Is ‘value recognition’ on the turntable?

December 2007

All areas

AIM, the Association of Independent Music and others including music publishers, collection societies and artists have been pushing for ‘value recognition’ for their rights for some time – claiming that internet service providers (ISPs) and mobile companies profit from the vast amount of music (mostly) illegally swapped and downloaded on the internet and on mobiles. In the USA the Motion Picture Association have also begun speaking with ISPs as have the International Federation of Photographic Industries (IFPI). With CD sales rapidly shrinking and with no commensurate increase in legal download sales, some say that record labels are fighting for their very existence. Last year EMI’s sales were down 15% and SonyBMG’s down 10.2%. Now Lord Triesman, the parliamentary Under Secretary for Innovation, Universities and Skills in the UK has suggested that the UK government could push through legislation to crack down on illegal file-sharers and to also force ISPs into taking a tougher stance here. Triesman has proposed ISPs sign up to a voluntary agreement to thwart file-sharers, but if they don’t they could be forced to under possible new legislation. The music industry has been in talks with ISPs for several years on this issue and has hinted that lawsuits could follow if the ISPs don’t play ball. The government, with one eye on the PR implications, has stated it will target those who make multiple copies available for profit rather than “hounding 14-year-olds who shared music” Five Eight Daily reports. ISPs have argued that they cannot be held responsible for their customers’ activities and that they don’t have the technology to monitor all activities on their networks.

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