Just found this on my yahoo browser:
Music industry targets song swappers
LONDON (Reuters) - The UK music industry will sue Internet song swappers unless they stop putting their music collections online for others to download, says a top music official.
"We want to increase consumer awareness of the legal implications of file-sharing. We want to introduce new legitimate (online download) services. If these are not working, then there has to be a degree of enforcement," said Andrew Yeates, director general of industry association The British Phonographic Industry (BPI).
The comments, made on the sidelines of an industry event Tuesday night, is the clearest statement yet that the European music industry is prepared to follow in the controversial footsteps of the United States.
In September, U.S. trade group The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), launched a legal crusade to stamp out Internet piracy by suing individuals who distribute songs on file-sharing networks.
Yeates said the legal crackdown would be "proportional," suggesting the BPI would, as the RIAA has in America, go after those who distribute the most songs and leave the occasional file-sharer alone.
He also hinted legal enforcement would not start until after new industry-backed music download services, such as Apple Computer's and Roxio's Napster make their European debut, as anticipated, later this year.
If the industry-backed services prove a hit with consumers and piracy levels tail off, he said, legal steps may not be necessary.
The music industry blames file-sharing services such as Kazaa and Grokster for creating a massive black market of free songs on the Internet that is crippling CD sales.
Over the past few months, European music industry officials have been making increasingly stronger suggestions that they would consider suing online file-sharers if piracy levels continue to climb.
Recent industry statistics reveal that file-sharing is on the decline in the United States but increasing in Europe since the RIAA embarked on its legal campaign four months ago.
Yeates said the BPI was stepping up talks with European Internet service providers (ISPs) to streamline a process for identifying the major culprits, a necessary development if a legal campaign is to be effective.
The ISP industry regularly investigates complaints from copyright holders about file-sharing abuses, but as of yet they remain unwilling to hand over the identities of their customers without a court order.
Under a new UK copyright law, file-sharing has been criminalised. But few expect it will result in jail time for downloaders.
"The BPI is not going to bring a criminal case," Struan Robertson, a solicitor for UK law firm Masons, told Reuters. "That would require prosecutors getting involved. And they have a lot more to do than to go after kids in their bedrooms."