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Tuesday, 17 September, 2002, 11:58 GMT 12:58 UK
Music bosses mull piracy options
PC CD drive
Copy protection caused problems with PCs
The UK music industry is putting its faith into new copy protection techniques to fight music piracy.

Around the world record executives are blaming rising physical and internet piracy for a decline in CD sales.

But delegates at the In The City industry conference in Manchester were told that new technology could make CDs copy-proof without alienating listeners.

Teenager listening to music
Some young people expect music for free, the conference heard
Prototype technology used on some releases has left customers complaining they could not play them on PC CD drives or older CD players.

But experts are now confident that new more effective software has cracked the problem and can now be approved for wider use.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry has produced a new badge to show CDs are copy protected.

It also plans to issue guidelines on labelling so companies can meet trading standards regulations.

"The scheme reflects the growing concerns of the industry to protect its product from mass copying and piracy," said an IFPI spokesman.

Bosses say the UK's music industry is suffering, with the latest sales figures showing a drop of 15.4%.

Recent figures from Germany, said to be a centre of CD copying, suggested CD sales were down 25%.

More stars

The second prong of the campaign discussed at In The City was stepping-up of an education programme to combat perceptions among young people that music should be free.

Record companies are still hoping to recruit more stars to complement those such as Jean Michel Jarre and Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich, who have previously spoken out.

But the Manchester seminar was told using free music for promotion and marketing was already defeating the campaigns.

"Is it right that people in our own industry are giving music away?" asked Andrew Yeates, of the British Phonographic Institute.

Gavin Robertson, of the Association for Independent Music, said: "We are shooting ourselves in the foot."

See also:

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