In a statement that backs up its commitment to the Government's recent intervention on the proposed P2P filesharing legislation, which suggested adding suspension of ISP accounts to the potential arsenal it can bring to bear against filesharers, the organisation says "we believe that Government intervention is extremely welcome."
It adds, "Tackling the issue of unlicensed P2P filesharing is critical...In context of an evolving licensed digital music market, we believe that Government intervention is extremely welcome and that, subject to assessment, Ofcom should be granted appropriate and proportionate powers as directed by the Secretary of State. The purpose of these powers is to encourage users of unlicensed P2P networks towards existing and future digital music services."
The move, which backs up its position following Business Secretary Lord Mandelson's intervention on filesharing at the end of last month, follows a frantic few days which in a repeat of the copyright term debate has seen the industry at loggerheads again just weeks before crucial legislation might be passed.
This time the argument is over how to deal with filesharing, with the Featured Artists Coalition whipping up support to condemn Mandelson's proposed measures to suspend a subscriber's account (those proposals are still subject to an industry-wide consultation).
UK Music has still to submit its response to the consultation, which ends on September 29.
On Monday Sony and EMI hosted two gatherings for managers and members of FAC to discuss the consultation and Mandelson's proposals. The meetings were attended by UK Music CEO Feargal Sharkey, FAC CEO Jeremy Silver, MMF CEO Jon Webster, MMF chairman Brian Message, FAC member Ed O'Brien and manager Peter Jenner. One manager in attendance at Sony's HQ called the meeting "a very good exchange of views".
However, there was much criticism from managers of Mandelson's proposals to beef up powers against filesharers. One says, "It is a real vote loser. It is not going to happen because cutting people off can not be right."
According to insiders, there was also criticism of the role of Universal Music Group International chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge, who has been instrumental in shifting the Government towards stronger penalties against filesharers.
Lily Allen has also waded into the debate, dismissing the thoughts of O'Brien and other FAC members, which she says do not reflect many artists' views on filesharing. She has said, "For new talent filesharing is a disaster."
Sharkey and others are conscious that the parliamentary timetable for introducing legislation is now very tight and last-minute arguments can not help the industry's case. Another source says the industry needs to decide if it wants to get something out of the Government or end up with "100% of nothing".
Sharkey obviously recognises these tensions and says, "Like all of society, like all creative businesses, the UK's commercial music industry reflects a wide spectrum of viewpoints and opinions. Discussions over recent weeks have drawn us much closer together and helped us to realise with greater certainty our shared vision of the future. We continue to welcome Government's support and intervention, both of which will be vital to ensure that those who create and invest in music have the opportunity to deliver their full potential and reap the benefits, rewards and promises of an ever-evolving digital marketplace."