TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: File Sharers Hit With Criminal Charges

File Sharers Hit With Criminal Charges

Adam Pasick (
Tue, 23 May 2006 11:11:06 -0500

German file-sharers hit with criminal charges
By Adam Pasick

German police have filed criminal charges against 3,500 people accused
of using the eDonkey file-sharing network to share copyrighted music
illegally, the recording industry's trade group said on Tuesday.

The music industry has filed thousands of lawsuits in its fight
against online piracy, but criminal prosecutions have been relatively
rare. Users could face a maximum penalty of five years in prison if
the music files were shared for commercial purposes.

"No one should be surprised that we are stepping up our campaign in
this way," said John Kennedy, chairman and chief executive of the
International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. "Internet
piracy has hurt the whole music community in Germany, with legitimate
sales falling by a third in just five years."

Global music sales have been on the decline for years, but the rate of
decline slowed to about 1 percent last year due to crackdowns on
piracy and the growth of legitimate online music services like Apple's
iTunes. The world's top music companies have voiced hopes that the
Internet will eventually offset continued declines in physical formats
like CDs.

The charges announced in Germany are aimed at people who upload music
to file-sharing networks, not those who solely download music to their

Copyright 2006 Reuters Limited.

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