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Last Updated: Friday, 29 June 2007, 13:48 GMT 14:48 UK
Piracy police raid Honeywell site
Computer disc burners
Sharing music files across computers, as well as copying CDs, can be a criminal offence
The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) is investigating allegations of an extensive illegal music filesharing ring at a Honeywell plant in Scotland.

Investigators from the BPI raided the plant in Motherwell with police officers at 0840 BST yesterday morning.

The investigators made copies of the contents of computers for detailed forensic analysis.

Honeywell said that it was cooperating fully with both the police and the BPI over the investigation.

Legal boundaries

The BPI says the raid follows a two-month investigation prompted by a tip-off from a Honeywell employee.

The BPI said the information from the insider pointed to "thousands of music files being shared illegally".

This is the first time that the BPI has raided a business in pursuit of illegal music filesharing. Previous such raids have concentrated on domestic filesharing.

It is illegal to copy and distribute songs on an internal company computer network but no company has yet been prosecuted due to such activites taking place on its premises.

Filesharing music in the workplace is illegal
Geoff Taylor, chief executive BPI

A number of Honeywell employees are assisting the police with their enquiries and a report will be submitted to the the Procurator Fiscal, Scotland's official prosecutor.

Ann Van Hooydonck, a Honeywell spokeswoman in Europe, said the company "considers copyright infringement a very serious matter" and has policies aimed at preventing piracy on its premises.

BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor stressed the legal liabilities of businesses that do not put strict policies in place to prevent staff copying and distributing music on company equipment.

"Filesharing music in the workplace is illegal, misuses company resources, wastes employees' time and introduces network security risks," Mr Taylor said.

He pointed out that failure to put an anti-piracy policy in place "could expose the company, and the employees concerned, to the risk of civil proceedings or a criminal investigation."

Filesharing is illegal if the music is copyrighted and permission has not been sought.

The Motherwell plant manufactures electronic building control systems.

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