Music Industry Piracy Investigations (MIPI) was established in 1995 with a brief to fight physical piracy but it was the changing nature of their enemy 9 years later that thrust the anti-piracy group into center stage.
In 2004, MIPI raided the offices and home addresses of people involved with Sharman Networks and Brilliant Digital Entertainment. Two universities and 4 ISPs were also raided during the search for evidence to support their now infamous case against the companies behind file-sharing client KaZaA.
Just two years later in 2006, trained lawyer Sabiene Heindl joined MIPI, a stay that was to last five years. But following an announcement in June and having served 3 months notice, Heindl will leave MIPI anytime now.
After 11 years in the music business, Heindl will head over to NBN Co, the Australian government-owned corporation tasked to design, build and operate Australia’s National Broadband Network. At NBN she will take up the position of its stakeholder manager.
At the time of her resignation, former MIPI general manager Michael Speck said that Heindl’s role was one of the hardest in the music industry. Nevertheless, MIPI think they have found a worthy replacement to oversee their civil and criminal rights enforcement, anti-piracy lobbying and educational programs.
On September 12th, Heindl will be replaced by Vanessa Hutley, ex-senior corporate attorney and director of intellectual property at Microsoft .
“With her previous background and achievements, she is very well-positioned to lead MIPI into the next phase of its development,” says Sony Music Australia CEO Denis Handlin.
Handlin, an industry veteran, also holds the post of chairman at the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA), the outfit that provides MIPI with its funding.
Considering MIPI’s vision of reducing online file-sharing to a trickle, the anti-piracy group will be hoping that Hutley joins them with a more positive outlook on dealing with the issue than she held three years ago while working at Microsoft.
In an interview, Hutley conceded that Microsoft would never be able to stop people obtaining pirated copies of its software from file-sharing networks. Instead, she said that Microsoft would concentrate on fighting physical piracy.
But this approach will be no good for MIPI. No-one wants music on CD anymore – not even pirates.
Somehow the pessimism of 2008 will have to change to optimism, but with file-sharing growing every year some will see her challenge quite simply as Mission: Impossible.