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Britney Fights Downloads

Eve, Missy Elliott, DMX side with RIAA in new TV ads

The major record labels are enlisting an elite force in their
battle against digital downloading: the artists. The Recording
Industry Association of America, the trade group that represents
the labels, has produced TV ads in which top artists including
Britney Spears, Nelly, Mary J. Blige, Missy Elliott, Eve, DMX and
Dirty Vegas ask their fans to stop downloading music for free. The
ads begin running in late September on MTV, BET and VH1.

“Once people see these spots, they’re going to think twice about
buying pirated music,” says Benjamin Chavis Muhammad, president of
the Hip-hop Summit Action Network, which has joined the campaign.
Of course, pleas from millionaires asking fans to spend eighteen
dollars for CDs available online for free could fall on deaf
ears.

Spears says she was happy to join the campaign. “When people go
on their computer and take your song,” she says, “it’s the same
thing as going into a freakin’ store and taking your CD.”

In his ad, DMX also equates downloading music to theft: “Some
eighteen-year-old kid comes along with a computer and an idea and
tries to take from me? Straight up and down, it’s stealing.”

David Benjamin, who heads Universal’s anti-piracy division,
helped coordinate the project, and Jeb Brien, a TV veteran
(Sessions on West 54th Street) produced the spots. They approached
artists at magazine photo shoots and at other scheduled
appearances. One artist who refused was Dashboard Confessional’s
Chris Carrabba. “I don’t care how anybody gets my record,” he says.
“If they can’t afford it, they can get it for free. That’s probably
an unpopular way to look at it if you work for a label, but I don’t
work for a label.”

Newswire

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