Communications and Information minister Tifatul Sembiring said on Monday he would block music websites providing files for illegal downloads only after receiving a report from the copyright owner.
“For music [illegal downloads], there should be a report before [we] block [the website],” Tifatul said as quoted by Detik.com. “Ahmad Dhani could report which of his songs have been downloaded illegally.”
Tifatul, who is well-known for his enthusiasm when it comes to closing down porn websites, was criticized by several Indonesian artists on Monday, including Ahmad Dani, Mulan Jameela and Syahrini.
The artists went to the House of Representatives and said Tifatul had let illegal downloading happen without doing anything to protect music copyrights.
Tifatul denied the accusation, saying he had made an effort to stop illegal downloading after meeting with several Indonesian musicians last year.
“There were three steps we agreed to,” he said. “The first is campaigning to stop illegal downloading, secondly to block websites who provide it, and the last one is legal consequences for the perpetrator.”
He claimed that he had blocked around 20 websites that provided music files for illegal download, including gudanglagu.com, mp34shared.com, trendmusik.com, mp3downloadlagu.com and plasamusic.com.
Ahmad said the domestic music industry was being killed by all this illegal activity. Musicians could sell millions of albums in the past, he said, but that figure was now down to thousands because so many people were getting music for free online.
“It has become a tradition and this is dangerous,” Ahmad said. “If this goes on, the music industry will collapse and Indonesia will not have musicians by next year.”
Toto Widjoyo, from Sony Music Indonesia, said illegal downloads cost the industry about Rp 2 trillion ($216 million) every year from a single music download website.
“If the situation doesn’t change, Sony could close in Indonesia next year,” he said, adding that EMI, another major label, had already left.
Priyo Budi Santoso, deputy speaker of the House of Representatives said the House would ask Tifatul to address the issue.
“I know he [Tifatul] is very active in closing pornographic sites, and I’m sure it would be a blessing if he could help musicians and fix this problem.”