File-Sharing Heroine Lilly Allen is a Copyright Hypocrite

The war against file-sharing has found a new figure-head. After she wrote an interesting post on MySpace, singer Lilly Allen's words have been relayed around the world - she has even started a new blog where many artists are supporting her. But what if the new face of anti-piracy was just as bad as those she criticizes?

On Lilly Allen’s new blog “It’s Not Alright” musicians such as Gary Barlow from Take That, the one with the silly hat from N-Dubz and ex-Robbie Williams songwriter Guy Chambers are queuing up to help in her campaign against illicit file-sharing.

The debut post on the blog includes a criticism of 50 Cent, who just a couple of weeks ago had the temerity to suggest that piracy and file-sharing are all part of marketing music.

However, aside from the critique of Fiddy, the rest of the blog post – put there by Lilly herself – is someone else’s work. Arrr mateys, Long John Allen lifted the entire post from another site – Techdirt.com – effectively pirating the work of the one and only Mike Masnick.

“I think it’s wonderful that Lilly Allen found so much value in our Techdirt post that she decided to copy — or should I say ‘pirate’? — the entire post,” Mike told TorrentFreak on hearing the shocking news.

“The fact that she is trying to claim that such copying is bad, while doing it herself suggests something of a double standard, unfortunately. Also, for someone so concerned about the impact of ‘piracy’ I’m quite surprised that she neither credited nor linked to our post. Apparently, what she says and how she acts are somewhat different. Still, Lilly, glad we could help you make a point… even if it wasn’t the one you thought you were making,” Mike added.

Mike holds no grudges of course, neither is he pressing for Lilly to be disconnected from the Internet. He says he is more than happy for Lilly to carry on using his work, but wonders if he can now post Lilly’s music on his site without giving her any credit.

Lilly, here is our take on the whole situation. In isolation we don’t think your copyright infringement is a big deal at all and neither does Mike, but in the arena of this debate it’s still quite important. Infringing copyright these days is so easy to do, most people manage it every day in one way or another, and you are clearly no different. You probably didn’t mean any harm or even given it a second thought, but it takes only a few clicks to be labeled a pirate these days I’m afraid.

The next thing you know you’ve got God-knows-who accusing you in public of being an evil copyright infringer and telling you the sky’s falling in. Oh, you’re on your first strike now by the way. A couple more and it’ll be off to Ofcom for disconnection for you young lady. Or rather, no, you won’t, since it’s only music rightholders who will be ‘protected’ under this legislation you want so badly.

But measured by your colleague James Blunt’s standards, just because file-sharing copy/pasting is “easy to do, and has become accepted by many,” that doesn’t make it OK to rip off someone else’s work. Many thousands of people will read and enjoy Mike’s work on your blog and he won’t get paid a penny. He’s probably sleeping in cardboard box right now.

But let’s not get things out of proportion. Pop over for a chat Lilly, and we’ll try to broker a private music-for-article copyright trade-off with Mike – before he decides to buy Peter Mandelson lunch instead.

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