The UK recording industry is considering legal action against people that share copyrighted music files online.
The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) said a healthy music scene is only possible if creators and investors have the protection of copyright law.
It added that copyright law is clear, and people who engage in the unauthorised use and distribution of music over file-sharing networks are in breach of copyright.
The BPI told vnunet.com: "The music industry will defend its rights under the law, whether it is against traders selling illegally copied CDs on market stalls or people uploading illegally over the internet.
It has yet to make a final decision on if it will take legal action against file swappers, but warned: "The disturbing increase in the illegal copying and distribution of unauthorised music files over the internet is making legal action increasingly likely.
"Nobody should be in any doubt that such uses of file-sharing networks are illegal and are harming the health of British music. We will take legal action if we are forced to."
The BPI did not specify when such action could begin, but said it would focus only on serious offenders.
In the US, the Recording Industry Association of America has already launched a series of legal actions against file sharers, pursuing action against around 400 individuals.
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