Music, film industries team up to help internet users stay safe and legal
September 22, 2005
London, 22 September 2005 - Music fans who want be safe and legal on the internet are today offered a new freely-available software programme that will help them stop their computer being used for illegal file-swapping of copyrighted music and movies.
Digital File Check is a simple educational tool that aims to guide computer users, many of whom might be new to the world of online music. Digital File Check helps to show how they, or their families, colleagues and friends, can enjoy music and film legally and responsibly without risking legal action by copyright holders.
Digital File Check helps to remove or block any of the unwanted "file-sharing" programmes commonly used to distribute copyrighted files illegally. It also allows the user to delete copyrighted music and video files from the "shared folders" of the computer from where they are commonly swapped illegally on the internet.
Digital File Check has been developed by IFPI, representing the recording industry worldwide, in conjunction with the Motion Picture Association, representing the film industry. DFC will be available online and on CD over the coming months in countries including Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the UK.
John Kennedy, Chairman and CEO of IFPI said: "Digital File Check is an educational tool aimed at making life easier for people who want to enjoy music responsibly and legally on the internet, or who want their families, friends and colleagues to do so.
"This is a timely initiative: it comes after months of warning and information campaigns making it clear that file-swapping copyrighted music is illegal and could involve fines and prosecutions. And it comes at a time when downloading music legally has never been easier, with over 350 sites offering over a million tracks".
Dan Glickman, MPAA President and CEO said: "We want to arm companies, parents and responsible computer-users with a simple resource to help them detect file swapping software and get lists of the movie and other files stored on their business and home computers. Digital File Check is easy to use and can help people prevent their employees, children and others from illegally downloading and swapping movies."
Digital File Check is an initiative aimed at all computer users, as well as organisations. It could be especially useful for parents who want to encourage their children to enjoy music responsibly on the internet. It is free, voluntary and for private use only and does not tip-off any anti-piracy organisations.
Companies called on to clean up their networks
In separate project endorsed by the International Chamber of Commerce and launched today, IFPI, MPA and the International Video Federation (IVF) are also publishing a new guide for employers making clear their responsibilities to clean their computer networks from copyright infringement. The "Copyright and Security Guide for Companies and Governments" will be distributed to companies internationally, starting over the next few weeks in Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Spain, Czech Republic, Sweden and Thailand.
Guy Sebban, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Commerce, said: "Companies and enterprises internationally, many of whom depend on intellectual property rights to do their business, will welcome this initiative by the recording and audiovisual industries. Online copyright theft should not be tolerated in the workplace or by employers, whatever the business sector and whatever the country involved. The new Copyright and Security Guide 2005 clearly explains what actions companies need to take to avoid legal and security risks on their networks, and in doing so it helps promote respect of intellectual property rights and responsible attitudes towards the downloading of copyrighted works from the internet."
The guide comes with a joint "call to action" to company chiefs from John Kennedy, Dan Glickman and Charlotte Lund-Thomsen, respective heads of IFPI, MPA and IVF:
They write in a joint letter launching the guide: "In a new initiative, our industries are turning to the responsibilities in this area of companies and organisations. Illegal peer-to-peer distribution is not just happening on the home PC. Employees are involved in their work place as well. This not only wastes the organisation's time and money - it can put them at risk of legal prosecution. Today employers have no excuse for being uninformed of these risks, and for not addressing them in a responsible manner."
Stepping up the online awareness campaign
Digital File Check and the Copyright and Security Guide are the latest in a series of music sector education initiatives aimed at raising public awareness of the legal and security issues around online music. They follow the campaign by children's internet charity Childnet International "Young People, Music and the Internet", rolled out with support from across the music sector in June.
The Childnet campaign, supported by the cross-sector alliance of rights holders www.pro-music.org, highlights not only the legal risks of illegal file-sharing but also the problems of harmful content and privacy and security risks that come with many unauthorised peer-to-peer networks.
Stephen Carrick-Davies, CEO of Childnet International, said: "We know that parents are often unaware of what their children are doing on the internet. For this reason we welcome tools such as the Digital File Check, as we believe it will help parents diagnose their computer to see what files may have been downloaded and - equally importantly - give them an opportunity to have a real dialogue with their children about downloading, copyright infringements and the general use of the Internet. Childnet's leaflet "Young People, Music and the Internet: a guide for parents about P2P, file-sharing and downloading" can also help (see www.childnet-int.org/music)"
The software, which IFPI and MPA aim to roll out across Europe, has been welcomed by the. Dutch Member of the European Parliament with responsibities for Consumer Affairs and the EU Internal Market, Toine Manders: ""I applaud this initiative. In many cases people are not aware of having illegal on unsafe content on their home computer. Digital File Check helps to put power back into the hands of individuals as it enables them to find and block access to any file-sharing services that may carry illegal or unsafe content."
IFPI and its members are actively promoting new legal and commercial ways of downloading music - including legitimate peer-to-peer. At the same time the industry has successfully taken thousands of legal actions against people illegally uploading music on services such as Kazaa, eDonkey and Gnutella. So far there have been more than 14,000 legal actions against alleged illegal uploaders in 12 countries.
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