Huge thanks to Robf for tipping me off about the post of Edwyn Collins' MySpace by his manager Grace.
It details the struggle Edwyn's had trying to offer his music for download:
At the beginning of this year I noticed that Edwyn's myspace had gone bit wonky and I tried to upload the tracks back on to the music player. His most famous track, which he owns the copyright in, as he does for most of the music he's recorded in his life (preferring to go it alone than have his music trapped "in perpetuity" to use the contract language of the major record company) is called A Girl Like You. It's quite famous. Lo and behold, it would not upload, I was told Edwyn was attempting to breach a copyright and he was sent to the Orwellian myspace copyright re-education page.
It turns out that Warners was claiming copyright and - despite repeated attempts to persuade them - nobody has yet relinquished the false claim.
I'm not sure how one would even go about getting an ISP to punish Warners for this claim, even although falsely claiming ownership of something is a crime at least on a par with sharing an unlicensed file. At least unlicensed downloading doesn't preclude the legal owner from using their own material.
But it's worse than that:
A Girl Like You is available FOR SALE all over the internet. Not by Edwyn, by all sorts of respectable major labels whose licence to sell it ran out years ago and who do not account to him. Attempting to make them cease and desist would use up the rest of my life. Because this is what they do and what they've always done.
Now, people swapping files for free on the internet, they're perhaps breaching the letter of the law, but at least they're not doing it for financial gain.
Even when Edwyn was really skint at the fag end of the eighties, I remember being in Camden market and seeing some tapes of a couple of his shows on sale. I tried to buy them but the stallholder somehow knew who I was and said "free to the management." I failed to see how that guy selling tapes of Edwyn or even U2 or anybody on the list of signatories above could harm their career. But anyway, as an earlier post said, this is not really an argument worth having. The gig's up. You might as well take a position about when you want the sun to come up in the morning. It's over. Now let's get on with working out a wonderful new way for music lovers to enjoy music for free or for a small subscription that makes it legal and easy to hear ANYTHING and allows the artist to reap the rewards of such freedom of access. Viva la revolution!
Spot on. And yet the Featured Lily Coalition still seem determined to believe that if they make enough people miserable enough for long enough, they can make the sun rise in the South.