CPS Abandons Music Piracy Charges Against Teenager

In an unexpected move, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has dropped the illegal file distribution case against 20 year-old Matthew Wyatt, who had been charged with sharing copyrighted material on Oink, a BitTorrent based file sharing website.

Matthew Wyatt, who was arrested in 2007 at the age of 17, was picked up by Cleveland Police after it was found that he had shared three music albums and one music single on Oink, whose boss, Alan Ellis, was recently acquitted due to lack of evidence.

Wyatt's legal representatives had claimed that he was not involved in uploading of the copyrighted files, but had merely found them on a public music website and forwarded them to Oink. If convicted, Wyatt was looking at a prison sentence of a minimum of 10 years.

David Cook, who lead the legal team defending Wyatt, commenting on CPS decision to drop the charges, said in a statement that “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.”

The lawyers defending Matthew also argued that criminal offence case being pursued against him, directly contradicted the government's three-strike rule, which came into effect only a few weeks ago.

Our Comments

The CPS actually listed a number of reasons why it dropped the case against the teenager. He played a relatively minor role in the grander scheme of things, the case lasted too long and any penalties imposed would have been insignificant. Perhaps more importantly, it would have been more sensible for the trial to be in a civil rather than a criminal court.

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