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Monday, 22 January, 2001, 17:02 GMT
Music piracy 'threatens industry'
CDs
More than 500 million pirate CDs are made annually
The world's largest music trader fair has opened in Cannes with a warning that music piracy could kill off the record business.

Britain's Consumer Affairs Minister Kim Howells said piracy was cutting into the livelihoods of the world's creative artists.

Kim Howells
Kim Howells: "The industry has got to do more"
Mr Howells, who was visiting the fair to promote British music, said music piracy encompassed both CD copying and internet downloads.

One in five of CDs produced around the world are pirate copies.

The minister also stressed that politicians and consumers needed to be more aware of the potential risks.

"We are going to get into deep trouble if we don't get this one right," Mr Howells said.

"Politicians have got to be a lot more courageous and imaginative in future."

He added: "This is a crime that has victims and the victims are the people who depend on creative industries and that is their livelihood."

Mr Howells was speaking at the Midem fair, which attracts more than 10,000 executives from 96 countries.

He said the industry has got to do "much more to help itself" and not assume it is just a political decision.

"Governments have got to do far more than they have but it is also an issue for the industry and society at large," he said.

He expressed his surprise at how slowly United States was dealing with the issue.

"The entertainment industry has overtaken aerospace as America's biggest earner of foreign currency. And yet they seem to be in a terrible fix about issues like Napster."

The county's largest music labels are trying to shut down Napster, a hugely popular and online song-swap service.

More than 500 million pirate CDs are produced a year, costing the industry up to $5bn (3.4bn).

See also:

17 Jan 01 | Sci/Tech
A tax on music tracks
30 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Record labels make online plans
17 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Napster deal puts more music on net
01 Dec 00 | Sci/Tech
Caught on the net
27 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Music 'at a price'
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