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Sweden sets pace as countries race to tackle music piracy
Lily Allen performing in Gothenburg last summer

Sweden sets pace as countries race to tackle music piracy

Published: 27 Jan 2010 17:53 GMT+01:00
Updated: 27 Jan 2010 17:53 GMT+01:00

Countries all over the world are following the lead of Sweden, France and South Korea as the battle against illegal music downloads intensifies.

Sweden has taken the most stringent stance, adopting tough legislation and taking legal action against illegal downloading site The Pirate Bay.

But the country has also benefitted from the huge success of its free ad-supported music streaming service, Spotify, which helped sales of digital music soar by 98 percent and CD sales by 1.9 percent.

Figures released earlier this month by the Swedish Recording Industry Association showed music sales for 2009 up 10.2 percent on the previous year, making Sweden one of few countries in the world with sales results in the black. In all, digital sales accounted for 16.3 percent of the total.

"It remains to be seen whether this year's positive development really will break the trend," said association spokesperson Lisa Cronstedt in a statement, as the industry seeks to rebound from a lengthy period of decline.

Worldwide music sales have crashed some 30 percent since 2004 as piracy has risen, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) said last week.

"Many countries are mulling a gradual response but are waiting to see what results are achieved in countries that have taken steps," said industry consultant Aymeric Pichevin at a conference on piracy held at the annual MIDEM music industry trade fair in Cannes, which closes on Wednesday.

France has adopted a gradual response -- bombarding people who are illegally downloading from the Internet with threats, and taking them to court only if they ignore the warnings. That is the spirit of its so-called Hadopi law, adopted end 2009 and to be enforced this year.

South Korea is the only country in the world to have launched this type of action, in July 2009. IFPI figures indicate the move had an immediate impact on digital sales, which jumped 53 percent in the first nine months of 2009.

The French music market too was bolstered in the second half of last year by the news that a law would be passed to help protect the struggling from piracy.

Its two stage programme -- warn first, take action later -- has impacted as far away as New Zealand, which is now looking at similar measures.

Britain is considering how to strengthen measures to combat music piracy but believes in a more softly-softly approach.

"The idea is to send threats to Internet users and then wait to see what effect this first phase has before considering whether sanctions need to be taken," said Pichevin.

At MIDEM, which is the music industry's biggest annual get-together, the topic of piracy sparked heated debated.

The "Featured Artists Coalition" (FAC), which includes stars such as Pink Floyd, Blur and Radiohead, was sceptical that strong-arm tactics can be effective, a stand that irritated singer Lily Allen.

"I believe we will have a law, but in a run-up to a general election, there is little window of opportunity," said Geoff Taylor, the head of BPI, which represents the British music industry.

In Spain, where 31 percent of Internet users regularly illegally download music, according to a survey carried out for MIDEM, the government appears to be reluctant to attack consumers directly.

The government there has drawn up a draft law enabling the closure of sites that allow illegal downloads, but this has come under attack by opposition parties.

In Japan and the United States, the music industry has opted to negotiate agreements directly with Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

That approach failed in Spain and Britain "where ISPs were afraid of losing customers," Taylor said.

Canada's association of composers and songwriters on the other hand wants to negotiate a license with ISPs for Internet users who want to download.

"There's no harm in sharing music, that's always been the case. The only problem is that we're not paid and we need to find a way of monetizing the sharing," said the head of the association, Eddie Schwartz.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

18:44 January 27, 2010 by Beavis
So when are countries going to tackle the people who are REALLY destroying music? The record companies. The ones who are pumping all profits into reality tv shows and x-factor type rubbish. Its short term artists with little talent,maximum profits. Real musicians cant get on the radio, as they are high risk, with record companies charging stations per play on air, so radio stations play the same 25 songs over and over as its less risk on their advertising revenue.
19:10 January 27, 2010 by mikmak
Swedens sets pace and elects two members of the piraty party into the EU parliament, other countries race to catch up.
20:17 January 27, 2010 by eZee.se
I wouldnt put it past the low life scumbags at IFPI etc to actually cook the numbers and show a positive return in Sweden just so that they can pass the IPRED fiasco to other countries as a success.

I know all my friends have started downloading again, and both the FRA and IPRED laws are a joke as then can easily be bypassed via a VPN connection, which costs less than 50kr a month from someone like IPREDator.se (run by the boys at TPB) or mullvad etc

I use a VPN myself, because what i do on the net is my business, not the government and certainly not of the Music And Film Industries Associations (MAFIA).

Thanks to the music and film industries corrupting the Swedish govt to input their own cherry picked laws, its now harder to track real criminals and even pedos as well child porn peddlers.

And all this to save an industry that still wants to do business the way it has done for decades past rather than change and adapt to current times.
23:46 January 27, 2010 by fakts
Is that a tit or what?
01:06 January 28, 2010 by Corvinus
Yes, I do believe it's a boobie
03:09 January 28, 2010 by Davey-jo
No;it's refugee from Malmö .
09:46 January 28, 2010 by fakts
@Davey-jo

Aren't you the same guy going around TL all the time crying because of refugees? Don't you have a job?
10:12 January 28, 2010 by this_aint_sparta
I read the whole to find out the co-relation between the story and the see through but W.T.F !!!
11:13 January 28, 2010 by EtoileBrilliant
For those of you who think internet piracy is a victimless crime (eZee.se). Read the newspapers (last week's FT).

"Spain was singled out and described as running the risk of "turning into a cultural desert" due to "state-tolerated apathy" towards illegal file-sharing.

Sales of Spanish artists' albums have fallen by two-thirds over the past five years.

"Spain has the worst piracy problem of any major market in Europe. In 2009 no new Spanish artists featured in the top 50 album charts, compared to 10 in 2003"

You're killing music, guys. Blame anyone apart from yourselves.
11:31 January 28, 2010 by DAVID T
@eZee.se You atr such an idiot - because of criminals like you soon no decent music will be put out. why would the record company's invest so much money if the like's of you just steal it. For every hit there's 50 that don't make it and the record companies still have the same costs so stop trying to convince yourself that what you are doing isn't wrong - your a thief end of story
13:11 January 28, 2010 by Davey-jo
@fakts

First I ever mentioned refugee. Don't understand what your point is. Did you have a humourectomy when you were born?
13:35 January 28, 2010 by Beavis
The real criminals are the record companies. I am not saying illegally downloading is the right thing to do but what the record companies are doing to music is 10 million times worse. They are taking the same appoach to selling music as they have had since they first began destroying music in the 1970s. Back then it was "Home taping is killing music" When cassettes came out they blamed people recording on cassettes for the decline in music sales. Most bands now trying to make it, are not making it via record/cd sales as the record companies cut (usually 99% of the sales) is too high. New bands are making it now via their own websites and live gigs. Etoliienotsobriliant take a look at the movie "Anvil" Its a typical example of how out of touch the record companies are. Album sales are down in Spain. Why is this? Well price for starters. Albums are sold at the same price across Europe and the average income in Spain is one of Eurpoe lowest. Record companies only invest in x-factor type "music" now.Its a quick win financially. You wont see them investing in the next Rollings Stones or the next Beatles, there wont be anext Pink Floyd..The only way for musicaians to make it now it on their own without any record company interference, or hopefully one of the poor record companies thats loosing money goes for the new approach, takes the risk in a new upcoming artist , that wasnt voted for in some nonsense gameshow.
13:55 January 28, 2010 by EtoileBrilliant
@Beavis

I don't work for the record companies (I don't particular like them). I hardly buy music (nor do I download). But I recognise that piracy kills music. There are millions of things I disagree with in life (Transformers 2, Terminator 4, Swedish korv, etc) but that doesn't give me the right to steal it from its rightful owners.

Listening to you, eZee and your ilk pretending that you are the musical equivalents of Luke Skywalker (record companies represent the dark side) just comes off as churlish and frankly, to me at least, somewhat patronizing to the people who believe that paying for something is the correct form of exchange of goods.

You're correct in saying that "Record companies only invest in x-factor type "music" now.Its a quick win financially", Why not? It offers the best return to their shareholder. That's what they call capitalism.

"You won't see them investing in the next Rollings Stones or the next Beatles", probably not. Why should they? Where's the return when everyone steals their product.

The purpose of highlighting the FT article is to demonstrate (whether you like it or not) is that those countries which have a high incidence of music piracy are correlated to those countries that have a low incidence of locally produced artists - go figure!
14:34 January 28, 2010 by Qinx
Downloading music is legal in the Netherlands (uploading without permission is not). And never in the past has the Dutch music scene soared as it does now. Artists and bands that would never have made it say 20 years ago are now hitting the hitlists. The live music scene is doing better and better with a lot of local talent being allowed to perform and drawing in crowds.

So let's kill all that.
15:47 January 28, 2010 by Beavis
You dont get it at all Et... You see Im not downloading music, as I went out and spent a fortune buying what was good music.

"Where's the return when everyone steals their product" The return is long term investment. Youll see the likes of Roadiohead are offering to download some of the tracks for free from their website. (Then you can buy the rest) Spotify has shown that people are willing to pay to download, they no longer want the physical product.

Take another example of AC/DC, their Black Ice tour was the biggest grossing last year and secured more finance FOR THE BAND than all the x-factor muppets made worldwide. At least 50% of thier new ablum was downloaded illegally, yet they still had one of the top selling albums of the year.

You dont seem to realsie the harm the record compaies are doing to music.

Quinx, dont let the record companies know in Holland, sounds like music is on the up, they wont like that!
01:53 January 29, 2010 by eZee.se
Sorry for my late reply, theres not notification here when someone replies to you and i dont always check back for replies.

@EtoileBrilliant, never said its a victimless crime, I hope there are victims and ...the "victims" are the music industry... (not to be confused with the artists that create music)

there are 4 of us who run eZee.se, most of us(but not all) fileshare, i even download music that i dont like just to share it with others (most of the top 10 in most charts are crap, but if others want it, i'll make it easier for them by sharing it.), we are passionate about the subject on eZee and thats why we built ezee.se, thats why we have tutorials on how to get started with filesharing as well as always willing to talk to everyone we meet on how to start filesharing face to face, and thats we we comment on forums as these, unlike cowards here and on other forums we make no secrets about our intentions/motives or where we come from.(for example check the comments here:www.thelocal.se/22206/20090921/)

Just spouting RIAA and IFPI press releases as fact is moronic, show me other studies not funded by the MAFIAA that says piracy is killing the music industry.. you cant, but i can show you different studies that show piracy is actually selling more records (URLs on request- or just do a google search).

And also it was sweet the way you sidestepped any and all points brought up that contradicts your (and your industries) views on the topic.

I play 3 instruments, man has been making music much before the music industry, and will be once the music industry dinosaurs are long gone as well.

You cannot kill music, you can kill the middlemen - and thats the ultimate goal, money to the artists *not* the labels who have bastardized copyright from its original intention to its present form.

Who refuse to change with the times and manipulate governments to back their outdated business models.

If i come out looking childish to you ETI, simply ignore or laugh at me, thats whats gotten your industry in the waters it is today.

The biggest pirates are the labels, look at the case in Canada where the labels may owe the artists upto 6 BILLION (www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/4596/135/), we download for ourselves not sell pirated songs, the labels *sell* pirated songs by never compensating the artists.

Can you really defend this: http://ezee.se/4f

Oops, no space for more URLs so i guess i gotto wait for someone to post after me and then I can post URLs (or you can simply use google)
13:21 January 29, 2010 by Guy with a big whang
Actually @ezee.se,

the labels can owe not upto 6 billion but 60 billion! You forgot a digit there

(boingboing.net/2009/12/07/major-record-labels.html)

Maybe you wanted to post these URLs?

negativland.com/albini.html (the music business from an artists view)

Anti piracy is a scam - house of lords (UK)

torrentfreak.com/anti-piracy-scheme-a-scam-legal-blackmail-say-uk-lords-100128/

or maybe this:

techdirt.com/articles/20100127/0523087919.shtml

or this:

techdirt.com/articles/20091101/1818186751.shtml

digitaltrends.com/home-theater/mpaa-admits-errors-in-movie-piracy-study/

or this:

counterpunch.org/marshcheat.html

or maybe this:

allbusiness.com/legal/3604363-1.html

when the riaa tried to screw all musicians/artists and further enrich the labels, which brought out don Henley (of The Eagles) and a horde of artists to try to undo what the RIAA had done to them..

More links on request ;)
16:21 January 29, 2010 by eZee.se
@David T,

Ah yes, its so black and white isnt it?

I dont need to convince myself what i am doing is not wrong, I *KNOW* its not wrong and thats why I am trying to help more people fileshare.

Yes, its because of people like me that no good music is being made...

hehehe sorry, couldnt help laughing. I'm surprised you didnt blame me for also killing disco ;))

And its not stealing, if you have a car and i take it from you... i am depriving you of that car because i stole it, if you have a car and i make a copy of that car...well, what exactly are you missing? what exactly has been stolen?

Its copyright infringement, no matter what false words you use, it will always be "copyright infringement", nothing more, nothing less.

@Guy with...

nice links, i wanted to post a few others but i think those should suffice for now because i do like the choice of sites you posted the links to... maybe in future would consider posting a few links to the articles we wrote on eZee? ;)

Oh, and sorry for forgetting one digit there... 60 billion in this case sounds oh sooo much better.
07:51 February 5, 2010 by Frattonparker
I find it a bit rich for companies like Sony to moan about illegal downloading etc. If I remember correctly it was Sony (please feel free to correct me if you want) who invented or made available all the equipment necessary to copy music in the first place. The cassette tape, the cassette recorder, the music centre, the tape to tape. What are all these things for then if not to do home taping and then copying?
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