Universal Music: We Need PROTECT IP Because Musicians Are Dying!
from the hyperbole-much? dept
Last summer, we pointed out that Universal Music Group Distribution President Jim Urie had sent out a letter on behalf of MusicRightsNow — a laughable astroturf group that pretends to support musicians, but is a front for major label and legacy industry interests, asking people to submit letters to Congress in support of a new law against online infringement. At the time, we had thought it was a push for a three strikes law, but it was really just pre-COICA posturing (showing, of course, that the major labels knew all about COICA before the rest of us did). Once COICA was out, Urie sent out another such letter, and followed it up with one more right before COICA was set to be up for a vote (before Ron Wyden thankfully blocked it).
With PROTECT IP being the reincarnation of COICA, it should be no surprise that Urie has sent out yet another such plea letter, asking people to alert their Congressional representatives of why they should support PROTECT IP. Just as with the past letters, if you follow the link in Urie’s letter, it takes you to a website where the letter is static. There is no way to edit it. In fact, the site claims that the text is required. Yup. It’s “required” that you leave the letter intact. There is no way to express your own opinion at all. You may only parrot Jim Urie and Universal Music’s position on PROTECT IP.
Doesn’t it seem somewhat ironic, for an industry that talks up the importance of individual creativity and not copying others, that it only wants you to copy the letter they’ve pre-written?
So what does the static letter say? After kicking off with a rather false offer to “compose message,” when you can’t do any composing, it offers the following required text:
My livelihood depends upon a healthy music industry ? and that?s why I hope you will support S. 968, legislation to protect Intellectual Property and encourage action against online theft.
Lots of people’s livelihood depends on a healthy music industry, but S. 968 doesn’t do anything to create a healthy music industry. As plenty of studies have shown over and over again, there exists a very healthy music industry today — more healthy than before the internet came along. What’s unhealthy is the part of the business Urie is in charge of leading: the part that’s about selling recordings. Just because Urie failed to lead Universal Music into the modern world, it doesn’t mean we need a law designed to break the internet to cover up for his failings.
And, seriously, can we stop calling infringement theft?
The online theft of music is killing artists, singers, songwriters, musicians, retailers, production engineers and others. It is destroying jobs, dreams and careers. The music community is at risk, as is the unique culture of American music itself.
Yes. Read that again. He doesn’t say that it’s killing their careers (even though it’s not). He literally says that it’s KILLING THEM. Talk about ridiculous hyperbole. Even if they really just meant that it’s killing their careers, this is flat out wrong. Over and over again we’ve shown that more and more people are making music and making money from music than ever before. The music community is not at risk and neither is the culture of American music. What’s at risk is Jim Urie’s job. For shame. Probably should have adapted to a changing market. Pleading to Congress by lying about dying musicians is a desperation play, but won’t save your job, Jim.
Despite an astounding array of legal and convenient ways to obtain digital music today, online theft continues. Of course, music is just the ?canary in the coal mine? ? books, movies, television programs, games and software are suffering damage that will grow more profound if left unchecked.
And yet, there is no evidence that stopping infringement leads to more purchases. You know what would lead to more purchases? Adapting to a changing market. It’s a shame, then, that Urie and Universal Music is unwilling to do so.
S. 968 would provide law enforcement with new tools to stop criminals engaged in piracy and counterfeiting online. I urge you to support this legislation and any other efforts designed to assist our nation?s creative community.
S.968 would provide law enforcement and Universal Music with new tools to stifle speech, attack innovations and generally hold back progress hopefully for long enough until Jim Urie can retire. What it won’t do is stop “criminals.” It certainly won’t assist our nation’s creative community. Our nation’s creative community (the truly creative ones) have learned how to embrace new forms of distribution and new business models and will actually be held back by laws like this.
Anyway, we eagerly await the evidence Jim Urie has of musicians deaths from infringement.