Independent music labels in the UK are preparing to complain to the European Commission over government plans to legalise the copying of music between CDs, computers and MP3 players without paying the publisher of the songs.
The Association of Independent Music represents hundreds of labels, who record artists such as The White Stripes, The Pixies, Bjork and The Arctic Monkeys. It will argue that the Gowers report, a Treasury-funded policy document written by former Financial Times editor Andrew Gowers, could irreparably harm the UK's creative industries.
Alison Wenham, head of the association, said allowing consumers to copy music without paying the remuneration for rights' owners "opens the floodgates" for abuse of copy-righted material across a variety of sectors, including publishers, video games developers and film-makers.
Gowers recommends that consumers should be allowed limited private copying rights to shift from one format to another. Consumers have been happily copying CDs on to computers to play on MP3 players such as iPods although doing so is illegal. The report's recommendations, which are due to come into effect in autumn 2008, are designed to legitimise such behaviour rather than the mass piracy of copyrighted material.
Ms Wenham said the Government is trying to legislate for consumer behaviour based on specific technology. The danger, she said, is technology will continue to evolve in unexpected ways but laws allowing private copying of music will not recognise the value of the content built into the legislation. …