Hip-hop stars LL Cool J and Chuck D battled it out at a meeting with America senators in Washington DC yesterday (30SEP03) to debate the music industry's battle with internet pirates.

Standing alongside entertainment executives at the SENATE GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS subcommittee hearing, LL Cool J, real name JAMES TODD SMITH, spoke in favour of recent lawsuits against people caught illegally downloading music.

The rapper asked senators, "My question is, if a contractor builds a building, should people be allowed to move into the building for free? That's how I feel if I record a song or make a movie, and it zooms around the world for free."

Public Enemy founder Chuck D, however, argued people ought to be able to distribute the songs they want to hear on peer-to-peer (P2P) internet services, explaining, "P2P to me means power to the people. I trust the consumer more than I trust the people at the helm of these (record) companies."

After the debate, Chuck D - real name CARLTON RIDENHOUR - said, "LL's a staunch American. He's my man and all, man, but when you solely have an American state of mind, you're increasingly becoming a smaller part of the world."

The music industry's trade group, the RECORDING INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA (RIAA), has filed 261 lawsuits against people it accuses of illegally distributing music online. The RIAA blames lagging CD sales on the downloading of music.

The subcommittee chairman, Minnesota Republican NORM COLEMAN, called the hearing to look into whether the recording industry's tactics were too heavy-handed.

01/10/2003 09:49