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Last Updated: Friday, 1 October, 2004, 13:24 GMT 14:24 UK
US music targets more 'pirates'
Blank CDs
More people are using legitimate download services
The US record industry is suing 32 people at 26 colleges across the country in an effort to stamp out illegal downloading.

Several record companies say the individuals used university networks to illegally distribute material on file-swapping services.

The industry is sueing individual users in an attempt to thwart piracy, which it blames for a downturn in sales.

The move comes despite figures which show the industry is recovering.

"We want music fans to enjoy music online but in a fashion that compensates everyone who worked to create that music," said Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) president Cary Sherman.

If I have to, I will lock up all of the key parties in a room until they come out with an acceptable bill that stops the bad actors and preserves technological innovation
Senator Orrin Hatch

Members of both the high tech and copyright industries are currently in talks to get a bill through called the Inducing Infringements of Copyrights Act.

The bill would make companies liable for enticing people to violate copyrights but technology companies and several consumer groups are worried the legislation will go too far.

Senator Orrin Hatch from Utah, who is chairing the meetings, said he hoped the parties would be able to vote on it next week, after an earlier vote was postponed due to disagreements.

"If I have to, I will lock up all of the key parties in a room until they come out with an acceptable bill that stops the bad actors and preserves technological innovation," he said.

Despite illegal downloading fears, global music sales fell by just 1.3% during the first half of the year, suggesting the market is showing the first signs of recovery.

Optimistic outlook

Much of the growth is due to the growth of DVD music videos but industry figures say piracy is still a problem.

Music sales have been in decline for the past four years, and this is the best first-half year result since 2000.

Audio sales alone fell by 2.7% in contrast to music video sales which increased by 20.2%.

Jay Berman, chairman of the International Federation for the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), said: "There are some signs that the world's markets are beginning to recover. However, markets continue to be hampered by the dual effects of commercial and internet piracy."

But he said more and more people were using legitimate download services.




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