Saturday, December 18, 2004

RECORD COMPANIES TRY TO CUT OFF RED CROSS FUNDS: While the soft, squishy warm face of the music industry hunkers down to do some good festive work (bookmakers are now refusing bets on the Christmas number one, taking 'betting without' wagers for the number two slot instead), it's cold hearted grinch business as usual in the back office. They're trying to get the International Red Cross to freeze some of its assets because, of course, file-sharing is much more important than trying to help the dispossessed, the starving and the frightened.

Some bozo in Australia's self-appointed music piracy body has discovered that Sharman Networks has a trust adminstered in Vanuatu, one of the main beneficiaries of which is the International Red Cross. Now, because the Australian music industry is suing Sharman over what it claims are peer-to-peer inspired copyright infringements, Michael Speck of Australia’s Music Industry Piracy Investigations believes the money should be frozen. Thats right, it shouldn't be being used to try and help kids who've had their arms blown off by landmines or women and men raped by soldiers, or feeding the starving. That money, they believe, belongs helping Phil Collins pay for a new dado rail, or to ensure that Brian McFadden can afford his next four cans of Special Brew. But let's not run away with the idea that Speck and his body are cold, Scrooge-like money-grubbers more interested in their comfy offices and car-seat warmers than helping those in real need - they're offering the Red Cross the chance to freeze the funds voluntarily. Because, after all, says Speck, "it would be incredibly disappointing if we had to sue them."

"Disappointing", you see, to tie up a major humanitarian agency with pointless legal movements over a few dollars that may or may not have been redirected from a record company bottom line. That's "disappointing" as in "obvious to all that we're little more than scum", of course.

We're surprised that whenever we think the multi-billion pound record industry has sunk to its lowest, it always manages to find a new depth to sink to. Presumably the real reason for threatening to sue the Red Cross is that they just can't find addresses at all for the homeless to sue them directly.