France cracks down on illicit music downloads

28th July 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, July 28 (AFP) - French Internet access providers and music copyright owners signed a joint national charter Wednesday aimed at cracking down on illegal downloads and expanding the amount of legal music tracks available online.

PARIS, July 28 (AFP) - French Internet access providers and music copyright owners signed a joint national charter Wednesday aimed at cracking down on illegal downloads and expanding the amount of legal music tracks available online.

The deal, spearheaded by the French finance, culture and industry ministries, notably calls on Internet service providers to send warnings to customers suspected of downloading illicit music files and look into allowing users to voluntarily block sites known to host such files.

It also urges the music industry to double the number of legal tracks sold online to 600,000 by the end of the year and to avoid segmenting the market through exclusive catalogues and proprietary technology.

France's music companies, like those elsewhere, are shrinking in size because of what they say is the exponential growth in illegal downloads of music files that have contributed to a 20 percent plunge in CD sales this year.

Legal music download sites are relatively new in Europe. The market leader in the United States, Apple's iTunes, opened June 15 in Britain, France and Germany and has already become a big hit. Sony, which is merging its music business with Germany's BMG, has followed suit with its own download service.

"As soon as there are enough legal sites created, we are going to organise a sort of festival of online sites," Culture Minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres said.

The French government intends to extend its fight against online copyright violators by including its heavily subsidised film industry.

Donnedieu de Vabres said he would bring together companies and agencies in that sector in September to work out ways to combat the small but growing activity of illegal movie downloading.

© AFP

Subject: French news

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