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'Squeeze' file-sharers

Ed O'Brien and Lily Allen amongst artists who sign statement

  • 25/09/2009
  • Ruth Barnes
Lily Allen

George Michael, Annie Lennox and Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason have all signed a specially drafted statement, along with almost 100 other big name musicians at a lengthy debate over how to tackle music piracy in London last night.

The meeting, open to all artists, was called after artists posted passionate statements on Lily Allen's blog on the subject of how to deal with serial file-sharers.

The Featured Artists' Coalition, which includes Radiohead's Ed O'Brien and Nick Mason, said cutting off broadband accounts, as suggested by government ministers, would be impractical and counter-productive.

Ed O'Brien says they've reached a compromise: "It's not a suspension of accounts, it's merely throttling it."

Last night's attendees have said persistent offenders should have their bandwidths 'squeezed'.

"It's a great, great, great conclusion... to back what Lily Allen is proposing"

Radiohead's Ed O'Brien

Sanction explained

Billy Bragg was there and explained what this meant: "So it's utterly impractical for infringers to be able download any media file, infact all they'll be able to do is send basic emails and have functional web access.

Having just that for three months as a sanction is some kind of a stick, not the ultimate sanction of cutting people off from the internet - we remain opposed to that," he said.

The statement said that the signees backed Lily Allen's campaign to 'alert music lovers to the threat that illegal downloading presents to our industry'.

The plan to send two warning letters to file-sharers was agreed on, before restricting their broadband speeds.

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson has said people who share files illegally should have their connections temporarily suspended as a 'last resort'.

The government has asked for views on the proposed new law before Tuesday.

Grammy award winning composer David Arnold, songwriter Guy Chambers, Billy Bragg, Patrick Wolf, Sandie Shaw, Keane's Tim Rice-Oxley, Travis's Fran Healy and Futureheads' Ross Millard were among the other signees.

Lily Allen cheered

Lily Allen wasn't expected to be at the meeting, after she had taken down her blog because she was receiving too much abuse.

However, she was cheered on arrival at Air Studios in Hampstead, and spoke several times.

Speaking to BBC News, Ed O'Brien said he thought she was, 'extremely brave' to be there.

"She's taken a lot of flak for what she's said. What she's done has been brilliant because she started the process where artists have stood up and said, you know what, there is a consequence to illegal file-sharing.

"In the meeting, we didn't always agree but we came to an agreement that we thought was good for everyone.

"We're going to have further meetings like this, we're going to get together - we've realised the importance of doing this together," he said.

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