The UK is no place for Napster

Napster clones will be sued by Europe's music watchdog if they operate in the UK

Napster clones setting up in the UK will be stamped out warns the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) Tuesday in order to allow "legitimate music on the Internet to flourish".

Napster -- the song swapping software which allows music enthusiasts to download MP3 files of their favourite tunes for free -- has outraged the music industry in the US, leading the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) and artists like Metallica and Rapper Dr Dre to take the firm to court. In the latest case, Dr Dre is also threatening to sue individual users for copyright violation.

Europe's music watchdog the IFPI is taking the Napster threat seriously. "If ever a UK-based version was set up we would take action," says Mike Edwards, IFPI's director of operations. "We have found a number of Napster type sites in Europe and elsewhere and we will certainly be taking action in these cases," he adds.

There are no plans currently to take individual users to court but Edwards does not rule it out. "Napster can be stopped by legal means. The bigger problem is Napster technology like Gnutella where there isn't a central server. Here we may have to take action against individuals," he says. "We are prepared to take whatever action is necessary so that legitimate music on the Internet can flourish.

Not everyone in the music industry is anti-Napster. Recently hard rockers Limp Bizkit came out in support of the company. Napster, which was set up by college drop-out Shawn Fanning, is sponsoring their current US tour.

Taking issue with fellow musicians Dr. Dre and Metallica, the Chuckster has come out foursquare behind Napster Inc. Go with Charles Cooper to AnchorDesk UK for the news comment.

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