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UK's National Consumer Council criticises BPI over lawsuits

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 08 Oct 2005 15:41 User comments (8)

UK's National Consumer Council criticises BPI over lawsuits UK consumer watchdog, the National Consumer Council (NCC), has criticised the music industry in the UK for its "heavy-handed" use of court action against file sharers it accuses of illegally distributing copyright music files online. The NCC said that instead of this legal action, the recording industry should be looking for an affordable way of allowing fans to trade songs without dragging them to court. The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) has settled with about 60 Internet users so far for sums of money that range between 2,000 and 6,500.
The BPI claims that anyone it files lawsuits against has traded massive amounts of copyrighted music, thousands of songs in some cases. "There needs to be an affordable way of allowing music to be traded in the same way systems for downloading music legally have been developed." said the NCC's director of policy, Jill Johnstone. "There needs to be balance between the rights of the artist and those of the consumer. At the moment the balance is all on the side of the record companies."

The BPI was very angry about the criticism and has responded to the NCC. "We are not taking action against consumers. We are pursuing people who are taking music without permission and infringing the rights we have under the law." said Peter Jamieson who stressed the BPI was not taking criminal actions against file sharers. "When people cross the line from being paying customers to taking music without permission, they can no longer be regarded as consumers - they are law breakers."

The BPI claims the recording industry lost 650 million as a result of illegal file trading and it blames P2P for a 22% decrease in global music sales between 1999 and 2004. To sue a file sharer, the BPI needs the IP address of the user. This then leads to an ISP being forced to hand over the subscriber details of the user. Ms Johnstone also warned that tightening of the law on intellectual property will just make it worse for UK surfers.

The European Commission announced in July it was proposing to make widescale deliberate infringements of intellectual property rights a criminal offence. The NCC believes the proposed European directive is unclear and could potentially lead to people like home computer users being snared in the legislation. "Criminal sanctions for infringing copyright holders' rights must be applied only to organised crime - not to individual citizens making use of new technologies." Johnstone said.

Source:
Scotsman.com

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8 user comments

18.10.2005 17:39

Quote:
The NCC said that instead of this legal action, the recording industry should be looking for an affordable way of allowing fans to trade songs without dragging them to court
Could not agree more with that, fair play to the BPI if they are actually taking people to court that upload Hugh amounts of files causing disruption to the market but..
Quote:
We are not taking action against consumers. We are pursuing people who are taking music without permission and infringing the rights we have under the law.
http://www.afterdawn.com/news/archive/6747.cfm So 14 year old girls are uploading massive amounts of files?!?!? I use p2p and i don't manage to upload massive amounts of data so how is a 14 year old girl that has school going to do it??? And even if there was a 22% decrease in global music sales between 1999 and 2004 it's not because of the Internet its because the music is not as good as it used to be, i have not bought a CD for over 3 years not because i can download it but because its all rubbish.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 08 Oct 2005 @ 17:46

29.10.2005 2:25

Quote:
"When people cross the line from being paying customers to taking music without permission, they can no longer be regarded as consumers - they are law breakers."
So where do they draw the line? If I download most of the songs on an album and then go out and buy the CD, am I braking the law or am I still considerd a consumer? I doubt there are any guidelines to determine this.

39.10.2005 7:09

I would urge UK citizens to contact the NCC and ask them to lobby for Fair Use laws in the UK (ideally at an EU level). It's only a matter of time before they start snooping to see whose successfully ripped copyprotected CDs onto their MP3 player.

49.10.2005 7:14

after all these are the same idiots who ran this campaign throughout my youth : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Home_taping_is_killing_music

59.10.2005 8:02

Quote:
The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) has settled with about 60 Internet users so far for sums of money that range between 2,000 and 6,500.
all i can say is i'm thankful that i live in the UK... because in the UK there are about 58 million people... so it is pretty much a one in a million chance of getting caught (talking about general population, but it is good enough for me :). unlike in the US (most of my music is american) where there have been thousands upon thousands of suits. i actually think the bpi are very reasonable, only going for major sharers. that just means a little common sense on our part, and we won't be caught

69.10.2005 15:27

Amazing isn't it. Thousand of suits in the US and their sales still keep dropping. These law suits are nothing more that a means for record company executives to cover their sorry asses for years of wrong decisions, ignorance to the market and the mere fact that their industry's hay day has long gone. After all they have to blame someone when their AGM comes around and shareholders start asking questions.

710.10.2005 19:49

Quote: ================================= The BPI claims the recording industry lost 650 million as a result of illegal file trading and it blames P2P for a 22% decrease in global music sales between 1999 and 2004. ================================= Alright then, between 1999 and 2004 to get the songs that were actually good I had to purchase the entire album on CD. On these albums I purchased was 88% annoying unwanted filler songs i.e. garbage bytes necessary to fill the remaining unused storage media. Using BPI's logic it looks like the RIAA owes me an 88% refund on the total amount $$$ that I spent on their product.

812.10.2005 4:14

An interesting recent observation showed that the rocord compnaies do not include legal music downloads in their sales figures nor reflect those downloads in their various charts. Ipod and other legal music downloads represent around 7% of total music sales. This is close to the figure the RIAA say sales are down. As I have said countless times. This push by the record companies is about distribution not sales. Footnote. I wonder what the top 100 charts would look like if downloads were included. Current charts are based on retail outlet pre orders, not actual sales. Downloads are actual sales. Maybe the charts would have a different look altogether. Now that is something the record companies would not like to see, new releases pushed out of the charts by some song from the 1975.

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