"...On the eve of a vote on digital copying, music stars, CD makers and telecommunications companies urged lawmakers at the European Parliament to toughen the rules and improve copyright protection for artists. After months of lobbying, members of the 626-member EU assembly closed debate on strengthening and extending rules on copyright protection to the internet and digital technologies.
The record industry argues online levies for artists are necessary because the technical restrictions to limit online copying are still scarce. The IFPI group, which represents large labels such as EMI, Virgin, Warner and Universal, said its $7 billion industry is at risk from massive and illegal copying. The group wants to restrict downloads to private, noncommercial use.
The key issue remains how the EU will regulate private copying of music and films, while overall agreement on allowing educators, museums and libraries to copy material for public use has been reached. Opponents claim the rightholders are unjustified in asking for more compensation and stricter rules on downloading or copying music or other protected information.
"We must ensure that the rules for online distribution are not stricter than in the offline world.We are calling for a balance. Online consumers want to be given fair access" said Machiel van der Velde, from the European Consumers' Organisation..."