Legal actions against thousands of music file-sharers across the world were announced today as the recording industry stepped up its campaign to deter copyright theft and promote legitimate use of music on the internet.
Over 8,000 new cases in 17 countries are being announced today, including the first ever cases against illegal file-sharing in the two biggest markets of South America and in Eastern Europe. A total of more than 13,000 legal actions have now been taken outside the United States.
Legal actions are being extended to Brazil, where more than one billion music tracks were illegally downloaded last year and a country where record company revenues have nearly halved since 2000.
Mexico and Poland are also seeing actions for the first time - while a further 14 countries are launching fresh actions against illegal file-sharing.
Over 2,300 of people have already paid the price for illegally file-sharing copyrighted material, with average legal settlements of €2,420.
Legal actions are being brought against a wide variety of people, ranging from a laboratory assistant in Finland to a German parson.
Many of those on the receiving end of legal action are parents whose children have been illegally file-sharing. They are finding that in many countries they are liable for any activities third parties undertake using their internet connection. In Argentina, one mother made her son sell off his car to pay her back the settlement fee.
The actions are being taken in Argentina, Austria, Brazil, a combination of criminal and civil suits, are aimed at 'uploaders' - people who have put hundreds or thousands of copyrighted songs onto internet file-sharing networks and offered them to millions of people worldwide without permission from the copyright owners. The industry is targeting uploaders using all the major unauthorised P2P services, including BitTorrent, eDonkey, DirectConnect, Gnutella, Limewire, SoulSeek and WinMX.
The campaign involves illegal file-sharers in Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Singapore and Switzerland.