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Swedes face massive fines for sharing songs online

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15:21 CET+01:00
The organisation representing record companies in Sweden has reported fifteen Swedes accused of file sharing to the police as part of a worldwide campaign.

"We have decided to take legal measures against these fifteen who have supplied a total of 150,000 songs," said the Swedish chairman of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), Ludvig Werner.

"With the police's help we want to find our who is behind the IP addresses."

Years of information campaigns have not, said IFPI, produced the desired result. According to their measurements, around 1.1 million Swedes - over 10% of the population - take part in file sharing.

The Swedish Board of Data Inspection recently decided that organisations such as IFPI have the right to gather and store IP addresses identifying every computer on the internet.

In addition, legislation which came into effect in the summer allows music, computer and film companies to push cases through the courts.

"We are certainly going to see a lot of normal file sharers, who don't understand the moral issues or the copyright laws, reported to the police," said Christian Nilsson, a lecturer in copyright law at Stockholm University.

IFPI, which has so far taken a softer approach than its games and film industry counterpart, Antipiratbyrån, said that since 2000 the Swedish music industry has seen its turnover fall by 42% - worth around 700 million kronor this year alone.

IFPI has already reported file sharers to the police abroad and in many cases the courts have awarded compensation of 25,000 kronor or more. The police reports made on Tuesday were part of 2,000 made around the world.

"Sweden, with its broadband network and computer penetration, is in a special position when it comes to this problem. In other places the actions taken have reduced file sharing," said Ludvig Werner.

A couple of weeks ago a court in Västerås fined a man 17,000 kronor for making a popular Swedish film available for downloading. On that occasion it was Antipiratbyrån which reported the man to the police.

"The law makes it possible to strike heard. The lease they can request is compensation for having used the songs - which would mean hundreds of thousands of kronor in compensation," said Christian Nilsson.

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TT/The Local

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