Card Companies Help Tackle Piracy

The international recording industry has teamed with major credit card companies and the London police to tackle Internet piracy, particularly those based in the old Eastern Bloc.

Their main targets are illegal websites based in Russia and Ukraine, which have allegedly infringed on artists’ rights for years by selling tracks and albums without paying anything to those who created them.

The new cooperation enables the IFPI’s anti-piracy investigators to supply the City of London Police’s Economic Crime Directorate with evidence of illegal downloads made from an infringing site.

Once the police have verified the evidence, they notify MasterCard and Visa. The card companies then ask the bank providing the retailer with payment services to either prove it has the appropriate licenses to sell music or cease providing it with a payment service.

Details of 24 copyright infringing music services have already been handed over to the police.

Industry anti-piracy experts have drawn up best practice procedures for MasterCard and Visa, to distribute both internally and to banks that use their services, which help identify infringing websites and prevent them from being granted card payment facilities.
Unlicensed music websites have operated out of Russia and Ukraine for several years.

They sell tracks and albums to an international audience at low rates because they do not pay rights holders for their work. These websites often appear in English.

MasterCard chief franchise development officer Eileen Simon believes the coalition approach will enable the company to prevent its system from being used to carry out this illegal activity.

“It will help protect the livelihoods of artists, legal rights holders and legitimate e-commerce merchants selling properly licensed material,, she said.