3 strikes row escalates

UK Intellectual property minister David Lammy has defended the government's revised plans to disconnect the most persistent illegal file-sharers against growing criticism from ISPs, consumer groups and now some content representatives. Speaking to the Motion Picture Association of America in Washington he said the new proposals "send a clear message: when it comes to piracy and infringement, digital is not different." He stressed there needed to be a combination of "enforcement, education and forward-looking policy".

But at the same times the Featured Artists' Coalition, the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors and the Music Producers' Guild say in a statement: "We vehemently oppose the proposals being made and suggest that the stick is now in danger of being way out of proportion to the carrot." They accuse the government of taking a negative, small-minded view and warn: "We will not be a party to any system that alienates our members' existing audience and potential new audiences."

The statement argues that turning fans away from even illegal downloading could mean fewer connecting with music and less live concert and merchandise sales. They rubbish the government's claim the legislation could erase £200 million (E229m) of piracy-related losses a year as this assumes all pirate downloads would be replaced with a legitimate sale. They site other studies that show downloaders are also among the highest buyers of CDs and paid downloads as well.

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