In what it calls "the second phase of our education program with Canadian users of file-sharing services," Canadian Recording Industry Association president Brian Robertson said CRIA will use the Instant Messaging function of the peer-to-peer networks such as Kazaa to communicate its message to individuals who appear to be distributing copyrighted music without authorization from the rights owners.
Unlike the Recording Industry Association of America, its U.S. counterpart, its U.S. counterpart, CRIA has not launched lawsuits against users of such networks as Kazaa, which share digitized versions of music CDs.
The U.S. action, however, has been the subject of a number of countersuits, many from Internet service providers challenging the recording industry's demand to reveal the names of those people who are sharing files.
The service providers are arguing that they are not responsible for what users pass along their networks, in the same way that telephone companies are not responsible for what people say on the their lines or the way that cable companies are not responsible for the TV signals they carry.
One U.S. lawyer, who has received a summons, is planning a defence based on forcing the recording industry to prove that he was distributing files; he is claiming that other users were just taking them from his shared files.
CRIA, a trade organization founded in 1964 to represent the interests of Canadian companies that create, manufacture and market sound recordings, represents 95 per cent of the sound recordings that are manufactured and sold in Canada.
The Canadian recording industry, however, has persuaded the Canadian government to institute a levy on all recordable media commonly used to record downloaded music files. Over the past few years, the industry has collected in excess of $70-million (Cdn.).
Canadian file-sharing enthusiasts have been arguing that by paying the levy, they have already reimbursed the industry and the artists for the files they share.
Instant messaging is built into the software required to join the networks and trade music files. There is, however, an option to turn that feature off.