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Featured Artists Coalition responds to Lily Allen’s criticism that the group is pro-file-sharing.Late last week I mentioned how UK pop singer Lily Allen lashed out at the Featured Artists Coalition for criticizing efforts by the UK govt for a “three-strikes” crackdown on illegal file-sharing. She said that “file-sharing is a disaster” for emerging artists and that the FAC is nothing more than a bunch of “rich and successful” music artists with some of the “biggest Ferrari collections in the world.”The FAC has now responded to these sort of statements and tries to clear up the nonsense uttered by Allen and groups like UK Music, the umbrella group claiming to represent the entire music industry, and which recently was so bold as to try and “clarify” a united music industry front.It points out that despite what Allen and others say it’s NOT pro-file-sharing, that “this is not the case and never has been.” The FAC only takes issue with the proposed policy of the UK govt to disconnect file-sharers from the Internet. It thinks it should only target those who share or offer content for commercial gain. I think everyone should agree with that. “The focus of our objection is the proposed treatment of ordinary music fans who download a few tracks so as to check out our material before they buy,” it says. “For those of us who don’t get played on the radio or mentioned in the music media – artists established and emerging – P2P recommendation is an important form of promotion.” It’s the last part that is a stark contrast to what Lily Allen and UK Music would believe. Allen calls P2P a “disaster” for new artists and UK Music believe’s it’s a disaster for artists (loss of income), consumers (loss of platforms the music industry COULD develop), and society (loss of jobs, artists).Free promotion The FAC points out that the music industry is hypocritical about P2P because it regularly uses free promotion and free music downloads as a marketing tool. “For example, there are hundreds of free tracks available on the NME website, including music from Speech Debelle, White Lies, Little Boots and many others,” it adds. “By demanding blanket suspension powers from the Government, the industry is in danger of cutting-off a promotional tool that is of great use to fledgling artists who seek to create a buzz around themselves yet don’t have the financial support of a major label.”Debunked 7 million file-sharer myth It thinks that what’s really needed is some honest and objective research of file-sharing, unlike the debunked 7 million file-sharer myth perpetuated by the govt, to determine the “real value and detriment of the varied effects of substitution and promotion arising from file-sharing.” The only way to effectively fight illegal file-sharing is to inspect each and every piece of data transmitted on the Internet for signs of copyright infringement and that’s something the FAC just isn’t willing to do, and thinks that it could actually hinder those trying to use P2P as a form of self-promotion. “We also believe that such Government intervention, and a corresponding power to demand suspensions of accounts, is only achievable through a wide-scale invasion of personal privacy which we believe would result in a dangerous reduction in the rights to protection of the individual,” it continues. “Putting this power in place would reduce the civil liberties of every one of us in the country in order to afford a disincentive threat to a small minority of ‘egregious offenders.’We believe this would be both disproportionate and unenforceable.”So what does the FAC think should be done if it’s not disconnecting illegal file-sharers from the Internet? It’s not sure. It merely wants to be a part of the discussion about what to do. That’s all. It’s concerned that up until now only record labels and music publishers have been the voice of the music industry as it tries to achieve a solution in consultation with ISPs and the govt. The FAC wants to change all that. It wants to have a voice at the table since artists also have a lot at stake.“We have made a stand over suspension because we want to have this debate out in the open amongst the creative community and in consultation with the labels, publishers and the internet service providers who distribute our work. It is our belief that all of us need to work together in order to convince consumers that music makes a great contribution to quality of life and as such should be paid for. This cannot be achieved by a few retrograde slogans that recall the ‘home taping is killing music’ campaign of the eighties. If we hope to educate the public to pay the artists that make the music they love, then we, as an industry, will have to make some changes in the way that we remunerate artists,” it adds.The FAC says it has tried to argue with record labels against disconnecting file-sharers from the Internet, but that they just won’t budge. It thinks that threatening music fans, either with lawsuits or disconnection, is no way to solve the problem.The US music industry has already proven for more than a decade that threatening your customers is no way to convince them to buy. It only makes them want to seek out alternative means of listening to music so they can avoid giving you money.