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IFPI Appoints 'Anti-Piracy Czar' To Police High Seas of File-Sharing

apple-ipod-sept-09-1240-rm-engThe recording industry, or at least the disjointed array of labels, trade groups, and intellectual property authorities that represent it, has had little success in curbing music piracy on the Web. In what is perhaps an admission that not even the cooperation of ISPs can put a dent in piracy numbers, the International Federation for the Phonographic Industry is stepping up its own efforts, promoting its anti-piracy chief to a directorial role as anti-piracy czar.

As an international umbrella group for the recording industry, the IFPI has battled piracy for years, but the elevation of its anti-piracy division to the director level signals not only an increased focus on the issue, but also a new strategy for combating not only on illegal downloading, but also the distribution of physical pirate materials like bootleg CDs (sidewalk entrepreneurs, take note). Jeremy Banks, the new IFPI piracy czar, has nine years experience fighting through copyright infringement suits, and his promotion suggests the IFPI will put more pressure on the sources of pirated materials – that is, those that leak copyrighted music, usually during post production but before the material is on store shelves.

While it’s clear the IFPI is taking a more serious tack about pirates, it’s unclear exactly how it plans to effectively curb copyright infringement on the Web. Neither governments wielding the authority of the state, nor private ventures like Virgin Media wielding financial incentives for ISPs and consumers have been able to discourage the majority of music downloaders to turn their backs on the low, low price of free.

Though the numbers are hard to track on any black market, the IFPI estimated in its 2008 report on the industry that only 5% of music acquired online streamed through legal channels. As such, it looks like the IFPI – and especially its new anti-piracy czar – are fighting an uphill battle. But hey, just look at all that room for improvement.

[via Paid Content]