Aust music industry prepares new assault on piracy

Australian crackdown on music piracyAustralia's peak record industry body plans to resource its anti-piracy unit to pursue community education as well as enforcement, its chief said this afternoon.

Australian Record Industry Association (ARIA) boss Stephen Peach said the role of general manager of Music Industry Piracy Investigations (MIPI) would be restructured to concentrate on educating the community about the illegality of music piracy.

A full-time investigator would be appointed to handle the pursuit of facilitators of music piracy, Peach added.

Previously, the role of general manager of MIPI had focussed primarily on enforcement, with the unit scoring some high-profile successes in cases such as that run against the owners of the Kazaa file-sharing software and the Swiftel-BitTorrent file-sharing hub case.

The Kazaa parties have subsequently been granted leave to appeal against a ruling that they facilitated large-scale copyright infringement through the software.

ARIA's announcement of plans to strengthen MIPI comes three weeks after the departure of former general manager Michael Kerin to a movie industry anti-piracy unit -- the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) -- after only five months in the job.

Peach also slated reports the music industry had pulled back from its anti-piracy assault in the wake of Kerin's departure as "ludicrous," arguing other ARIA staff and contract investigators had continued to progress MIPI's work since Kerin's departure.

ARIA had been "more than committed to continuing the fight against piracy, both physical and online," he said.

Peach acknowledged that a confidential paper prepared by Kerin before his departure had contributed to the planned focus on education by MIPI, along with "lots of other thought and discussion" among stakeholders in the organisation.

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