Chuck D., LL Cool J Differ On File Trading

Rapper's Chuck

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.

"America is

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

accessible radio."

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


"The root

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.