Moral as we want to be: U2 manager urges ISPs to help fight web piracy

Music is popular. U2 has a product people want and I think they are monetizing it quite effectively. And they should be concerned about people stealing their music. It is not right. However, this is just absurd. Techdirt makes some good points about how the economic argument put forth is just flawed. However, there is also the small matter of privacy.

The industry proposal (originating in France as I understand it) to have ISPs police what flows through their networks is not going to solve anything but it is a major invasion of privacy. I wonder how Mr. McGuinness would feel about the government tapping his phone line all the time but for no particular reason. They just want to check he is not doing something illegal. Perhaps this is legal in the UK but I don’t think it should be. Nor should he accept it. Neither the government nor private companies should have the right to snoop on my phone line, my internet connection or my mail unless they have a very good reason. With the Patriot Act (in the US) we are already short changing basic freedom that is in the Constitution and it’s a slippery slope. Next there will be legislation to inspect all internet traffic going in and out of my house just in case I am doing something illegal. It really does feel like 1984.

The internet is a very malleable place. If roadblocks are put up they will be routed around with new software etc. What Mr. McGuinness, U2 and the music industry needs to do is to innovate and stop suing people. It has not worked for the last 10+ years, nor will it work in the coming 10 or 100 years. Your industry segment has changed and you need to change with it. I am not defending piracy but the current music industry strategy is not working. Start working on something that will work.

Update:  European courts say ISPs do not have to disclose private subscriber information in civil cases.  I am not convinced that legislation will not be passed that undoes this but nice to see that the courts have some sense and are enforcing existing laws.

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