The music industry said on Thursday it had begun cascading pamphlets on universities across the globe in its latest blitz against online piracy.
The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), a global trade group representing major and independent music labels and publishers, said it had begun issuing brochures to universities in 29 countries in Europe, South America, Asia and Australia spelling out the legal and technological snares of online file-sharing networks.
“In Canada and Europe we have found institutions where users are uploading thousands of files using university computer networks,” said Allen Dixon, general counsel at IFPI in London. “At times, you can’t even get on the Internet in some places because P2P (file-sharing) traffic is hogging the bandwidth.”
The music industry blames peer-to-peer networks for part of the decline in recorded music sales, a slump some predict will continue for years, eating further into sales.
Online file-sharing networks such as Kazaa and iMesh attract millions of consumers daily who swap all manner of music, film and software, drawing the wrath of copyright holders everywhere.
University computers tend to be connected to high-speed networks and have ample storage space, two essentials for downloading large music and movie files.
IT experts warn that such connections can greatly slow network speeds and leave vast computer networks vulnerable to viruses and other digital intrusions.
In addition to technological risks, unauthorized copying is illegal in many countries, a point the IFPI intends to make clear in its brochures. A month ago, the music industry conducted a similar anti-piracy effort targeting corporations.
The IFPI, which represents majors Warner Music, Universal Music, EMI, Sony Music and BMG, has vowed to fight piracy on all fronts.
In addition to education initiatives, the group has stepped up lobbying efforts and has urged music labels to develop more compelling commercial download services.
The trade body said American universities, which have been targeted by U.S. music labels for the past two years, would not be included in this round of pamphleting.