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Swedish music industry joins file sharing battle

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11:20 CEST+02:00

Sweden's high profile battle between illegal file sharers and representatives of the film and games industries rumbles on. But now the country's music industry, which has so far kept quiet on the subject, is planning to get involved.

"We see no signs that illegal file sharing is declining," said Helene Rönnmark, at the Swedish branch of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), to Computer Sweden.

"Therefore we are planning a number of measures during the autumn and it is important that the public is aware of that," she said.

The organisation will carry out a quarterly assessment of the scale of the problem and says it will not begin clamping down until the public has been informed of the plans.

Last week the IFPI, along with the games and film industry body, Antipiratbyrån (APB), was given the right to register the IP addresses of individuals found to be sharing copyright-protected material.

This gave the organisations an exemption from the Personal Data Act and was seen as a significant victory for APB and an indication that the hunt for illegal file sharers could proceed.

But any satisfaction that the organisation derived from it will have vanished this week, with the news that APB must inform people that their IP address is being registered.

The order comes from the Swedish Board of Data Inspection, but APB says it is impossible without the cooperation of the country's internet service providers. And the ISPs are not playing ball.

Only the file sharer's ISP can link the IP address to the person. If the ISP receives a request for such information from the police, they cannot refuse it, but a few calls from TT revealed that requests from APB would be ignored.

"We don't send out warning letters to our customers on anyone else's behalf," said Jan Sjöberg, the press officer at Telia Sonera Sweden.

The public face of APB, lawyer Henrik Pontén, thinks that the ISPs are taking a short-term view of the problem.

"It is also in their interests that there is a functioning games and film industry for legal distribution," he said.

"In the long run a working copyright law is also a condition for their business - we are in the same boat since we have the content and they have the means of distribution," said Pontén.

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