Record labels, internet
Legal actions against thousands of music file-sharers across the world have been announced as the recording industry stepped up its campaign to deter copyright theft and promote legitimate use of music on the internet. Over 8,000 new cases in 17 countries are being announced today, including the first ever cases against illegal file-sharing in the two biggest markets of South America and in Eastern Europe. A total of more than 13,000 legal actions have now been taken outside the United States. Legal actions are being extended to Brazil, where more than one billion music tracks were illegally downloaded last year and a country where record company revenues have nearly halved since 2000. Mexico and Poland are also seeing actions for the first time – while a further 14 countries are launching fresh actions against illegal file-sharing. Over 2,300 of people have already paid the price for illegally file-sharing copyrighted material, with average legal settlements of €2,420. Many of those on the receiving end of legal action are parents whose children have been illegally file-sharing. They are finding that in many countries they are liable for any activities third parties undertake using their internet connection. In Argentina, one mother made her son sell off his car to pay her back the settlement fee. The actions, a combination of criminal and civil suits, are aimed at ‘uploaders’ – people who have put hundreds or thousands of copyrighted songs onto internet file-sharing networks and offered them to millions of people worldwide without permission from the copyright owners. The industry is targeting uploaders using all the major ‘unauthorised’ P2P services, including BitTorrent, eDonkey, DirectConnect, Gnutella, Limewire, SoulSeek and WinMX. The actions are being taken in Argentina , Austria, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Singapore and Switzerland. John Kennedy, chairman and chief executive of IFPI, said: “Consumers today can get music legally in ways that were unimaginable just a few years ago, with over three million tracks available on nearly 400 sites worldwide as well as an array of mobile platforms. Yet some people continue to consume their music illegally, refusing to respect the creative work of artists, songwriters and record producers. “As a result we reluctantly continue with our legal actions and today sees the latest escalation of that campaign to show that file-sharing copyrighted music does carry real legal risks – apart from the risks to privacy and the risks from spyware and viruses. Around the world many people have already paid a heavy price for their illegal file-sharing. They all thought they were unlikely to be caught, but teachers, postal workers, IT managers, scientists and people in a host of other occupations, as well as parents, have ended up having to dig deeply into their pockets. The money they have had to pay as a result of the court cases could have been spent on other things.
The IFPI has also stepped up its efforts in education, working with the music sector alliance www.pro-music.org to assist the education work around online music by children’s charity Childnet International. Childnet’s educational leaflet “Young People, Music and the Internet” has been rolled out in 15 countries and 11 languages, with the latest versions in Mexico, Brazil and Poland. Recent research from Lingnan University in Hong Kong has shown that the education campaign there has had a major impact on children and their parents. More than a third of parents (36%) have guided their children to refrain from illegal downloading in the last year and 67 per cent of people said that legal action is an effective way of reducing illegal p2p file-sharing.
See also Swedishcourt imposes $2,700 (£1,450) fine for illegal file swappinghttp://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/fn/4269228.html