U2 Manager takes on ISPs

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Paul McGuinness, manager for U2, delivered a keynote address at MIDEM on Monday which has bloggers and industry pundits buzzing. In a speech that included practical ideas, emotional pleas, and amateur sociology, McGuinness took aim squarely at internet service providers and silicon valley for creating the infrastructure that has allowed music exchanges to become de-monetized.

From the Guardian:
U2's manager yesterday called on artists to join him in forcing the "hippy" technology and internet executives he blames for the collapse of the music industry to help save it.

Paul McGuinness, who has plotted the rise of the Irish group over 30 years, said technology gurus in Silicon Valley such as Apple's Steve Jobs and Microsoft's Bill Gates had profited from rampant online piracy without doing anything to stop it.

"I suggest we shift the focus of moral pressure away from the individual P2P [peer to peer] thief and on to the multibillion dollar industries that benefit from these tiny crimes," he said.
While his proposal to stick a fee on ISP subscription that would cover the losses of copyright holders in the music industry isn't new (SOCAN Tariff 22 was first proposed like this, Songwriters Association of Canada suggested something similar, even Sony/BMG has been talking about watermarking music files in order to track their movement), it seems that McGuinness is pretty much being skewered from all sides on this.

What is amazing to me is that the tech industry is so incredulous, first, about this being their problem, and second, that it is possible to do something about it. For an industry that has changed the way the world works virtually overnight, you would think that they would be less afraid of a new technological challenge.


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