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Don’t steal music, says Lily Allen

on September 21, 2009, 10:03am

Well, one thing is becoming quite clear: If Lily Allen ever does decide to retire from music, she’s got a few options, including politics and blogging.

Over the last few weeks, the English musician has been engaged in a war of words with some of her fellow musicians over the practice of file sharing. She’s become so involved in fact that she has formed an anti-piracy blog, titled It’s Not Alright, and rounded up the likes of James Blunt, Muse’s Matt Bellamy, and Bat For Lashes’ Natasha Khan to serve as contributors.

“I want to put my hand up in support of Lily Allen,” wrote Blunt in the blog’s debut entry. “She’s asking British musicians to galvanise over a serious crime: the death of a Great British Industry — our music business.”

The issue at hand relates to whether the British Government should tackle online piracy by suspending people’s internet connections.

The Featured Artists’ Coalition, whose members include Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien, Billy Bragg, Blur’s Dave Rowntree, and Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason, oppose the proposed sanctions sanctions. However, in a statement posted on the Coalition’s website this morning, the group noted that its stance does not means its “pro-illegal.”

There has been much discussion over the past few weeks regarding the Government’s proposals to combat the challenge of copyright infringement through the suspension of the internet connections of individuals alleged to have illegally downloaded copyrighted material.

Statements made in opposition to this idea by members of the Featured Artists Coalition have been taken to imply that we condone illicit file-sharing. This is not the case and never has been.

We wish to make it clear to all parties that we believe the creative work of artists should be paid for by those who enjoy it and that whenever our music is used, royalties should be paid.

The focus of our objection is the proposed treatment of ordinary music fans who download a few tracks so as to check out our material before they buy. For those of us who don’t get played on the radio or mentioned in the music media – artists established and emerging – peer-to-peer recommendation is an important form of promotion.

Allen immediately responded to this with a statement of her own:

I want to make it clear that I’m not after a fight with the Featured Artists Coalition – I want us artists to stand together on this – but they’ve released a new statement which just doesn’t make sense. The FAC seems to be viewing the government’s proposed legislation as an attack on freedom and liberty, but stealing’s not really a human right, is it?

If we’re going to change anything us artists need to stand together. If you’re in the business and you agree that we should be encouraging new talent, preventing file-sharing  and preventing the collapse of an industry — as well as coming up with new ways to legally get music — then help me out.

Knock ’em out, indeed.

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