"We the undersigned wish to express our support for Lily Allen in her campaign to alert music lovers to the threat that illegal downloading presents to our industry and to condemn the vitriol that has been directed at her in recent days.
Our meeting also voted overwhelmingly to support a three-strike sanction on those who persistently download illegal files, sanctions to consist of a warning letter, a stronger warning letter and a final sanction of the restriction of the infringer’s bandwidth to a level which would render file-sharing of media files impractical while leaving basic email and web access functional."
Of all the comments underneath the long list of artists who have signed up to this nonsense, my favourite is that of Grace Maxwell, Edwyn Collins' manager and wife:
"I am Edwyn Colllins manager. Let me tell you a story. At the beginning of this year I noticed that Edwyn's myspace had gone bit wonky and I tried to upload the tracks back on to the music player. His most famous track, which he owns the copyright in, as he does for most of the music he's recorded in his life (preferring to go it alone than have his music trapped "in perpetuity" to use the contract language of the major record company) is called A Girl Like You. It's quite famous. Lo and behold, it would not upload, I was told Edwyn was attempting to breach a copyright and he was sent to the Orwellian myspace copyright re-education page. Quite chilling, actually. I naturally blew my stack and wrote to myspace on his behalf demanding to know who the hell was claiming copyright of Edwyn's track? Which, incidentally, he always made freely available for download on myspace, something which amazed his followers. Eventually, after HUGE difficulty, I was told Warner Music Group were claiming it. I found a nice lawyer guy at Warners, very apologetic, promised to get it sorted, but all these months later it isn't. That is because Myspace are not equipped to deal with the notion that anyone other than a major can claim a copyright. Warner's were one of the lead petitioners in the attempt to put those three stoner lads in Sweden in prison recently, remember. A Girl Like You is available FOR SALE all over the internet. Not by Edwyn, by all sorts of respectable major labels whose licence to sell it ran out years ago and who do not account to him. Attempting to make them cease and desist would use up the rest of my life. Because this is what they do and what they've always done. And it's not just majors. If I had a fiver for all the dodgy indie labels we've been involved with I'd have £35 or thereabouts. (Exceptions: Heavenly and Domino).
Andrew Loog Oldham said that getting ripped off (by the industry) was your entrance fee to the music business of the sixties, so get over it. He's right and things have not changed. We are very over it, but nonetheless aware of who the biggest bootleggers around are. It's not the filesharers. Personally, we've always loved bootlegs. Even when Edwyn was really skint at the fag end of the eighties, I remember being in Camden market and seeing some tapes of a couple of his shows on sale. I tried to buy them but the stallholder somehow knew who I was and said "free to the management." I failed to see how that guy selling tapes of Edwyn or even U2 or anybody on the list of signatories above could harm their career.
But anyway, as an earlier post said, this is not really an argument worth having. The gig's up. You might as well take a position about when you want the sun to come up in the morning. It's over. Now let's get on with working out a wonderful new way for music lovers to enjoy music for free or for a small subscription that makes it legal and easy to hear ANYTHING and allows the artist to reap the rewards of such freedom of access. Viva la revolution!"
We at Jocknroll fully support those comments/sentiments. I sit here in my study surrounded by music, music which has been bought and paid for over the years. If I want to download something I already have, for convenience, I will.
These artists need to be concentrating their efforts on their current and past record companies instead of the people who have put them where they are today. Maybe they're too scared to take on the musical behemoths and prefer to bully the "little guy".
Just for the record, I have bought just two downloads, both coincidentally by Attic Lights. One was the "Paul" remix of "Wendy" and one was "Santa's Girlfriend", which they recorded with Cerys Matthews. As I type I am awaiting the delivery of three CDs, for use on my radio show. I could download them for free but I want the information contained with the booklets, information I pass on to my listeners, as well as the music. I'll never stop buying CDs but I can understand why someone would want to download stuff that would normally be unavailable elsewhere.