Singer James Blunt has waded into the debate over illegal downloading - a day after negotiations between artists and record labels broke down.
Army officer-turned-pop star Blunt has voiced support for singer Lily Allen, who hopes to launch a campaign to stamp out file-sharing before it destroys the music industry.
Allen's views oppose those held by several members of the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC), who have voted against penalties for fans who download their music on the internet.
Blunt writes in Britain's The Times newspaper, "I want to put my hand up in support of Lily Allen. She’s asking British musicians to galvanise over a serious crime: the death of a great British industry - our music business.
"The world over, people are stealing music in its millions in the form of illegal file-sharing. It’s easy to do, and has become accepted by many, but people need to know that it is destroying people’s livelihoods and suffocating emerging British artists...
"How this legislation pans out, and if it goes through at all, is critical to the survival of the British music business; critical to thousands of jobs; and critical to our ability to nurture and develop great musicians and the songs and albums that we would hope to listen to in the future."
Blunt's letter was published a day after the FAC failed to reach a decision following a week of talks with bosses of record labels such as Sony, who support U.K. Business Secretary Lord Mandelson's plans to punish downloaders.
The FAC, which includes members of Radiohead and Blur, said in a statement on Sunday (20Sep09), "(The) power to demand suspensions of accounts is only achievable through a wide-scale invasion of personal privacy which we believe would result in a dangerous reduction in the rights to protection of the individual.
"We have negotiated in good faith with the labels all week, but they remain wedded to the idea of suspension of accounts. We remain steadfast in our belief that making threats against individual music fans is not an effective way to resolve any problems associated with file-sharing."