Record industry hires Internet copyright ‘bloodhound’

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A UK Internet copyright protection software startup, Envisional, has signed its first customer - the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, a watchdog for the music industry.

Recent website court cases such as Napster and MP3.com, have highlighted the problem of copyright theft on the Internet. Pirated copies of music, video, still images and software abound, and it is difficult to prevent users from copying and distributing digital files.

The IFPI has estimated that at least 25 million illegal music files are available on the Internet, with up to one billion downloaded annually. The IFPI will use Cambridge-based Envisional’s software to keep tabs on the material owned by its 1,400 members, mostly record producers and distributors.

Ben Coppin, chief executive of Envisional, said: “The Internet is a primary mechanism for the conduct of business and individuals must be as accountable for their actions in the online world as they are in the real one.”

Envisional’s Discovery Engine searches the Internet to find what is being said about businesses, and whether copyrights are being infringed. It claims to be more thorough than conventional search engines, which typically amass information on a large number of web pages and search this cache, rather than trawling the entire I

The value of the contract was not disclosed.

Envisional has received $2.1 million in funding from business angels since it started it up last December with an idea from Calum Grant, a Cambridge PhD in computer science. The company has 14 employees.

Coppin said that the company planned to float eventually.

Envisional

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