After Lily Allen sparked friction between not only thousands of people on the Internet, but also her colleagues in the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC), yesterday they met up to try and forge a united front. Now Allen has done a U-turn, stating that disconnecting pirates is too draconian and instead supports FAC calls to slow connections to a crawl.
There can hardly be a reader who hasn’t read about the raging debate sparked by Lily Allen and her now-defunct anti-piracy blog/campaign. It has been quite the hot topic this week.
Up until yesterday, Lily was one of the most prominent supporters of a proposed 3 strikes regime to deal with alleged file-sharers – crucially one which would ultimately lead to disconnection from the Internet for those accused. However, this put her at odds with the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) who felt that disconnections are too draconian.
Yesterday, despite saying that she would not attend due to a feared media scrum, Allen attended a meeting in London of around 100 musicians including representatives from FAC in order to find some common ground to move forward.
The artists took a vote and instead of backing up Allen’s disconnection calls, went for a more palatable option – maintaining a basic level of Internet access for alleged pirates but throttling their bandwidth so that file-sharing would become impractical.
“Our meeting voted to support a three-strike sanction on those who persistently download illegal files, to consist of a warning letter, a stronger warning letter, and a final sanction of the restriction of the infringers’ bandwith to a level which would render file-sharing of media files impractical while leaving basic e-mail and web access functional,” said the artists.
Lily Allen closed down her anti-piracy blog yesterday after just a few days in operation, claiming that the abuse she suffered there was too great to continue. Nevertheless, despite the fact she has backed away, the artists said they wished to express support for her anti-piracy campaign.
“We are trying to find a proportionate response to a real problem that is damaging our industry. I hope it will convince the record labels that this is a way of sending a message to file-sharers,” said Billy Bragg of FAC.
With Lily’s crowd, the Featured Artists Coalition and also UK Music likely to support throttling instead of disconnections, there appears to be a unified voice forming from the artists.
However, while we predict that Internet users will fail to respond to threats (even reduced ones such as throttling), there will be even stronger objections to the stance taken by the artists yesterday from the Big Four labels.
Having ruled out going after individual file-sharers in court, they have put all of their eggs in a single basket which relies on ISPs taking disconnection action against alleged pirates. It is hugely unlikely that they will support these watered-down proposals but we won’t have to wait long to find out. According to The Times, the labels will meet this morning and are expected to draft a letter to Lord Mandelson shortly.