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16 May, 2013 12:18

UK record labels launch unprecedented anti-Torrent campaign

The third and biggest wave of sanctions aimed against Torrent and music file-sharing websites is sweeping the internet, with 25 online addresses set to be blocked by the British Recorded Music Industry trade body.

The websites targeted by the campaign include the biggest torrent pages and file-hosting search engines, like ExtraTorrent, Torrentz, TorrentReactor.

The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) is also threatening to ask courts to block US-based music streaming group Grooveshark.

While most of the torrent sites currently set to be blocked for copyright infringement are small operations, Grooveshark is an exception as a larger company that has been battling the majors in particular for some time now, Musicweek noted.

“It looks like we could be facing an onslaught of web blackouts here in the UK,” the leader of the UK Pirate Party Loz Kaye told RT. “What we’ve seen from 2012 is that it hasn’t helped with music sales at all, that actually album sales failed 10 per cent.”

Loz Kaye is also sure the record companies will eventually face their plight if they don’t change their policies.

“Essentially, this is about the record labels trying to remain gatekeepers and actually push other companies out. But this approach will not work! It’s going to alienate a generation of music lovers, and it’s going to perhaps radicalize internet users.”

However, the BPI told RT in an online statement that their only intention is to protect the artists’ and legal services’ rights. They also confirmed that the music licensing group PPL has begun polling its members on licensing content for particular websites.

“We’re not really doing any interviews about this. I can say, though, that it’s correct PPL has asked its members to confirm to us if they’ve licensed their recorded music to particular websites. This is part of our ongoing work to ensure that legal music services can flourish and that artists and labels are rewarded for their work,” a representative of the British trade body said in an email to RT.

Now, it seems the BPI is starting the biggest anti-piracy initiative yet.

“Over the past years, UK music labels have innovated to build one of the most vibrant digital music sectors in the world. However, the growth of digital music in the UK is held back by a raft of illegal businesses commercially exploiting music without a license from the copyright holders,” the group indicated in their official statement.

In the latest successful court initiative, the BPI blocked three torrent sites (KickAssTorrents, H33T and Fenopy) three months ago. It happened after almost a year ago, an unknown official from the music industry told the TorrentFreak website that PPL had started polling its members on the matter of privacy.

But RT contributor Afshin Rattansi argues that the way corporate music works as a whole is far more “sinister” than anything being done by Torrent and music file-sharing websites.

“As to the idea that the BPI is trying to protect the public and the artist and the variety of artists in terms of cultural diversity, that is absurd. After all, is YouTube, owned by Google, producing pirated music? Because there’s lots of music there that seems to just be uploaded by people and is obviously copyrighted. That’s because Universal-EMI, the big majors are doing deals with the big sites so they can lock up the power over music, signing up new bands, and a whole plethora of ideas and culture.”