Taiwan P2P service faces criminal charges
December 8, 2003
One of Asia's largest unlicensed online music peer-to-peer (P2P) services is facing criminal charges under the latest legal action against unauthorised distribution of copyrighted music on the internet.
Taiwan prosecutors have filed criminal charges against the country's largest peer-to-peer service Kuro.
At a press conference in Taipei today, IFPI Taiwan applauded the decision by the Taipei District Public Prosecutors' Office for sending a strong signal to Kuro and similar services in the country that their activities are illegal, and that there are legal consequences.
The prosecutor's office filed charges under the Copyright Law on December 4 against Kuro's management team. Separate charges have been brought against a number of subscribers to the service.
IFPI Taiwan marked the announcement of the indictment by asking that Kuro cease its operations immediately.
Kuro is a centralised peer-to-peer service, which charges users to distribute unauthorised copies of music files among themselves. Using a modified form of the original 'Napster' technology, it is in essence a 'Napster for money'.
More than 30,000 users make available over five million music files for copying on the Kuro network at any one time. The subscription service, launched in 2001, claims to have half a million paying customers. The problem is that nobody in the creative chain is compensated; only the service itself makes money.
IFPI Taiwan filed a criminal complaint with the criminal prosecutor earlier in the year, alleging that Kuro was knowingly aiding and abetting copyright infringement, for profit.
At the press conference, IFPI Taiwan called on users of the service to cease their membership of the network, ask for their subscription costs back from the P2P operators and immediately cease their illegal music swapping activities. The organisation reminded users that just because they pay for the P2P service does not mean they are allowed to steal copyrighted material.
IFPI Chairman and CEO Jay Berman said: "This indictment is fully consistent with court decisions in other countries including the US, Japan and Korea, that have held similar P2P services liable for copyright infringement. People need to understand that legal action can and will be taken against those who distribute copyrighted work without the permission of the creators. Everyone involved in the cycle of music creation is being adversely affected by this illegal activity, and it is having a devastating effect on the ability of the industry to invest and sustain the careers of new artists."
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