The music piracy debate is dividing artists, labels and the music industry as a whole. Some artists, such as Blur sticksman Dave Rowntree, believe that there should be no legislative action taken against those using P2P (peer-to-peer) file-sharing networks, where the illegal uploading and downloading of vast quantities of music is rife – the frontline of piracy, if you will. The major labels, of course, want to completely ban the use of P2P software for downloading their artists' work for free, and it seems that the UK government are fully behind them.
After a report in early 2008 by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, calls were made for a law compelling internet service providers (ISPs) to deal with anybody using their networks for illegal file-sharing. Since then, the ISPs have been in voluntary discussions with various record labels to try to reach an agreement on subscription services for downloading their content.
Now UK Music, the collective representing the UK's commercial music industry, have issued a statement clarifying their stance: "Tackling the issue of unlicensed P2P file-sharing is critical to this future, as well as enabling a commercial environment where sustainable, licensed digital services can prosper. Services that will benefit creators, investors and consumers alike." Those currently getting their music for free probably won't be overjoyed by UK Music's comments on how to deal with offenders: "In context of an evolving licensed digital music market, we believe that Government intervention is extremely welcome and that, subject to assessment, Ofcom should be granted appropriate and proportionate powers as directed by the Secretary of State."
What this ultimately means is that UK Music are angling for the suspension of internet access for repeat offenders. UK Music will submit their full collective response to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (the office currently reviewing the proposed legislation) on September 29. We'll let you know what happens.