By Jon Newton 8/2/03
Having set the RIAA loose on North American file sharers, mostly students, the record labels are now turning on Europe.
They've instructed Landwell, one of the largest law houses in the world which acts for PricewaterhouseCoopers, the giant multinational accounting firm, to prosecute 4,000 file sharers in Spain identified as "serious" unauthorized downloaders of copyrighted songs, films and software, says CNET News.com here.
Will Landwell next follow the RIAA's lead and switch from targetting so-called
major file sharing operators to individuals?
"Spain's Association of Internet Users (Asociacion de Internautas) said Landwell was unlikely to be able to track down individual users based on the information they had acquired so far," CNET says. "It is just their IP address, and it's up to a judge to issue an order to disclose the user identity and check if some illegal activity has been taking place ..."
Earlier this month, Landwell issued the threat, "on behalf of clients that have remained unnamed to avoid a backlash by consumers," says the report. "The company said it had gathered data such as IP addresses on 95,000 file-traders by tapping into P2P systems with older versions of the P2P clients, which don't encrypt such information."
However, civil liberties and Internet user groups say they doubt if the case is valid under Spanish law, or indeed if it'll even be filed, calling it a scare tactic to dampen the use of P2P systems.
And Article 270 of the Spanish penal code specifically allows people to share files as long as there's no profit involved, says CNET.
Apparently, it's 'No Comment' from Landwell and PricewaterhouseCoopers
In the UK ...
In England, the BPI (British Phonographic Industry - Britain's RIAA) says it'll wait until the new European Union copyright directive is implemented - probably in October - before it decides whether or not to take legal action against UK p2p users, says VNUNET.com here.
"People have this perception of P2P users as poor students, but there are some people who download seriously large amounts of files," VNUNET quotes a BPI spokesman as saying, going on:
"While it is not our intention to sue it is not something we would rule out once the directive is enforced. The heavy users are the ones we would go after."
Jon Newton is the editor of p2pnet.net and is a regular contributer to MP3 Newswire. Jon's site is devoted to the politics of digital music and his insights as well as those of his co-writers can be read there. We urge you to explore it.
The 128MB Philips PSA MP3 player for the gym is available on Amazon
Other MP3 stories:
Copyrights: Two-thirds of Adult File Traders Couldn't Care Less.
Rumor: The iPod Movie Player