Pardon Me, Mr. Goebbels
On most days I’d be filling this column with rants bashing major record labels, usually EMI or WMG. In fact, last week EMI lent more fodder with their pension plan troubles that threaten to bankrupt the company. Last week I had a little fun at the expense of Warner Music (again) on my blog and could have pounded that drum a little more here. I must confess that at times it gets boring, but it’s always good for a little harmless entertainment.
I could go off on the RIAA for any number of reasons. Or how about that idiot John Lovelock, Chief Executive of the Federation Against Software Theft, who actually thinks that Hans Pandeya bought The Pirate Bay last year and that Peter Sunde & company have been living it up from the multimillion-dollar windfall? Or, for that matter, Pandeya’s claim last week that he is now going to buy Demonoid? Somebody get this guy a straight jacket.
But this week I decided to pass up all of these tempting little tidbits to focus on a group that I rarely get a chance to spread the love to. Rock stars. Dumb rock stars, that is. Sure it is fun and easy to pick on Bono. He’s a pretty easy target, but at least he is somewhat intelligent and altruistic. But when some rock stars start to pontificate on the internet (even Bono), things can get a little dicey.
Just this last week Stevie Nicks, in spite of the evidence that suggests otherwise, blamed the internet for destroying rock. As well as John Mellencamp saying that the internet is the most dangerous invention since the A-bomb.
Well, everybody pretty much knows that Mellencamp has always been an angry guy and Stevie is flying on gossamer wings. But the king chili cheese of pissed off, angry, mean, bitter rock stars is Don Henley. Henley could give Joseph Goebbels a run for his money. He’s my pick for “Douchebag of the Week”.
In an interview with Steve Knopper in ‘Rolling Stone’, Henley turned his storm trooper copyright rhetoric up a notch blaming “online retailers” for “bullying” the recording industry into dropping its largely ineffective campaign of locking up music with digital rights management.
According to Henley, “Congress amended the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), eliminating or dramatically limiting the Safe Harbor provisions, so that ISPs [internet service providers] and websites such as YouTube, MySpace and Facebook have legal liability for hosting infringing content”.
He goes on to say, “…without this change, copyright owners are left with the unjustifiable and oppressive burden of constant policing of the online companies’ sites, which has little real effect on the continual problem of infringement of property, and serves mostly to embitter fans and the users of these sites. The recording industry was bullied by online retailers into removing protective measures, such as DRM, from their sound recordings or else facing the prospect of these retailers refusing to distribute their catalogs. Yet, so far, digital royalties on music have failed to live up to the hype; in fact, removing such protective measures has increased the theft of music and other intellectual property”.
Well Donnie Boy, I’m sure that you have plenty of content owners applauding your Amen chorus. But, dude, what the hell are you thinking? DRM is one of the biggest factors that drove the recording industry into the place it’s in now. And should I remind you that CDs don’t have DRM either, and never have? You weren’t complaining when you were selling millions of those crappy solo albums of yours.
So many of the young hip bands today embrace technology and wouldn’t be caught dead releasing their music locked up in DRM. They get it. Just because nobody is buying Don Henley or Stevie Nicks or John Mellencamp records means that the internet or the DMCA or MP3s are at fault. Maybe it’s as simple as people just aren’t interested enough in their music anymore to pay for it.
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