Two acquitted over FileSoup file-sharing website


Two men who ran a file-sharing website have been found not guilty after the Crown offered no evidence.

Stephen Lanning, 51, from Taunton, and George Cartledge, 56, from Glasgow, both faced conspiracy offences related to copyright infringement.

Lawyers for the CPS told Bristol Crown Court that it was "neither necessary nor appropriate to continue to pursue the matter in a criminal court".

The case was brought by the Federation Against Copyright Theft (Fact).

'American films'

Mr Lanning and Mr Cartledge ran the FileSoup website which it was alleged helped users find films they could then download.

Both were due to face trial over claims they had conspired with FileSoup users to infringe copyright by authorising film distribution through their website.

David Cook, from Manchester-based solicitors Burrows Bussin, said the case involved the alleged distribution of three American films.

He said the defence believed the prosecution could not prove the elements of the offences or provide any evidence to show that copyright was actually infringed or that FileSoup was involved in any distribution.

"There is no doubt that a copyright owner is entitled to the protection of the law but it is important the prosecution is conducted impartially and independently," Mr Cook added.

Mr Lanning, who lives in Greenway Road, Taunton, was arrested in July 2009 on suspicion of a breach of the Copyright and Patents Act during a joint operation between Fact and Avon and Somerset Constabulary.

Mr Cartledge, of Bathgate Street, Glasgow, was charged in 2009 with conspiracy to infringe copyright as a result of being an administrator of FileSoup.

Both men had denied doing anything wrong.

No-one from Fact could be contacted.

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