Bono is calling for the internet to be much, much more tightly controlled. Because, you know, we need to protect the creatives, you know:
"The only thing protecting the movie and TV industries from the fate that has befallen music and indeed the newspaper business is the size of the files," the lead singer of the band U2 wrote in an op-ed piece in The New York Times.
"Perhaps movie moguls will succeed where musicians and their moguls have failed so far, and rally America to defend the most creative economy in the world, where music, film, TV and video games help to account for nearly four percent of gross domestic product," Bono said.
Not that it really matters, but if you measure "most creative economy" by the share of GDP, America isn't the most creative economy. If you take Bono's figure of "just under 4 per cent", that puts it behind, just at random, Brazil - where the figure is over six percent; Uruguay, six per cent; and Mexico and Jamiaca, both well over four per cent. [source: Caricom.org]. Indeed, the global figure for the Creative Industries is seven per cent of GDP. So America is quite a laggard. I don't think it really matters, though, beyond proving that Bono, once again, doesn't really know anything that he's honking on about and the New York Times has given a platform to someone happy to build an argument on made-up fact.
Still, Bono's call for copyright control being imposed on the internet itself is worth a bit of a consideration. What sort of model does he see as being called for?
The singer pointed out that the US effort to stop child pornography and China's effort to suppress online dissent indicate that it is "perfectly possible to track" Internet content.
Right. Let's get this straight. Bono, the champion of the underdog (self-appointed), thinks that the risk of the odd person watching Mall Cop or an episode of House without paying for it should be treated as a crime on a par with raping a child and putting the footage online; he believes that the crime of not slipping a couple of cents to Guy Ritchie if you stream Holmes on your laptop calls for the entertainment industry multinationals to be handed powers to make them like the Chinese Government.
And people still pretend that Bono is on our side.