Legacy Artists Sign Letter Demanding ISPs & Search Engines Pitch In To Return Them To Their Former Glory
from the because-when-I-think-underpaid,-I-think-Simon-Cowell,-Elton-John,-etc. dept
*The full list of signatories includes Simon Cowell, Roger Daltrey, Professor Green, Sir Elton John, Lord Lloyd-Webber, Dr (?) Brian May, Robert Plant, Roger Taylor, Tinie Tempah and Pete Townshend. With a few exceptions, we're looking at artists that have re-sold albums on vinyl, eight-track, cassettes, CDs, SACDs and digital.
The letter touches all the right political nerve endings, starting with the British "creative sector:"
As the world's focus turns to Britain, there is an opportunity to stimulate growth in sectors where Britain has a competitive edge. Our creative industries represent one such sector, which creates jobs at twice the speed of the rest of the economy.Considering the "creative sector" involves everyone from songwriters to bagboys, it can probably be safely stated that the "creative industries" create jobs faster than whatever few industries remain once the "creative sector" finally closes the tent door.
Next there's a bit of talk addressing trade deficits... or something:
Britain's share of the global music market is higher than ever with British artists, led by Adele, breaking through to global stardom. As a digitally advanced nation whose language is spoken around the world, Britain is well-positioned to increase its exports in the digital age.No sooner are we assailed with the news of an impending if-only British Invasion than the authors begin conflating piracy with consumer confusion:
We can only realise this potential if we have a strong domestic copyright framework, so that British creative industries can earn a fair return on their huge investments creating original content. Illegal activity online must be pushed to the margins. This will benefit consumers, giving confidence they are buying safely online from legal websites."Fair return," eh? Well, one man's "fair" is another man's "month's worth of income." If you start with phrasing that makes your musical exports sound more like a colonizing force than a gift to the world, you need to be careful about what you assume is a "fair" return on your investments. Even domestically, people got a tad touchy when asked to shell out several pounds for a couple of decent tracks and 45 minutes of filler. Didn't seem all that "fair" back then, but we never heard Roger Daltry, Brian May, Elton John et al. complaining.
And as for the "buying safely online..." Well, that's just like ICE saying it needs to shut down file lockers because consumers might purchase faulty counterfeit fire alarms. For the most part, people engaged in "not paying" for their music and movies have confidence in their safety. It's not that people aren't buying because the pay options aren't "safe." They're not buying for any number of reasons. The content is over-priced. The content is "not available" for purchase due to licensing and region restrictions. The content is crippled with DRM. Sometimes they're not buying simply because they don't want it, but in the eyes of many in the industry, a drop in sales is always due to copyright infringement.
After half-assedly coming to the "aid" of the beleaguered consumer, the collective classic rock hydra turns on the faces of the internet itself:
The simplest way to ensure this would be to implement the long-overdue measures in the Digital Economy Act 2010; and to ensure broadband providers, search engines and online advertisers play their part in protecting consumers and creators from illegal sites.By "protecting" consumers, they of course mean "cut off service," "serve with threatening letters," "allow certain industries to alter search results" and "punish fiscally without showing evidence of damage." Yes, nothing would send the masses back, money in hand, to the welcoming arms of the recording industry than giving each accused pirate (based on nothing stronger than an IP address, of course) the opportunity to spend their own time and money attempting to prove a negative. I imagine historians and economists will discuss the sudden spike in music sales resulting from the implementation of the Digital Economy Act for years to come, holding it up as a triumph of enforcement over reality. The recording industry will party like it's 1999 (except, like, if Napster had never happened).
They wrap up the open letter with a heartfelt plea:
We are proud of our cultural heritage and believe that we, and our sector, can play a much bigger role in supporting British growth. To continue to create world beating creative content, we need a little bit of help from our friends.Hmm. "Friends." Well, it can't be the consumers. And it certainly can't be the ISPs and search engines (which really just means Google). So, these "friends" must be politicians. And if you can't "get by" without a little help from those friends, should you really be in business anyway?