One of Britain's best known pop stars, Robbie Williams, has challenged the view of the music industry by saying that he believes music piracy is a good thing. He said the record companies can do nothing to stop people illegally copying music from the internet. This report from David Bamford:
Robbie Williams is a phenomenon in the pop music industry. He's only recently signed a new 120 million dollar contract with his British-based record company EMI after more than five years of consistent album hits and number one singles. But neither EMI nor any of its rival labels are likely to be impressed by Williams' latest comments that music piracy - the phenomonenon that they say is costing the industry millions of dollars every year - is in fact a good thing.
He says that before he renegotiated his new contract, he investigated the issue of internet piracy, and he asked each of the record companies, what are they going to do about it? All he got back, he says, was a lot of hot air - they don't know what to do. Those record companies who have helped make Robbie Williams extremely rich have been fighting a rearguard action in the courts against on-line song-swapping services such as Napster and the growing phenomenon of domestic compact disc copying. Artists and companies have been united in their protest that millions of dollars are being taken away from the creative music process. Cynics might say that this hasn't stopped either the artists or the companies becoming very rich indeed from the sale of overpriced compact discs.