File-Swapping 'Hobby' Man In $500m Australian Lawsuit

FOR six years, Stephen Cooper ran a song-sharing website from his modest brick home in Bellbowrie [Australia], in Brisbane's west, that attracted 190 million visitors a year and allegedly earned him up to $64,000 a month.

Now the world's record companies have put the former policeman on their hit list - with a $500 million bullet.

His website, which began as a hobby while he looked for a job in the computer industry, has also made him a star defendant in a landmark civil lawsuit.

After raids in October last year - on his home and at the Sydney offices of his Internet service provider - the father of two is facing a damages claim for as much as $500 million from 31 Australian and international record companies for copyright infringement. . . .

[C]ooper, who claims he would never have started the website if knew he was doing anything wrong, says the lawsuit is "ridiculous" and that he doesn't have enough money for legal fees to fight it in the Federal Court. . . .

Details here from