I want to make it clear that I'm not after a fight with the Featured Artists Coalition – I want us artists to stand together on this – but they've released a new statement which just doesn't make sense. The FAC seems to be viewing the Government's proposed legislation [on file-sharing] as an attack on freedom and liberty, but stealing's not really a human right, is it?
What the Government is proposing is the temporary suspension of the internet accounts of people that are repeatedly downloading loads of music through unlawful PP file-sharing – as a last resort after they've been sent warnings. It doesn't mean the Government's going to look at everything sent over the internet, as the FAC says – how would the Government even do this? The proposal is to look at PP sites – which are public anyway – to identify people who are acting unlawfully, so they can be asked, and then made, to stop. Not really an attack on civil liberties there.
The FAC also talk about the importance of free music to promote albums – like the free tracks you might get on NME. But the crucial difference is that the artist is in control of these. With file-sharing they're not. Artists should be in charge of how their music is distributed – not some file-sharer who decides they deserve everything for free, just because they know how to steal it.
I don't want to promote a divide amongst artists.
Some of what the FAC says is spot on – they want to look at new ways of legally distributing music, just like pretty much every other artist. But we need to make clear that unlawful file-sharing is wrong and make an attempt to stop it, if we're going to give the legal ways a chance.
Since I've started blogging about this, I'm getting a lot of people emailing their opinions. Apparently there are a lot of younger people at the record labels who do understand digital and want to come up with new ways everyone can get to music, but every time they try something new it fails to win through against the "free" stuff available unlawfully from file-sharing. So the fact there's nothing in place to stop file-sharing is actually preventing the industry develop new ways of getting music to people, as well as harming new artists.
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