UMG’s Grainge: Media Entering Global Warming, Music Needs Graduated Response

imageUniversal Music Group CEO Lucian Grainge has backed the UK’s government plan to warn unauthorised downloaders. Appearing on a panel at Friday’s Digital Britain Summit, he proved difficult for chair Nick Higham to pin down, speaking initially only philosophically: “This is like a storm – it’s illegal file-sharing affecting every single piece of copyright and intellectual property on a global basis, full stop. What has caused that storm is a form of global warming – we are at the beginning of a creative and commercial global warming.”

Pressed for his views on Digital Britain, he opened up a little: “Government needs to be part of tightening (the law) and working with us so that there is some form of graduated response to continued, serial illicit illegal file-sharing.” But how far should the response go? Only a general reply: “These are the areas where the relationships between business in a form of self-regulation discussion actually need to be answered.” But self-regulation implies no government control, Higham point out – shouldn’t the government oversee file-sharer warnings? “Yes, that’s right,” Grainge said, tentatively – but, while fellow panel participant

France’s government will this month reintroduce a bill that would let a new monitoring warn, warn again, then disconnect file sharers from the ISP. But European Parliament members opposed this form of graduated response in two of its own recent bills. In the UK, communications minister Lord Carter’s interim Digital Britain report has proposed formalising the warning letters trialled by the music business and leading ISPs last year, but is so far undecided on eventual legal resource and how the system would be overseen.