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Wed, March 20

Dueling rappers debate downloading music off Internet

WASHINGTON — Rapper LL Cool J joined entertainment executives Tuesday in defending the music industry's lawsuits against hundreds of Internet users who illegally distribute music online.

"My question is, if a contractor builds a building, should people be allowed to move into the building for free?" the rapper, dressed in a black suit with an earring glistening in his right lobe, asked senators. "That's how I feel if I record a song or make a movie, and it zooms around the world for free."

Another rapper, Chuck D, founder of Public Enemy, testified at the Senate Governmental Affairs subcommittee hearing that people ought to be able to distribute the songs they want to hear on peer-to-peer Internet services, known as P2P.

"P2P to me means power to the people," said Chuck D. "I trust the consumer more than I trust the people at the helm of these (record) companies."

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