AIM invited to air views on DRM to UK government as indie labels distance themselves form RIAA actions

March 2006

Record labels, internet

AIM, the UK association representing independent labels, has been asked to give evidence at the House of Commons to the All Party Internet Group on DRM. AIM will be represented by Alison Wenham, Chairman and CEO of AIM and newly-elected President of WIN (Worldwide Independent Network), Simon Wheeler, Director of Digital at Beggars Group/Chairman of AIM’s New Media Committee and Paul Sanders, founder of state51. AIM will be addressing MPs and Peers who form the membership of the Parliamentary/New Media Industries Forum, a body established to consider Internet issues as they affect society and inform Parliamentary debate. The APIG inquiry is looking at DRM issues to establish how consumers, artists and the distribution companies should be protected in a continually evolving market place. AIM was chosen from among 50 bodies who sent in evidence, to speak on behalf of its constituency, 95% of the British independent record industry.  Other attendees of the hearing will include British Music Rights,, Snocap, the British Library, BBC and AOL, National Consumer Council, Open Rights Group, PACT and The Film Council. AIM’s written submission outlined the differences between independent labels’ varying attitudes to DRM and those of the music majors and other IP-based sectors. AIM stated that DRM systems “cannot and will not offer a complete answer to doing IP business via the internet”: though DRM is a useful and competent tool for tracking music use and sales via downloads, it is not and cannot be a “policing” system.  The submission continues “Independent music companies are primarily artist-orientated and want to give their artists every possible opportunity to reach national and international markets: using rather than refusing new technologies; encouraging broad and niche consumer access to new music; avoiding a punitive approach to copyright enforcement and  realising that loss of some measure of copyright control is a factor in reaching new and enthusiastic music markets around the world – and believing that there can be a fresh approach to all these factors”. The Inquiry report will be published in March or April. In North America, Canadian indie label and management company Nettwerk has distanced itself from the actions of the Recording Industry Association of America in taking direct legal action against music fans after fears that the RIAA’s actions would ultimately be counterproductive. Terry McBride of the Nettwerk Music Group who represent Avril Lavigne, Dido and MC Lars amongst others said that “suing music fans is not the solution, it’s the problem”. That said, The RIAA has launched a further 750 lawsuits against alleged file-sharers in the US. A total of 16,837 have been targeted so far in the RIAA’s actions and the RIAA is now looking at taking legal action over the resale of pre-loaded iPods (See above).

And for a fairly caustic response to the IFPI’s Digital Music Report see P2Pnet: “….. Sony BMG, Vivendi Universal, Warner Music and EMI – are sticking to their physical 1970s business model in the digital 21st century. The cartel is trying desperately to compete with independent music sites and the p2p networks by selling low quality compressed digital music tracks at sky-high $1 and up prices. But music lovers continue to get their fixes for free on the networks, or for pennies and cents on one or other of the indie download sites ……..” LINK TO

For more on DRM and compensation schemes for private copying see: and for continuing debate on the role of search engines in rendering news publications obsolete see

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