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Rich rock stars launch anti-Napster campaign

Sharing MP3s hurts musos more than major labels

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UK musicians trade organisation British Music Rights today launched a campaign that seeks to persuade fans not to download illicit MP3 files from the Internet. The scheme, called Respect the Value of Music, aims to show how trading music on the likes of Napster is hurting musicians, not faceless industry executives.

That's not an unreasonable point, but BMR do seem to have fluffed the launch by inviting Elton John and Paul McCartney - two of the music business' richest men; John last week told a British court that he had "so much money coming in" he was too busy spending it to watch what his accountant was doing with it all - to plead on the behalf of less popular artists.

BMR also trotted out Forrester Research figures which claim that by 2005 Napster and its ilk will make up a large part of the $3 billion the music industry is losing to unauthorised duplication of music.

You can understand BMR's concern. After all, it isn't just the likes of McCartney and John who are losing money their creativity gives them a right to. However, we can't help wonder if the organisation might be better off helping to find ways the new technology can work to artists' benefit, rather than desperately attempting to persuade people not to get something for nothing.

BMG's deal with Napster shows that at least someone in the music biz has figured this one out - an alliance struck rather more recently than Forrester's doomy statistic. ®

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