Music agency chief defends fanzine activity

To establish Internet advertising as a credible, successful medium, Web agencies and design companies must stop making unsupported claims and using off-screen examples as role models.

Record companies should encourage rather than hinder “non-exploitative” Websites designed by fans which help to promote famous pop acts on the Internet, according to a leading Web design agency.

Tony Martin, managing director of Music Network, which produces official sites for acts including Portishead, made his statement about fanzine sites last week, following the inaugural meeting of the Online Audio Rights Forum.

Representatives of record companies, record retailers, leading copyright lawyers and Web designers met to discuss problems of online audio bootlegging and tackling unlicensed content at the meeting.

According to Martin, who chaired the meeting, major record labels are gearing up for a crackdown against operators of sites offering pirated versions of music for downloading from the Internet.

But record companies should also be prepared to co-operate with unofficial fanzine site operators, he says, so long as they seek proper licensing agreements for use of music clips and other copyrighted material.

“There is a role for legitimate, non-exploitative sites,” says Martin. “Fanzine sites should be able to get licences from record companies, so long as they are not making any unauthorised monies or profit from using copyrighted content.”

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