Thursday, February 17, 2005

HEROES BECOME WEAK: A few years back - the first year that Michael Eavis decided to allow the cops in to watch the goings-on in the Glastonbury - we were at Elvis Costello's Liverpool Royal Court show when someone called out "We don't need the police at Glastonbury do we, Elvis?" For a second or two, Costello had that look of fear; the sense of not knowing what to do - like when you're a teenager out shopping with your parents when you run into a gang of mates and don't know which of the two distinct social roles you should be playing. He then mumbled something inaudible and moved on. But it was clear: he did think the police should be patrolling Pilton, but he didn't want to be seen as endorsing such a scheme.

He's more at ease with the establishment these days, though: lending his support to an industry-lead call for an overturn of a Court of Appeal judgement that p2p networks aren't responsible for copyright breaches through their systems.

Joining Elvis in his bid to strangle peer-to-peer networking are some names you'd expect: the Eagles, Jimmy Buffett, Gavin Rossdale, Sheryl Crow, Bonnie Raitt, the Dixie Chicks, Stevie Nicks, Reba McEntire, Avril Lavigne, Dido, Tom Jones, Diana Krall, Brian Wilson and members of Barenaked Ladies. It's especially furstrating that these chaps seem not to have thought through their position - presumably their managers did that for them - in that they're insisting that p2p networks know what people are using them for; it's absurd, and akin to suing a manufacturer of tape cassette because of what people could do with it. If the RIAA wants to pursue individuals who make copyrighted material available online, then let them go down that route; but just because that's difficult, expensive, and politically embarrassing, you can't go for an easier target.

All those artists should be ashamed at doing their bosses' bidding; but Elvis "radio is in the hand of such a lot of fools trying to anesthetise the way that you feel" Costello? Maybe you should think about retiring.