The Irish Recording Music Association (IRMA) is planning to write to companies warning them that they will be prosecuted if they allow staff to use work computers to download music illegally. According to provisional figures from IRMA, music sales in Ireland declined 20pc last year as more consumers turned to the internet to buy CDs or download music files.
According to IRMA’s figures, Irish consumers spent €108.5m on albums and singles in 2003, compared with €136m in 2002.
IRMA also claims that music stores were forced to cut prices last year in a bid to compete with online music stores. In terms of volume, sales of CDs, cassettes and records fell 10pc to 9.19 million, just half the rate of decline by value.
The association said that this month it will launch an awareness campaign aimed at halting music piracy and said it will write to Irish employers warning them that they face prosecution if they allow staff to use work computers to download music illegally.
Late last year IRMA followed in the steps of the British Phonographic Industry by suing Hong Kong-based online retailer CD Wow for damages over copyright infringement and trademark infringement under EU law. CD Wow’s business model is based on buying products at very low prices in the Far East and shipping them into wealthy markets such as the EU for massive profits. However it is understood that the company is already prevented by injunction from supplying products in Germany. IRMA has claimed that every CD Wow purchase is a nail in the coffin of an Irish job.
Attracted by discounts of up to €10 per item, thousands of Irish punters are buying from CD Wow. In addition, CD Wow’s sales are thought to have been boosted by an agreement with Esat BT’s iol.ie website, which links its customers directly with CD Wow’s site.
By John Kennedy