BPI's new general counsel Geoff Taylor claims that since the BPI started its instant-messaging warning campaign in March, over 215,000 messages were sent to people believed to be offering illegal trac

LONDON -- British music-industry body the BPI has confirmed that it plans to file lawsuits if serial uploaders don't stop sharing unlicensed music files over the Internet.

Speaking at the organization's AGM on July 7, BPI's new general counsel Geoff Taylor said that since the BPI started its instant-messaging warning campaign in March, over 215,000 messages were sent to people believed to be offering illegal tracks for download.

Taylor added that the campaign was producing results in that awareness among uploaders was growing, but "there is still a hardcore (group) of uploaders."

"If major uploaders continue, the BPI will take legal action," warned Taylor.

He added that "a combination of education and deterrent litigation can change attitudes and behavior."

At the AGM, BPI executive chairman Peter Jamieson added that the process that the BPI had started was "more than just a legal task."

"There are few greater challenges, but with this legal campaign we are not seeking to criminalize; we are not seeking financial gain. We are seeking to educate and we are seeking to deter," he explained.

To win this campaign, Jamieson said, the BPI needs wide support from the political spheres and other parties.

"It involves communications at every level from government -- three houses of parliament -- four relevant ministries and the Prime Minister's office, the wider music industry, other creative industries, the media and (consumers)."

Free downloads are a real threat to the existence of the music industry, Jamieson said. He singled out "those who dream of an anarchistic world in which all music is available for free on the Internet. For the creator, who we indirectly represent, the consequence of 'free music' is dire. For the investors, who we directly represent, it would mean death by a thousand cuts."

He concluded: "It is that culture of free which our Internet piracy campaign seeks to challenge and replace with one of authorization. Let those who invest and those who create have the ability to decide together where and if their music can be accessed for free."