The international record industry will for the first time sue people in Portugal who illegally share music over the Internet, the head of an industry trade group said in an interview published yesterday.
The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) decided to take action because music piracy in the country continues to rise, unlike in other European nations, the head of the trade group told the daily newspaper Publico.
Sales of music CDs have plunged 40% in Portugal over the past five years and the group believes piracy is the main reason for the slump in sales, John Kennedy said.
"The music industry is suffering terribly. As a result we decided to tackle the problem in another way and take more drastic action," he told the paper.
Sales of Portuguese music account for about one-quarter of all music sales in Portugal and piracy was putting the survival of Portuguese music at risk, he added.
The trade body plans to send people caught making illegal music downloads a letter which asks them to pay financial compensation to the affected record companies.
If they fail to do so the group will take them to court where they face fines of up to 5,000 euros (US$6,060), Kennedy said.
The IFPI has so far adopted this measure in 18 other nations. To date the body has filed 25,000 lawsuits against illegal music downloaders, including 5,500 in Europe.