Members of the German national IFPI group intend to use the damages won in Internet piracy suits to fund basic music education in schools.

As a result of the initiative, dubbed "Musik macht Schule - Schule macht Musik" (music makes school - school makes music), 100,000 music lessons will be funded across 2,500 German schools in the 2007/2008 school year.

"Considering that up to 80% of music lessons have been abolished in individual German states, it hardly comes as any surprise to see that the young generation in particular has no appreciation of the value which music has and its status as intellectual property," said Michael Haentjes, chairman of the German IFPI and CEO of edel music in Hamburg.

The project was unveiled during a media gathering Thursday in Berlin.

Since the beginning of the year, says Haentjes, IFPI members have launched 15,000 suits. "We don't want to criminalize anyone but the current legal situation forces us to institute legal proceedings. Nor do we want to ruin anyone by seeking excessive claims for damages," he says. "Yet, it must be quite clear to everyone that Internet piracy is not a minor misdemeanour and that no one is anonymous on the Internet."

Haentjes renewed his calls for a broad-based debate on the protection of intellectual property and an effective legal basis for creative activity.

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