Thursday, October 07, 2004

BPI LET THE DOGS OUT: They've been itching to do it - even though it'll do no good and makes them look terrible: the BPI are sending the lawyers in. They've identified 28 UK filesharers who they believe are "large scale" uploaders (although if they're using the RIAA's definition of "large scale", that could just mean someone with the A-Team theme tune and a Jesus Jones b-side on their hard drive) who they are about to set out to ruin.

The press release the BPI are pushing suggests "[t]he large-scale uploaders subject to legal action include users of the KaZaA, Imesh, Grokster, Bearshare and WinMX networks." In other words, they're not even touching bittorrent, which is where the swapping really takes place. It's like suggesting you're going after the Mr. Bigs of the illegal gambling circuit, and sending the police in to break up an office sweep on the Grand National instead.

But don't run away with the idea that the BPI are sporting huge erections at the thought of getting to spend some time in Rumpole's chambers with real-life lawyers. It's done with a heavy heart:

"We have resisted legal action as long as we could," says [BPI Chair] Jamieson. "We have done everything we can to raise awareness of this problem. We have encouraged legal services and launched an Official Download Chart.

"But we would be derelict in our duty to protect and promote British music were we not to take action to demonstrate that this activity is illegal and harmful to every aspect of the creative British music industry. We believe we have no alternative other than to enforce our rights through the courts."


Except, of course, British music has been happily co-exisiting with filesharing for six years, and is in rather rude health. The bottom of the press release suggests there's something else at work here:

The announcement of the first actions in the UK forms part of an announcement from international record companies' trade body the IFPI of a total of 459 new legal actions against illegal filesharers across six European countries.

Yep, just as Bush more or less bounced Blair into Iraq so that he wouldn't be seen to be acting alone, this whole slew of actions is being forced on everyone by the RIAA and their international puppet, the IFPI. The RIAA have been badly stung by not having an answer to the obvvious question "if suing twelve year olds stopped filesharing, why isn't everyone doing it?", and it would take a cynic not to wonder if the accession of a chap from the British Music Industry to being at the "head" of the IFPI wasn't in some way linked with this sudden activity on the legal front.


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