Ligabue, one of the contributing artists, live in Berlin. Photo (CC) Matthias Muehlbradt.

Sure, many issues around intellectual property are gray. But contributor Jo Ardalan has a disturbing story: what happens when a fundraising album gets pirated? Did illegal file sharing users know what they were doing — is there a need for a donation mechanism for these services — or is it really this bad? Apologies if this is old news – catching up during travel – but a question well worth considering. -Ed.

We all know piracy forces labels, artists and developers to incur a huge cost. Recently, however, illegal file-sharing cost a bundle for the fundraising efforts aimed to raise money for reconstructing parts of Italy after a recent and devastating April quake. Universal Music and Italian pop artists collaborated on a track entitled “Domani 21/4/09” that sells digitally for 2 Euros and will later be sold in stores for 5 Euros. According to Variety, the track has been downloaded illegally 2 million times.

Caterina Caselli, who produced the track for free says that this project is (translated from Italian) “sort of ‘mission impossible’: in one project between eighty artists and musicians doing almost everything in one day. All have dealt with air travel at their own expense, technicians and porters have worked for free, as do the catering…Universal does not gain anything.”

Artists inovled are Jovanotti, Ligabue, Zucchero and Elisa and many others. [Italian]