Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Recording industry targets Aussie downloaders - Digital Music - Gadgets

My understanding is that the individuals who have been targeted by the music industry in the US were those who made files available for download rather than those who downloaded. Article is ambiguous about this.

It would seem an invasion of privacy and undue burdon if ISPs were asked to moniter and police the online activity of their customers.

Recording industry targets Aussie downloaders - Digital Music - Gadgets

Recording industry targets Aussie downloaders

Asher Moses
October 31, 2006
Chairman and CEO of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, John Kennedy.

Chairman and CEO of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, John Kennedy.

The peak body representing the interests of the world's music companies has issued a stern warning to Australians: obtain your music illegally and we'll get your internet provider to terminate your service.

John Kennedy, chairman and CEO of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), will be meeting members of the local music industry today to formulate a strategy around clamping down on people who download pirated music.

Mr Kennedy, who is based in London, arrived in Sydney on Sunday for the ARIA Awards.

He plans to first approach internet service providers (ISPs), urging them to terminate the contracts of those who obtain their music through illegal means.

"What we hope is our next step is to engage ISPs in performing a role in dealing with piracy online," he said.

Mr Kennedy added that the terms and conditions of most ISPs state that "if you infringe copyright they will disconnect you", but he said these provisions were "hidden further down".

If ISPs refuse to co-operate, Mr Kennedy said he would take his requests up to Australian politicians.

"We're saying to governments: 'If the ISPs aren't willing to do this on a voluntary basis, isn't this something you're prepared to regulate?' " he said.

To date, targeting individuals for music piracy has occurred mainly in the US and Europe.

Earlier this month, the IFPI launched 8000 lawsuits against alleged file-sharers in 17 countries.

The industry has up until now filed approximately 18,000 lawsuits in the United States and 13,000 in the rest of the world.

Mr Kennedy admits that the measures he has taking are "draconian", but said it was the only way to convince users to obtain their music legally.

"It's very hard to shift those who have got into the habit of taking their music illegally," he said.

"Free is very difficult to compete with.

"It would be wonderful to think that human nature is such that if you point out online piracy isn't a victimless crime ... this would be an awakening ... [for] consumers and they would suddenly go to consume their music legally. Life isn't like that, unfortunately."

In a recent report, the IFPI said global digital music sales climbed 106 per cent during the first six months of 2006, to $US945 million ($1.2 billion). This represents 11 per cent of worldwide recorded music sales.

But in total, music sales are down 4 per cent during the same six-month period, a result of lagging compact disc sales.

While his campaign in Australia "hasn't really started" yet, Mr Kennedy said that global support had been "close to zero".

But political support was beginning to ramp up, he said.

"When we first started the fight against online piracy, we were in a very hostile market. Media and politicians seem to be concerned about taking a draconian approach," he said.

"And then when we sat down and discussed it ... there was a sea change and they realised that if we didn't take action, then this industry, which provided employment and nurtured talent and helped local culture and delivered wonderful entertainment to consumers was going to fall to its knees."

Taking action at the ISP level is seen as the next step up from flagging the illegal use of copyrighted music on services such as MySpace and YouTube.

Today MySpace announced that it would use "audio fingerprinting" technology to block its users from uploading copyright music.

The company said users who repeatedly attempted to upload copyright music files would be barred permanently from the site.

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