FAC REACH AGREEMENT: THREE-STRIKES YES, NET-SUSPENSION
Despite earlier in the day announcing she wouldn't be attending the big artist debate on the file-sharing issue, Lily Allen did make an appearance at the Featured Artists' Coalition's meeting in London last night, and apparently got a round of applause from her fellow music types.
As previously reported, the meeting at London's Air Studios was in the main motivated by Allen's online rantings on the file-sharing issue. As much previously reported, when the UK government announced last month it was seriously considering introducing new laws to combat file-sharing, including measures to force internet service providers to restrict or suspend the net connections of persistent file-sharers, while the BPI and UK Music quickly came out in support of the proposals, the FAC were very critical of them.
The Coalition issued a statement, also backed by the British Academy Of Songwriters, Composers And Authors and the Music Producers' Guild, saying "we have serious reservations about the content and scope of the proposed legislation" and adding "ordinary music fans and consumers should not be criminalised because of the failings of a legacy sector of business to adapt sufficiently fast to new technological challenges".
But some artists felt that the FAC were far too critical of the government's new proposals, and that in being so critical the Coalition implied they supported a music fan's right to steal music via file-sharing networks rather than buying or streaming it via legit services. They weren't really saying that at all, but when Allen and others went public on the issue it was clear that there was some disagreement in the artist community regarding the official line the FAC had taken.
The official statement to come from the meeting reads thus: "We wish to express our support for Lily Allen in her campaign to alert music lovers to the threat that illegal downloading presents to our industry and to condemn the vitriol that has been directed at her in recent days. Our meeting also voted overwhelmingly to support a three-strike sanction on those who persistently download illegal files, sanctions to consist of a warning letter, a stronger warning letter and a final sanction of the restriction of the infringer's bandwidth to a level which would render file-sharing of media files impractical while leaving basic email and web access functional".
So, as of last night the Featured Artists' Coalition does support the sort-of 'three-strikes' system proposed by the government for combating file-sharing though with the important proviso that they do not support the complete suspension of any music fan's net connection, however much file-sharing they do, just the restriction of their bandwidth so to make the download or upload of large files tediously slow (like back in the good old Napster days). They want to ensure said file-sharers can still email, access basic websites, and post to any blogs Lily Allen may or may not be operating at the time (as long as they are nice to the old girl).
Among the artists putting their name to last night's statement were Blur's Dave Rowntree, Radiohead's Ed O'Brien, Keane's Tim Rice-Oxley, Travis' Fran Healy, Cornershop's Tjinder Singh, Billy Bragg, Howard Jones, Sandie Shaw, Guy Chambers, Patrick Wolf, Sam Duckworth, Annie Lennox, George Michael and, of course, Lily Allen. Even though she's not actually a member of the FAC