Group calls for peace talks in P2P wars

Having urged consumers to shun the music business, the man behind Boycott-RIAA.com now wants to 'foster working relationships' between all sides in the P2P file-sharing wars

One of the music industry's more active opponents is calling for dialogue and debate between record companies and P2P network users, rather than legal action.

Bill Evans, founder of www.boycott-RIAA.com, launched a new organisation called the International Music Industry Reform Association (IMIRA) last week that could encourage peace to break out in the combative world of peer-to-peer file-sharing.

IMIRA is designed to be a "middle ground" where everyone involved in the sticky area of copyright protection and file swapping can establish working relationships.

"IMIRA will promote discussion on a music industry that takes market, customer and artist concerns and interests equally into account," said Evans, announcing the launch of www.imira.org.

A stern critic of the major record labels, and especially of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), in the past, Evans once urged music fans not to buy RIAA recordings, or support RIAA artists for the month of August 2000.

He now hopes to bring an end to the "subpoena war" that he says the RIAA is conducting.

"It's time for everyone within the music industry, smaller and independent labels included, to start taking advantage of the tremendously exciting opportunities that p2p file sharing offers listeners, music-makers and business people on- and offline," says Evans.

Working alongside Evans on IMIRA is Jon Newton, the founder of file-sharing news site p2pnet.net, who is hopeful that agreement can be reached between the record labels and music fans.

"Any number of potentially viable solutions exist. But every one of these has its own advocates and, to the considerable benefit of the major record labels, they're frequently at odds with each other and out of synch with the realities of artist, business and consumer needs," Newton claims.

After years of battling the likes of Napster, Scour and Kazaa, the music industry may not be ready to smoke a peace pipe with those who swap copyright-protected songs online.

Late last week, the RIAA filed 80 new lawsuits against alleged file swappers, in a move that came after it sent a wave of letters warning targets of their legal risk.

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