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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 July, 2003, 11:43 GMT 12:43 UK
Fileswappers urged to join lobby
Downloading internet music
The EFF wants music file sharers to take the issue to Congress
Music fans who swap songs on the internet are being urged to demand changes in copyright law by a US lobby group.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation's (EFF) Let the Music Play campaign is encouraging the estimated 60 million Americans who swap files to push for artist royalties and legal status for file sharing.

It comes a week after the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) said it would sue individual internet users who consistently uploaded or shared music files on the internet.

Today, more US citizens use file-sharing software than voted for President Bush
EFF lawyer Fred von Lohmann

Copyright law is out of step with the views of the American public and the reality of music distribution online," said EFF Executive Director Shari Steele.

"Rather than trying to sue people into submission, we need to find a better alternative that gets artists paid while making file sharing legal."

'More sharers than voters'

The EFF said its new campaign was an alternative to the litigation the RIAA was planning.

It said music swappers should write to their congressmen to push the issue.

"Today, more US citizens use file-sharing software than voted for President Bush," said the EFF's lawyer Fred von Lohmann.

"Congress needs to spend less time listening to record industry lobbyists and more time listening to the more than 60 million Americans who use file-sharing software today."

The EFF's position echoes earlier calls by music-swapping sites such as Morpheus and Grokster calling their users to lobby Congress.

Future co-operation

Michael Weiss, chief executive of Los Angeles-based StreamCast, said last week: "The record industry called peer-to-peer users pirates, but what these people are are hundreds of millions of voters."

Meanwhile, a group of entertainment executives met with representatives from file-swapping services on Monday to try and co-operate in the future.

The Distributed Computing Industry Association met in Los Angeles.

It was led by former Hollywood agent Derek Broes, who previously has called on the two sides "to find solutions to this problem that is threatening the very essence of our business."

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