German Music Industry Wins First Court Case Against Music Pirates@ 2004/06/09
For one music enthusiast in the Eastern German city of Cottbus, the good times of downloading music for free via peer-to-peer file-sharing programs like Kazaa came to an abrupt end on Tuesday. He was convicted in a German court of copyright infringement, according to a statement released by the German Federal Association of the Phonographic Industry in Berlin.
The 23-year-old will have to fork over a hefty €8,000 ($9,855) in fines in addition to covering the legal costs of the case. The case is expected to set a precedent for future cases, said Gerd Gebhard, the Chairman of the association, and will also serve as a cautionary tale to those considering illegal music file-sharing.
Clamping down on illegal downloaders
The case, one of 68 brought against people who download music illegally in Germany, represents a significant victory for a music industry desperate to stem the tide of lost profits since music file-sharing and downloading software like Kazaa and Napster became hugely popular.
In Germany alone, Internet piracy contributed to a 20 percent drop in profits, which has resulted in the loss of thousands of jobs, according to industry officials. Globally, losses are estimated at $2.4 billion (€1.96) a year.
The strategy of pursuing illegal music pirates in the courts is part of a two-pronged approach. In addition, music industry executives are hoping to bring illegal file-swappers back into the market by offering them the chance to download music legally -- for a fee -- via a host of new legal and industry-sponsored online platforms.