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This week's IP news round-up

8 March 2005

Today, as you will no doubt be aware, is International Women’s day. Sadly, try as we might, we can’t find any women-themed intellectual property stories to mark the occasion so instead we’ll start with illegal file sharing….

BPI – the organisation of the British Phonogram Industry – has proudly announced that 23 illegal file-sharers have paid settlements of up to £4,500 in settlement of copyright infringement claims brought on behalf of the organisation's members. The settlements involve 17 men and six women who were found to have been illegally trading music using online file sharing networks.

Says the IP Kitten – ‘The BPI’s action against illegal file-sharing in the UK is part of global campaign by the record companies who invest in new music, seeking to turn the tide on internet piracy. The BPI says that research shows that illegal activity on the once most-popular filesharing network Fast Track – on which KaZaA runs – has plummeted, with the number of users in January 2005 down 45% from its peak in April 2003.’

Whatever your thoughts on the BPI’s motives and tactics, you’ve got to admit that this is one battle the Man seems to be winning hands down. Well done, the Man.

Or should that be the WoMan? It is International Women’s day after all.

Meanwhile, in Phoenix, Arizona, another young man has fought the law – and the law has won. According to the Associated Press, ‘An Arizona university student is believed to be the first person in the country to be convicted of a crime under state laws for illegally downloading music and movies from the Internet, prosecutors and activists say.’

Parvin Dhaliwal pleaded guilty to possession of unauthorized copies of intellectual property and received a three-month deferred (suspended) jail sentence, 200 hours of community service and an impressive $5,400 fine. He has also been ordered to take a copyright calls at the University of Arizona. Alternatively he could just log onto for all of the free intellectual property advice he could ever need. As long as he promises not to steal it.

And finally an update on last month’s Own It news story about illegal file download sites in Russia. It seems that despite recommendations from Russian police and The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), prosecutors have decided not to press charges against the largest illegal site,

The prosecutors blame their inability to act on the country’s complex copyright laws. According to CNET ‘The Russian site says it has legal rights to sell the music in the form of licenses from the Russian Multimedia and Internet Society. Record labels say that group does not have the authority to grant distribution rights to their music.’ For such of gross misuse of language we were hoping the Russians would lock them up and throw away the key.

Until next week.

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