Page last updated at 11:10 GMT, Monday, 21 September 2009 12:10 UK

Lily rallies stars against piracy

Lily Allen
Lily Allen says piracy is "having a dangerous effect on British music"

Stars including Gary Barlow and James Blunt have joined Lily Allen's campaign against music piracy amid a growing dispute among artists on the subject.

Allen has set up a new blog to post messages against unauthorised file-sharing from fellow musicians.

It comes after another group of performers, the Featured Artists' Coalition (FAC), said serial file-sharers should not be punished.

"I want to put my hand up in support of Lily Allen," Blunt wrote.

Describing Allen as "our leader", Blunt continued: "She's asking British musicians to galvanise over a serious crime: the death of a Great British industry - our music business.

"The world over, people are stealing music in its millions in the form of illegal file-sharing.

Taio Cruz with the Sugababes
File-sharing has had a very, very negative effect on my career, as it has on many others
Taio Cruz (second left)

"It's easy to do, and has become accepted by many, but we need people to know that it is destroying people's livelihoods and suffocating emerging new British artists."

The debate over what to do about file-sharing has been sparked by the government's suggestion that serial file-sharers could have their internet accounts suspended.

The Featured Artists' Coalition, whose board includes Radiohead guitarist Ed O'Brien, Blur drummer Dave Rowntree and Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, spoke out last week against the sanctions.

They joined forces with the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors and the Music Producers Guild to say they "vehemently oppose" the plans to punish file-sharers.

The FAC said it did not condone file-sharing, but that "heavy-handed" tactics may turn fans away from music for good. O'Brien told BBC News: "It's going to start a war which they'll never win."

Piracy is only going to get worse, with less money about for people to spend then the cheaper alternative is to obtain the music/video etc illegally
mufcnews, Stockport, UK

In a message to fellow artists, Lily Allen said file-sharing was "having a damaging effect on British music".

She said it "eats away at opportunity for new artists" because there is less money for record labels to spend on signing and developing new artists.

"The majority of British artists are against file-sharing, because it will harm British music," she wrote.

"We can talk about all the legal means of accessing music out there and even come up with new ways to access music, but ultimately we need to establish that we think file-sharing is wrong."

Take That star Gary Barlow wrote in response: "I agree with every single sentence. I spend so much of my spare time helping up-and-coming artists find their way, so am fully aware of all the issues in your letter."

The most vital step at this moment is to ensure that 'the artists' present a united front
Tim Rice-Oxley (right)

In a video message, R&B star Taio Cruz, who is currently number one in the UK singles chart, said his debut album was almost scrapped because it was leaked three months before its release.

The leak was "substantially damaging" to eventual album sales, he said. "Both my label and myself were left in a very difficult position.

"I could have been dropped from my record deal because so much was spent and so much of my album was leaked and not paid for. But luckily my label had great belief in me. File-sharing has had a very, very negative effect on my career, as it has on many others."

He added: "I think it's very positive to see that other artists, along with the government, are coming together to defend the right to protect our art."

Spandau Ballet's Gary Kemp told Allen: "You have my support. Well done for making the effort and not just sitting on the fence like most people."

Keane songwriter Tim Rice-Oxley said: "I'll happily state that I support you in this movement and agree that we have to act now.

"I also feel strongly that the most vital step at this moment is to ensure that 'the artists', whether FAC-related or not, present a united front and a simple message."

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