Lily Allen: Copying Isn't Alright… Unless It's Done By Lily Allen

from the funny-how-that-works... dept

The folks over at TorrentFreak alerted me to the news that singer Lily Allen, who made some news last week for speaking out against file sharing and against artists who have defended file sharing, has put up a blog, called “It’s Not Alright,” to talk about this particular subject. In one of her very first posts, she reposted an entire Techdirt post about 50 Cents’ view on piracy and how it’s part of the marketing. Allen goes on to then say that this is not alright and that 50 Cent is being selfish and isn’t thinking about everyone else. But what’s quite odd is that Ms. Allen, while complaining about such unfair copying, seemed to have absolutely no problem with copying my entire Techdirt post — without credit or a link. As I said when asked by TorrentFreak for my response:

I think it’s wonderful that Lily Allen found so much value in our Techdirt post that she decided to copy — or should I say “pirate”? — the entire post. The fact that she is trying to claim that such copying is bad, while doing it herself suggests something of a double standard, unfortunately. Also, for someone so concerned about the impact of “piracy” I’m quite surprised that she neither credited nor linked to our post. Apparently, what she says and how she acts are somewhat different. Still, Lily, glad we could help you make a point… even if it wasn’t the one you thought you were making. Feel free to use any of our posts going forward as well. Unlike some, we’re not scared of people copying our stuff. By the way, does this mean we can post her music to our site without crediting her now, too?

Enigmax, in his TorrentFreak post put it nicely as well:

Lilly, in isolation we don’t think your copyright infringement is a big deal at all and neither does Mike, but in the arena of this debate it’s still quite important. Infringing copyright these days is so easy to do, most people manage it every day in one way or another, and you are clearly no different. You probably didn’t mean any harm or even give it a second thought but half a dozen clicks later and you’re a pirate these days I’m afraid.

The next thing you know you’ve got God-knows-who accusing you in public of being an evil copyright infringer and telling you the sky’s falling in. Oh, you’re on your first strike now by the way. A couple more and it’ll be off to Ofcom for disconnection for you young lady….

That said, I also think it’s worth responding to Allen’s attempted “point” in response to 50’s comments:

this is particularly selfish in my view, he seems to only be thinking of how piracy effects him. What about the guys that work in the studio and the kids that run around town putting his posters up,the people that designed his artwork, the people that run his website. Is he giving them a cut of his live fee?

Wait… since when did any of those people get a cut of album sales? Really. None of them do. They all get paid regular fees for their work… and that doesn’t change if 50 is making all his money from album sales or concerts. So, yes, they actually do get a cut of his “live fee.” It comes in the form of regular payment for services… the same as if it were coming from album sales. And, if 50 is making even more money from those live shows, he can still afford to pay the studio guys, the street teams, the art designers and his web gurus more. So what point is Lily Allen making again? Because so far I can’t figure it out…

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Comments on “Lily Allen: Copying Isn't Alright… Unless It's Done By Lily Allen”

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scarr (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

The easily debatable answers? The only post she responded to in that thread was mine, which basically made the same claims Mike makes here. Her logic that “the record label pays”, and thus hurting the labels hurts the whole chain is flawed, but I give her credit for at least addressing it.

(I instantly recognized the format as a Techdirt post, but didn’t notice she missed crediting it, or I would’ve asked.)

Michael Talpas (profile) says:

Re: Possible reason?

Because copyright applies whether you are giving something away for free or charging for it. If you don’t site the person or persons you got something from, it is called plagiarism(sp?). The fact is, it does not matter who she took it from, but that she took it while complaining about people who take things. It is hypocritical, and that is all that Mike wanted to point out.

Robin (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“That was a little uncalled-for, Mike”

Absolutely not!

You’re not from Brooklyn, are you? It’s a wonderful example of the ironic structure: the high (and mighty) being brought low.

It’s my suspicion that Mike is at ease with the lack of understanding of this structure west of the Hudson, as I too became in my travels out west.

Anonymous Coward says:

Wonderful comments on Lily Allen's post

Just amazed at the lack of maturity some people show.

A sample of the people commenting on Lily Allen stealing the blog post
“HAAHAHAHA – stupid cunt.”
“clean the sand out of your gaping vagina.”
“You hypocritical fuckstick”

Do you realize any point you may be trying to make is completely disregarded when you make comments like these?

mertz says:

Re: Wonderful comments on Lily Allen's post

i was going to email mike about these type of comments in response to lily allen from perez hilton’s site, but i didn’t want to recognize that kind of devolved reasoning. it was funny but sad as well although it seems most people are not on the side of lily allen and whatever she is selling. i wonder how long she’s been thinking about these matters. it’s important because it involves her lively hood, but the main thing i grasped from the comments from perez’s post was that people are mostly unsympathetic to the plight of the musician or the music star…they are more likely to support their local indie group or indie groups who support freemium models, like one of the commenters there pointed out. it’s interesting. i hope she keeps stirring up the nest before she sees the light. the more we hear from these music stars the more that their fans will respond appropriately to those comments. musicians are not different than we the consumers. they buy things too, and i wonder how they like being shafted by other industries that isn’t the music industry. so she’s not making money like she thinks she needs to make because the music industry used to game the system. like one commenter said from the perez site, people have gotten smart.

i’m an artist myself and i would like to be supportive of her, but really i’m not because i don’t agree with her pov. i am also a consumer and i know all too well how beneficial this change has been for me.

it’s hard to innovate but people make it seem like it’s so hard to change from the past. if she was smart she would be getting her fans opinions on things and she would become what musicians of the past were, which is her own brand and her own everything.

papaya says:

she also lifted from others

amazingly, she also scans a newspaper article about James Blunt and posts it on her site. She doesnt even say which newspaper it’s from though some people say it’s The Times (of London presumably):

At least the reporter’s name got in there so she’s getting a bit better. But still, pretty amazing considering her message.

Anonymous Coward says:

I think that she did it out of ignorance and not out of malice. Most of these content guys don’t really understand how the internet works, and how it should be used. It’s absurd that they should be the ones who decide who gets to use it because of that, but I think she’s simply parroting some absurd speech from her employers.

Fiercedeity (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I’m also pretty sure that’s the case with her. “Infringing” comes naturally to all humans, regardless of background. It’s just something we do. It’s how our culture expands, improves and grows. The medium that this takes place on isn’t as important. So to try to suppress it is really height of ignorance. It’s going to happen whether or not they want it to, and that’s a GOOD thing.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

A shame...

I began digging around, particularly on wikipedia, trying to get some background dirt on Lily Allen, because usually when you have these entertainer types engaging in blatant hypocrisy like this, there’s a history of other idiotic behavior. Much to my chagrin, however….Lily seems like a fairly decent chick. I mean, she supports environmental activism groups, the protection of child victims of war, and rights equality for several minority groups.

It’s almost enough to make me think she’s simply misinformed. That maybe she’s being used by the record labels, fed false information like kidnappers feed children drugs, and then trotted out onto her “blog” the way those Latter Day Saints retreat cults bring out there kids to tell the nice lady with the TV camera that “Life is great here on the ranch, and won’t you please just ignore the fact that I’m 12 and a grandmother?”

Almost enough.

But not quite.

She’s an idiot.

Yohann says:

Change your Terms of Service about your website!!!

I think Techdirt ought to change it’s Terms of Service regarding its website. There should be fine print contained in hundreds of pages of legal jargon saying that any ‘artist’ or musician that willingly copies, or ‘pirates’ posts on Techdirt is completely and fully agreeing to also allow Techdirt the use of all songs, movies and videos as they see fit. Basically ‘you take mine, I get to take yours’.

Even if you don’t actually enforce it, Techdirt could point to the ToS topic and say “Oh look. So-and-so musician copied my story verbatim or linked to it directly without written permission, so I guess we can post their music and songs.”


cookie says:

Re: Change your Terms of Service about your website!!!

but the musicians don’t ever own their own songs 😀

the record labels do own them

and sometimes with a 360 degree contract they own part of their t-shirt sales and live performance revenues too.

so only way you could get the “you use mine and i use yours” work is if the record labels pull that kind of bs.

RD says:

Stop apologizing

Please STOP apologizing for this woman and trying to excuse her behavior with “well, she probably didnt know” or “she probably didnt mean to.” SHE was the one who stuck her big fat nose into the topic and was the one who railed and cried and filled with righteous anger about the dirty “pirating” of copyrighted material that goes on and oh my land how HORRIBLE YOU PEOPLE are for doing so! She made her bed, now let her lie in it. If she is going to not even BOTHER to try to give equal time to copyright holders OTHER than herself and her industry butt-plugs, then she can take the criticism that will come her way. Or she can learn a lesson from it and educate herself on the subject and possibly understand more about how it all works. I highly doubt it, however. People like her get so filled with fervor that they are RIGHT no matter what anyone says, and they can do whatever they want because they are RIGHT, and you (and your dirty filthy pirate friends who consume music for fee, such as from the radio or 30 second samples before you buy) are WRONG, always.

Almost Anonymous (profile) says:

Re: Stop apologizing

Calm down man, in your anger you are missing part of the point yourself.

It’s -easy- to copy stuff (especially on/from the Internet), so easy that sometimes (often) people don’t even realize what they are doing is wrong (or perhaps ‘wrong-ish’). Sounds like Lily absolutely infringed on Mike’s (automatic, yay!) copyright, but fortunately for her Mike has essentially given permission to one and all to infringe to their heart’s content.

mertz says:

Re: Stop apologizing

lol at your own freverency.

i’m an artist. when i copy something i credit it. i understand that stealing, borrowing, sharing have become more of the norm for people and that maybe people don’t understand the effects on the artists, but i for one think lily allen has to much wine with her whine and she needs to instead of complaining do something else. she could be the one to come up with one of the new models (snicker).

Eo Nomine says:

While I agree that Allen probably should have properly credited and linked to the original TechDirt post, frankly I find this post deeply hypocritical.

Mike M. has repeatedly stated on this blog that he has “no problem with people taking our content and reposting it … Some of them give us credit. Some of them don’t. We don’t go after any of them.” Furthermore, he’s also expressly stated that “We’re perfectly fine with people taking and repurposing our content. We hope they give us attribution, but we don’t worry too much if they don’t … There’s really no reason to spend much time thinking about it. Yet, we still get people emailing us all the time to ask for “permission” to reuse our content — and of course, we always “grant” the permission, even though they don’t need it at all.” See e.g. “Why Is It So Difficult To Opt-Out Of Copyright?”,

So, Mike’s basically stated quite clearly that no one is required to obtain permission before re-posting or re-purposing his content, and that he doesn’t care whether proper attribution is given. In the legal world, this pretty much amounts to an unlimited, non-exclusive, royalty-free license for anyone to do what they want with the posts on TechDirt. Furthermore, this site does not appear to have any terms of service or other conditions which would change this state of affairs.

And now TorrentFreak and TechDirt are jumping all over Allen for doing EXACTLY WHAT MIKE MASNICK SAID ANYONE COULD DO?!? In light of this, I’d say that TorrentFreak and Mike alleging that this reposting is “piracy” is frankly more hypocritical than anything Allen did…

Josh - To common a name. This is me. (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Wait. I’m confused. In his post Mike references his interview with TorrentFreak in which he says “…Feel free to use any of our posts going forward as well. Unlike some, we’re not scared of people copying our stuff….” How is this jumping all over Allen? He basically says what she did is fine and she can do it all she wants. I mean, hell, it’s getting Mike’s message out there, isn’t it? The only negative thing Mike said about what Allen did was that she was by hypocritical. She can’t have it both ways. Either she believes what she preaches, and followes it, or she doesn’t. When you do something that is the opposite of what you say you believe, well, that my friend is defined as hypocrisy.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Attention oddball: pointing out other people’s hypocrisy is NOT hypocritical.

Mike telling people they can use his stuff freely and then calling someone out for claiming to believe in the sanctity of content while not practicing that with his work is NOT hypocritical.

All I’m trying to figure out is if you’re missing the point on purpose or not….

Misanthopist (profile) says:

Re: Re:

While I agree that Allen probably should have properly credited and linked to the original TechDirt post, frankly I find this post deeply hypocritical.
And now TorrentFreak and TechDirt are jumping all over Allen for doing EXACTLY WHAT MIKE MASNICK SAID ANYONE COULD DO?!?


That sound you just heard was the whole fucking point zooming RIGHT OVER your head. Sorry, you missed it.

Mike Southlondoner says:

Re: Re:

You really are ignorant, aren’t you.

Using an article for whatever purpose, as you and Mike M have described, is fine (by his own rules).

But what Lily ‘Clueless-Fucking-Twat’ Allen has done is try to pass the work off as her own by subtly including it in a spout of drivel she posted on MySpace.

I find the funniest thing about this whole affair is that Lily claims to be “in touch” and suggests that the record industry needs to get to grips with modern technologies. All of this, however, is posted on a slowly-dying networking site that has been surpassed and obviated by Facebook.

mertz says:

Re: Re:

she might not be aware of it but she probably infringes on things a good number of times, just like me, even when i don’t do it purposely. i won’t know unless i’m hunted by copyright/patent trolls who insist on everything being theirs.

she basically proved not only mike’s points but all of the points of people who share share mike’s pov.

i don’t understand why these industry people don’t get it. they are people too. why don’t they think like a consumer instead of a suit.

Karlheinz (user link) says:

Engineers, street teams, web designers, oh my

Wait… since when did any of those people get a cut of album sales?

Actually, the label usually hires these people, not the artists themselves.

So, I guess the theory is that the tour profits go to the artists directly, rather than the label, so the label doesn’t make enough money and these guys lose their jobs.

It’s a pretty weak argument (I’m pretty sure labels take the lion’s share of tour profits as well), but there you have it.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Engineers, street teams, web designers, oh my

If you read any one of several rants (eg Courntney Love’s) from musicians about music industry contracts you will find that at the beginning of the contract the music industry pays the artist an advance. The musician will get no royalties at all until that advance has been covered.
All the expenses of promotion, touring etc etc will be paid for out of the advance. So the record company pays – but does so out of the artist’s money!

Faceless Man says:

Hardly surprising

I have to say I’m not surprised at such behaviour. I don’t believe there is any malice in what she does, but I do believe she feels she deserves to get anything she wants. Do people remember her complaints about Apple not putting her on the front page of the iTunes store because they were promoting people who gave them exclusive content? It’s a sentiment that I feel carries over into her music.

Kate says:

oh dear!

Just a thought, Lily left school at 15. I certainly didn’t learn about correct referencing until later in high school/uni. I’m sitting on the fence with this one- not saying anyone is right or wrong. It’s just one of those little things in life that you either learn or don’t! Think about all the websites that don’t reference pictures, quotes etc etc everyday….same thing- they don’t get criticised (probably because they aren’t famous). I guess it comes with the territory of being a public figure.

jorvay (profile) says:

Re: oh dear!

Kate, if Lily Allen doesn’t have enough education to do it right, then she shouldn’t have put herself in the middle of this in the first place.

If I stated that “instead of scalpuls, we should use rusty chainsaws in hospital operating rooms,” I’d be pretty damn wrong. But by your defence, it’s okay for me to say that because I’m not educated as a doctor.
The fact is that I’m not qualified to give expert opinion on surgery any more than a high-school dropout is qualified to give expert opinion on advanced and rapidly evolving business practices.

Kate says:

Re: Re: oh dear!

I think you missed my point. I’m not saying anything about her giving opinions ‘on advanced and rapidly evolving business practices’… I was simply stating that she probably doesn’t know about the correct procedures on referencing! – thought that was the point of the article, not whether she is an expert ‘on advanced and rapidly evolving business practices’!

Michael Talpas (profile) says:

Re: oh dear!

We aren’t discussing her lack of education, Kate. We are discussing the fact that she has put herself into a position where she is acting hypocritically.

Lily Allen feels that no one, ever, should ever copy anything put up by anyone else. No one should ever violate copyright, because it hurts the person who created it.

And then, possibly ignorantly, possibly not, she violated copyright and copied something made by someone else. Now, Mike has said it is fine to take his stuff and do things with it, but that is his choice. He has said it is okay. Lily Allen has said that is not okay. She has violated her own code of ethics.

Now, does that mean she did something wrong? Not as far as Mike is concerned. Hell, not even as far as I am concerned. But, as far as SHE is concerned, she has done something wrong. And that is what makes her a hypocrite.

hmm says:

I personally think Mike should sue the knickers off her…not to actually win you understand, but it would generate a lot of publicity about how stupid some of these “infringement” lawsuits can be….

Sue for some ridiculous sum like £1,000,000,000 per word used….instant front-page news:

Singer sued for £100,000,000,000 by online blogger…Silly Allen!

RD says:

Reading Comprehension is for YOU!

“Why do you care if she reposts your blog? You have said numerous times that you would be honoured to have this happen.”

Perhaps you should actually, you know, READ the comments before posting. He DID say this. The point, which seems to have eluded you, Lily Allen and about 90% of the people reading these comments, is that its HYPOCRITICAL for someone to:

a) come out SO STRONGLY against “piracy” and copying without compensation, permission or attribution
b) then turn around and copy in its ENTIRETY an article from someone else without even a MENTION of the source

I know you STILL wont understand, since this deals with principles and ethics, so I’ll pre-forgive you for your subsequent forthcoming comments that will, once again, fail to make your point, and will continue to fail to GET the point.

Michael C (profile) says:

Reason to buy?

Heh, funny. On a recent flight on Virgin America I watched a Lily Allen video and listened to a few of her songs, and then heard more of her stuff in my friend’s car. I found it interesting and kind of catchy, and was thinking about buying some songs of hers. Hadn’t pulled the trigger yet. And I have to say, her foolishness makes me more inclined to *not* buy.

Funny thing is, it was hearing her music *for free* (omigosh!) that made me consider supporting her in the first place.

Overcast (profile) says:

Re: Reason to buy?

Funny thing is, it was hearing her music *for free* (omigosh!) that made me consider supporting her in the first place.

In most cases – have you bought music without ‘hearing it free’ first? Be it on the Radio, at a Friends, etc?

For me – umm, nope. hehe

If there’s a band I am a real fan of – I will in that case, but I’ve still heard their stuff first.

I own a lot of CD’s and such – but I bet there are a LOT of bands out there I’d love; but since I haven’t heard them…

An example is ‘E Nomine’ – I never heard anything of them, even though they had been out for years. Heard some of their stuff and went to Amazon and ordered a couple of their CD’s. If I would not have ‘heard it free’ – I wouldn’t have bought them.

enjaysee (profile) says:

I’m finding a lot of the comments that missed the point of the article incredibly amusing. I agree with Enigmax though. If it was about anything else, it wouldn’t have been a big deal, but because she’s talking about copyright, it just makes it a whole lot worse for her. But at the end of the day, to me it looked like she just made a mistake.

Gene Cavanaugh (profile) says:

Sharing income

“And, if 50 is making even more money from those live shows, he can still afford to pay the studio guys, the street teams, the art designers and his web gurus more.”

I don’t think so – you let the marketplace determine what you pay people, and it should have nothing to do with what your income is – after all, they aren’t running your business, they are providing an independent service.

Otherwise you build in a failure mode for your business model.

A.F says:

It all comes down to the tone of what you said – there is absolutley no sincerity in the following post

‘I think it’s wonderful that Lily Allen found so much value in our Techdirt post that she decided to copy — or should I say “pirate”? — the entire post.’

and your attempts to claim otherwise – after being pointed back to previous statments showing you to be guilty of mild hypocrisy yourself – by isolating a sentence and completely ignoring the tone of your original post are frankly laughable.

mertz says:

Re: Re:

your comment is also laughable. i’ve been coming to this website long enough to know mike’s take on things and he really meant what he typed even if he was taking the piss out of her a bit and laughing. she’s an artist. the first thing she should know that if you take something from someone and you don’t provide a credit then you are doing what she accuses all the rest of us of doing. i would bet a lot of money that lily allen has infringed on someone’s rights more than a couple of times in her entire life. i’ve done it, even though i try to give credit to all my sources. i have no excuse. if i am to be punished by trolls and sued for more than i have then fine. if i am to be made an example of because industry models are dying out and need to be restructured or recreated, then fine. but as a person i have rights too, as a consumer i have rights, as an artist i have rights and i feel like i too should be protected. i’m glad lily allen is talking about this because she just usually mutters about this, but this gives people’s chance to hear what she thinks. i don’t agree with her, but i appreciate the fact that she has entered the discussion and is risking her capital. she has pissed off a lot of people with her pov, but she’s also had some people agreeing with her. i don’t think a lot of good will come out of this if she doesn’t become enlightened about what is going on with real people. she’s a person too. she needs to put on her personable thinking hat and reason this out instead of speaking from one perspective.

Anonymous Coward says:

first of all I don’t agree with Allen’s stance on the copywrite issue so that takes away the bulk of your piss poor rebuttal.

‘your comment is also laughable. i’ve been coming to this website long enough to know mike’s take on things and he really meant what he typed even if he was taking the piss out of her a bit and laughing.’

I don’t doubt your dedication and service to mike but for him to make a snide and sarcastic remark and then claim sincerity when accused of having double standards is laughable.

alexolife (user link) says:

Boo frickity hoo. If you don’t want to owe a record label whatever money they decide it was worth to create you out of nothing, don’t enter a LEGALLY BINDING CONTRACT with them – worked for me!

All the sanctimonious filibustering about standing up for the rights of other musicians is disingenuous. We know this because Lily Allen has made a career out of bagging out other musicians. Musicians far more influential and accomplished than she could ever be (and I’m implying that she’s a musician only because I’m too drunk to rephrase this sentence – not too drunk to write this disclaimer, though).

Long story short: some inane tart whose music sucks succeeded in not falling out of character, by ranting without class or grace about the evils of the music industry, musicians, and the public. Enjoy dying alone with your terrible music.

Cold and alone. Hey, I think I feel a song coming on!

anonymous says:

she's a total hypocrite!

I hate her because she copied most of her songs from old songs and unknown songs from undiscovered singers! she copied this argentian song called choto then change it to fuck you. the way it was sanged was exactly the same the only difference was her accent and the tone of voice. she’s a total fraud. she has no creativity. yeah justin bieber is garbage for making those shit songs but she’s nothing because her most of her songs are copied from these certain unknown or not known anymore singers.

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