updated 03:20 pm EST, Fri January 11, 2008
EMI threatens IFPI, RIAA
Major label EMI may be leaving the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), reports say. Its executives are further said to be engaged in talks with Warner, Universal and Sony BMG, in an attempt to alter the priorities and structure are several trade groups, including the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). EMI sent a letter to IFPI officials for that very reason, claiming that it would abandon its membership unless the organization conformed to EMI's interests. Funding to the IFPI could be cut off by March 31st.
None of the major records labels are happy with the IFPI's current role, an anonymous source claims. They feel the group is no longer useful to the industry in its current state, it is argued, and they thus resent having to pay fees for the privilege of belonging to it. EMI owner Guy Hands estimates that his label may pay as much as $250 million annually to all the organizations it belongs to, although the groups themselves say the amount is one-tenth that.
Changes to the IFPI could have a dramatic effect on music industry policies, not the least because one proposed alteration would have the RIAA and IFPI merge into a single worldwide entity. Both groups have a strong anti-piracy focus, and actively lobby for corporate-friendly laws. This could thus give record labels more muscle in implementing anti-piracy measures, such as DRM and content filtering. EMI has however talked of cutting funding to the RIAA as well as the IFPI, which would reduce the effectiveness of a merged trade group. [via Variety]