The London-based International Federation of the Phonographic Industry group (IFPI) has filed suit against 459 groups and individuals throughout western Europe for illegally sharing music on the Internet.
The lawsuits target specifically those who upload large quantities of music to such peer-to-peer services as KaZaA, EDonkey/eMule, Gnutella, WinMX, OpenNap, and DirectConnect services. 100 cases are being launched in Austria, 174 in Denmark, 50 in France, 100 in Germany, 7 in Italy, and 28 in the United Kingdom. Vatican City has apparently escaped the IFPI’s scrutiny.
Chairman and CEO of the IFPI, Jay Berman, said: “We are taking this action as a last resort and we are doing it after a very long public awareness campaign. We have spent more than a year discussing the damage illegal file-sharing is doing to the music industry, including countless warnings of the legal consequences. We have been to the networks to ask them to stop the illegal activity taking place on their services, and we have gone straight to the illegal file-sharers with millions of instant messages.”
“Now, finally, we are at the point where the law has to be enforced. There is quite simply no longer any excuse for illegally file-sharing. People who love music should buy it online and not swap files illegally. If they do continue to engage in illegal music file-sharing they are in effect engaged in copyright theft, and may therefore have to face the legal consequences.”
This is the second series of lawsuits initiated by the group. An earlier round of suits were filed against a smaller group of individuals in Germany and Denmark. Those people have agree to pay up to 13,000 euros ($16,000 each) in fines. To date, over 5,700 similar suits have been filed in the U.S.