In conjunction with the RIAA, Universal Music Group Distribution has started a Facebook page where it is encouraging the public to lobby elected officials in Washington for stronger measures against online music piracy.

The “Music Rights Now” Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MusicRightsNow links to an online form where users can contact their local members of Congress and express the need for action. The form letter can be completely re-written by a user or they can use the text supplied.

“We want to make our reps in Washington understand that this is a serious issue and to encourage the ISPs to come to the table,” UMDG president/CEO Jim Urie told Billboard.biz.

The Facebook campaign is an outgrowth of Urie’s speech in May at the National Assn. of Recording Merchandisers' annual convention, where he underscored the urgent need for tougher action against unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing.

"There isn't anyone in this room that doesn't know someone who is out of the business," he said at the convention..

Urie’s plan to help revive the industry: The NARM board of directors, its member companies, their employees and their families must band together and call on elected government officials to take action requiring the ISPs to take a stand on the issue. "I call on the NARM board to make this issue the No. 1 agenda item for this year," he said. "We need to come together to have an impact on this issue and if we do, we can get something done this year."

“This isn't a music issue,” Urie says. “It is an intellectual property issue and effects all content businesses.”