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Legal war against file-sharers spills over US borders

247 unlucky listeners hit in Europe and Canada
Written by Ron Coates, Contributor

247 unlucky listeners hit in Europe and Canada

The recording industry has taken its legal battle against file-sharing over US borders and across the Atlantic for the first time.

National recording industry associations in Denmark, Germany, Italy and Canada have brought in the full might of local law to deal with 247 unlucky selected users. These are described as heavy users, accused of offering a large number of songs online.

The actions vary in accordance with national laws and character - there is a European law on copyright but, as not all EU countries have yet ratified it, local laws must suffice.

The most unlucky are the Italians. The public prosecutor in Milan has charged 30 people and ordered raids to seize computers, hard disks, storage systems and 50,000 files.

In Germany, 68 people have been reported to the authorities for suspected violations. Germans have a real taste for burning songs onto CDs - last year sales of recorded music in the country fell by 20 per cent. It would appear that while nailing people for burning is difficult, the authorities can get them for downloading.

In Denmark, 120 people have been sent 'civil demand' letters that basically tell them to stop it and, by the way, pay some compensation.

In Canada, the association is trying to get the identities of 29 file-sharers from their ISPs.

And, in the meantime, the British Phonographic Industry continues to send warning messages to users of file-sharing services and threaten legal action.

The International Association of the Phonographic Industry claims that legal action has had some success in the US, saying that this time last year Kazaa had 900 million files but now has only 550 million.

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