U2 may have happily whored themselves out as iPod silhouettes, but their manager, Paul McGuinness, is famously no great fan of modern musical technology and the ease with which it allows “fans” to siphon revenue away from bands (and of course that manager’s 10 or 20 percent off the top). During a presentation at the International Managers Summit in France, where we assume he concluded by banging his shoe on the table and demanding the blood of the BitTorrenters, McGuinness furiously laid into record companies (you should have cut MP3s off at the pass!), the crazy scientists and their crazy innovations (you never should have let things progress past 400 lb. turntables and adding machines!), but most especially Internet service providers, who are turning a blind eye to piracy…but not to the cash they rake in thanks to piracy! And McGuinness isn’t going to let them get away with it any longer, even if it means he has to publicly embarrass them. And himself!
Decrying ISPs that hold up their hands in innocence when music is downloaded via their systems, he offered a comparison.
“If you were a magazine advertising stolen cars, handling the money for stolen cars and seeing to the delivery of stolen cars, the police would soon be at your door,” he said. “That’s no different to an ISP, but they say they can’t do anything about it. If you steal a laptop from a store or don’t pay for your broadband service, you’ll soon be cut off and nicked.”
To great applause from the audience of music managers, McGuinness insisted that disconnection enforcement would work. “I call on ISPs to do two things. First, protect the music, and second, to make a genuine effort to share the enormous revenues. They should share their ingenuity as well as the money. We must shame them. Their snouts have been at our trough for too long.”
Shame them! Put them in the stocks and pants them! Sleep with their brother and then post a note about it on Facebook! What else is left for bullies to do, after all, when brute force is out and they realize they’re otherwise impotent? Good luck, Paul. Millions will undoubtedly be thrilled when they learn that their ISP wants to monitor their online activity and summarily kick them off if they note anything “suspicious.” Because Americans would never just roll over and let their right to privacy be revoked so blatantly.
U2 Manager Takes Internet Providers To Task [Reuters; Photo: Getty]