Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Music Industry sets out to sink piracy

In the past few weeks, more than 8,000 new legal cases have been launched against illegal music downloaders across 17 countries, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) revealed. The industry-sponsored IFPI has been at the forefront of the battle against pirated digital music with its aims of redirecting the billions of dollars that currently line the pockets of pirates into legal, bonafide channels.

Singapore is in the thick of the action as the Recording Industry Association of Singapore (RIAS) has reported 25 new cases of illegal music file-sharing and downloading to the authorities. This comes only days after the police raided the homes of seven illegal music downloaders. RIAS says that the new cases involve users who are illegally downloading and sharing music files via international networks like Limewire and Gnutella. It has filed these cases with the police, in line with international efforts to deter copyright theft.

In October last year, over 800 instant warning messages were sent to illegal music file-sharers. That number dipped to 32 last month alone. In February, two Singaporean men were jailed four months and three months respectively for distributing hundreds of pirated digital music files through an Internet chat program. They were the first to be punished in Singapore for a non profit-making offence under the city-state's Copyright Act. A third offender, who was only 16 years old, received a formal warning.

With the net tightening further around the pirates, the question remains for how long music piracy can continue to flourish here? Does this latest round of arrests finally herald the boom of the legal online music industry? Or will Pirates find ways to clean up their tracks with more sophisticated software? Let us know what you think.