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News October 27, 2015

UK minister announces fresh round of talks with ISPs

The UK’s equivalent of ARIA – the BPI – held its AGM yesterday which saw long-time chairman and industry stalwart Tony Wadsworth step down from his role, while incoming Culture Secretary The Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP made a solid pledge to help tackle online infringement.

The AGM was also notable for the final appearance of Tony Wadsworth CBE as its presiding BPI Chairman. Wadsworth underpinned his farewell address with a defence of British record labels and the essential contribution they make, calling on them to maintain their passionate commitment to a creative environment in which new talent can thrive. Fittingly, Damon Albarn was on hand as the special guest to round off proceedings by presenting Tony with an honorary BRIT Award for the Outstanding Contribution he has made to the UK industry across 30 years.

The government’s newly-appointed Culture Secretary gave an impassioned speech which made various commitments to tackling file-sharing. Javid outlined that in one quarter last year some 200 million music files were shared over p2p.

He says, “No industry – and no Government – can let this level of infringement continue on such a massive, industrial scale.”

Javid also explained that his department has written to ISPs to engage them in a fresh round of discussions, but stressed that a less than fruitful outcome would result in a legislative approach.

He concludes, “Let me be absolutely clear that I completely agree with Mike Weatherley (Government’s IP adviser) when he says that the search engines also have to play their part. They must step up and show willing. That’s why (we) have written to Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, asking them to work with you to stop search results sending people to illegal sites.

“And let me be perfectly clear: if we don’t see real progress, we will be looking at a legislative approach. In the words of (Beggars boss) Martin Mills, “technology companies should be the partners of rights companies, not their masters.”

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