THE MUSIC BUSINESS in Europe has started trying to sue online song sharers, with a raft of writs fired off in the direction of uploaders in Denmark, Germany, Italy and, um, Canada, today.
A body representing the music industry, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) targeted 247 alleged illegal file-sharers, charging individuals with "illegally making available hundreds of music tracks for copying, transmission and distribution via file-sharing services".
As Jay Berman, Chairman and CEO of the IFPI, said: "Today's announcement should come as no surprise."
He claimed that the record industry had been extremely active "educating the public about the huge damage being done by illegal file-sharing".
So the court cases represent, he says "the start of an international campaign against online copyright theft, and it is the logical next step in the fight against piracy."
Berman adds: "Our message today is that illegal file-sharing is jeopardising the livelihoods of all those who work in the music industry, that education alone has proved insufficient in stopping it and that illegal file-sharers are now no longer going to be able to continue their activities with impunity from the law."
And, he says, "illegal file-sharing is not, as some might mistakenly think, an anonymous activity - if you log on to a file-sharing network and start uploading copyright music you can easily be identified. What you are doing is a totally illegal activity and you may have to face the legal consequences."
But Berman has no proof that file-sharing harms the music business. He says global sales of recorded music fell 7% in value in 2002 and says file-sharing has been a major cause of the decline in global music sales in the last five years." This, he says, has caused "widespread cuts and job losses across the industry, affecting retailers, record companies and their artist rosters, recording studios, song writers, management companies, publishers and many others sectors, all of them economically dependent on copyrighted music".
What we think he means is that the established music industry's hangers on aren't getting the drugs and chicks they're used to.
What we at the INQ have detected over the past five years is a declining standard in pop tunes and an inability to write new tunes, which spawns, as a consequence, a reliance on recycling old tunes with a new drum beat and some rapping.
The incessant hyping of new, made-for celebrity boy and girl bands and the televised manufacturing of stars of the future shows pop-celebrity as a fraud and has kids turning to Karaoke rather than CDs as entertainment.
And there's plenty of other stuff for the kids to spend their money on. Like console games or 78-pipeline graphics cards.
The music industry is changing and the old firms had better get with it. Putting file-sharers in the dock makes these self-styled guardians of pop look like a grumpy bunch of fogies.
File sharing has probably helped more music travel further than ever before. In fact, if it wasn't for such services, music sales would probably have declined even further in recent years, we reckon. The Inquirer