Org to sue 24 individuals in Denmark

LONDON — The European music biz is planning a new wave of litigation a little more than two months after its first round of legal action outside the U.S., the Intl. Federation of the Phonographic Industry said Tuesday.

The IFPI said it will sue 24 individuals in Denmark for swapping music online; org also put the U.K., France, Sweden and Japan on notice that they could become target countries if they don’t crack down on their rampant piracy problems.

“Governments have an important role to play in the fight against illegal file-sharing, which affects not only the music sector but increasingly the film and other creative industries,” IFPI prexy Jay Berman said in a statement. “Initiatives such as the French government’s recently announced action plan against Internet piracy are particularly welcome.”

The recording industry has already sued 2,950 people in the U.S. and previously announced 230 suits against individuals in Denmark, Italy and Canada.

The IFPI believes the international legal dragnet is producing results. Org claims the European public now is more aware that swapping unauthorized music on the Internet is illegal and says the number of files available on unauthorized peer-to-peer sites has fallen sharply in recent months.

An IFPI survey conducted in Denmark, France, Germany and the U.K. said seven out of 10 people know file-sharing is illegal and claimed the amount of infringements is down more than 25% from June 2003.

IFPI also said there are more than 100 legal sites worldwide, a five-fold increase from more than a year ago.

The first legal cases in Europe — mirroring those of the Recording Industry Assn. of America — have cost file-sharers heavily in fines. In Denmark, 17 individuals agreed to pay compensation averaging several thousand euros, while dozens more are negotiating settlement amounts. In Germany, one file-sharer has been forced to cough up E8,000 ($9,800) in compensation. In Italy, 30 individuals charged with copyright infringement are awaiting trial.

“We are not claiming victory yet, but we are encouraged by the way the market is developing, and by the shift we see in public opinion,” Berman added.

(Susan Crabtree in Washington contributed to this report.)

Filed Under:

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more