Although 66 people have been prosecuted for illegal file-sharing in Ireland to date, the first US citizen, Jammie Thomas, was ordered by court to pay US$220,000 to the Recording Industry of America (RIA) as well as six major record companies, on top of her legal bills of US$60,000 in this landmark case.
Thomas was the first of over 26,000 to refuse an out of court settlement with the recording companies involved, and denied downloading over 1,000 songs found in a peer-to-peer site’s folder linked to her name.
She was fined $US9,250 for each of the 24 shared songs mentioned in the court case, including Godsmack’s ‘Spiral’ and Destiny’s Child’s ‘Bills, Bills, Bills’.
In June of this year the high court in Ireland ordered seven internet service providers including Eircom, B and DigiWeb to hand over the names of people who had been monitored on p2p sites and suspected of illegal file sharing.
Unlike Thomas, one individual was sharing over 37.500 files online for download by others. All but six of those prosecuted admitted to illegal file sharing and paid between €2,500 and €3,000 in compensation.
The message from the music industry worldwide, including the Irish Recorded Music Association, is this: it can and will monitor and pursue any individual sharing copyright music online, and the courts will assist.
By Marie Boran