A new right - provisionally called a Value Recognition Right (VRR) - was proposed by a cross-industry group today that would allow the industry to earn money from ISPs and other digital operators which distribute music.
Under the current copyright law, that is widely suited to physical distribution, but not nearly as flexible in the digital world, ISPs, mobile companies and others gain value from unauthorised distribution of music.
The group, which includes representatives from Aim, MCPS-PRS, British Music Rights, MMF, MPA, British Academy Of Composers And Songwriters and Musicians Union, does not want to penalise the consumer and is happy to allow them to swap music from different devices, but wants to dervive revenues from the service providers who are not paying copyright owners for the traffic. Aim chairman and CEO Alison Wenham denies the VRR is a digital levy and is unable to say how much the licences might cost. Nor is she able to estimate how much these new licenses could earn the industry, although she says that some £0.5bn is already lost to it through illegal filesharing.
She says, "Aim recognised that the time is now for this extremely important debate and on behalf of the independent music sector we decided to invest in researching and setting out our discussion paper. We believe the VRR is the most innovative potential answer to problems which current applications of copyright law cannot properly deal."
The group concedes it has a long way to go in developing the new right from the concept stage to law and much of the detail has still to be fleshed out.
Meanwhile, BPI chairman Peter Jamieson spoke of Aim's plans at the body's AGM today saying he was only informed about the launch of the Value Recognition Right 24 hours before the conference. "This is not long enough to consider such a proposal," he said, criticising the decision to unveil it on the day of the BPI's AGM. "The style and the manner of this announcement is probably an example of sectarianism at its worst. But its underlying aim is good."