U.K. court lifts veil on 33 more file sharers

ISPs to reveal names of suspected swappers. Also: Study says illegal downloads cost U.K. music industry $855 million in two years.

The U.K. record industry has announced that it has won a court order to force Internet service providers to reveal the identities of 33 suspected file sharers.

Five ISPs will now have just days to turn over the details of the suspected file swappers, who the British Phonographic Industry claims have posted 72,000 music files to the Internet illegally. The BPI is pursuing the 33 people for compensation.

The BPI also has revealed more about the second wave of file sharers to be accused. A third of them are parents whose children's computer habits have landed them in legal hot water.

"In the first round of cases, we took into account the fact that a lot of parents wouldn't be aware," according to a BPI spokesman.

"But it's not like we go, 'You're a parent--we'll let you off.'"

Illegal downloaders have cost the U.K. music industry about 654 million pounds ($855 million) over the last two years, new research has claimed.

The research, carried out by Taylor Nelson Sofres on behalf of the BPI, found that half of illegal downloaders said they will continue to get their music illegally; 34 percent were unsure whether they will switch to legal sources or carry on using illegal file-sharing services; and 15 percent intend to start paying for their downloads.

The BPI spokesman said illegal downloaders who claim that their file sharing prompts them to buy more music aren't justified in their actions.

"Whether they go out and buy 50,100 or a million albums, file sharing is still illegal," he said. "This isn't the first piece of research that shows any promotional effect is outweighed...by the damaging effect."

Jo Best of Silicon.com reported from London.

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