Feeds

Pop stars back 'Three Strokes' policy

They're not strikes, honest

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Another day, another joint statement from a bunch of artists.

This one comes from a number of signed artists who say they aren't the Featured Artists Coalition (but most of them are). The er, FAC members now say they too want a "graduated response" to internet copyright infringement, and have persuaded Lily Allen to sign up to it. And George Michael, too. But these aren't Strikes so much as Slaps, or maybe even Tickles.

In keeping with the shambolic events of the past fortnight, FAC says the statement that came from last night's FAC meeting isn't an official FAC statement. Er, OK. It recommends sending two warnings to a file sharer, then as a final step throttling the infringer's connection down to a slow speed.

"It's utterly impractical for infringers to be able to download any media file, in fact all they'll be able to do is send basic emails and have functional web access. Having just that for three months as a sanction is some kind of a stick, not the ultimate sanction of cutting people off from the internet - we remain opposed to that," said Billy Bragg.

So most of the "enforcement" strategy (and the quasi-legal bureaucracy necessary to implement it) will be in place, with the music business spending earnings that could otherwise go on investment on paralegal monitoring and letter-writing. The only difference from Mandelson's proposal is that the sanction is a bit of a wet fart. As veterans of the original Napster will recall, file sharing over dial-up speed connections isn't impossible, it's just slower.

UK Music, which represents a broader range of views from the business (managers, composers, musicians, publishers, labels) told us today it's policy of a 5-step "temporary suspension" was unchanged.

So why bother at all, we asked Jeremy Silver, FAC's chairman this morning, via email. Why have any strikes, or strokes? Why not two or four? Or none at all? He promised to call us back.

Five of the Featured Artist Coalition's eight "advisors" are music managers, who provided the inspiration for the spontaneous outpouring of concern. The group is a collection of wrinkly millionaires, youngsters (signed up to the advisory managers' management companies) and sign-anything stalwarts like Billy Bragg and davefromblur. Surely it won't be long before you can buy "Joint Statement" stationary pre-printed with their signatures?

The saga began with a declaration three weeks ago in the style of the Tooting Liberation Front, which appended the name of BASCA, the British Composers Society and Authors, without their approval. Lily Allen fired back. But apart from providing some comedy value, what was the point? It all looks like an opportunity missed.

While there's some merit in not making hardcore infringers into victims - it's a role they're absolutely dying to play, because bullies need to feel bullied - there's even more merit in not focusing on enforcement at all. Like backing the creation of new, paying markets from technology rather than arguing about sanctions - in other words, backing schemes that make money from sound recordings in new ways.

"Where is the licensed filesharing site?," asked one poster on the message board of newsletter Record of the Day. "Lily, bang down the doors of EMI and Universal Music Publishing and ask them why they haven't licensed Virgin Media's download service yet. Annie, ask Sony why I can't buy the entire Eurythmics catalogue as mp3s in one click - yet I can get it for free by typing Eurythmics discography torrent into Google."

So instead of pandering, it could have highlighted the major labels' anti-revenue strategy. FAC appears to lack the vision to do that, and is stuck in a philosophical no man's land where it can't enforce effectively, but it can't articulate the alternative to enforcement effectively, either.

Perhaps that's a good thing. Who says creators should speak with one voice, anyway? It's one of the few privileged places in society where you're not obliged to toe anybody's line. It's creepy to expect them to. ®

Andrew warmly welcomes your comments.

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.