Computer scientists in Saskatoon say they've come up with a way to track people who download free music illegally from the Internet.

Wayne McAlpine of One-World ISP, has spent the past two years creating a way to track down people who pirate music. He does it by taking digital 'snapshots' of people downloading MP-3 files, by using giant search engines, and his own algorhythms.

"Every computer on the internet has a unique IP address," said McAlpine. "And with this address we can find out from different providers who's paying for that service and hence locating exactly where that machine sits."

McAlpine says his technology will catch thieves and ensure artists get the money they deserve, but he hasn't had much luck pitching his invention to Canada's recording industry.

"There aren't a lot of prosecutions for copyright infringement because frankly the Crown Counsel and the police tend to view it as a commercial rather than a criminal matter," said David Basskin of the Canadian Music Publishers Association. "That's why you don't see many cases in the courts on the subject."

McAlpine says that reaction surprised him.

"There's many things that people get away with every day;" McAlpine said. "The music industry complains there's a $38 billion loss each year. That's a sizeable amount of income. And I think if they were really honest about addressing it they would probably look at things more open-armed."

McAlpine has decided to turn his sights south of the border and says representatives from American recording companies have already expressed an interest in the technology.