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Punishment is not the answer, says Open Rights Group

Jim Killock, Executive Director of the Open Rights Group, commenting on the artists meeting yesterday, said:

“We welcome that artists have moved away from disconnection, but throttling connections could in practice be just as damaging as disconnection.

“No punishment should take place without a trial. Human rights and natural justice must be respected.

“But we also need to ask why the net doesn’t have dozens of competing new music services, all raking in cash for artists.

“We know people are prepared to pay for music services, but deals are not being made.

“The reason new businesses are not emerging is simple: the major labels are being too cautious and are ‘picking winners’ rather than letting the market rip.

“New businesses are still being blocked, like Virgin’s ‘all-you-can-eat’ service, or Pandora in the UK.

“There is a serious argument that labels are deliberately restraining trade, and acting anti-competitively. The result is that unlicensed services fill the commercial gap.

“The government must intervene and make sure that online licensing is available to all-comers on reasonable and non-discriminatory terms.

“Otherwise we’ll keep hearing arguments about extreme punishment of alleged file sharers, while nobody earns the money that is undoubtedly out there.”