BPI stands for British Phonographic Industry. It is a trade group that represents the record industry in the United Kingdom. Among it's members are hundreds of record companies including the 'big four', Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, Sony BMG & The EMI Group. It's members include manufacturers and distributors, and hundreds of independent music companies representing literally thousands of labels. It was founded in 1973 with the main task of fighting against music piracy.
BPI fights all forms of piracy including commercial piracy and Internet piracy, especially file sharing. The group assists in criminal proceeding against individuals pirating music for profit. It provides expert analysis and witnesses in some cases to help out law enforcement agencies. It has sued many people it accuses of uploading music subject to copyright (owned by its members) using P2P file sharing networks, just like its American equivalent, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the group representing the global record industry, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI).
As in the United States and around the world, most individuals sued for music piracy have settled out of court for a few thousand dollars (or pounds) instead of trying to fight off the trade group.
The BPI is also an important lobbyist for the Industry, ensuring that the government in the United Kingdom hears the cares and concerns of its members. The "Brit Awards" ceremony is also organized and run by the group. The BPI is co-owner of The Official UK Charts Company with retailers' association BARD. Far beyond being the official measure of the nations' most popular song, the charts represent a major promotional vehicle for UK music.
Some recent actions from the BPI include its part in the £41 million settlement ordered to be paid by CD WOW!. Read more about that here: http://www.afterdawn.com/news/archive/9889.cfm
Additionally, the BPI also expressed disappointment with the decision by the UK Government not to pressure the European Commission to extend copyright terms. Read more at: http://www.afterdawn.com/news/archive/10554.cfm
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