By Liz Lockhart
Anne Muir, a 58 year old mother of three and the grandmother of eight, has been prosecuted for illegally downloading more than 30,000 music files worth nearly £55,000. A case that made Scottish history .Sheriff Jack McGowan placed Muir on probation for three at Ayr Sheriff Court. McGowan took into account the fact that she was a first time offender and that she did not profit from the downloads. He also made allowance for the fact that Muir ‘suffered from clinical depression over a number of years’.
‘This was not a money-making or commercial activity’ said Sheriff McGowan.
The court was told by an agent for Mrs Muir that she suffered from obsessive, compulsive personality disorder.
Muir, an auxiliary nurse, was told by the Sheriff ‘Your defence has submitted your behaviour is the result of a long-standing illness. You got a new computer and developed your talent to the stage where you became obsessive.’
The offence was committed at her home between 21st November 2007 and 27th June 2008. Muir was caught in a joint operation by police and the British Music recording Industry.
The court was told by Erin Campbell, prosecuting, ‘In order to take part in this, the accused must have become a member of a file-sharing hub, which means you are able to download from others and others can download from you. This is the first conviction of this nature in Scotland. The accused had been distributing files without a licence, breaking the owners’ copyrights.’
‘The accused had 24,243 karaoke files on her computer and 7,493 music files with an estimated worth of £54,792.’
The agent for Anne Muire said ‘She had a very big quantity of these files because she was hoarding, a symptom of severe obsessive personality disorder’.
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