Wednesday 17 January 2018

Bono accuses web firms of profiting from music piracy

U2 frontman Bono, writing in the New York Times, has called for tougher action against illegal file-sharing websites to protect artists.
U2 frontman Bono, writing in the New York Times, has called for tougher action against illegal file-sharing websites to protect artists.

Stephen O'Farrell

BONO's 10 big ideas for making the world a better place include a crackdown on people who illegally download music and video for free.

The U2 singer, writing in the 'New York Times' of 10 ideas for the next 10 years, attacked internet providers for allowing music piracy on their services and accused them of benefiting from "reverse Robin Hooding".

Bono said their "swollen profits" perfectly mirrored the music industry's loss of receipts and that up-and-coming artists were the biggest victims.

The singer writes: "The immutable laws of bandwidth tell us we're just a few years away from being able to download an entire season of '24' in 24 seconds. Many will expect to get it free."

Severe pressure has been put on providers to take action against file-sharing websites in recent years.

In Ireland, Eircom forged an agreement with record companies to cut off any repeat offenders and they also agreed to prevent access to notorious Swedish website


Bono said that the world's news and entertainment industries were under threat unless there was an across-the-board clampdown on piracy.

"A decade's worth of music file-sharing and swiping has made clear that the people it hurts are the creators . . . and the people this reverse Robin Hooding benefits are rich service providers, whose swollen profits perfectly mirror the lost receipts of the music business," he wrote.

"We're the post office, they tell us; who knows what's in the brown-paper packages?

"But we know from America's noble effort to stop child pornography, not to mention China's ignoble effort to suppress online dissent, that it's perfectly possible to track content."

Among his other ideas for what would make the world a better place in the next 10 years, the famous rock singer proposed a festival where Christians, Jews and Muslims celebrate their faiths together.

The singer writes: "Here's something that could never have happened in the Naughties but will maybe be possible in the Tweens or Teens -- if there's a breakthrough in the Mideast peace process. The idea is an arts festival that celebrates the origin of the three Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Every year it could be held in a different location; Jerusalem would obviously be the best place to start."

Bono was cautiously optimistic for the future and mentioned some more outlandish ideas such as furthering research into the possibility of Star Trek-like teleportation and the need to make environmentally friendly cars sexy. On the opportunity to create more attractive vehicles, the singer writes: "That's why the Obama administration -- while it still holds the keys to the big carmakers -- ought to put some style fascists into the mix: the genius of Marc Newson; Steve Jobs and Jonny Ive from Apple; Frank Gehry, the architect; and Jeff Koons, the artist."

He also hailed the upcoming World Cup in South Africa as a triumph for the African continent, adding: "It would be fitting if Nelson Mandela, who has done more than anyone for Africa's rising, would kick off the opening ceremonies. If he shows up, the world will weep with joy."

He also called on the world's population to use the means of mass information to take back power from corrupt politicians.

Irish Independent

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