Record Labels Back Software to Stem Piracy
Muzieknieuws 05-05-2003 08:27
Some of the world's largest record labels are quietly financing the creation of programs by small software firms that, if deployed, would sabotage the computers and Internet connections of people who download pirated music, The New York Times reported.Citing industry executives, the Times reported in an article that appeared on its Web site on Saturday, that the efforts bear varying degrees of legality including attacking a computer's Internet connection to slow or halt downloads and overwhelming distribution networks with programs that masquerade as music files.

"There are a lot of things you can do -- some quite nasty," the Times quoted Marc Morgenstern, chief executive of software company Overpeer, as saying. The company receives support from several large media companies, it said.

If large record labels roll out the programs, it would be the most aggressive tactic yet in the music piracy wars by the recording industry, which has claimed that music piracy costs it more than $4 billion in annual sales worldwide.

Last month a federal judge in Los Angeles ruled that file-sharing services Grokster and Morpheus were not guilty of copyright infringement.

The Times said approaches under development range from relatively modest in degree to quite severe.

One method is a "Trojan horse" program that simply redirects users to Web sites where they can legitimately buy the songs they had tried to download.

Another locks up a computer for a certain amount of time, minutes or hours, risking the loss of data that was not saved if the user restarts the computer, the paper reported.

The industry's big five labels -- Vivendi's Universal Music Group, AOL Time Warner's Warner Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Bertelsmann's BMG and EMI Group -- have all backed the development of counterpiracy programs, according the industry executives, but none would discuss details publicly, the paper reported.