Legal actions against file-sharers in Europe

By EDRi · April 12, 2006

About 2000 new legal actions are taken in 10 countries by the International
Federation of Phonographic Industry (IFPI) against file-sharers amounting
now to a total number of 5500 cases outside US.

IFPI persists in its actions against uploaders, stating it targets
persistent file-sharers, who typically upload thousands of music files.
“The campaign started in major music markets where sales were falling
sharply; now these legal actions have spread to smaller markets.” said John
Kennedy, the chairman and chief executive of IFPI.

In UK only, where the music industry states a loss of over £1.1bn over the
last three years, there are 153 ongoing cases. The first cases have occurred
in Portugal as well where the IFPI states sales of tradition al music
formats have fallen by 40% in the last four years.

Geoff Taylor, IFPI general counsel and executive vice president said the
action was aimed at uploaders, but downloaders had to be reminded that their
actions were also illegal and also predicted that the copyright owners would
go after ISPs as well as users.

The IFPI is also keen in warning parents that they are responsible for their
children’s online activities. As an example, last year Sylvia Price was
fined £2,500 after her 14-year-old daughter was accused of sharing music on
the internet.

If the IFPI wins the cases, the defendants could end up paying several
thousand euros. On average, those settling with the IFPI pay around
2,633 euros. Although the industry says that these cases are helping to win
the war on illegal file-sharers and are encouraging people to use legal
services, a report suggests that illegal downloads keep growing in spite of
the legal risks.

IFPI bases its actions on a report made by Jupiter Research stating 35%
illegal file-sharers have reduced and even stopped while only 14% of them
increased their activity and the legal actions were the main reasons for
those who stopped their illegal music consumption.

However, XTN data, a research firm, suggested in its report that fear of
legal action was the least effective in encouraging people to use commercial
services and that more efficient measures would be cheaper prices, the
removal of digital rights management (DRM), and more user-friendly services.
“Clunky software, difficulty in finding tracks and over zealous protection
limiting where customers can play music they’ve bought are continuing to
fuel file-sharing,” said Greig Harper, founder of XTN Data.

He also said: “We’re the only big, anonymous UK survey – I’d be surprised if
people were so honest to an organisation interested in suing them. There are
probably seven million people in the UK file sharing to some extent, even if
it’s just picking up a track once a month, so legal action against so many
people isn’t really a realistic option.”

File-sharers face legal onslaught (4.04.2006)

2000 cases against the P2P-ers (in French only, 5.04.2006)

U.K. music biz vexed by file sharing (4.04.2006)

Thousands more file sharers sued (4.04.2006)