By Andrew Bushe
DUBLIN — The Corrs and Boyzone are toasting their success after Euro MPs voted last week to substantially strengthen laws to tackle Internet piracy after intense lobbying by the music industry.
The Irish acts were part of a 400-strong group of leading stars from throughout Europe who sought improved copyright protection to battle increasing down-loading of their music through computers.
The piracy is costing the industry millions of pounds a year and has gotten worse with the development of new MP3 technology.
MP3 allows CD quality music to be compressed into small computer files so it can be easily taken off Internet web pages. The technology cuts the size of a three-minute song from a computer file of 30 megabytes to a tenth of that, with the result that it takes only minutes to download.
Computer industry experts estimate that up to 15 million copies of the software are in use and that up to 500,000 songs are available to download from hundreds of web pages throughout the world.
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The pirates are linking up their computers to their stereo systems to play the music or making copies of it onto CDs.
The amended EU copyright law lays down the principle that authors, performers, producers and broadcasters have a right to authorize reproductions of their work and control their use over the Internet.
People will still be able to make copies of music, but the owners of the rights will have to paid.