Denmark Bills Users for Downloads

Thursday, 12 December 2002, 11:43 AM EST

A group affiliated with the Danish music, film and software industries has been sending out invoices to users of peer-to-peer file-sharing networks like Kazaa and eDonkey, demanding payment for downloaded copies of songs, movies or video games.

Earlier this year, AntiPiratGruppen (Anti-Piracy Group) began tracking the activities of Danish users of file-sharing networks, and then contacting the appropriate Internet service providers demanding users' names and addresses.

Late last month, with contact information in hand, the group began mailing out invoices, charging $8 per album, $25 per movie and $40 per video game that appeared in a user's shared folder. The group threatened invoice recipients with legal action should the sum demanded remain unpaid.

Approximately 150 people received invoices averaging $400, said Morten Wind Lindegaard, an attorney with AntiPiratGruppen, with some users receiving bills for more than $10,000 for their alleged infringement. Roughly half of the people billed have actually elected to pay, taking the group up on its offer to settle the case if half the amount demanded is paid and the users delete the material from their hard drives, he says.

All funds collected will go to the proper copyright holders, in this case the Danish industry groups that created AntiPiratGruppen in the first place.

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