Britain's music industry has today announced that it will start legal action against people who illegally share music online.

The BPI (British Phonographic Industry) will specifically target those people who upload music to file sharing sites, making it available for other people to download.

This doesn't mean that simply downloading music from unsanctioned sites is allowed – that is still an infringement of copyright and you run the risk of being sued.

Breaking the habit

Informa Group analyst Simon Dyson told BBC Breakfast News: "It could be difficult to change the habits of a whole generation. There are some kids who started downloading when they were 11 or 12 and they have never bought a CD. It's going to be a problem for the BPI to turn those around because it's obviously not something they have done before so getting them into buying CDs is going to be difficult."

Rip & Burn editor Tom Dunmore said: "It's not unlike the battle against taping music from the radio which was waged in the 1970s and 80s. What home taping did was make music fans of a whole generation of kids. There will always be that element of illegal copying going on."

He added: "By targeting the biggest uploaders, the BPI is attacked the biggest music fans. There's a logic behind getting that generation that is used to getting music for free to move over but there are other ways of doing it. Cutting prices is key."

Safeguarding the future

BPI spokesman Matt Phillips said that with the threat of prosecution, the industry was saying there "is no excuse for illegal filesharing anymore".

"What we're doing for our customers is safeguarding the future of music," he told Breakfast.

According to the BPI a hardcore 15 per cent of file-sharers are responsible for 75 per cent of all illegal music downloading.

In addition, recent research indicates that eight million people in the UK claim to be downloading music, 92 per cent of them using illegal sites.