Parenting : Mum faces download fine for daughter

The Guardian

A British teenager’s penchant for the bands Coldplay and Oasis left her mother contemplating prison on Monday. Sylvia Price has received a demand for GBP4,000 in compensation by solicitors acting for the music industry after her daughter, Emily, was caught illegally downloading songs by her favourite artists. Mrs Price, a self-confessed computer illiterate, said: “I don’t know where I’m going to get the money from. I’ll have to go to prison because I haven’t got that kind of money.” As well as using the PC to help with her homework, 14-year-old Emily had been using file-sharing to download 1,400 songs for free. Because of Emily’s age, Mrs Price, 53, of Cheltenham, southwest England, is legally responsible to pay any penalty.

A nationwide crackdown organised by the British Phonographic Industry is under way to try to stop illegal downloaders. Thousands of people use file-sharing software which allows them to swap music files, costing the music industry £1.3 billion a year in lost sales. At any one time 8.5 million people across the world are file-sharing. Earlier this month Coldplay’s new album, X&Y, was leaked on to the internet a week before its European release. Other artists, including U2, Madonna and, have had to bring forward releases or offer free tracks on websites after their music appeared online before reaching the shops. The prices were caught

in a third wave of swoops on what the BPI believes are the worst offenders.