forces with the government and the music industry to combat the
problem of piracy - which is most acute during the run up to
Kim Howells - who took part in a raid to recover illegal CDs, as well
as video games, DVDs and videos in south Wales today - said
government and the industry must make it clear that royalties earned
from music sustain the whole industry, not just the most successful
artists and record companies.
And he said that the public had a part to play by not buying pirate
copies of cds that cost the industry dearly at Christmas, when record
sales are at their highest.
Kim Howells plans to meet music industry leaders early in the new
year to discuss tackling the problem.
'Piracy is the enemy of creativity. It doesn't just affect what the
papers like to term 'corporate fat cats' or multi-millionaire rock
stars. It also impacts on the fledgling musician fighting to make
ends meet, the struggling new record company trying to make a name in
an already crowded market place, the worker employed in a record
plant whose job could be threatened.
'Today I am asking consumers to join forces with the government and
the music industry to drive out piracy. The urgency is greater than
ever, with the internet opening up new avenues of accessing music
illegally. I will meet with music industry leaders to discuss how we
can best take this forward early in the new year.
'Christmas is when the effects of piracy are most acutely felt.
Nearly a quarter of all record sales are in December. The general
public has a key role to play at this time of the year. They should
ensure they don't get captured by the pirates this Christmas. True
fans of music must understand that each time they buy a pirate copy
of a CD or download music illegally, they are putting a nail into
the coffin of the industry they love.
'But we can't expect them to change their buying habits if we don't
educate them about the problem. Government and the industry must get
across the message that piracy is theft, whatever form it takes.
'And, of course this isn't just a message from the music industry
exclusively. Piracy affects the whole of the creative industries, who
all have a part to play in driving the pirates out of business.'
Recent steps taken by the government to tackle piracy include:
- The secondment of Stephen Navin as government music adviser to act
as a link between the government and the music industry. Piracy is
one of the issues Mr Navin is currently advising ministers on.
- Supporting the coverage of intellectual property issues in new
citizenship lessons in secondary schools, by issuing a CD-ROM to
schools to underline the importance of copyright.
- Support for Dr Vincent Cable's Private Members Bill on copyright
which became law on 20 November 2002. This increases the penalties
for wilful copyright infringement from a maximum of two years
imprisonment with an unlimited fine to a maximum of 10 years
imprisonment with an unlimited fine.
Trade and industry minister Melanie Johnson said:
'As Christmas approaches, the pirates will be out in force to cheat
'Some fakes may seem like a bargain, but they don't come with
guarantees. The person who sells you a fake won't be around to help
when it doesn't work.
'As minister for consumer affairs and copyright policy, I am
delighted that enforcers are being handed extra tools to fight this
'But the message to consumers tempted by apparent bargains is crucial
too - if you buy fakes you will only support these criminals and
threaten legitimate industry.
'And always remember, only the genuine article can offer a good
1. The creative industries employ nearly two million people and
account for almost 8% of Gross Domestic Product.
2. The European Copyright Directive will further strengthen copyright
protection. It was particularly drawn up to improve protection across
the EU in the digital environment. The government has recently
consulted on the best way of transposing the Directive into UK