BPI to sue "major filesharers" : 7:10:2004
British record companies trade association the BPI (British Phonographic Industry) has announced it is to begin a rolling programme of legal action against ‘major filesharers’ who illegally make copyright music available to millions of people across the world on peer-to-peer networks.
Today the BPI is beginning the process of legal action against 28 UK filesharers. More cases are expected to follow. The BPI will seek damages and injunctions to stop these filesharers illegally uploading recordings on to filesharing networks.
The large-scale uploaders subject to legal action include users of the KaZaA, Imesh, Grokster, Bearshare and WinMX networks.
Breakthrough for legal music
The announcement comes against the background of a breakthrough year for legal online music services in the UK, with the launch of high-profile services like Mycokemusic, iTunes and Napster and the launch on September 1 of an Official UK Download Chart.
BPI chairman Peter Jamieson says, “We have been warning for months that unauthorized file-sharing is illegal. These are not people casually downloading the odd track. They are uploading music on a massive scale, effectively stealing the livelihoods of thousands of artists and the people who invest in them.”
After months of attempting to raise awareness about the dangers of unauthorized file-sharing, the BPI issued a final warning in March 2004, saying if the problem did not improve legal action would follow.
Since then it has sent out over 350,000 instant messages to uploaders’ computers warning them of the consequences if they continue.
“We have resisted legal action as long as we could,” says Jamieson. “We have done everything we can to raise awareness of this problem. We have encouraged legal services and launched an Official Download Chart.
“But we would be derelict in our duty to protect and promote British music were we not to take action to demonstrate that this activity is illegal and harmful to every aspect of the creative British music industry. We believe we have no alternative other than to enforce our rights through the courts.”
The announcement of the first actions in the UK forms part of an announcement from international record companies’ trade body the IFPI of a total of 459 new legal actions against illegal filesharers across six European countries.