The music industry responds to the Gowers report

May 2008

Record labels, music publishing

The Music Business Group – which represents a number of music industry associations – including the BPI, AIM (independent labels), MU (Musicians Union), MMF (Music Managers), PPL, BMR (British Music Rights) and the MCPS/PRS – is putting together a united response the Gowers Review of UK copyright law which they will present to the UK Intellectual Property Office today. The document will give the collected music industry’s viewpoint on six recommendations made by Gowers in his 2006 review including the suggestion that consumers should be given the right to make private copies of copyright material they have already legally purchased (the private copying exception) which Gowers supports. The various members of the Group seem to have differing views on this although the possibility of a levy to compensate songwriters, music publishers, record labels and recording artists has been forwarded as one solution. BMR, which lobbies on behalf of composers, songwriters and music publishers, has recently commissioned research that shows s that 95% of the 1,158 UK sample group have engaged in some form of illegal copying and amongst 16-24 year olds home copying – transferring tracks from borrowed CDs to a hard drive, CDR or MP3 player, is the most popular with 85% indulging. 59% swapped files over the internet. BMR CEO Feargal S harkey is urging the record labels and publishers to take a realistic attitude to consumer behaviour and develop business models reflecting consumer attitudes – but also asking the government to look at European systems where private copying exceptions are mirrored by compensation provisions for composers and recording artists – usually levies on equipment and on blank CDRs and tapes.

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