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British Music Stars Want Search Results Filtered To Stop Piracy

Posted by: , 12:54 AEST, Thu July 26, 2012

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Elton John, Simon Cowell, Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend are among some of the biggest names in music in writing a letter to the British PM demanding tougher action on Internet piracy
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Image/Photo Credit: theogeo @ Flickr, CC

Some of British music's, and the world's, biggest names have written a letter to British Prime Minister David Cameron asking for tougher actions to be taken to battle the online piracy problem.

The signatories, including Sir Elton John, Simon Cowell and members of the hit groups Queen, The Who and Led Zeppelin, asks the PM to fully enact the controversial Digital Economy Act, which calls for a "graduated response", or more commonly known as a "three strikes" system to kick people off the Internet that have been suspected of infringing copyright.

The mostly ageing rock stars (the signatories have an average age of 53), but with a few contemporary counterparts, also want the government to force search engines like Google and Bing to block search results that return links to potential pirated content, a form of censorship even the forceful copyright lobby has so far been afraid to contemplate.

The letter talks about the need to allow the UK creative industries to "earn a fair return on their huge investments creating original content". By ensuring piracy is "pushed to the margins", the letter writes, the censorship measures will in turn benefit consumers, "giving confidence they are buying safely online from legal websites".

Critics will argue that any form of Internet censorship, for whatever reason, will be a dangerous precedent and a harmful one for the health of the Internet. Some also argue that freedom of the Internet, which while allowing piracy to happen, is also benefiting creativity by allowing more and more people to create, publish and share their works online.

Evidence from recent anti-piracy censorship actions in the UK and around Europe, against major BitTorrent indexer The Pirate bay, also shows that these technical measures do littleif anything, towards stopping the piracy problem (a problem that many say is service, not price, related).

The industry's own sales statistics also highlight the revenue decline problems as stemming from the transition from CD album sales, which accounted for 90% of the industry's revenue at its peak, to cheaper and less profitable digital track sales. The UK has not been immune from this same phenomenon, even as the music piracy rate continues to fall along with the industry's profits.


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