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Universal Music chief renews commitment to P2P battle

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Digital Britain Summit On the day of his industry's victory against the operators of the world's biggest BitTorrent hub, Universal Music chief Lucien Grainge signalled the battle against illegal filesharing will continue in earnest.

He was speaking at the Digital Britain summit in London hours after the the Pirate Bay's four founders were handed prison sentences and large fines.

Grainge rejected suggestions from fellow panelists that peer to peer filesharing of copyright material could be a boon for creative industries. The risk record labels take by backing new artists had to be rewarded, he said.

Universal is the biggest of the "big four" record labels and holds strong influence over industry policy. Grainge's view was backed at the summit however by Johannes Larcher, an executive at Hulu, the NBC and Newscorp-backed web TV outfit.

Grainge took the opportunity to lobby communications minister Lord Carter, who was in the audience, for the record industry's favoured "graduated response" enforcement regime (formerly known as "three strikes"). He declined moderator Nick Higham's invitation to push for criminal sanctions against the most persistent copyright infringers.

Carter's Digital Britain review is currently drawing up proposals for a Rights Agency, which it's envisaged will serve as a intermediary between ISPs and the record industry to run whatever enforcement regime is decided.

Grainge said the record industry must innovate to give consumers what they want, and argued that the more new distrubution deals had been done in the last two years than in the previous 50. Universal is known to have earlier this year kyboshed a legal peer to peer system that Virgin Media planned to offer its broadband subscribers on a subscription basis. ®

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