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Thursday, 22 March, 2001, 13:20 GMT
Classic bands top net bootleg chart
Queen guitarist Brian May
Queen guitarist Brian May: His band are in demand
The music of older, established bands is being distributed illegally over the internet much more than that of their younger, chart-topping counterparts, a survey has revealed.

British rockers Queen - whose lead singer Freddie Mercury died a decade ago - have the highest number of bootleg websites, with 12,225.

Many seasoned artists... are no longer prepared to be victims of cyber-mugging

Mel Croucher
CEO, My-Reputation
And the survey highlights the fact that Napster is not the music industry's only online worry - and that there are many other, smaller sites also breaking copyright laws.

Even 1950s and 60s artists like Donovan and Buddy Holly have over 1,000 bootleg websites each - but current boy band Boyzone have only 541.

'Silver surfers'

Chart bands have far fewer sites dedicated to distributing their illegal recordings in general, the survey says.

Some sites are run as hobbies by fans, but others are operated as businesses by people selling digital music files as well as CDs and cassettes of copied albums or live performances.

The survey was carried out by My-Reputation, who say they are able to act as an internet bodyguard and protect a celebrity's interests on the internet.

They say that the huge difference in the numbers of sites dedicated to older bands may be down to "silver surfers" - a name given to older people connected to the internet.

Computer users in an internet cafe
The internet's use is difficult to police
Older fans may be more savvy and do not see the point in paying for music when they can get it for free, they say.

"But bootleggers should watch out," says Mel Croucher, CEO of My-Reputation.

"In line with the recent Napster ruling, many seasoned artists are becoming aware of the extent of continuing interest in them and are no longer prepared to be victims of cyber-mugging."

Napster is an internet service allowing music fans to swap songs with each other without having to pay royalties to the artists.

But an American court recently ruled that it must block access to those tracks where it was breaching copyright.

Queen were recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and American institution that honours those who have made the largest contributions to rock music.

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See also:

20 Mar 01 | Music
Queen join rock royalty
14 Mar 01 | Entertainment
Napster ally sets new deadline
28 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Net closes on Roy Orbison fans
16 Feb 01 | Talking Point
Napster: Do you agree with the ruling?
06 Jun 00 | Entertainment
MP3: A novice's guide
18 Oct 00 | Business settles with publishers
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