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Words in the News
 
Thursday 23 January 2003
 
Music piracy
 
Robbie Williams 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:
 
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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.
 
 
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phenomenon
 
something or someone remarkable, extraordinary and unusual
 
the pop music industry
 
all the people and the processes that are involved in creating, performing, publicising and selling modern popular music
 
album hits
 
an album is a collection of several pieces of music on disc: a hit is an album that sells a lot of copies
 
number one singles
 
a single is a disc containing only one or two pop songs which has at a particular time sold more copies than any other recording, making it number one in the charts
 
rival labels
 
brand names used by recording companies which are competitors
 
music piracy
 
the unathorised and illegal copying of copyright material - in this case, music
 
fighting a rearguard action
 
if someone fights a rearguard action they make a determined effort to prevent something happening which they disapprove of although it is probably too late for them to succeed
 
in the courts
 
in the lawcourts
 
song-swapping
 
the exchange of songs: 'to swap' means 'to exchange'
 
domestic compact disc copying
 
the copying of compact discs in a person's own home
 
 
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