Sharkey Attacks U.K. Government

U.K. Music CEO Feargal Sharkey has launched an attack on the British government over its lack of support for rights holders.

Speaking at a reception for the British music business umbrella group at the MIDEM conference in Cannes, France, former Undertones singer Sharkey praised the French government for safe-guarding intellectual copyright, but hit out at its British counterpart for failing to protect musicians.

"Whether it's ensuring that a private copying exception is met with some sort of compensation mechanism, or term extension for sound recordings or simply protection of a creator's moral rights, why is it that U.K. creators are constantly having to seek support from Brussels and not on our own doorstep?" he demanded to cheers and applause from the crowd of U.K. executives.

Sharkey's comments came despite the recent government-backed Memorandum of Understanding between U.K. labels group the BPI and leading British Internet service providers (ISPs) aimed at combating digital piracy.

Sharkey also criticised the "ever growing chorus of pseudo-intellectual cyber professors who feel that even that basic right of ownership is one right too many" and "businesses who want to obtain rights as cheaply as possible."

"It is now clearly time we stop playing the game according to their rules," he continued. "It is now time that we make the world understand music and creativity in terms which transcend the language of economics and utility."

Sharkey, who previously worked alongside the government as chairman of the Live Music Forum, is having a busy MIDEM. As previously reported, he earlier cautioned the U.K. government to tread carefully on ISP regulation (, Jan. 17) and also featured in a lively debate on how music companies and ISPs can partner on music services (, Jan. 18).

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