Call for action over music copyright theft

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry has called for “urgent action” on co-operation between internet service providers and governments to stop music copyright theft.

The trade body made the comments as it reported the latest download sales for 2007. The Digital Music Report 2008 shows that sales of single track downloads increased by 53% to 1.7 billion in 2007 but sales have slowed compared to 2006, when sales grew by 89%.

It adds that record companies “continued their transition” into digital businesses in 2007 but that the spread of unlicensed music on ISP networks is “choking revenues to record companies and investment in artists despite the healthy increase in digital sales”.

It calls for co-operation with ISPs, using filtering and disconnecting people that infringe copyrights, to clampdown on piracy. IFPI points to proposed legislation in France to make ISPs responsible for file sharing as “groundbreaking” and a “three strikes and you’re out” policy for users that repeatedly infringe copyrights.

IFPI chief executive John Kennedy says: “After years of prevarication in the discussion, the French government’s decision to seize the day is deeply refreshing. It shows an urgency of approach that is badly needed in every market where music is being massively undervalued by piracy.”

The news of slowing download sales will be a further blow to the ailing music industry. Sales of music grew by about 40% to $3bn (£1.51bn) compared to last year when sales almost doubled to $2.1bn (£1.06bn). But the report remains upbeat about new revenue streams, including advertiser-supported models, and partnerships with social networks.

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