Thursday, September 10, 2009

Musicians reject UK Music support for internet removal

Musicians who have, perhaps, made a decent record more recently than Feargal Sharkey have been suggesting that UK Music's delighted gurglings at the Mandelson proposals might nor represent the views of everyone involved in music in the UK.

A band of top-drawer musicians have issued an 'oi, noooo':

Artists from bands including Radiohead, Pink Floyd and Blur told The Times that plans announced by Lord Mandelson, the Business Secretary, to suspend the internet accounts of those who engage in file-sharing will criminalise a whole generation of their fans.

This is putting the Featured Artists Coalition in direct opposition to UK Music and, at the very least, undermines any claim of Sharkey's gang to be speaking as one voice for everyone involved in music.

The Times talks to a FAC gang:
Nick Mason, Ed O'Brien, Dave Rowntree and Billy Bragg, the singer, are lining up against Government's stance on file sharing

The presence of Dave Rowntree - a junior Labour politician who had been trying to get adopted by a Westminster constituency not so long ago - is especially interesting.

The really nice thing is that the representatives from the FAC aren't all pushing the same line - Ed O'Brien is relaxed about filesharing and sees it as a sampling opportunity; Rowntree hopes that people can be tempted to legitimate services. The point of agreement is that removing people's access to the web isn't the way ahead.

Naturally, the BPI isn't having any of it:
Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the British Phonographic Industry, said: “We could hardly have more legal download services than we already do, and they have not eliminated piracy. It is the peer-to-peer downloading that is holding back investment in more services."

Hang on a moment, Geoff - you're saying there couldn't be any more services offered but also nobody is investing in more services because of filesharing? So is it that the market is saturated (there couldn't be any more) or that filesharing is killing it (peer-to-peer holding back investment)? And if peer-to-peer filesharing is holding back investment, then how do we have a world in which the music industry could hardly offer any more services? Why didn't the filesharing hold back that investment?

But Taylor isn't really offering any sort of considered approach: he just wants to see plugs pulled:
“What Government is proposing in the temporary suspension of accounts as a last resort is a set of measures that are proportional and balanced.”

Removing people's ability to participate in modern life, to be able to register to vote, to have access to news and information, to be able to consult medical advice, to bank and apply for work is totally a proportional response to downloading a copy of Aqua's Barbie Girl without asking the permission of the head of Universal.

[Thanks to @blockbusterbuzz]