UK record label trade body the BPI yesterday promised not to sue music lovers for filling their iPods up with music from their own CD collections.
Speaking to the House of Commons Select Committee for Culture, Media and Sport inquiry into New Media and the Creative Industries, BPI chairman Peter Jamieson said: "Traditionally the recording industry has turned a blind eye to private copying and has used the strength of the law to pursue commercial pirates.
"We believe that we now need to make a clear and public distinction between copying for your own use and copying for dissemination to third parties and make it unequivocally clear to the consumer that if they copy their CDs for their own private use in order to move the music from format to format we will not pursue them."
Jamieson also used the meeting to urge Apple to make iTunes compatible with other music players, saying: "It's not particularly healthy for any one company to have such a dominant market share."
He added: "We would advocate that Apple opts for interoperability," in order to help create a more diverse music market.
Responding to a Committee member's question about Russian download site AllofMP3.com BPI general counsel Roz Groome said: "We are going to sue AllofMP3.com in the UK courts – we are going to seek a judgment not against the users of the site, but against the site itself."
Appearing with the BPI before the Committee, Mark Richardson, managing director of Independiente Records, dismissed the idea that the internet makes labels redundant.
"At this point in time the cost of distribution for downloads is actually higher than for CDs," he said. "Regardless of that, distribution remains a relatively small part of the investment record companies make in music. All of the key costs for a piece of music remain virtually the same whatever format you distribute it in."
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