EasyInternetCafe gagging order reaches court

Update: BPI goes to the High Court to ask for an injunction forcing EasyInternetCafe to stop talking about the CD-burning row with the press

The attempt by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) to impose a gagging order on EasyInternetCafe to prevent the cafe group from discussing the ongoing CD burning row with the press has been postponed.

The BPI had gone to court on Thursday to request an injunction against EasyInternetCafe, but the motion has now been adjourned until next week.

A BPI spokeswoman told ZDNet UK that the injunction is being sought because the BPI is unhappy that EasyInternetCafe has repeatedly disclosed details of negotiations between the two sides to journalists.

EasyInternetCafe is expected to fight the case, and as ZDNet reported last week staff from the company are planning to protest outside the High Court wearing orange boiler suits.

The BPI and EasyInternetCafe are currently negotiating over the level of damages that EasyInternetCafe should pay after it allowed its customers to download copyright music from the Internet and burn them to CD.

EasyInternetCafe has admitted that this occurred in the past and has removed CD-burning equipment from all its stores. However, the firm refused to pay the £1m fine that the BPI first suggested, and also balked at a second figure of £100,000. EasyInternetCafe is instead offering £50,000 for a global settlement that would also cover its stores in Germany, the Netherlands, France, Spain, the US and Italy.

EasyInternetCafe has been happy to discuss the case with journalists, resulting in details of the ongoing settlement talks appearing in the media over the past few months, to the BPI's annoyance. The recording industry body insists that such negotiations must take place in private.

EasyInternetCafe told ZDNet last week that the BPI wanted a gag because it is embarrassed about the case and want it hushed up. "You can't go round asking for £1m, or £100,000, and expect it to be done in a quiet manner," an EasyInternetCafe spokesman said.

The BPI insists, though, that EasyInternetCafe has broken the law and a significant fine is appropriate.

The BPI told ZDNet UK that it is also trying to win a summary judgement against EasyInternetCafe. This would mean the BPI would have to persuade a court that EasyInternetCafe had no chance of winning if the full case came to court. "If this summary judgement went in our favour, it would mean that EasyInternetCafe had no realistic chance of winning," a BPI spokeswoman said.

This case will not be heard until November.

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