A Song For Lily Allen... And A Little Conversation

from the but-no-abuse dept

All weekend, I've been inundated via email, Twitter, the submission page and more, from people all pointing me to musician Dan Bull's brilliant musical "open letter" to Lily Allen in response to the whole kerfuffle last week concerning Lily Allen's decision to speak out against musicians who said they disagreed with plans to kick file sharers off the internet. I wasn't sure if it was worth posting, because I began to feel like some might view it as piling on -- and the purpose here was never to drag anyone down or abuse anyone. I thought I had been clear about that in each and every one of my posts -- and, for the most part, all of the conversations and discussions I'd seen on the topic were quite reasonable and fair. My posts never attacked Ms. Allen, but tried to raise the level of discourse, asking her to respond to certain questions -- and at the same time highlight how her position was, in fact, a bit hypocritical, seeing as she had been doing many of the same things that she said were destroying the industry.

And yet, with Ms. Allen shutting down the blog, and claiming it was because of "abuse," some people have started accusing me of "bullying" Ms. Allen. An IP lawyer in our comments insists that I am somehow bullying her in simply asking questions. One recording industry lawyer accused me of "leading" my "internet army" of "hackers" to "attack" any artist who agreed with Allen (what?!?). Then there was the major publication that claimed that Techdirt was upset about Allen copying our blog post and that we had "suddenly discovered the power of copyright." Apparently reading comprehension isn't a strong point there, seeing as we made no copyright claim at all, were happy that she copied our post, and merely used it as a teaching moment to show why everything wasn't nearly as clear cut as Ms. Allen believed. Suddenly, just because Ms. Allen cried "abuse," despite no evidence of any actual abuse, her supporters started assuming that it must be me who was doing the "abusing."

The whole thing has become rather insane, frankly. But I'm not afraid to respond to folks who raise reasonable questions. I don't shut down and hide when someone brings up points that weren't addressed. Ms. Allen kicked this whole thing off and claimed she was just trying to start a discussion. And we responded, by pointing out the inconsistencies in her position. That wasn't an attack. Plenty of people who first jump into a debate on copyright or file sharing don't fully understand the issues -- and the best way to help them get past those initial misconceptions is to ask important questions, and highlight how the issue is a lot more complex than it may appear at first blush. The fact that Ms. Allen was distributing others' copyrighted music on her own, and used that to help build her popularity -- while now claiming that the same activity by others was destroying the opportunity for new artists made little sense -- and the double standard seemed worth calling out. And, despite her deleting her blog, some actually saved many of the comments on her blog. And, again, they don't show "abuse," but thoughtful, reasoned argument along these lines -- none of which Ms. Allen has responded to as of yet. That post, by the way, also highlights numerous factual errors in Ms. Allen's earlier responses.

So, yes, I'm going to post this video, because I think it's great (and catchy) and because I think it does further the conversation, just not in the direction that Ms. Allen intended. It's from a fan of Ms. Allen's work, and is endearing, not attacking. It's entertaining. It's free... and it got me to go and buy Dan Bull's first album, even though he's offering it up for free, too. Ms. Allen wanted a conversation and she claims she wanted more new music. Well, here's both in one shot:
This isn't "abuse." This isn't an "attack." This is, as all of my posts on this subject have been, an attempt to get Ms. Allen to actually think through these issues and answer some questions which it appears she has not considered. If reaching her by song is the way to do it, then that would be wonderful. However, I fear that she's decided to declare victory and walk away, rather than address any of the points raised.

While lots of people have picked up on various aspects of the song, the two points that I think are most relevant are pointing out that downloads don't equal sales, so stopping downloads (or kicking people off the internet) doesn't make people pay up. This is a point we've been raising for ages, and no one ever responds. The industry seems to think that magically people will start paying. And yet, there's no evidence of that whatsoever.

The second point is sarcastic, but is really a good one. Dan Bull jokes that using the same logic of people who think that stopping piracy (as if that's possible) will make people buy more music, perhaps we should ban CDs, because (according to this logic) "then people would have to pay to see bands for real." There's a huge disconnect here. The people who think that blocking activity online (and, remember, study after study after study has shown that "pirates" end up spending a lot more on music) will drive more of some other buying activity have no sense of economic history.

Taking away what fans want to do doesn't drive them to paying you more money. It drives them towards others who actually treat fans right. Like Dan Bull.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Joe Public, Sep 28th, 2009 @ 9:17am

    Dan Bull

    I ant to buy this song.

    I would love to see it in the UK charts and hear it on the Radio.

    I think it would open many eyes

    Yours Sincerely, Joe Public

     

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    Joe Public, Sep 28th, 2009 @ 9:22am

    Dan Bull

    I Want to buy this song.

    I would love to see it in the UK charts and hear it on the Radio.

    I think it would open many eyes

    Yours Sincerely, Joe Public

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 28th, 2009 @ 9:26am

    I am quite glad that this video is drawing a lot of attention, including from some major news places and the general public, as it challenges the mainstream claim that she was quitting music and shut down her blog because of abuse, which would allow them to effectively ignore any challenges to stronger IP protection laws.

     

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    just this guy, Sep 28th, 2009 @ 9:30am

    Great music from Dan Bull!

    I will now look him up.

     

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    jsl4980 (profile), Sep 28th, 2009 @ 9:38am

    Awesome use of "kerfuffle" I have yet to find an appropriate setting to use that word.

     

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    Vic, Sep 28th, 2009 @ 9:39am

    Then there was the major publication that claimed that Techdirt was upset about Allen copying our blog post and that we had "suddenly discovered the power of copyright."

    Which publication is that?

     

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      PeteProdge (profile), Sep 28th, 2009 @ 10:58am

      Re:

      It was TheRegister, which is normally a good sensible source of IT news.

      Here are their comments, which I disagree with...

      Allen had pasted a story from anti-copyright site TechDirt - which suddenly and quite miraculously discovered the power of copyright. Bit of a learning curve for everyone, then.

      We've got some mail about that.

      "Presumably that loud cracking noise in the background is the smiles breaking out on the fossilised faces of the FAC members," writes Tim Cuthill.

      Single issue fanatics like TechDirt's Mike Masnick don't want P2P to go legit, which is the obvious and progressive solution, but for creators' rights to be abolished, leaving artists to sell T-shirts and play live."


      Full article: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/09/25/lily_allen/

       

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        Trails, Sep 28th, 2009 @ 11:48am

        Re: Re:

        Orlowski's always been a bit of a blowhard. Lots of opinions and rhetoric, little discussion of actual issues.

        It's probably little more than trolling for hits, imo.

         

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        Vic, Sep 28th, 2009 @ 12:20pm

        Re: Re:

        Thanks!

        Wanted to comment there, could not find any comments or even a link to add a comment... Looks like that guy in TheRegister (Orlowsky?) is THE TRUTH HIMSELF and does not appreciate different opinions...

         

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          PeteProdge (profile), Sep 28th, 2009 @ 4:09pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Yeah, you can normally post comments on most Register articles.

          To be fair, it's a very cynical IT blog, and has been known to offend people on both sides of the filesharing debate.

           

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        ChimpBush McHitlerBurton, Sep 28th, 2009 @ 5:01pm

        Re: Orlowski

        My Gawd.

        I read that article by Orlowski and literally grimaced. His writing is atrocious. His facts are quite questionable, and his conclusions could be matched by an eight-year-old.

        Is the Reg actually PAYING this guy?

        Yikes.

        CBMHB

         

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Sep 28th, 2009 @ 9:47am

    Don't miss the MP3

    Get the MP3 here. You can also find Dan on facebook.

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Sep 28th, 2009 @ 9:48am

    Funny thing though .....

    Funny thing though .....

    "One recording industry lawyer accused me of "leading" my "internet army" of "hackers" to "attack" any artist who agreed with Allen (what?!?)."

    If her fans actually believed in what she was saying and supported her you would expect to have seen a rise in anti-techdirt posts here .... dont-cha think.... I mean anyone can post here without logging in.

    Basically, you again have the vocal minority getting the media spotlight.

     

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      Jari Winberg (profile), Sep 28th, 2009 @ 10:19pm

      Re: Funny thing though .....

      If her fans actually believed in what she was saying and supported her you would expect to have seen a rise in anti-techdirt posts here .... dont-cha think.... I mean anyone can post here without logging in.

      Her fans supported her on Twitter. But I bet they know nothing about copyright, haven't even read the comments on her blog, and probably have never hear anything about Techdirt. They just took her words as truth.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 28th, 2009 @ 9:49am

    study after study after study has shown that

    I was a bit disappointed, you usually link to the studies :(

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 28th, 2009 @ 11:21am

      Re:

      just look in techdirt history(to lazy to do it myself) there've been a few from dutch researchers, one industry funded british one, and dozens of independed ones.

       

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    kryptonianjorel (profile), Sep 28th, 2009 @ 10:03am

    Mike, thanks for posting about this song, I think its pretty good.

    I think Dan Bull has it right. His songs are all available for a free download. If you like what you hear, you can choose to buy the CD or mp3s later.

    Instead of fighting piracy, which can never work, and instead angers fans, Dan Bull would rather promote himself by giving his own music away.

    I would like to go out now and buy his CD

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 28th, 2009 @ 10:03am

    Is there a CwF + RtB option to get you to stop talking about Lily Allen? I'm being serious.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 28th, 2009 @ 10:06am

    "...were happy that she copied our post..."
    An ingenious use of the word "happy"; anyone who read even a snippet - even merely looked at the length and number of your posts - would understand you were/are very upset, although now obviously enjoying your new fame.

     

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      John Doe, Sep 28th, 2009 @ 10:13am

      Re:

      Are you new here? He has stated many times in the past that people do copy his work. Sometimes with credit, other times not. He doesn't mind either way because eventually people find out where the conversation started and go there directly. So no, I don't believe he was upset at all. Instead it played right into his hands. A chance to confront a copyright maximalist who was caught with their hand in the cookie jar.

       

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      ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Sep 28th, 2009 @ 10:17am

      Re:

      An ingenious use of the word "happy"; anyone who read even a snippet - even merely looked at the length and number of your posts - would understand you were/are very upset, although now obviously enjoying your new fame.

      Welcome to the internets, you may want to look around a bit. I suggest starting with Lily Allen, Don't Apologize To Me, Apologize To Everyone Else.

       

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      Michael, Sep 28th, 2009 @ 10:17am

      Re:

      I wasn't there personally, but I can only imagine a HUGE smile appearing on Mike's face when he first saw that she (by her definition) had "stolen" from him. Mike has not posted anything that sounded like he was upset about this use in any way. It appears to me to be the exact opposite - her use of his post probably caused balloons to drop in his office.

       

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      Misanthropist (profile), Sep 28th, 2009 @ 10:18am

      Re:

      "...were happy that she copied our post..."
      An ingenious use of the word "happy"; anyone who read even a snippet - even merely looked at the length and number of your posts - would understand you were/are very upset, although now obviously enjoying your new fame.


      What? first time visitor I see...

      either that or just plain delusional...

       

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 28th, 2009 @ 10:30am

      Re:

      An ingenious use of the word "happy";

      No, an accurate one.

      anyone who read even a snippet - even merely looked at the length and number of your posts - would understand you were/are very upset

      Hmm. No. We were actually fine with her copying it, as we're fine with anyone copying our stuff. It's what it's there for, after all. The posts were an attempt to use the double standard she had set up as a point to further the discussion. I would think that was rather obvious, but apparently not.

      although now obviously enjoying your new fame.

      What "new fame" would that be? I don't believe we've attracted a new audience much beyond what we had before. Maybe a few people, but for the most part it's the same group of people.

       

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    John Doe, Sep 28th, 2009 @ 10:09am

    No hacker, or pirate, here

    So they say we are a band of hackers and by implication pirates? I am going on the record that I do not hack or pirate in any way. I don't file share music, videos, software, photos or any other thing. I don't buy any of those things either.

    And there in lies the problem. Music is too expensive. If they dropped the price to $0.50 or less, I would buy a ton of music. At $1 or more, I don't buy any. 1,000 songs would cost $1,000 or more and that is too expensive. Especially considering that the vast majority of music is 5 years old and older and they have already made their money off of it. Drop the price on the old stuff and they would generate new sales. It is that simple. The new stuff needs to be cheaper as well, but could go for more than the old I think.

     

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    Eric Londaits (profile), Sep 28th, 2009 @ 10:13am

    Your sin

    You've just been paying too much attention to Lily Allen. Too many articles recently... it's no surprise it's interpreted as bullying by some: you can delude yourself expecting everybody to read your whole posts and understand your actions and position by logic and reason, but that's not the way it works with people in general.

    Lily Allen is just, by chance, acting as a spokesman of sorts for the industry... but were she to change her position some other artist would take up where she left off. The industry won't change its position anytime soon.

    ... You shouldn't give that much attention to her just because she is somewhat acknowledging your site and posts. The real fight is much bigger than this and it won't be fought through blogs.

     

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      Misanthropist (profile), Sep 28th, 2009 @ 10:21am

      Re: Your sin

      You've just been paying too much attention to Lily Allen.

      Excuse you, but Lily Allen dragged techdirt into it. Not the other way around.

       

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      Yakko Warner, Sep 28th, 2009 @ 10:23am

      Re: Your sin

      ... You shouldn't give that much attention to her just because she is somewhat acknowledging your site and posts. The real fight is much bigger than this and it won't be fought through blogs.

      So, instead of engaging in discussion with someone who's actually responding, he should instead keep monologing and hope more people listen to him instead of listening to the other side?

      That doesn't sound like very healthy debate.

       

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      PeteProdge (profile), Sep 28th, 2009 @ 11:02am

      Re: Your sin

      She did change her position. She believed someone would take up where she left off - hence the "passing the baton" comment.

      And you know who has taken on her role?

      No, neither do I!

      It's because virtually everyone realises it was absolutely stupid to accuse music fans of being thieves. Lily got silenced, but did some spinning to make it look like she was being abused. My blog entry (kindly linked in this TechDirt article) proves what really happened.

       

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      ChimpBush McHitlerBurton, Sep 28th, 2009 @ 5:05pm

      Re: Your sin

      "you can delude yourself expecting everybody to read your whole posts and understand your actions and position by logic and reason, but that's not the way it works with people in general."


      Only stupid people my friend. Only stupid people.


      CBMHB

       

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    RD, Sep 28th, 2009 @ 10:14am

    Wow

    "...were happy that she copied our post..."
    An ingenious use of the word "happy"; anyone who read even a snippet - even merely looked at the length and number of your posts - would understand you were/are very upset, although now obviously enjoying your new fame."

    Wow what site have YOU been reading? Certainly not this one, if you believe that load of garbage. MIKE wasnt upset, WE (the commentors) were, if anyone. Apparently, reading comprehension ALSO escapes you as he said time and again that this wasnt about her "violating" his copyright but that there was a double-standard at play and no one seemed to understand or acknowledge that. But I dont expect you to get THAT either....

    And "new fame"? Ever actually READ the site? It's been here for, oh, TEN YEARS, its not like it needs more "fame."

     

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    Ziggy, Sep 28th, 2009 @ 10:16am

    I was trying to visit Techdirt, but somehow I keep stumbling onto this 24x7 IhateLilyAllen.com news site. This has been happening for a couple of weeks now. I guess I need to update my bookmarks...

     

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    Yakko Warner, Sep 28th, 2009 @ 10:18am

    That's a catchy tune.

    So did the fact that it mentions you by name influence your purchasing decision, Mike? ;)

     

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      Misanthropist (profile), Sep 28th, 2009 @ 10:22am

      Re: That's a catchy tune.

      So did the fact that it mentions you by name influence your purchasing decision, Mike? ;)

      Any song that well done that is even partially about me, I would definitely buy.

      But then, Mike bought an album.. not that song.. right?

       

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        Yakko Warner, Sep 28th, 2009 @ 10:27am

        Re: Re: That's a catchy tune.

        Any song that well done that is even partially about me, I would definitely buy.

        Yeah, I would, too. I just noted it was not listed as one of the reasons he bought a Dan Bull CD. ;)

         

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    wallow-T, Sep 28th, 2009 @ 10:33am

    quote >>

    The second point is sarcastic, but is really a good one. Dan Bull jokes that using the same logic of people who think that stopping piracy (as if that's possible) will make people buy more music, perhaps we should ban CDs, because (according to this logic) "then people would have to pay to see bands for real."

     

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    bob, Sep 28th, 2009 @ 10:35am

    It's Never An Attack

    What one says to another FUCK YOU, as is said in this "song".

     

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 28th, 2009 @ 11:36am

      Re: It's Never An Attack

      What one says to another FUCK YOU, as is said in this "song".

      Er... that paragraph is all song titles from Lily Allen songs... including "fuck you." It wasn't saying that to her. It's a title of one of her songs.

       

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      Misanthropist (profile), Sep 28th, 2009 @ 11:57am

      Re: It's Never An Attack

      What one says to another FUCK YOU, as is said in this "song".

      he's quoting her song.... /sigh

       

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      Vic, Sep 28th, 2009 @ 12:03pm

      Re: It's Never An Attack

      Bob, please check out the lyrics again... Nobody has said what you quote to anybody. That was just a reference to Lily's song that is named exactly that - "Fuck You".

      Be careful with your accusations and read carefully whatever you read...

       

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    wallow-T, Sep 28th, 2009 @ 10:38am

    ... continued

    (ack, lost the body of my comment)

    A history lesson: that was exactly the point of the musicians' union strike of the early 1940s. Musicians struck against making recordings for about three years, and as a result a few key years of jazz history are mostly lost to us.

    The union argued that recorded music, which made no payments to the performer, had gotten good enough to displace live music. Out of the strike, IIRC, came the system of mechanical royalties for the performer which, more or less, remains intact today.

    (( No time to re-research this topic, but years ago I did a lot of digging in 1940s periodicals to follow the story. ))

    (( Note that due to the "advance" system, the payments to the performer are often sucked back to the record label, as repayment for upfront money the label has "loaned" to the performer. But that's an argument for a different day. ))

     

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    DocMenach (profile), Sep 28th, 2009 @ 10:52am

    I challenge AC (comment#12) to reveal himself

    First off, to the people responding to Anonymous Coward, comment #12: No this is not his first time here. He appears to read this blog very regularly and is constantly making posts that completely miss the point. For some reason he always posts as Anonymous, even though it is quite obvious that it is the same person commenting. In the past he has said that he would stop posting anonymously, but he never actually followed through on that.

    So once again to Mr not-so-anonymous: I challenge you to at the very least create and use a consistent nickname for your comments. You don't have to reveal who you actually are, but it would be nice to be able to respond to your posts more directly.

     

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    Carolyn Wood, Sep 28th, 2009 @ 10:59am

    a song

    If we download Dan Bull's Safe enmasse, can we do better than 40%?

     

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    RD, Sep 28th, 2009 @ 11:00am

    Indeed!

    "RD you forgot to mention the 850,000 RSS subscribers, ranking 66 on RSS feeds (via blogline), 157,818 google gadget users, and the people like me who have the site book marked."

    Indeed! Anytime you amass upwards of 1 million fans/followers/readers/visitors, you have fame by definition. I seriously doubt Mike NEEDED the Lily Allen affair to achieve any level of "fame", its already present.

     

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    taoareyou (profile), Sep 28th, 2009 @ 11:01am

    No offense to women

    I see her "abuse" gambit as nothing more than a smokescreen because she was counting on the "rescue the poor young damsel" effect. It's really sad when people would rather resort to such desperate measures instead of standing by their statements or even acknowledging that they really didn't have a grasp of the big picture.

    Honestly, I had never heard of her before, and I am certainly inclined not to make any effort to learn more about her. She certainly didn't leave the impression that she's anything more than an impulsive, short-sighted, take-my-ball-and-go-home-when-you-don't-play-my-way sorta young lady.

     

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    Dave, Sep 28th, 2009 @ 11:26am

    Ladies and gentlemen, she's a genius

    Your reasoned, well-thought-out position is, as usual, very sensible and cogent. I even feel that way on the rare occasions that we disagree. With rhetorical skills going the way of plenty of other skills these days, it's not surprising that anything short of blind adoration will be viewed as criticism, or even abuse, by those without reading comprehension or reasoning skills.

    Someone in a fame bubble, like her or others, will be even more likely to cry "abuse", because they are surrounded by sycophants who will only tell them what they want to hear. Any negative feedback is a shock.

    If you've observed Lily Allen, even if you like her music, it's pretty clear that she's not really high on the intelligence scale, either, so her opinions, noticeable only because she's famous, are not worth listening to.

     

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    Wesha, Sep 28th, 2009 @ 11:33am

    Brilliant!

    I totally liked this song and went to check out Dan Bull. Unfortunately, his other stuff is not as melodic as this one so I'm afraid I won't buy, but still... see how the guy got free promotion out of somebody's hypocrisy? =^.^=

     

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    peter, Sep 28th, 2009 @ 11:40am

    Corrections?

    "Then there was the major publication that claimed that Techdirt was upset about Allen copying our blog post and that we had "suddenly discovered the power of copyright."

    I saw this posting and the 'misunderstanding' of your blog (in inverted commas as anyone who actually read your blog could not actually have misunderstood your position but there you go). I tried to point out the error of their ways, but there was no way to comment on the article. Wonder if this was deliberate? We shall never know,

     

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    ChimpBush McHitlerBurton, Sep 28th, 2009 @ 11:43am

    Dan Bull

    MY NEW (musical/geek) HERO

    CBMHB

     

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    LoL, Sep 28th, 2009 @ 11:44am

    F*** you is the name of one off Lily Allen songs.

    "What one says to another FUCK YOU, as is said in this "song"."

    As the message is intended to Ms. Allen she will recognize all of her songs name in it including the "F*** you" along with "Everyone's At It", "Not Fair", "The Fear" and maybe other LoL

    By the way who sings that it is giving a head for ages?

    I apologize for those offended by this post as it contains a lot off controversial words.

     

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    Rabbit80, Sep 28th, 2009 @ 12:01pm

    Could you put this article into a letter and post it to some of the newspapers in the uk? it would be interesting to see if they would publish it!

     

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    Lucretious, Sep 28th, 2009 @ 12:14pm

    Anyone know what a good 1 terabyte HD goes for? I got so much dam downloaded music I'm all out of room......

     

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    Irate Pirate, Sep 28th, 2009 @ 12:15pm

    Being kicked off the internet.

    I too would love answers to all of the valid questions raised in response to Allen, especially the one regarding how kicking people off of the internet will spontaneously and miraculously cause those same people to give their hard earned money over to the entertainment industry. It's been asked many times, but never answered by anyone as far as I'm aware.

    As a paying internet user, I can only speak for myself as to what will happen should I ever become the victim of such silly ideas. For starters I can unequivocally state that if booted off the internet, the income of many businesses will be affected. I subscribe to quite a few services that require an internet connection and I also do most of my shopping online. In some cases it is the only way to find what I'm looking for, clothes in my size being just one example.

    If the entertainment industry ever gets their biggest wish, a lot of other businesses out there are going to feel a crunch on their income. They may not see it at first, but it will grow as more and more folks are banned. ISP's will simply be the first to see their bottom line plummet. I say make sure every online store you shop at and every online service you're forced to cancel knows why when the entertainment industry targets you for disconnection as that may be the only way to turn things around some day.

     

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    Ballbag, Sep 28th, 2009 @ 1:17pm

    So much for quitting music

     

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      mertz, Sep 30th, 2009 @ 1:05pm

      Re: So much for quitting music

      it is typical lilly allen. knew dizee had booked a tour with her, but her being whack but that all up in the air.

       

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    Anon, Sep 28th, 2009 @ 1:19pm

    I like Lily Allen. She's cute and she makes quality pop music.

    I like Techdirt. The articles are often timely, relevant, and insightful.

    Can't we all just kiss and make up?

     

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      rev.felix (profile), Sep 28th, 2009 @ 2:22pm

      Re:

      A nice idea, but if there were no morons (good looking, quality singers or not) Techdirt wouldn't have much, well... dirt.

       

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      ChimpBush McHitlerBurton, Sep 28th, 2009 @ 5:16pm

      Re:

      "I like Lily Allen. She's cute and she makes quality pop music."


      Wrong. She "makes" nothing but girlish singing noises. The writers, producers, and handlers make what you refer to as "quality pop music".


      "I like Techdirt. The articles are often timely, relevant, and insightful."


      Spot on.


      CBMHB

       

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    Devonavar, Sep 28th, 2009 @ 2:40pm

    Lay off

    Mike, I respect your work, and, in this case, I generally agree with what you've said. You *have* asked tough questions, and every point you've raised about her stance and her hypocrisy has been valid.

    But...

    That doesn't preclude it from also being an attack. It's a valid, and effective attack, perhaps even a reasonable one, but it's still and attack. Pointing out hypocrisy in a public forum (something you're very good at) is embarrassing and combative.

    Personally, I think Ms. Allen is way out of her depth — public debate is clearly not her strong point. She's not the first person to walk into the copyright war unawares (Mark Helprin comes to mind), but she's not likely to stay around to debate if she's feeling insulted right off the bat. Your offended and petulant responses are not going to bring her to the table, no matter how correct or reasonable they are. This situation calls for empathy and diplomacy, not reason.

    The questions you are asking are much better at inciting the masses than they are at provoking Ms. Allen to think through what she's saying. If the goal is to bring her views around to a reasonable point of view you should be asking her for solutions to the obvious problems that internet disconnection would create. Just don't connect *her* to the problems.

    The problem I see — and the reason you're not likely to be making any friends in the pro-copyright camp — is one of attitude rather than rationality. You're coming across as self-righteous, and I can understand why it would be seen as an attack rather than debate.

     

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      dorp, Sep 28th, 2009 @ 3:10pm

      Re: Lay off

      The problem I see — and the reason you're not likely to be making any friends in the pro-copyright camp — is one of attitude rather than rationality. You're coming across as self-righteous, and I can understand why it would be seen as an attack rather than debate.

      You sir, are self-righteous. See how that worked? I used your logic (dialogue = attack) and can now say that you are a self-righteous blow hard. Of course, the difference this time around is that you actually represent no useful point of view and manage to be wrong in defining both Mike's position and simple things like meaning of word *attack*

       

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        Devonavar, Sep 28th, 2009 @ 5:36pm

        Re: Re: Lay off

        You sir, are self-righteous. See how that worked? I used your logic (dialogue = attack) and can now say that you are a self-righteous blow hard. Of course, the difference this time around is that you actually represent no useful point of view and manage to be wrong in defining both Mike's position and simple things like meaning of word *attack* Ok, I'm self-righteous. I didn't really think this was about me, but I'll gladly concede the point if you'll stop putting words in my mouth. To my knowledge, I didn't define Mike's position far beyond agreeing with it, nor did I define attack. But I'm quite happy to turn this into a philosophical debate about semantics if it suits you. My point is that Mike's position isn't what got Lily pissed off here — it's the way he presented it. All I'm saying is I can understand why Lily might interpret that presentation as hurtful. I'll avoid the word attack if it makes you feel better. I don't think there was the slightest bit of malice or intent to hurt behind Mike's words, but that doesn't change the fact that they were interpreted that way by Ms. Allen. It's like arguing with your girlfriend. It doesn't matter how right you are — if you've offended her it's up to you to eat your words if you want to get laid ... erm ... continue the dialogue. In any case, I'm in favour of the comment earlier: Mike, can you provide a CwF-RtB incentive not to post about Lily Allen anymore?

         

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          vivaelamor (profile), Sep 28th, 2009 @ 7:07pm

          Re: Re: Re: Lay off

          Oooh semantics! I'm happy to debate that too. Your use of the word attack was within the definition of a 'belligerent or antagonistic action' (to quote Webster). This is, in part, a statement of motive. Given that you cannot know Mike's motive any more than you can know what number I am thinking of, it is disingenuous to state what can only be your opinion as if it were fact. If you were to instead say that Mike was being unsympathetic then that would be a valid statement as it does not represent anything beyond your own observation, there is no motive implicit in being unsympathetic.

          Semantics aside, you do have a point about the disparity between Ms Allen's and Mike's communication skills. Had she entered the debate with a more open stance then I believe Mike would have been drawn into a more direct communication with her as would many other people. Had she actually talked to someone instead of just making blog posts then she may well have been given the consideration you seem to think she deserves. Because she didn't open herself up to communication and didn't seem to go out of her way to talk to anyone then you can hardly blame the rest of the world for her failure to communicate.

          If you would like to make a case that we are worse off not having taught her anything then go ahead but personally I think my time spent on this comment is probably about as well spent as getting her to understand the issues.

           

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            Devonavar, Sep 28th, 2009 @ 11:51pm

            Re: Lay off

            Semantics sure are fun (note: for those who don't appreciate this kind of thing, that's your cue to stop reading).

            I'd argue that the presence of the phrase "I (don't) think" before the rest of my clause about Mike's intentions indicates that I was, in fact, making a statement of opinion, not, in my opinion, a statement of fact (got that?) Moving beyond semantics to context ... would you really take the word of some anonymous guy commenting on a blog to be a statement of fact rather than a statement of opinion? Oh, wait, that might be Lily's problem...

            In all seriousness (if that's still possible after so many semantic points), the fact that Lily didn't come away having learned anything *does* concern me. But, even more to the point, having Mike come across as a bully is an even greater concern. I *do* have hope that this "copyright war" will someday be more or less peacefully resolved. Mike is a smart guy and a strong voice. We need his voice to be heard by people in places other than this site, and his voice will be louder if he doesn't have a reputation for intellectual bullying.

             

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              vivaelamor (profile), Sep 29th, 2009 @ 10:21am

              Re: Re: Lay off

              I appreciate that you only meant it as your opinion and you did indeed qualify it a bit in your second post. I'll quote the original passage I was talking about though:

              "That doesn't preclude it from also being an attack. It's a valid, and effective attack, perhaps even a reasonable one, but it's still and attack. Pointing out hypocrisy in a public forum (something you're very good at) is embarrassing and combative."

              It's also obvious that you were only using the word because it appears in the article itself, I was merely trying to highlight and elaborate on why the word is misused in this context without the proper qualifier (you can see from the quote above that you didn't qualify the statement with 'I think'). Of course, what is obvious to me and you isn't necessarily a 'good enough' base to rely on when posting on a public forum. While you obviously understand what you are talking about and what I am talking about, who knows who else will read this. That is why I think Mike was right to decry people using words like attack and abuse to describe his actions.

              On a different subject, I wish the 'pro-copyright' crowd were half as able to talk to someone they have a disagreement with as you appear to be over something as mundane as semantics. Mr Orlowski over at The Register seems to be sticking his head further up his own arse with each post he makes. I would respect his decision to keep comments disabled if he wrote anything worth responding to in the first place. It seems pretentious to be such a brat in his writing and then claim he only wants proper discourse by inviting email only feedback.

              Now the above, was an attack.

               

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                Devonavar, Sep 29th, 2009 @ 10:40am

                Re: Lay off

                Ah ... now I know what you're responding to. I didn't look back at my original post; I assumed you were talking about this sentence: "I don't think there was the slightest bit of malice or intent to hurt behind Mike's words".

                In any case, I'm a little sick of the subject and disgusted that I got as drawn in as I did. I was better off never having heard of Lily Allen, and I'd just as soon never hear about her again. Techdirt has been my only source of information about her, and hopefully she will soon disappear into the background haze of pop culture I don't really pay attention to..

                 

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          Anonymous Coward, Sep 29th, 2009 @ 2:23pm

          Re: Re: Re: Lay off

          nor did I define attack

          I am sure you would like to try to claim that you didn't exactly say that Mike attacked Lily, but you spent a nice amount of words to convey that feeling in a way of "I am not saying you are a whore, but you sure look like one."

          Just because Ms. Allen decided to take this as an attack, doesn't make it one. You must have forgotten who started this whole affair with quoting Mike. If we are to follow your logic yet again, she is the attacker and Mike was just protecting his honor from a clueless industry mouthpiece.

          Asking people to post or not post about Lily Allen is just asinine and serves no purpose to the dialogue. As long as people are going to use their fame to pop-off without knowing their topic, they need to be brought back to earth with the thing you so badly wanted to avoid: reason.

           

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      PeteProdge (profile), Sep 28th, 2009 @ 4:16pm

      Re: Lay off

      "embarrassing and combative"

      Those are words I would use to describe the way Lily Allen decided to label filesharers as "thieves".

      "she's not likely to stay around to debate if she's feeling insulted right off the bat."

      I know, that's exactly why she left. TechDirt and other blogs proved her wrong, she falsely called it "abuse". End of story, really.

      "You're coming across as self-righteous, and I can understand why it would be seen as an attack rather than debate."

      Compared to the ludicrous and incredibly exaggerated things Lily was saying about internet users, Mike has been highly civil.

       

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      ChimpBush McHitlerBurton, Sep 28th, 2009 @ 5:29pm

      Re: Lay off

      Yes, EXACTLY!

      Mike, I can't stand when you INSIST that two plus two equals four. You act all holier-than-thou with your "facts" and your "reason" that it just makes me sick.

      I'm so tired of your attacks. If you want me to believe simple arithmetic, you are going to have be less combative, with your simple diagrams and "proof", and try to use something more persuasive, more diplomatic, and try to empathize with my diminished ability to add.

      Try something that provokes my curiosity, rather than inciting my ire, like this:

      Mike: "Imagine a perfect world where you take two numbers, like, oh, let's say two, and, um...two. Still with me? Great...and then put them *to-ge-ther*...see?

      Me: "No, Mike, that's just a bunch of bullshit. Fuck You.

      Mike: "Ok, cool. I see what you mean. Good point.

      See how much better that is? Now next time you try to convince me of something, I just *might* listen, because you avoided threatening me with the idea that someone might know something I don't.

      Glad I could help.

      CBMHB

       

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      Enrico Suarve, Sep 29th, 2009 @ 1:45am

      Re: Lay off

      Surely the fact that Lily Allen chose to assault Mike's viewpoint using his own work to do so constitutes an attack?

      In which case Mike’s continued articles on the subject would, in turn, actually constitute a defence?

      I can understand how after years of Bush and Blair you might be a little confused on the terminology, but traditionally the person who starts the fight is known as the attacker and the person who fights back, the defender.

       

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    Irate Pirate, Sep 28th, 2009 @ 3:41pm

    Re: Lay off

    Good call dorp. Then there is this:

    "This situation calls for empathy and diplomacy, not reason."

    Really? Wow, just...wow.

     

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    mermaldad (profile), Sep 28th, 2009 @ 4:19pm

    Wow.

    I'm generally not a fan of the rap style, but the way Dan Bull threw so many relevant points into this piece really works.

     

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    Aaron Toponce, Sep 28th, 2009 @ 7:38pm

    Stopping Setences

    Dan Bull knows how to properly stop a sentence- ONE space after the period (full stop), not two. Good work Dan!

     

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      Granny Crickfinger, Sep 28th, 2009 @ 10:01pm

      Re: Stopping Setences

      Oy! When I was a junior high student back in the Stone Age and I had to get up at four in the morning to walk three miles uphill in two feet of snow with nothing but sandwich bags on my feet to get to my typing class on time...

      ...it was two spaces between sentences.

      Seriously, try as I might I cannot break that training.

      Love how that vid was done, perfect concept and I was glad to be able to read the lyrics, not sure I'd be able to catch them all just listening.

       

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      Enrico Suarve, Sep 29th, 2009 @ 1:13am

      Re: Stopping Setences

      Unfortunatly not since he's not American but nice try

      PS Mr Bull - I couldn't give a knat's danglies that you only use one space - forgiven ;0)

       

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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Sep 29th, 2009 @ 7:20am

    hehe

    One recording industry lawyer accused me of "leading" my "internet army" of "hackers" to "attack" any artist who agreed with Allen (what?!?)

    Haha, From now on Mike we shall have to refer to you as 'The General'. =)

     

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    Buddha Bob, Sep 29th, 2009 @ 9:09am

    musicians worldwide LOVE the internet

    Congrats on all youve written here and ESPECIALLY how you wrote it.
    THe false allegations of abuse could have also been of rape or child molestattion you know. Its a tactic used to change the focus.

    Im a musician.
    Have been for over a decade and have played in over 15 countries and well known festivals and even played twice at Montreux Jazz Fest.
    I work, live and play with musicians and know the realities they face.
    Ms Allen is not one of those.
    She is far removed from all the worries that these people go through, the majority who are under the poverty line.

    THe business model she pushes has been good to her but absolutely brutal to 99,9999999% of the worlds professional musicians.
    THe internet (and yes, MYSPACE too) has been a godsend for those musicians and has helped further their own careers more than any other piece of technology apart from the phone.
    THAT is the reality of musicians.

    Pop creations like Spice Girls, NSYNC and so on are products which are created, molded, packaged and marketed.
    They live in a total different universe than indie muscians (which again is 99.9999% of them)


    Expecting her to know their realities and how the internet helps their careers is like expecting a hassidic jew to tell you which strip joint has the best seafood.
    Her career is dependent on the millions in advertising and the control of certain channels, the others are dependent on the internet for it.
    And if .000001% of musicians are harmed by the internet, then I think its a risk we will have to live with.

     

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    Irate Pirate, Sep 29th, 2009 @ 10:51pm

    Re: Lay off

    I have a question. Why exactly must Mike tip toe around Ms. Allen and sugar coat everything?

    She is the one who went on the offensive and attacked the common internet user, calling us criminals and using Mike's work as well as the work of other to back her argument up. It is she whom entered into a debate woefully unprepared, arguing opinions as if they were facts. It is also she who was caught red handed as a hypocrite.

    Personally I felt all of Mike's comments were well thought out and highly civil.

    What I find saddening is how instead of continuing the debate by answering the valid questions posed to her, Lilly decided instead to resort to using a rather underhanded tactic, one designed to shift focus away from the original discussion and portray in a negative light the very people she should be mediating with.

    This tactic is commonly used by those who have poor debating skills and have found themselves in a loosing battle on the wrong side of public opinion. It is ultimately a childish tactic, unsurprising I suppose as that is exactly how she comes across in her comments.

    The very fact that people are deliberating this farce shows that even so, it is still an effective strategy as we are no longer discussing the merits of copyright and three strikes law at all, caught up instead arguing whether Mike should have bee nicer to Ms. Allen or not.

    Sigh...

     

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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Sep 30th, 2009 @ 11:05am

    Hmm

    After listening to the song a few times (it is really catchy and I like it), I must say that I think it is a most excellent way to reply.

    In some sort of twisted logic I almost hope they end up suing Dan over it (sorry Dan!). It would bring way more attention to the song and help drive forward the cause and bring the argument into more people's eyes.

     

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    mertz, Sep 30th, 2009 @ 1:13pm

    thanks for posting this mike. i hadn't heard about it at all. i agree with killer tofu's comment in that this is the best way to reply to her missives. i like the way he's linked all the thoughts there and made it into song and an actual respectable well reasoned letter, with all the references to her own songs too :). i've listened to it 12 times and i will listen to it more. i sent it to all my friends. i will keep up with what dan bull is doing (what a name) and i am now a fan. thanks mike. thanks dan. thanks lily :)

     

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