Lily Allen No Longer in Favor Of Kicking People Offline… Just Cutting Back Their Bandwidth
from the um.-ok. dept
Well, this is getting particularly silly now. Despite claiming that she wasn’t going to the meeting of various musicians in the UK to discuss Peter Mandelson’s “three strikes” proposal, Lily Allen apparently did show up and said that kicking people offline was too draconian. This is, at least, a modest victory for those of us who questioned her stance. Still… it wasn’t a wholesale shift. The musicians instead still agreed to support a similar three strikes plan, that just had a slightly less onerous “final solution,” involving taking away most of a user’s bandwidth:
“Our meeting voted to support a three-strike sanction on those who persistently download illegal files, to consist of a warning letter, a stronger warning letter, and a final sanction of the restriction of the infringers’ bandwith to a level which would render file-sharing of media files impractical while leaving basic e-mail and web access functional.”
That’s still a pretty big overreaction to such things — especially since none of these artists have been able to respond to the basic questions posed by many of us, asking for any evidence that the problem they face is actually unauthorized file sharing, rather than a shift in technologies and business models. Again, as we’ve pointed out countless times, the size of the overall UK music industry is growing, not shrinking, and those who have put in place business models that embrace file sharing have seen their own markets grow, not shrink. So, it’s hard to see how the claim that “file sharing” harms the industry squares with reality. Instead, it sounds like a failure to adapt a business model is harming some artists, while other, smarter artists are doing just fine.
The group also condemned the vitriol that Allen had faced on an internet blog that she had set up to argue against music piracy.
Now, I certainly condemn any such “vitriol” as well, but again, nearly every comment I saw on the later posts on her blog were quite well thought out and well-argued. There was a lot of silly and condemnable comments on her earlier posts, but later posts brought up very good questions — all of which Lily refused to respond to. So, I’m still having trouble believing that she shut down the blog due to any vitriol — even if the press seems to be accepting that claim uncritically. It’s also quite telling that she shut down the blog just after attention was brought to the fact that Lily herself was sharing a ton of music in the form of mixtapes.
It still seems a lot more likely that she shut down her blog not because of any vitriol, but because she was unable to respond to those questions. In fact, the brief response she had up, claimed that the mixtapes only used 30 seconds to 1 minute of songs. However, those who downloaded the mixtapes claim this is not true, and most of the songs appear to be complete versions. Furthermore, she claimed she made the mixtapes five years ago, but her own blog posts suggest it was more like three years ago… So, again, this is not vitriol, and while I’m sure there are some vitriolic commenters out there, I find it rather weak that Lily and these other musicians are refusing to respond to some very serious questions by hiding behind a claim that she was somehow unfairly “attacked.” Playing victim when you were caught doing the very thing you condemn isn’t particularly convincing.
I will say that I hope that many of those reasoned, well-thought out and carefully argued comments on Lily’s blog before she erased it were part of what convinced her that her original support for cutting people off of the internet entirely was wrong. At least that was a small victory for reasoned debate. It’s only unfortunate that once the debate started to reach more serious questions, she stopped participating. And, once again, given that she, herself, appeared to have shared a large amount of music, I have to ask if she’s willing to accept the same limitations on her internet access that she came out in support of tonight. Will she accept limited bandwidth, so she can do basic web surfing and email, but no more? If not, how is that fair?