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The BBC's Malcolm Brabant in Miami
"The royalties the musicians claim are stolen are probably lost forever"
 real 56k

Tuesday, 13 February, 2001, 13:50 GMT
Musicians celebrate Napster ruling
Musicians recording in Miami
Music-makers are happy with the ruling and lament the loss of royalties
As Napster is told to stop trading in copyright music, the BBC's Malcolm Brabant in Miami gauges reaction from America's leading music-making talents.

An eclectic mix of writers from country, rap, rock and pop are coming to the end of a four-day creative retreat at the home of Desmond Child, the man who wrote "Livin' La Vida Loca" and created worldwide success for Latin singer Ricky Martin.

Shaun Fanning, founder of Napster
Sean Fanning launched Napster in 1999
Here, in the writing rooms, there is little sympathy for Napster.

Richie Sambora is lead guitarist with the rock band Bon Jovi. He claims he has lost a small fortune as the result of his songs being downloaded for free.

"To me it's basic thievery. I'm all for sharing music, but when people can download a whole record and pay nothing for it and then they share it with 100,000 other people, it's breaking down the whole business."

Music pays the bills

In another room a team of musicians and writers have started with a blank sheet of paper. They are blocked at a dooby dooby do hurdle and need to find a rhyme.

The collaborators are Mark Hudson - a Grammy-winning producer of Aerosmith - Australian diva Tina Arena, and Emmy-winning writer Victoria Shaw.

For Shaw, downloading music for free is tantamount to stealing. But, she says, people using services like Napster's don't appreciate what they're doing.

Songs are slaved over and they're passionately created. It's how I feed my child, it's how I'm going to educate my child, it's how I pay my bills

Emmy-winning writer Victoria Shaw
"It's a very hard thing to understand for the average person that they're stealing. It's a song. Songs just 'appear'. But they don't. And as you've seen today, they're slaved over and they're passionately created."

She points out making music is what she and many with her do for a living: "It's how I feed my child, it's how I'm going to educate my child, it's how I pay my bills," she said.

Subscription a welcome solution

But although most of the talent is pleased that the courts are heading towards ratifying protection of intellectual copyright, they recognise the need for a compromise that will enable the music industry to take advantage of the internet - that is as long as they get royalties.

Mark Hudson favours the most popular middle course, which would entail music lovers paying a subscription to Napster instead of getting their tracks for free:

"No-one should work for free, nobody. For as successful as I am now, there was a point when I wasn't and I was working for free."

Sheet music
Making music is a way of making a living
Hudson feels having to pay a small subscription fee for downloading music from the internet would still give people a very good deal.

"I think it has to be done on a level where children, young adults and adults as well can say 'yeah, I can afford this, I'm joining Napster for 5.50 a month or whatever it would be and I can download all this music'. When you get 20 million hits, that's a good chunk of change."

Musicians still need internet

The host of this brainstorming session, Desmond Child, is also a pragmatist. "If an artist chooses to have his material distributed through Napster, they should sign a release and allow it to be distributed."

"I think that there are bands out there that have no distribution system that could benefit from putting their material on Napster."

Although Napster hasn't been closed down yet, its founders fear it may not survive.

If it does go under, there won't be many tears from the world of guitar-licks, big bucks and rock 'n' roll.

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