In an attempt to preserve their profits, Britain’s biggest record labels are trying to counter illegal file-sharing of music tracks. They have reached an agreement with the six largest UK internet service providers to warn people who are regularly downloading and swapping music without paying for it.
Feargal Sharkey of industry group British Music Rights expects a good response: “When we went and spoke to the kids as to why they were downloading and carrying on doing that, one of the rationals they gave us was that they didn’t think anybody would ever find out. When we explained to them ‘What if somebody did come along and said we know what you’re up to and would you please stop?’ about 70% to 80% of them said they would stop.”
Not just the record labels, but also most musicians favour measures to protect their income. Sarah Morgan of the band Rosie and the Goldbug said: “If people just download songs for free, it’s kind of annoying, because we’re not getting anything back. Fellow band member Lee Mathews approved on the ISP’s measures: “I think it will (have an effect). I think that morally people know that it’s wrong.”
The internet service providers plan to send warning letters to hundreds of thousands of their customers who are illegally downloading music and would restrict access to the web for the worst offenders. The British government is also looking at legislation to stop illegal downloading.