ISPreview - UK Music - Illegal File Sharing Interview Part1
UK Music - Illegal File Sharing Interview Part1
By: Mark Jackson - January 22nd, 2009 : Page 1 -of- 3
"Internet providers may now risk the prospect of tougher legislative sanctions from the government unless a way forward can be found"

The past few weeks of early January 2009 have certainly been very eventful for the UK music industry, which is attempting to work with broadband ISPs toward the development of a method designed to counter the increasing prevalence of illegal file sharing (To Ban or Not to Ban). This process began in earnest last year when six of the country’s largest ISPs signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the creative industry and agreed to the principal of warning illegal downloaders about their activity (news).

The MoU was ultimately seen as an ignition switch to kick-start the process toward developing tighter restrictions and better solutions for the problem. Unfortunately, despite the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) warning in its 2009 Digital Music Report that 95% of music downloads (40 billion files) are illegal and unpaid for (news), the creative (music, movies etc.) industry, government and ISPs have so far failed to reach a voluntary agreement (news).

Internet providers may now risk the prospect of tougher legislative sanctions from the government unless a way forward can be found. To that end ISPreview has hooked up with UK Music (who?), an organisation representing the UK’s commercial music industry, to discuss some of the problems and potential solutions to this situation. This interview includes feedback from UK Music’s Press and Communications Executive, Adam Webb, its CEO Feargal Sharkey and Chairman Andy Heath.

NOTE: This interview was completed only days before the recent failure to find a voluntary agreement and as such one or two of the questions and answers may appear out of step.

1. Who are you and what do you do?

UK Music: My name is Adam Webb, I am press and communications executive for UK Music. UK Music is a recently-launched organisation that represents the UK’s commercial music industry – our members include representatives of artists, songwriters, composers, musicians, record labels, music publishers, music managers, studio producers and collecting societies.

Before UK Music launched in October 2008, our previous incarnation was an organisation called British Music Rights that represented the interests solely of the composer and publisher community.   

2. How much progress has been made on implementing the new anti-piracy scheme since the memorandum of understanding was first signed and what hurdles have yet to be overcome?

UK Music: As you know, the memorandum of understanding was built upon three strands: education; the development of new business models; and, for those consumers who still won’t use legitimate music services, a dialogue as to what should be an appropriate response to discourage them.

I wouldn’t term the MOU as an “anti-piracy scheme”. The overriding emphasis is to bring music and telco businesses together, develop new partnerships and stimulate growth. As such, it is very much the start of a process, not the end game.

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