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US musos unite against Net piracy

Please don't pinch our songs, rock stars plead

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A band of US musicians yesterday pledged to fight Internet music piracy, primarily, it seems, by asking fans not to do it.

Under the name Artists Against Piracy (AAP), the group of 70-odd musos ran a series of national newspaper ads yesterday pleading with listeners not to take the bread from their mouths by not paying for songs.

Perhaps we'll soon see Alanis Morrissette, Garth Brooks and co. performing at MusoAid for the benefit of Platinum-selling rock stars impoverished by MP3.

Of course, the AAP is really about lobbying government to tighten anti-piracy laws. It's no coincidence that the AAP's debut took place on the same day that the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing to discuss the effect of digital music distribution's on intellectual property rights.

Said AAP founder Noah Stone: "Artists Against Piracy's mission is to provide a collective voice for artists on the issue of the digital distribution of music." It will also promote artists' ability to choose how their works are presented, distributed and marketed online.

Maybe, but how many of them will really have much of a choice in the matter remains to be seen. The big labels are already incorporating digital distribution rights into their artist contracts. That's the trade-off most artists make when they sign to a major.

That really leaves the AAP as little more than an anti-Napster front organisation, allowing artists to attack the MP3 sharing software (and the company that developed it) without incurring the user hatred the likes of Metallica have faced for tackling Napster head on. ®

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