The record industry opened a new front in its war against online piracy on Tuesday by surprising hundreds of thousands of Internet song swappers with an instant message warning that they could be “easily” identified and face “legal penalties” for their actions.
About 200,000 users of the Grokster and Kazaa file-sharing services received the warning notice on Tuesday and millions more will get notices in coming weeks, said Cary Sherman, president of the Recording Industry Association of America, the trade group for the music companies.
The message said in part: “It appears that you are offering copyrighted music to others from your computer. …When you break the law, you risk legal penalties. There is a simple way to avoid that risk: DON’T STEAL MUSIC either by offering it to others to copy or downloading it on a ‘file-sharing’ system like this. When you offer music on these systems, you are not anonymous and you can easily be identified.”
So I logged on to WinMX and downloaded a couple of pirate cuts off the new Madonna album I was planning on buying.