Universal Music Funds Yet Another 'Educational' Propaganda Campaign Against File Sharing

from the economics-matter dept

Back in January, we noted that Chris Morrison, the manager of Damon Albarn’s bands, Blur and Gorillaz, stated at a conference that “piracy can be stopped,” while also suggesting he wanted to personally beat up anyone who shared Albarn’s music (oddly, this was right after he had admitted how much wonderful free publicity Albarn had gotten from a leak of the Gorillaz album). Now it looks like Morrison and a former partner of his are involved in a silly and amusing new propaganda campaign, funded by Universal Music, to try to equate file sharing to drunk driving in some cases and racism in other cases. Seriously.

Comparisons were made at the launch in London on Wednesday to anti-drink driving campaigns which have gradually changed attitudes….

Chris Morrison of CMO Management agreed that the problem is generational.

But he continued: ”You can educate that out of people … Racial prejudice was rife when I was a child … the public attitude towards it has changed radically.

”You educate, it’s generational … It may take five, 10 years, but you need to start in schools.”

Of course, we’ve been hearing the same thing for about ten years now, back when the recording industry kicked off their various “educational campaigns.” It’s already been more than those five, 10 years, and they did start in schools… and the school kids laughed at them. That’s because school kids understand that these are business model issues, not inherent unfair or dangerous situations. With racism and drunk driving it’s easy to see how those lead to inherently unfair outcomes. With the music industry, it doesn’t take long for kids to recognize that the issue isn’t that file sharing is inherently bad. They see lots of bands that are doing quite well by embracing it. So they quickly realize that it’s just those dinosaurs who refuse to adapt who start pushing this kind of propaganda. What’s amusing is how often these kinds of campaigns have been tried and failed, and yet the industry somehow magically thinks it will work this time. Isn’t there a word for doing the same thing over and over and over again, but expecting different results?

Filed Under: , , , , , ,
Companies: universal music

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Universal Music Funds Yet Another 'Educational' Propaganda Campaign Against File Sharing”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Question:

Indeed. It is pretty distressing that the private sector has any input at all on public school curricula (it’s no better here in Canada) – though honestly that’s just one of the many, many problems that our education systems share.

I think it was Richard Feynman who said the first thing we should do is quadruple the salary for teachers, and make teaching the hardest job in the world to get.

Anonymous Coward says:

Two relatively innocuous articles talking about how “education” can over time help change attitudes. One nice website that looks to be quite creative and not “preachy”.

One article criticizing the above and turning them into yet another “business model” sermon and “Boo Big Bad Labels” rant for the benefit of the “I won’t buy the music, but I will buy a t-shirt” crowd.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

This was the only comment I found on that whole site:

“I can see why his music has been and still is very influential, but sales of his songs clearly won’t benefit him, and your video shows he didn’t even benefit from sales during his lifetime and lived in poverty.

And surely Blind Willie Johnson’s music is public domain by now and I can freely and legally download it from any site that doesn’t carry your new logo?”

The kids are going crazy for this stuff!

Anonymous Coward says:

I know how to stop piracy

Let the end user do what ever they want with it. You know like the car you own, or the house or you know ANYTHING else you buy. If we didn’t have to “steal” so that we could do with it what we want, there would be less “stealing”. Case and point is movies. I have a collection of nearly 250(combo of blu ray and regular dvd titles, not discs) but I will still “steal” a copy from the internet because it will let me stream it around my personal network on any device. Since I have to “break the law” to do that, I might as well use a shortcut and just dl it.

Derek (profile) says:

Bring on the "education!"

In my very limited experience with the agendacation the big media is injecting into schools, it appeared the effort backfired completely. The children sat there politely, but later it was clear they were even more attuned to the bullshit of the media corporations. The kids seemed no less likely to “pirate” (moreso if anything because the advantages had been reinforced), and much more jaded and distrustful towards the content industry.

Kids see right through this crap. The more of it that’s dumped on them, the more they’re going to resent and rebel against pointless and artificial restrictions.

(Pro-tip for the mediacorp lurkers: Kids are also not fooled by smarmy marketing guys trying to act cool and talk about “respect.”)

Anonymous Coward says:

Only corporate-backed music really matters! That music that musicians play for the simple joy of making and sharing their art, well, that don’t matter!

If you see or hear music that isn’t copyrighted then you better understand that it just doesn’t matter!

The only value music brings is a monetary one! If you cannot measure music in dollars and cents then it don’t matter!

You wouldn’t steal a melody by humming it in public! Kids today don’t respect paying for digital copies of infinitely reproducible music!

And that’s why music matters, kids.



Education? You mean like helping people understand the legal and moral distinctions between a natural right and an artificial privilege?

and this goobly gook of large syllabled words means what exactly, that your education is actually not in making any sense but is actually geared towards making others think your intelligent and wise? WHEN in fact your about as STUPID DUMB and ass backwards as a monkey that climbed up a tree 3.5 million years back.

IF your referring however to the moral dilemma of art being commercialized i think you need of course to separate real artists that WANT regardless of costs to have the art shared and seen, versus those of corporate labels and there ilk that wish to profit form the next fad or trend that permeates the day. THE two are NOT mutually exclusive and the former can exist and shall exist long after mankind’s need for money and profit has gone the way of the dodo bird.

AS man gets more freetime more of this art and sharing will increase not the other way around. WITH spare time i can doante my knowledge and expertise to as a star trek ideal would say…. the betterment of mankind rather then the opposite the betterment of myself exclusively.

THE USA is trying to setup a racket, a system that enslaves the world and keeps the old order in play as long as possible. THE problem is this will fail as the cats been out of the bag too long and as other posters say KIDS see right through the BS. AND if you think a parent is gonna let you keep telling there kid bullshit…..

JUST remember the Hitler youth….JUST DON’T MENTION NAZIS OR HITLER on Michael geists site. HES SAID TO ME HE WONT ALLOW THAT.

MaxWillens (profile) says:



You’re right that those two groups are separate.

People are absolutely entitled to give their art away and let it move freely through culture as it may, and people are more than entitled to actively seek out music that is made with that ethos and sensibility.

That does not entitle people to take whatever they want, whenever they want it.

List one example of enduring free art that was produced at a cost of zero, by an artist who was not compensated for his work.

Can’t do it. All the stuff that inspires us and draws us to art in the first place was PAID FOR. Hell, more than half of it was commissioned.

Just stop with the f&#@ing adolescent “They’re trying to control us, man!” stuff already. It’s just ridiculous.

Anonymous Coward says:

True, but then their art has little chance of making it on public airwaves (thanks to retard laws created by the FCC) or mainstream media outlets (also thanks to retard laws enabling special interest groups to monopolize their communication mediums). Thanks to the broken laws in place, outside the Internet, only monopolized content can make it on widespread monopolized communication venues. This makes it much more difficult for an artist to make his/her work well known and distributed, especially before the Internet became as prevalent as it currently is.

However, hopefully the Internet will overtake mainstream media and everyone’s right to use it as a distribution platform to distribute free Creative Commons work won’t be taken away like it was outside the Internet.

The public needs to organize its efforts into

A: Ensuring that such rights don’t get taken away

B: Taking away the existing monopolies in place and ensuring the government grants FREE competition to everyone who wants to compete when it comes to either using existing cableco/telco infrastructure or building new infrastructure.

C: Ensuring the FCC allocate public airwaves in the best interest of the PUBLIC so that creative commons music and movies can and DOES indeed make it on public airwaves.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

In fact I contend that ALL content that gets distributed over public airwaves should be in the public domain, ONLY public domain content should be allowed on PUBLIC airwaves. Public airwaves should be used to serve the PUBLIC good, not the good of some corporation or private entity or business. No ones owes anyone a monopoly on public airwaves and if the FCC is not going to allocate public airwaves in the best interest of the public then they might as well De monopolize it and allow anyone to use those spectra to freely send and receive data as they see fit with whatever equipment they wish to use.

Mark says:

The creation of any unauthorized copy of a copyrighted work is infringing on copyright unless there are extenuating circumstances that would make the copying exempt (such as fair use).

That’s it. In a nutshell… no more to it than that. This is completely neutral to any technology and does not give regard for any morality that may be involved.

If, however, one is to adopt the notion that copyright is a good thing, then it must also be accepted that infringing on copyright is bad.

Make of that what you will.

Anonymous Coward says:

I bet some of the people that insist this will work “this time” don’t care if it works. They only care if their idea sounds good enough to get them promoted. It is a ten year effort. By the time anyone realizes it doesn’t work, those people will already have benefited from it
(by being promoted by a wrong thinking business)

Glenn says:

Dead in the head...

Quick… name *THE* most successful band in the history of “rock music”… => Greatful Dead …and it was virtually impossible to “pirate” their music: they encouraged fans to share… and fans have been more than happy to spend *THOUSANDS* of dollars for Dead concerts, recordings, etc. etc. etc. Piracy? No, advertising and giving fans what they wanted. (ah, well, things change… ?)

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...