September 4, 2009 | By Hugh D'Andrade

UK Musicians Oppose Draconian Disconnect Policy

The UK government still seems unsure as to whether it's a good idea to punish those accused of illegal downloading by cutting off Internet access for entire households, saying it wants to "support" the music industry. But now it seems a coalition of the actual British musicians, songwriters and producers behind the music don't want "support" of this kind, and view this sort of draconian policy as "extraordinarily negative."

Thankfully, there are some people in the UK who think this sort of draconian policy is a terrible idea, and are taking a stand against it — namely, the British music community.

The Guardian reports:

A rift has opened between music's creators and its record labels, with a broad alliance of musicians, songwriters and producers fiercely criticising the business secretary Lord Mandelson's plans to cut off the broadband connections of internet users who illegally download music.

In a statement seen by the Guardian, a coalition of bodies representing a range of stars including Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Elton John and Damon Albarn attacks the proposals as expensive, illogical and "extraordinarily negative".

The Featured Artists Coalition (FAC), the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (Basca) and the Music Producers Guild (MPG) have joined forces to oppose the proposals to reintroduce the threat of disconnection for persistent file sharers, which was ruled out in the government's Digital Britain report in June.

Aside from the obvious problem of meting out punishment to anyone accused of a crime, the decision to cut off access to the Internet is disproportionate and, in the many cases where more than one person uses a computer or IP connection, amounts to collective punishment as well. If the government is not interested in hearing the cries of outrage from the public, perhaps they will heed the words of the many talented folks who make the culture behind the culture industry.


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