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Last Updated: Friday, 27 June, 2003, 10:34 GMT 11:34 UK
Music swappers plan protests
Morpheus website
Morpheus allows people to swap music files over the internet
The head of the company behind the music-swapping software Morpheus has said he will lobby Congress over US music industry plans to sue those who swap songs through "peer-to-peer" software the internet.

It comes after the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) said it would sue individuals who used software like Morpheus to illegally distribute songs over the internet.

Michael Weiss, chief executive of Los Angeles-based StreamCast, said: "The record industry called peer-to-peer users pirates, but what these people are are hundreds of millions of voters."

"At the end of next month, we're going to be involved in helping to mobilise peer-to-peer users around the world and ultimately around the globe to ensure that their voices are heard," he said.

"There's been too much misinformation and rhetoric. We're going to facilitate that consumers' voices are heard in Congress."

August lawsuits

A US judge recently ruled the Morpheus software was not responsible for the distribution of copyright-infringing music files.

The RIAA forced telecommunications company Verizon to hand over the personal details of computer users it accused of sharing large amounts of songs over the internet. It expects to file its first lawsuits in August.

Downloading internet music
The recording industry is hitting back at copyright abuse

Mr Weiss was formerly a lobbyist for the video industry against the Motion Picture Association of America's efforts to stop legal rental of home videos.

"History keeps repeating itself and has shown that you cannot stop technological innovation. The sooner they get onto it, the sooner they will profit from it," Mr Weiss said.

Last week, a US senator said he wanted to develop new technology which would remotely destroy the computers of people who illegally download music tracks.

Senator Orrin Hatch, a Republican representing Utah, asked technology chiefs at a hearing in Washington about whether they could develop ways to damage or destroy the computers, though legal experts argued it would contravene anti-hacking laws.

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11 May 03  |  Technology

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