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Scottish Grandmother Gets 3 Years’ Probation for Downloading 30,000 Music Files

Music Disc at Centre of HeadphonesCompanies are currently trying to go after people who are downloading and sharing music illegally. It does not matter if the person is a teen or a grandmother. In fact in Scotland, a 58-year-old grandmother found herself in court for downloading and sharing more than 30,000 music files.

The woman, Anne Muir, did admit to downloading and sharing the files. The good news for her is that Sheriff Jack McGowan went easy on her at Ayr Sheriff Court. In fact, he only gave Anne 3 years’ probation for her illegal act.

According to Jack McGowan, he took into account that she had suffered clinical depression over a number of years. He then also pointed out that he took into account that she was a first time offender and she, in no way, profited from these downloads.

Reports from experts say that the 30,000 music files that she downloaded would be worth an estimated £54,000 had she paid for them. Now one of the few questions that remains is: How did the lady finally get caught?

Apparently Anne was finally caught downloading all of these illegal tracks after an investigation was started by two different music trade bodies. The two bodies are known as the British Phonographic Industry and the International Federation for the Phonographic Industry. After these two bodies made a formal complaint against Anne, police searched her home. There they found computer equipment that contained some 7,493 digital music files, as well as some 24,243 karaoke files.

Some say that Muir got off easy because she also pleaded guilty to breaching the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act of 1998. Of course, her lawyers did help to state in the case that she did not intent to download these music files for financial gain. They went on to say that she did it to help build up her self-esteem after suffering from depression.

The British Phonographic Industry and the International Federation for the Phonographic Industry, at one time, was pursuing a very aggressive campaign to track down and punish as many illegal downloaders as they could find. It was during this campaign that they started to investigate Muir back in 2008. However, these two groups have now all but stopped pursuing individual file shares and are now focusing on lobbying governments on the issue.

A spokesperson for the British Phonographic Industry said that the court has recognized that illegal file sharing on a “massive” scale is a serious matter, and thus, the court has imposed a sentence aimed at helping to prevent this kind of behavior in the future. They went on to thank the police for all of their hard work during the investigation.

Of course, the leader of the UK Pirate Party, Loz Kaye, said that he was “dismayed” by the disproportionate sentence. He went on to add that the evidence should have been properly tested in court. Loz finished up by saying that it seems like there is a pattern of right holders targeting vulnerable people to get a quick win in court for publicity.

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