Monday, January 18, 1999 Published at 02:20 GMT
Pop stars fight Net piracy
Home recording is killing music: Familiar battle with new impetus
Rock musicians are joining forces to try to halt music piracy on the Internet.
Robbie Williams, Boyzone and The Corrs are among the stars lobbying European politicians for improved copyright protection to take account of the availability of music dowloaded from the Internet.
The stars have signed a petition organised by Jean-Michel Jarre which is to be presented to the European Parliament this week.
Music piracy is estimated to cost the industry more than £3m a year worldwide and has become an acute problem with the introduction of MP3 computer files.
They can either be played on a computer with software also downloaded from the Internet or played on a portable pocket-sized device.
Encrypted versions are now being developed, but the issue has already led to the US rap band Public Enemy falling out with their record label after the group placed MP3 files of songs on their Website against the wishes of the company.
About 400 leading acts from around Europe have given their support to the campaign, including Mansun, Supergrass, Olive, Denmark's Aqua, Sweden's Roxette and Italian star Eros Ramazzotti.
The European Parliament's legal affairs committee meets on Wednesday and will be delivering its recommendations to the full parliament. It is due to vote on an EU copyright directive next month.
The Director General of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, Nic Garnett, said: "Jean-Michel Jarre really wants to see the ground rules set down for copyright on the Internet.
"The artists are saying 'we want to be able to send music on the Internet but there's not adequate protection there at the moment'.
"The systems are there to distribute it, but there are not the laws to prevent abuse and defend against Internet piracy."
Jean-Michel Jarre said: "It is time for the politicians of the European Parliament to take a stand and ensure their upcoming review of copyright legislation allows Europe's artists and musicians to sustain their success in the digital era".
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