U2′s Manager Wants To Violate Your Privacy For Violating His Bank Account

Jan 29th, 2008 // 7 Comments

bonoeyes.jpgU2 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]

  1. Dickdogfood

    These guys are from England and who gives a shit?

  2. matthew

    I can totally see ISPs going for something like that…I’m sure they’d love to be liable for all illegal/copyrighted material that goes over their network.

  3. Dickdogfood

    It’s cute that he still thinks record companies–shrinking by the nanosecond–have any kind of sway over the telecommunications industry.

  4. Ned Raggett

    He and Doug Morris should go on a lecture tour.

    Meanwhile, that photo above is not what I needed to see first thing in the morning.

  5. coolfer

    while this subject certainly makes for a good debate, i think you’re going to far when you say ISPs will “summarily kick them off if they note anything ‘suspicious.’” McGuinness, the French government and the IFPI have talked about cracking down on mass infringers, not the casual track-here-and-there types. It doesn’t change the core of the privacy debate, but it means far fewer people would be affected than you imply. My main issue with this strategy, from an economic point of view, is that there’s probably far more casual infringement than mass infringement, and it’s very possible that the casual infringement represents the lost purchases the industry wants to recapture.

  6. Anonymous

    ISP’s already monitor everything you do.

    there are only two real gaps in this manager’s assertions:

    1) that ISP’s are “getting rich” off of illegal downloads, as if somehow the more traffic goes over an ISP’s network, the more money they make. in fact, the exact opposite is true. the #1 reason why universities are engaging in port blocking and the like for popular file sharing networks is not fear of RIAA litigation, but simple expense management. P2P file sharing was driving university bandwidth usage through the stratosphere. the more per-user bandwidth an ISP has to provide, the less money they make. if ISP’s -could- prevent file sharing without restricting legitimate usage on top of illegal usage, they’d have done it a long time ago, not in the name of copyrights, but in the name of profits.

    2) that all file sharing is illegal and that therefore ISP’s should simply block -all- file sharing to solve the problem. while ISP’s can port monitor and packet sniff and the like to have a sense of what you are up to, they have no way to verify if you are sharing the latest U2 single (which would be illegal) or the latest mix of a track by my own band (which would be totally legal since we allow you to distribute on our behalf). ISP’s are not throwing up their hands and pretending they can’t help because they’re somehow getting rich off file sharing (they aren’t, they’re losing money). they’re throwing up their hands and saying they can’t help because they can’t.

  7. Swankster

    His analogies would work better if he said…

    “If you were a transportation agency that owned and advertised roads leading to chopshops filled with stolen cars, handling the money for tolls in and out of these roads and seeing to the ready availability of said roads, 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 because they don’t control the legality or illegality of cars on the road…”

    See completely meaningless. ISPs are the infrastructure. You don’t penalize airplanes or plastic baggies for the drug trade.

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