found 7439 digital music files and 24243 karaoke files on computer equipment moved from her home. They also allegedly found that Ms Muir was part of “a network” where users could share and download music, although it is not clear if that just meant BitTorrent.

One of the problems in the case was that the laws did not get a chance to be tested. Muir pleaded guilty to charges thrust upon her and included distributing “articles” which she had reason to believe were copyrighted without a licence.