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Thread: Uk Music Industry Considers Suing Net Song Swapper

  1. #1
    UK Music Industry Considers Suing Net Song Swappers
    Tue Jan 13, 6:36 PM ET

    By Bernhard Warner, European Internet Correspondent

    LONDON (Reuters) - The British music industry will sue Internet song swappers unless they stop putting their music collection online for others to download, a top UK music official said on Tuesday.

    "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 (news - web sites) (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 (news - web sites) 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."

    Source - Yahoo News

  2. File Sharing   -   #2
    namzuf9's Avatar Poster
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    The Armpit Of The Universe.
    As far as I understand it the UK courts will not tolerate criminal prosecutions against individuals sharing files unless it can be proved that they intend to distribute the copyrighted material for profit, i.e. burning Cd's to sell at a market.
    Cases against individuals will become a civil matter meaning the record companies can sue for copyright infringement.

    The question is: will they bother?

    In my opinion, no. If the music industry was to get heavy handed with filesharers the press backlash would be phenomenal. The tabloid press would crucify the BPI or whatever association that decides to attack the "small man". Even if a few cases got to court I cant see any of our Judges in the UK understanding or caring about P2P. Why worry about such trivial matters when people get murdered every day?

    Besides they have bigger fish to fry than a few mp3s like all the pirated cd's I see for sale at markets and boot sales. Where I work we even get a oriental fella come round every friday with pirated Cd's and DVD's.

    In short, if you live in the UK I wouldn't worry.
    Well not yet


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