[rumori] Music Industry tracking file-sharing


From: Steev Hise (steevATdetritus.net)
Date: Fri Feb 16 2001 - 09:14:59 PST


February 16, 2001

Tech Center

Music Industry Is Developing Tool
For Tracking Use of File-Sharing

By EDWARD TAYLOR
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

BRUSSELS -- The music industry may have found a new tool to deter the
distribution of illegally copied songs over the Internet.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industries, which
represents the global music industry, is testing software that allows
members to speed up prosecution for piracy by tracking peoples' use of free
file-sharing services such as Napster Inc.

Olivier Maeterlinck, legal counsel for the IFPI's Belgian unit, described
the software as a "search engine" that could be used to help identify and
prosecute people who make illegal copies of songs available on the
Internet.

Adrian Strain, a spokesman for the IFPI in London, said no decision had
been made about the timing of the rollout of the product, which is being
tested in London by its Anti-Piracy Unit. "It's not ready to go out in the
next week," he said. Still, he confirmed that the industry is keen to see
it put to use. Mr. Strain said the software would help copyright holders
identify "infringing uses of [copyright-protected] works on the Internet."

The IFPI plans to make the software program under development available to
its national affiliates around the world.

Napster officials couldn't be reached for comment.

The IFPI, its affiliates and individual music companies have already
successfully prosecuted individuals and companies in the U.S., France,
Belgium and China for making illegal copies of music available over the
Internet. As a result of one such suit, a U.S. appeals court this week
declared Napster's facilitation of trading of copyright-protected music
illegal. Napster, which boasts millions of users, is appealing the verdict
and has called on its supporters to lobby the U.S. Congress for relief.

Until now, however, prosecuting individual users has been difficult because
illegal copying was tracked manually. That involves logging on to the
Napster site and observing who is making music available.
In addition, police in many countries have often been reluctant to pursue
copyright infringement cases because the penalties weren't a sufficient
deterrent. "In most of Europe the penalties are not sufficient to deter
people from engaging in illegal activities," said Marie-Therese Huppertz, a
lobbyist with Microsoft Corp. in Brussels.

The European Union is nearing final approval of a Copyright Directive that
for the first time would allow copyright owners to employ encryption and
other technical protection measures to prevent their works from being
pirated. But the law won't take effect for another two years.

In the meantime, many industries, including the software, video, video-game
and music industries, have begun taking matters into their own hands.

Spurred by Belgian record companies, IFPI Belgium has warned 12,000 Napster
users to stop infringing copyright, said Marcel Heymans, a spokesman for
the organization. The organization has monitored use of Napster and
demanded that Internet service providers disclose the names of people who
use the service to copy music illegally.

It has also been working with local police authorities to catch Internet
pirates in the act. With help from Mr. Maeterlinck, Belgian police are
pursuing 10 prosecutions for copyright infringement against people whose
activity on the Napster site was being monitored.

IFPI members are seeking damages of around $9 or 10 euros per album, said
Mr. Maeterlinck. On top of that, Belgian law could lead to a fine of 20,000
Belgian francs ($455 or 496 euros) to 20 million Belgian francs for piracy,
he said.

IFPI's Belgian unit has been manually monitoring Napster and similar
services since May 22, 2000, said Mr. Maeterlinck

In their most recent swoop on Jan. 5, four police officers launched a dawn
raid on a house in Antwerp. Four hours later the police walked off with
computer equipment, disks and CD-ROM's. Three people have had computer
equipment confiscated so far and prosecutions are pending. Belgian police
refused to give out the names of the people under investigation.

Olivier Bogaert, head of Belgium's Computer Crimes Unit, said he has been
looking at the number of downloads as well as the amount of time spent on
the site. "Everyone who uses Napster will have a problem," he said. Even
people who are simply downloading songs for their own use may be abetting
the illegal distribution of music; that's because Napster ensures that most
people seeking songs from others via its service also make available any
songs they have on their own hard disks, unless they specifically decline
to allow it. Most don't.

In most countries it is legal to make a copy of legally purchased songs for
private use, but it is generally illegal to re-sell such copies without the
permission of the musician or record company.

-- Brandon Mitchener contributed to this report.
Write to Edward Taylor at edward.taylorATwsj.com2

------------------------------------------------------------------------
URL for this Article:
http://interactive.wsj.com/archive/retrieve.cgi?id=SB982265017393375257.djm

Hyperlinks in this Article:
(1) http://wellengaged.com/engaged/wsj.cgi?c=WSJ7&t=1683
(2) mailto:edward.taylorATwsj.com

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Copyright 2001 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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