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IFPI, UK Cops, Credit Cards Unite Against Unlicensed MP3 Sites

IFPI, UK Cops, Credit Cards Unite Against Unlicensed MP3 Sites

Continues a pattern of copyright holders trying to choke off sources of revenue for alleged infringing sites.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry has announced a new partnership involving it, the City of London Police’s Economic Crime Directorate (ECD), and credit card companies MasterCard and Visa to target online services selling unlicensed music.

The way it works is that the IFPI forwards ECD evidence of people acquiring music from an infringing site who then, after verifying the claim, in turn notifies MasterCard and Visa of the illegal activity. The credit card companies then ask the site to produce evidence of the correct licenses to sell the copyrighted music in question or it will cease handling payments to it.

“It is extremely positive for the recorded music industry that the world’s largest payment systems are taking steps to prevent their services being abused by illegal websites that infringe the rights of artists, songwriters and producers,” said Frances Moore, Chief Executive of IFPI. “Intermediaries, such as MasterCard and Visa, can play a key role in tackling online piracy wherever it originates around the world.”

Most of the unlicensed music sites are based out of Russia and Ukraine where royalty payments are considerably lower than elsewhere, and thus rejected by copyright holder groups like the IFPI.

“MasterCard is pleased to support IFPI and law enforcement to help prevent the illegal sale of unlicensed music,” said Eileen Simon, Chief Franchise Development Officer, MasterCard Worldwide. “A coalition approach such as this will enable us to prevent our system from being used to carry out this illegal activity and will help protect the livelihoods of artists, legal rights holders and legitimate e-commerce merchants selling properly licensed material.”

The move could hurt sites like the Ukraine-based MP3Fiesta, for example, because it specifically advertises that customers can buy music with “safety and guarantee without doubt” because it uses Visa and MasterCard to handle payment transactions. Without them it could make selling music a bit tougher.

“This is an excellent example of how the police can work with different business sectors to effectively tackle the impact of economic crime, in this case music piracy,” said Steve Head, ECD’s Detective Chief Superintendent. “It demonstrates the benefits of innovative and focused partnership working and I am confident that it will greatly assist in preventing this criminal undermining of the music industry and all of those whose livelihoods depend upon it. We will continue to support initiatives such as this as we seek to develop a broad range of tactics to prevent crime being committed, no matter where in the world these criminals may operate from.”

The news is a reminder of a continued effort by copyright holders to pressure credit card companies into cutting off the financial lifelines of alleged infringing sites. last December it was mentioned how the MPAA and RIAA were trying to convince MasterCard to cut off sites like Megaupload and other file-sharing and streaming sites.

Stay tuned.

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Jared Moya
I've been interested in P2P since the early, high-flying days of Napster and KaZaA. I believe that analog copyright laws are ill-suited to the digital age, and that art and culture shouldn't be subject to the whims of international entertainment industry conglomerates. Twitter | Google Plus
Aerilus
Aerilus

I hope master card and visa no who they are crawling into bed with and I Hope they are being well rewarded. admit any ability to help out these leeches and they will latch there lawyers onto you and bleed you dry.

Drew Wilson
Drew Wilson

Totally agree with you. Credit Card companies make a killing off of the interest rates of their credit cards. They are almost designed to make you go in to debt (tactics like encouraging you to buy more through reward miles, sending actual bills late via mail, sending letters telling you how there's no interest "this month" then including the fine print that says regular fees apply, etc. - all of which I have seen myself). Cutting off payments to sites that is legal in the country of origin, but to which the big labels still thumb their nose to even though they are getting money out of this anyway only hurts one player in the whole deal - the credit card companies (AKA the banks).It's so incredibly backwards to see these credit card companies picking and choosing which companies they want to honor payments to. I was very convinced that these companies are there to make as much money as possible, but it seems like they might be starting to think that fracturing their own market like this is now the way to go - something I think is unheard of ten years ago.Oh, and before you think I'm saying this is only applying to so-called pirate sites, just remember they did this to Wikileaks too and that was an entirely political decision - very likely brought on by the US government.

Drew Wilson
Drew Wilson

That and, let's not kid ourselves, this won't stop these sites. It'll simply push them further underground as they switch to alternative payment methods, then continue on as business as usual. There's already censorship resistant currencies and services cropping up as a result of things like Wikileaks. Once a number of these sites switches to these alternative payment methods, it'll make it significantly harder for the IFPI to track down these sites in the first place.I'd say this is actually a move where the record labels are shooting themselves in the foot, but I think they are currently at their thigh right now.

drugshovel
drugshovel

..or the ankle?

Drew Wilson
Drew Wilson

Heheh. I'd say they were at their ankle before they (well, Sony mainly) were caught not only pirating software, but being busted for music piracy as well - both cases still make me chuckle to this day.

lolz
lolz

hahaha yeah target people who are ACTUALLY paying for music, cuz thats ur problem mafiaa.....

Anonymous
Anonymous

Legal in the respective countries seems to count for nothing....



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