British prosecutors deny claims they dropped a case against an illegal file sharer because of the country’s forthcoming Digital Economy Bill.
Lawyers for Matthew Wyatt said the Crown Prosecution Service’s decision not to take the case to trial was influenced by the bill, which establishes a three-strikes rule for persistent illegal file sharers, and could be passed into law this week.
CPS Cleveland District crown prosecutor, Clare Donaldson told TelecomsEurope.net it decided to drop the case after a review of the evidence suggested “it was no longer in the public interest to pursue the matter to trial.”
The case was just weeks away from trial when the CPS dropped charges against Wyatt yesterday. He was one of five people arrested in 2007 and accused of damaging copyright holder’s interests by using Bit Torrent site OiNK.
His solicitor claims the prosecution was heavy handed, and that the music industry was trying to make a scapegoat out of Wyatt, who had only uploaded three albums and a single to the site.
“At no time during the course of this prosecution did the CPS actually produce any evidence that the material in question was, in fact, copyrighted,” David Cook of Burrows Bussin Solicitors said.
Leading telcos and ISPs have criticised the bill, claiming it won’t be effective at protecting copyrighted material, and could limit freedom of speech.