A 55 year old man from Vannes, France, is counting the cost after a police search on his property turned up his pirate media collection.
Back in 2006 the police, who were conducting a search linked to an unrelated fraud case, stumbled across the man’s sizable pirate media collection which included 12,591 MP3 files, 426 movies, 16 full TV-series and dozens of items of pirated software.
During the April hearing the retired IT expert said in his defense that it took him a whole year to accumulate the collection by using eMule on the eD2k network, but it was intended for private, not commercial use. He also told the court that he believed he had been acting within the law.
Unfortunately for the man, the legal system wasn’t sympathetic. A court in Vannes has just handed him a 2 month suspended jail sentence coupled with 33,000 euro (apprx $46,200) in damages.
Lawyers for 19 plaintiffs including the National Federation of Film Distributors, Sony, Paramount, Sacem and SCPP demanded between 1 and 2 euros compensation for each illicit MP3 and between 7 and 12.50 euros for each movie. It is believed that SCPP will collect the largest share of around 17,000 euros.
In a statement the man’s lawyer said: “There is stuff like this on all kids’ computers right now,” while pointing out that many of the files had been downloaded by the defendant’s children.
In January 2007, a court in Nantes also sentenced a file-sharer to two months suspended prison sentence for being caught in possession of 400 downloaded movies.