Internet, Record Labels

The BPI (British Phonographic Industry) has today (March 27th) sent out a letter to every University in the United Kingdom warning them that they face criminal sanctions if they collude in the illegal downloading of music files. This action follows similar actions by record company associations in Australia and the USA, the latter resulting in in the US Navy Acadamy warning nearly 100 students about downloading music files illegally.
University News and Views.

COMMENT : The BPI’s action follows on from similar actions by the RIAA and other industry associations, targeting internet service providers (ISPs), telecommunication companies and cable companies. The leading case at the moment is the ‘Verizon’ case currently in the appeal courts in the USA (see Law Updates March 2003). The UK courts held in the BPI’s case against easyinternetcafes Ltd that providing and facilitating the downloading of illegally copied files was actionable and the first instance decision in the Verizon case and the decisions in the RIAA’s cases against Napster and Aimster clearly supports this position. However, the Verizon appeal will certainly be of interest and the Dutch decision in Buma/Stemra -v- KaZaA (see Law Updates December 2002) means that this issue is not that clear cut and defined.