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Record Labels Target Multinationals
By Jon Newton,
(more articles from this author)
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Movie studios and record labels in North American and Europe are targeting some of the world's biggest businesses in their latest efforts to get a grip on p2p.

In North America, the RIAA (Record Industry Association of America) and MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) have mailed brochures to Fortune 1000 corporations suggesting ways for them to stay out of Hollywood's sights - ie, it includes a sample memo to workers warning them against using company computers to download songs and movies.

The brochure - 'Copyright Use and Security Guide' - also carries a, "clear threat: Stop workers from stealing copyrighted materials or be sued," says a CNN story here.

"The brochure lists a variety of risks companies face from illegal downloads - infected computer systems from online viruses, exposed private files on peer-to-peer file-sharing networks such as KaZaA, and breached corporate firewalls designed to protect computer networks.

"It also lists legal risks, including injunctions, damages, costs and possible criminal sanctions against your organization or its directors.

"The groups remind corporations that the music industry has begun to identify organizations whose computers are used to download, upload or store music files without authorization."

But, "There is a perception in the music business that people who sit at their computers at work are busy downloading music while they work," quotes Peter Scott of Silicon Valley analysts Datawatch as saying.

The story adds, "the analyst suggested that this is 'naive and paranoid' as most corporates would 'come down on downloaders like a ton of bricks' because peer-to-peer downloading sucks up too much bandwidth on company networks."

European companies have also been on the receiving end of the so-called guide, writes TVMeetsTheWeb editor David Minto here.

This time, from The IFPI (International Federation of Phonographic Industry), the record labels' international trade organ, the document ostensibly teaches companies how to avoid employees 'abusing' corporate computer systems, asserting that p2p file sharing raises security risks from viruses and firewall breaches and wastes time and system resources.

"Throughout the guide, however, runs a veiled and occasionally more overt threat of the legal consequences corporations may face if unauthorised copyright material is found on their systems," Minto continues. "IFPI notes that Arizona-based Integrated Information Systems paid a E0.92m (USD1m) settlement after employees were found accessing and distributing thousands of music files on the company server."

Within the IFPI document are suggested memos to be distributed and policy agreements for employees to sign, he adds.

"These templates attempt to ban outright the use of any P2P file-sharing activity on the grounds that such services 'are likely to promote or lead to copyright infringements.' The forms also attempt to make big businesses entirely culpable for their employees' actions in regard to file-sharing activities."

And in Malaysia, the IFPI says both companies and government computer systems are involved and has sent the 'guide' to hundreds of potential 'abusers'.


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