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"You might as well walk into a record store, put CDs in your pocket and walk out without paying for them."
——Dire Straits' Mark Knopfler
RECORD BIZ LAUNCHES MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR ANTI-PIRACY CAMPAIGN
MUSIC Coalition Will Target Parents, Kids with TV, Radio, Newspaper Ads Featuring Top Artists
Yo ho ho…and a multi-million dollar, multi-media, anti-piracy advertising campaign.

As we first told you weeks ago (see hitsdailydouble.com, 9/6), a coalition of music business organizations is taking the offensive in its battle against illegal Internet downloading and burning by kicking off a series of artist-driven, educational ads, TV and radio spots that ask, "Who Really Cares About Illegal Downloading?"

The announcement was made at a press conference yesterday in Washington chaired by RIAA’s Hilary Rosen, EMI Recorded Music’s David Munns and UMG Sr. VP Anti-Piracy David Benjamin.

Organized by MUSIC (Music United for Strong Internet Copyright), the campaign kicks off today with full-page ads in the New York Times, the L.A. Times and several publications aimed at D.C. policy-makers, such as Roll Call. The ads include nearly 90 major artists and songwriters speaking out on the issue, including Eminem, Madonna, Dixie Chicks, Missy Elliott, Elton John, Sting, Phil Collins, Luciano Pavarotti, Brian Wilson, Britney Spears and Natalie Cole.

Details of the TV and radio campaign will be announced at today’s congressional oversight hearing on illegal peer-to-peer services. There will initially be five individual spots and more are being taped on an ongoing basis. The record labels are picking up the tab for the blitz, which is expected to last at least several months.

The org has created a website, www.MusicUnited.org, offering information, according to Rosen, "that illegal downloading is stealing and against the law, plain and simple." The site will list legal alternatives, the ramifications of the law and how the public can join the educational effort.

Said Rosen: "When people did learn that file-sharing was illegal, it made a difference to parents and the users themselves, and that was a critical factor. But this campaign is not meant as a substitute for what the music community has been working extremely hard at creating, a robust and legitimate online music experience for consumers."

Added Munns: "This is an unprecedented bandwagon of creative professionals who jave joined together to speak out, and many more are coming on board. We believe that artists make a powerful connection with their fans, and are the best ones to explain what’s OK and what’s not OK regarding digital music distribution."

"These are not just faceless corporate entities that are being ruined," said Benjamin. "People with families to take care of are getting hurt. We are robbing our cultural past and destroying our cultural future. We really need to get a handle on that."

Members of the MUSIC Coalition include the Association For Independent Music, American Federation of Musicians, AFTRA, ASCAP, BMI, CMA, RIAA, SESAC and the Songwriters Guild of America, among many others.

"We have to start educating downloaders, parents and students as to what is legal and what is illegal," said Munns. "We need to do a better job of publicizing the legitimate services that are coming online, and that we are trying to build better, legal alternatives.

"We’re not depending on legislation to take the place of the kind of self-help strategies we all need to put into effect," said Rosen.

Some of the industry’s biggest artists are offering their support, including such rebels as rapper DMX, who said: "I have seen what illegal music copying has done and continues to do to new and established musicians. I understand why people download music, but for me and my fellow artists, this is our livelihood. When you make an illegal copy, you’re stealing from the artist. It’s that simple. What if you didn’t get paid for your job? Put yourself in our shoes."

Dire StraitsMark Knopfler got right to the point. "You might as well walk into a record store, put CDs in your pocket and walk out without paying for them."

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