Over the past months the UK government has tried to tackle the issue of online piracy. This has resulted in a proposal from Lord Mandelson, who plans to disconnect alleged file sharers without any judicial process. His plans are backed by several musicians, Sir Elton John being the latest to join the lobby.
After “copyright hypocrite” Lily Allen attacked a group of artists who opposed the Government’s disconnection plans, a whole slew of musicians came out of the closet backing tougher anti-piracy legislation. Sir Elton John is one of the latest to join.
“For what it is worth, I am of the view that the unchecked proliferation of illegal downloading [even on a 'non-commercial' basis] will have a seriously detrimental effect on musicians, and particularly young musicians and those composers who are not performing artists,” Sir Elton John just wrote to the UK government.
Similar to the other artists who spoke out in favor of the new plans, Sir Elton John pays little attention to the fact that the new legislation will be targeted at their own fans. People who love music and demand access to unlimited music for a fair price.
The music industry has declared war against their main source of revenue. Instead of finding ways to please the changing demands of music fans in the digital era, they have chosen to defend their old models and punish the fans instead.
To make things even more absurd, implementing anti-piracy plans proposed by the government will cost ISPs almost twice as much as the total losses that are (allegedly) suffered by the music industry.
Luckily there is also a group of artist that is more in touch with their fans. United in the Featured Artist Coalition, musicians including Robbie Williams, Billy Bragg, Radiohead, Iron Maiden and Travis have spoken out against disconnecting file-sharers because it will be ineffective, without solving the real problem.
“The Featured Artists Coalition is opposed to copyright infringement, but we recognise that, if technology allows people to access music for free, they will take advantage. The next generation of music fans may no longer want to pay for music, but they are still hungry to hear it. The challenge to the industry is to find ways to monetise their behaviour,” they say.
The Coalition, heavily criticized by Lily Allen, further say that the music industry is trying to blame ISPs for a ‘problem’ that is not as easily solved as it would first appear. According to one of its prominent members Billy Bragg, the labels fear new business models because they might lose their distribution monopoly.
John Elton clearly thinks otherwise, and he is right on time with his comments. The UK consultation on Lord Mandelson’s plans ends next week, after which the government will decide what steps to take to combat the unauthorized downloading of copyrighted files online.