Music Piracy

Trade and Industry written question – answered on 15th September 2003.

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Photo of John Robertson John Robertson Labour, Glasgow Anniesland

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry

(1) what assessment she has made of the effect of web music piracy on (a) music sales and (b) the cost of legally purchased music;

(2) what action she is taking to prevent web music piracy.

Photo of Stephen Timms Stephen Timms Minister of State (e-Commerce & Competitiveness)

We have studied various and somewhat contradictory assessments that have been made by others considering the effect of music piracy on the internet on music sales and the cost of legally purchased music. These suggest that reliable evaluation of the relationship would be difficult. Moreover, my understanding is that much illegal file sharing on the internet is illegal private copying rather than piracy which further adds to the difficulty of an evaluation.

Although UK copyright law already provides strong protection for those who own rights in music, our implementation in the UK of the EU Copyright Directive will clarify these rights and introduce criminal offences for internet music piracy, that is wilful illegal transmission of music on the internet when conducted at least on a commercial scale. The increasing availability of legitimate music tracks on the internet should also assist in encouraging those engaged in illegal private copying to desist and the clarification of the law resulting from the Copyright Directive should enable the music industry to trade online with even greater confidence.

Does this answer the above question?

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No1 person thinks not

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Tom Steinberg
Posted on 21 Jun 2004 10:01 am (Report this annotation)

This answer is remarkable. It is much milder and more on the side of the public than most international government statements on file sharing. It is also rather softer than many of this Government's proclamations. And yet Stephen Timms is a minister with an IT remit. So what's up here?

James Diss
Posted on 14 Jul 2004 10:56 am (Report this annotation)

There's a possibility of a wider debate getting messy due to the wildly conflicting statistics available. The industry has claimed falling revenues, while it's been shown that they're trimming products and having record years.

I suspect that it would be a complete mire, and we haven't yet gotten to the point where a suitcase of cash from the BPI would sway opinion.