Campaign against downloads to continue

BERLIN — John Kennedy, chairman-CEO of the Intl. Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), has defended the biggest police action ever in Germany against online piracy, saying the campaign against illicit online downloads is likely to continue.

German police conducted nationwide raids Tuesday of 130 homes after compiling evidence on suspected users of peer-to-peer platform eDonkey.

“We are not eager to take people to court,” Kennedy said. “It would be fantastic if people learned and changed their behavior. But I’m afraid we’ll have to continue this campaign for a long time.”

While no arrests were made, authorities confiscated about 100 computers and thousands of CDs, which police suspect contain illegally obtained music, software and games.

In addition, prosecutors have launched investigations against 3,500 eDonkey users who allegedly offered up to 8,000 files on the swap platform.

Guilty parties face fines ranging from $2,500 to $19,000 and, in cases of severe copyright violations, up to three years in jail.

Cologne District Attorney Jurgen Krautkremer said he was surprised at the ages of the alleged culprits, which range evenly across German society, with only a few under the age of 20.

The raids followed a months-long probe by authorities, who worked closely with IFPI-affiliated protection agency ProMedia Gesellschaft zum Schutze geistigen Eigentums using specially developed software to track online piracy.

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