D. and LL Cool J both testified before a panel of Senators yesterday on Capitol
Hill in Washington D.C.
The two rapper’s
comments highlight how divided the entire music industry has grown in relation
to peer to peer file sharing, the genie that Shawn Fanning’s Napster let out
of the bottle, in 1999.
Cool J sided with
the industry, saying "when you do something, you should be compensated.
If a contractor builds a building, should people be allowed to move into it
for free just because he’s successful?"
Cool J said that
he supported independent artists’ decision to distribute music over these far
reaching networks, but said that the majority of the artists want to be compensated
for their works.
a country where the entrepreneurial spirit is everywhere. The real question
is should you be compensated for your work or not."
Chuck D., who was
one of the first artists to distribute a commercial release over the net with
Public Enemy’s There’s A Poison Going On, called the peer to peer networks "new
Chuck D., who split
with Def Jam due to creative differences, said that he never felt that his copyrights
were protected by the industry in the first place.
"I trust the
consumer more than I trust the people at the helm of these (recording) companies,"
Chuck D. said. "As far as rock ‘n’ roll, blues licks were taken from the
Mississippi Delta without authorization, so people can spend $180 to check out
the Rolling Stones do it all over again. So the record industry is hypocritical."
But Mitch Bainwol,
the Chairman and CEO of Recording Industry Association of America, insisted
that consumer downloading on the Internet was the reason for the music industry’s
cause for this drastic decline in record sales is the astronomical rate of music
piracy on the Internet," Bainwol said. "Computer users illegally download
more than 2.6 billion copyrighted files (mostly recordings) every month. At
any given moment, well over five million users are online offering well over
1 billion files for copying through various peer-to-peer networks."
Bainwol said that
in the past three years, shipments of recorded music in the United States have
fallen by 26 percent. Bainwol complained that the worldwide recording industry
has fallen from a $40 billion dollar industry in 2000, to 32 billion in 2002.
The RIAA announced
yesterday that they would attempt to settle with consumers they find in violation
of copyright laws relating to peer to peer file sharing, before filing lawsuits.