In a few dozen articles on her new blog, Lily Allen complained how illegal file-sharing is bankrupting the music industry. Unfortunately for her she forgot to remove some of her old mixtapes from LilyAllenMusic.com, which revealed that she’s not the saint she claimed to be.
However, just a few hours after we posted the article, Lily explained that she’s not a pirate but simply didn’t know any better.
“I made those mixtapes 5 years ago, I didn’t have a knowledge of the workings of the music industry back then…,” she responded.
What she probably meant to say is that she had no clue about copyright before her income depended on it. Yet, she believes that every other person on this planet should know better, or get their Internet access cut off. Way to go girl.
In fact, the old Lily from 5 years ago is not too different from the hundreds and thousands of casual file-sharers today. Copyright is a complex issue and the boundaries between right/wrong and illegal/legal are not always that clear. Instead of waging a war against file-sharers on the blog she could have tried to pass her knowledge about copyright on to the public.
She chose to make it a soundboard for frustrated artists instead, which only resulted in negative reactions from the public up to a point where Lily couldn’t take it anymore. Indeed, TorrentFreak read one posting on the site which had in excess of 100 comments – only 4 of which supported the singer’s position.
“I’ve shut down the blog, the abuse was getting too much,” she explained on Twitter a few minutes after she announced the end of her legendary music career.
Just before she pulled the blog she wrote “I will not make another record,” adding “The days of me making money from recording music has been and gone as far as I’m concerned, so I don’t stand to profit from [anti-piracy] legislation.”
There are a lot of lessons to be learned from the debate Lily inflamed over the last week. While there seemed to be an endless stream of rich musicians willing to complain on behalf of bands we’ve never heard of with “we aren’t suffering, they are” statements, there were also huge numbers of music fans who were more than a little reluctant to be lectured by well-off superstars on the issue.
But most prominent were those vehemently opposed to UK plans to disconnect alleged infringers from the Internet. The abuse that Lily spoke of on her blog largely wasn’t directed at her, but at these plans and her support for them. Think again Mr Mandelson.