Illegal music and movies at work

High-speed networks allow employees to easily download and swap copyrighted music and movies — entertainment industry warns employers could be held liable
||Last Updated: 09/04/2003

Hollywood and the music industry is taking its battle against copyright infringement into the workplace.

In an effort to fight Internet song and movie swapping, trade groups representing record labels, movie studios, songwriters and music publishers are sending a letter to the corporate world asking organizations to prevent employees from downloading songs, movies and other digital files.

“We urge you to take whatever steps necessary to ensure that your network is not being misused or infringe copyrighted works,” the letter said. “Using technology to steal music and movies is no different than walking into a store and shoplifting a CD or DVD.”

The industry is targeting the corporate world because many offices are wired with high-speed Internet access, allowing files to be downloaded quickly. By contrast, about nine out of 10 home Internet users rely on dial-up access which is far slower.

The letter, signed by the Recording Industry Association of America, the Motion Picture Association of America, the National Music Publishers’ Association and the Songwriters Guild of America, warns corporations they could be held liable for copyright infringement if corporate resources are used to download and pass around copyrighted material. The letter is being sent out to the largest 1,000 public companies in the U.S.

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