Uploaders Hit For 12 Million

A stark illustration of how seriously the Italian government takes copyright theft can be found in the case of the four allegedly illegal uploaders who were fined euro 12 million before they even went to trial.

"This operation sends a very clear signal that the authorities will not tolerate the mass uploading of copyright infringing material onto the Internet," said IFPI local chairman Enzo Mazza. "The administrative fines levied in this case show that abusing copyright on a grand scale can be an extremely costly business."

Apart from prosecuting them for music piracy, police from Milan’s fraud squad hit the four defendants, all aged between 30 and 45, with the interim fines allowed under Article 174 of the Italian Copyright Act.

Madonna, Vasco Rossi and U2 were among the most heavily pirated acts, according to an IFPI statement. The raid at a small town near Milan revealed that the accused appear to have been sharing more than 120,000 files containing copyright infringing music using the DCC peer-to-peer network.

Officers from the Guardia di Finanza di Milano seized six computers, seven external hard discs, more than 2,300 CD-Roms, copies of software programmes such as Vista and Office, as well as video games.