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UK music industry claims victory in file-sharing settlements

[JURIST] The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) [trade website] said Friday that their first legal battle against Internet file-sharers has been a success. BPI issued their statement after 23 people paid a cumulative sum of £50,000 in an out-of-court settlement. Of those, 17 were men and six women, ranging from 22 and 58 years old. Each signed High Court documents admitting to illegal file sharing [JURIST Hot Topic news archive] and promised not to do it again. The payments, averaging £2,200 each, will be distributed among the music copyright holders. BPI general counsel Geoff Taylor noted that such lawsuits serve primarily as a deterrent and remarked, "We are determined to find people who illegally distribute music, whichever peer-to-peer network they use, and to make them compensate the artists and labels they are stealing from." As such, the BPI also announced a second wave of cases, pursuing 31 more file-sharers. Since the peak of file-sharing in April 2003, the US music industry, headed by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) [trade website] has filed thousands of lawsuits against so-called "music pirates." BPI says that the combined global effort has led to a 45% decline in the used on file-sharing networks such as Kazaa [corporate website], the most heavily trafficked peer-to-peer network. BBC News has more.

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