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Thursday, 13 February, 2003, 13:34 GMT
Firms warned over music piracy
CD copying is easy, BBC
Workplace music piracy is hurting the record industry
Hundreds of large companies are being sent a guide by the music industry warning them that staff are downloading music illegally over the internet.

The guides, sent out by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) on Thursday, show companies how to prevent staff from downloading tracks using office computers and networks.

The global campaign has been started to try and curb the massive amounts of music being downloaded during office hours.

Such copying "can tarnish corporate reputations, increase security risks for computer systems and put organisations at risk of legal prosecution," an IFPI statement said.

CD-Rom drive
A US company got fined $1m for staff swapping illegal music

The record industry says such downloading deprives it of billions of dollars in revenue.

The drive to stop workplace music piracy follows stringent new measures in the US.

Last April, a company in Arizona, Integrated Information Systems Inc, was fined $1m (625,000) for allowing its staff to swap thousands of illegal music files through its computer network.

The IFPI, however, is wanting to get companies in Europe co-operating rather than threatening penalties.

"I think it is more of a problem in the US at the moment," a spokesman for the IFPI said.

Responsibilities

"But as broadband grows in Europe we think it is going to be a big problem here too.

"We think this is advice the companies need.

"We are pointing out the their responsibilities if their networks are used for uploading infringing music," he said.

The guides say companies are more at risk from computer viruses and that the copying wastes storage space and staff time, as well as the legal implications.

The problems of digital music piracy have rocked the recording industry in the last decade.

Two years ago the music-swapping site Napster was shut down, but other sites have quickly replaced it.

At an industry convention in Cannes, France last month, IFPI chief executive Jay Berman warned 600,000 music industry jobs in Europe could disappear if online piracy was not curbed.

See also:

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