Illegal music file-sharers targeted by fresh wave of legal action
London, 4th April 2006
Illegal music file-sharers across the world face a fresh wave of legal actions today as the recording industry announces an escalation of its campaign against digital music piracy. The latest actions come with a new warning to parents to check what their children are doing online as they could face financial penalties if their children access illegal material.
IFPI and its affiliate national bodies are today announcing nearly 2,000 new legal cases against individuals uploading large amounts of copyrighted music and are extending actions to Portugal, where the legal market has been devastated by the impact of illegal file-sharing.
Hundreds of people have already paid the price for illegally file-sharing copyrighted material, with average legal settlements of Euro 2,633.
In a development that could be mirrored in other EU countries, thousands of file- sharers in Denmark could now find their online connections cut off by their Internet service providers (ISPs). The ruling follows more than 130 injunctions that have been taken out in France that led to internet users who were illegally file-sharing being disconnected by their ISPs.
In Italy, a series of raids against individual file-sharers and servers in the past fortnight has led to the seizure of more than 70 computers in the search for evidence. Each server had around a thousand users and 30 terabytes of shared music. The Italian authorities also found a large amount of child pornography on one of the servers.
The latest wave of cases, covering actions launched today or brought in recent months, takes the total number of legal actions against uploaders to more than 5,500 in 18 countries outside the US.
These actions, a combination of criminal and civil suits, are aimed at 'uploaders' - people who have put hundreds or thousands of copyrighted songs on to internet file-sharing networks and offered them to millions of people worldwide without permission from the copyright owners. The defendants are likely to face compensation payments averaging several thousand euros.
Today's actions target users of all the major unauthorised p2p networks, including FastTrack (Kazaa), Gnutella (BearShare), eDonkey, DirectConnect, BitTorrent, Limewire, WinMX, and SoulSeek.
The actions are being launched in Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong SAR, Iceland, Italy, Portugal, Sweden and Switzerland.
A Finnish carpenter, a British postman, a Czech IT manager?
A wide variety of people are finding themselves on the receiving end of legal action and paying large financial penalties. They include a Finnish carpenter, a British postman, a Czech IT manager, a German judge, a French chef, a British local councillor and a retired German couple. A large number of cases involve men aged between 20 and 35 and parents who have not heeded successive education and warning campaigns about the legal risks of allowing p2p file-sharing in the home. A new warning is being issued to parents reminding them that they are responsible for what their children do on the family computer. Many of those facing legal action are parents of children who have illegally shared thousands of music files on p2p networks.
The actions come after intense education campaigns by the music industry on the issue. The 'Young People, Music and the Internet' guide, published by Net Family News and the children's charity Childnet International, has been translated into six languages and is available from www.pro-music.org and on Childnet's website www.childnet-int.org/music.
Digital File Check is a freely-available software programme that is available on disc or from the IFPI website - it can help remove or block any of the unwanted file-sharing programmes commonly used to distribute copyrighted files illegally. It can therefore help to stop consumers becoming illegal file-sharers.
Warning to parents:
Mary Louise Morris, head of education and awareness at international children's charity Childnet International says: "In our experience parents are not aware of what their children are doing online and don't know how to begin to ask the right questions. On these file-sharing sites its not only illegal activities like copyright infringement that children might be participating in, but also viewing highly inappropriate materials as well as compromising the security of the home computer. Parents need to get involved with what their children are doing online and take a more active role in guiding them in their use of the Internet."
Containing music piracy:
Illegal file-sharing has a significant impact on the legitimate music markets across the world. Today, IFPI's UK affiliate BPI reports losses in the UK topping £1 billion over the past three years and still rising. Yet there is evidence the tide is turning.
Today's move comes after a round of court judgements, from Denmark to the UK, confirming that unauthorised file-sharers are breaking the law and are liable to pay compensation. In Denmark, a Supreme Court judgement last month, based on the European Copyright Directive, stated that ISPs can be obliged to terminate the connections of customers engaged in internet piracy.
Meanwhile, the latest consumer research, published by IFPI and Jupiter and other independent researchers, suggests that the battle against illegal file-sharing is making progress:
Campaign Spreads Internationally:
IFPI is today announcing that it is bringing actions in Portugal for the first time. Sales of physical music in Portugal have slumped by 40 per cent in the last four years. Much of this is accounted for by the phenomenal rise in illegal file-sharing, especially among college students.
"This is a significant escalation in our worldwide campaign against illegal file-sharing," said John Kennedy, the chairman and chief executive of IFPI. This campaign started in major music markets where sales were falling sharply; now these legal actions have spread to smaller markets in countries like Portugal where it is not an exaggeration to say the future of the whole national market, and local artists, is at stake.
"People who file-share illegally often claim to be music fans but in fact they are hurting investment in music, breaking the law and risking financial penalties by their actions. There have now been so many campaigns to educate people that file-sharing is wrong and illegal that there is simply no excuse for people continue.
"There is a very easy way for people to avoid legal action and escape the viruses that p2p programmes often cause on your computer - the answer is to stop using p2p networks illegally and instead download music legally, via one of the hundreds of online sites and mobile platforms that are now available to music fans".
For further information or to arrange an interview please contact Adrian Strain or Alex Jacob of the IFPI Communications Team on +44 (0)20 7878 7935 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes to Editors
For details of the cases in every country, please see the IFPI Fact Sheet "Breakdown of legal cases against illegal file-sharing" (www.ifpi.org)
IFPI is also today publishing a number of other accompanying materials on www.ifpi.org:Fact Sheet: The damage file-sharing does to the music industry
Fact Sheet: The success of legal actions
Fact Sheet: The legitimate digital music market
Fact Sheet: Educational programmes
Copyright Overview and FAQ
3rd party Quotes
Risks of P2P
Breakdown of cases
IFPI is the organisation that promotes the interests of the international recording industry worldwide. Its membership comprises over 1400 major and independent companies in more than 70 countries. It also has affiliated industry national groups in 48 countries. IFPI's mission is to fight music piracy; promote fair market access and good copyright laws; help develop the legal conditions and the technologies for the recording industry to prosper in the digital era; and to promote the value of music.