Music fans who illegally download songs from the Internet are being targeted by record companies using new software.
File-sharers visiting Web sites such as Kazaa will receive emails warning them that they must stop - or face legal action.More than seven million people in the UK are thought to be illegally downloading music.
The action is being taken after a huge slump in record sales which has shaken the music industry. Sales of albums are down 32 per cent in the past year, while sales of singles have crashed by 59 per cent.
"There is no clearer evidence of the damage that illegal downloading is doing to British music," said Peter Jamieson, chairman of the British Phonographic Industry.
"There is no excuse whatsoever for people taking music without permission. There are literally hundreds of thousands of tracks available on legal Internet music services."
But Paul Douglas, editor of .net magazine, said the only way to stop piracy was for the industry to offer a viable alternative.
He told the Metro newspaper: "It's not perceived as illegal in the same way as breaking into your local HMV and nicking a load of CDs would be, and the perception of risk is very low."
Source: Metro UK
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