Napster and Apple are advised to stop advertising on illegal music download sites because it’s a “sick joke” says The British Phonographic Industry.
This practice has been adopted among other companies such as Sky and Barclays in the past. Napster and iTunes, which offer legal music download services, have placed banner ads on sites that promote illegal sharing for music, film and TV shows. Sky, O2, BT Broadband, Easymobile, MSN Messenger and Barclays also use these networks to advertise their services.
Steve Redmond, BPI director of communications, said: “We deplore the unauthorised distribution of music on internet sites which prosper by selling advertising on the back of copyright theft. It is hugely ironic that iTunes and Napster, two companies which have done so much to encourage legal downloading, have been caught up in these sites. We urge all companies to be vigilant and put systems in place to ensure they do not advertise on such sites, even unwittingly.”
Lawyers have warned that the companies may face lawsuits if continue. Susan Singleton, solicitor with e-commerce lawyers Singletons, and editor of IT Law Today, said: “Copyright on the internet is a very fast moving legal area. Any copyright owner or connected company advertising on an illegal download site is badly advised and taking big legal risks.”
Napster made public its disappointment about this situation and Mark Howorth, European communications director, said that it is unacceptable for Napster ads to appear on any illegal websites – including music download sites. “Our advertisements will be removed immediately,” he said.
Apple’s media representer, Mediabrokers, said one of its suppliers had breached terms and conditions without its knowledge and the iTunes advertisements would be taken down.