Glasgow & West Scotland

Anne Muir in first conviction for illegal music sharing

Computer
Image caption Evidence and computer equipment was seized from Muir's home in Ayr

A woman from Ayr has become the first person in Scotland to be convicted for illegally sharing music files online.

Anne Muir admitted distributing £54,000 worth of copyrighted music files by making them available to others via a peer-to-peer file sharing application.

The 58-year-old will be sentenced at Ayr Sheriff Court later this month.

She was caught after police, acting on a search warrant, seized evidence at her home following a complaint from music industry bodies.

Muir pleaded guilty to a contravention of section 107(1)(e) of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

'Prolific user'

Her activities were identified during an initial investigation by BPI (British Recorded Music Industry) and IFPI (International Federation for the Phonographic Industry).

They made a formal complaint to Strathclyde Police, whose officers searched Muir's home in Ayr.

They seized computer equipment and found 7,493 digital music files and 24,243 karaoke files - worth an estimated £54,792 in the mainstream market.

Defence lawyer Lorenzo Alonzi said his client, an auxiliary nurse at Ayr hospital, had not used the network for any financial gain, but to build up her self-esteem after suffering from depression for a number of years.

He said: "It has to be stressed that this offence was not committed for any desire to make money.

"Mrs Muir was not in any way trying to distribute on a large scale, she had a very big quantity of these files because she was hoarding - a symptom of a severe obsessive personality disorder that she suffers from.

"She has, for many years, suffered from bouts of depression, which causes her to have extremely low self-esteem."

Following Muir's conviction, district procurator fiscal for Ayr, Mirian Watson, said: "Intelligence gathered by BPI and IFPI revealed that Anne Muir was a prolific user of a particular file sharing network based in the UK.

"Illegally flouting copyright laws is tantamount to theft and not only deprives legitimate companies and artists of earnings, but also undermines the music industry as a whole.

"We will continue to work effectively with law enforcement in this area and to apply our robust prosecution policy."

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