Sunday, January 3, 2010

Bono wants to kill freedom and culture for profit!

Bono wants to kill freedom and culture for profit!

Article on yahoo
or that is not available anymore, a Google search for that news-item!
Being one of the richest musicians on earth, Bono, Frontman of a band named U2,
makes a few very bad comments in an article in the NYT.
He thinks, that the so called "intellectual property" is a good thing, and that the creators, especially starting ones, should have every right to stop the p2p-swapping of their work.
Little does he realize, that some new bands see the swapping as a chance to get
the needed recognition. The assumption, that there is a money loss, especially because of p2p is
just plain wrong. He then goes on to say, that the TV and Movie-Industry may hurt in the future,
when faster internet allows for downloading films in seconds.
I cannot speak for all countries, but as long as I have a flatrate, the speed does not matter
too much, it just takes longer to download. A film might take days instead of hours or minutes.

Then he wants that stopped and points to the supposedly successful China as an example. A fine example indeed, a country that not only jails and kills persons for stating their thoughts and criticising the government and therefore suppresses freedom of thought and expression - the thin dark veil of online-pornography (and child-pornography) is given
as a reason, both by Bono and the Chinese.

The future, if Bonos path is to be followed, would not only try to stop downloading but also allow to suppress opposing or unwanted information - as in China.
How successful that would stop p2p is just anybodys guess. My guess would be, not much.
But the damage to our freedom would be far greater. In Germany (where I live), France and Italy there are people in the government, who do not like to be criticized and would like a legal tool to suppress this criticism.

In Germany the plans to show Stopp-Signs whenever you go to page which supposedly contains
child-pornography have been exposed to be useless, instead giving a warning to the site-manager
that the police knows there is unlawful content on his site, so it can be destroyed before
a seizure from officials. While the decision is not yet final, the law will be killed before it goes into work.

As far as I know, despite rampant downloading, the film industry had a very successful year,
and the music industry has problems which have nothing to do with p2p-downloading songs for
free.
I find it very interesting, that quite a lot of music is rather expensive, a typical CD is more than Eur 10, but a DVD, which is far more valuable, cost the same or less. The typical price of a DVD has sunk since introduction, but the CD has stayed nearly the same.
Also quite a lot of music is not available to be bought new - the industry has failed to recognize this. They should make old archives cheaply (!) available for download.
As the real, old Napster was alive, I was finding music I searched for quite a long time, which I could not buy new and the prices asked for used (from which the industry and the creator gets nothing!) are often too high to be considered by me. There are even some works not available used for every price.

The films and TV-Shows I download I see as sampling what is available. What I really like, I buy, if (!) I can. I will not pay any price, and DRM and Region-Coding on Blu-ray and services which are only for one country (iTunes, Hulu) do stop me from
buying or using some things, or I must take countermeasures to get to them (Hulu USA: with a VPN very easy to see from Germany but at additional cost for the VPN).
I see a lot of things, that I cannot see or buy here in Germany, some is too expensive, but most is not available at the time I see it. All films I want to see in the original language but in Germany they are only available on German, so I do not buy them here but instead in USA/Japan/UK if they are available - and sometimes even cheaper!

So is the industry loosing money from me? I think not. Instead I buy the DVD/ Blu-ray/ Music I really want, where I would have sometimes not have bought it, because I did not want to take the risk of not liking it.
Given the (IMHO) high price of a typical CD, I opt to buy on iTunes or used, or instead of buying music I buy a DVD or Blu-ray, given that I (!) perceive a DVD or Blu-ray to be of a higher value as a CD.

In my opinion culture is something without a price, both the music industry and the film industry should consider changing their business model as quite a lot of people are downloading for free whatever they want, proving for me, that
they think the same.

I do not think that an expression like "intellectual property" is correct, it rather is a way of thinking that I do not understand. If I publish something, it is not my property anymore, I have given it away. If people want to pay for it, fine, I can live with that - but obviously the idea that people should pay for culture even without a physical representation (iTunes vs. CD) does not appeal to most - and when the price for music is the nearly the same for a bunch of files or for a CD, than I think something has gone really wrong, even if I choose to pay this price a few times on iTunes (or where-ever).

So what Bono wants is to suppress democracy, kill freedom and culture.
Well I will not consider giving him any of my money in the near future!

Ingo Lembcke, Hamburg, Germany

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