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Bono Hopes Content Tracking Will Help Media Moguls 569

Khalid Baheyeldin writes "In his New York Times op-ed column, Irish singer Bono, otherwise noted for his humanitarian efforts expressed dismay at losses music artists incur from internet downloads. He notes that 'we know from America's noble effort to stop child pornography, not to mention China's ignoble effort to suppress online dissent, that it's perfectly possible to track content.' He then goes on to wonder 'perhaps movie moguls will succeed where musicians and their moguls have failed so far, and rally America to defend the most creative economy in the world, where music, film, TV and video games help to account for nearly 4 percent of gross domestic product.'"
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Bono Hopes Content Tracking Will Help Media Moguls

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 03, 2010 @07:17PM (#30635350)

    I can't trump your joke, but...

    Metallica found their music on Napster and helped take it down. The consequence was a drop in CD sales. They hurt their own cause. Perhaps the same will happen to Bono.

    I've stopped buying U2 or listening to their pretentious airs on the tele because of their attitudes to online privacy.

    It's funny; I never really noticed the similarity in sound: privacy, piracy.

  • by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples@gmail.BOHRcom minus physicist> on Sunday January 03, 2010 @07:34PM (#30635492) Homepage Journal

    if that was the case then people would probably contribute music for free, in much the same way they contribute to Wikipedia for free.

    There's a difference between ideas and expression []. Wikipedia is made of facts, and it's fairly easy to produce your own original, Free wording of a given fact. It's also easy to use Google's full-text web search to find phrases that a contributor inadvertently or deliberately plagiarized. Music, on the other hand, is more pure expression, and any attempt to produce Free music will end up with some contributor accidentally inserting a sequence of notes that happens to match the hook of a non-free song. (See Three Boys Music v. Bolton for how that could turn out.) Google can't search MIDI sites yet, apart from song titles.

    Besides, Wikipedia is on the Alexa charts, but what Free album have you seen hit the pop charts?

  • Re:Sorry (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 03, 2010 @07:37PM (#30635522)

    Where I'm from in New England, "bono" was slang for a shit-covered penis (likely due to unprotected anal intercourse) decades before U2 even formed.

  • by sakdoctor ( 1087155 ) on Sunday January 03, 2010 @07:46PM (#30635596) Homepage

    I'm not sure the short-sightedness was political in this case. Rather who knew what the internet would become, or that 640k was not enough for everyone.
    You could argue that the problem is political/social vs technical, but there are some interesting overlay network topographies that I wish were standard.

    Imagine if, due to encryption and cryptographic addressing, the internet was all or nothing for any given nation. All that ever passed your ISP was an encrypted data stream.
    Oh how those in power would squirm.

  • Re:From Wikipedia (Score:3, Interesting)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) * on Sunday January 03, 2010 @08:04PM (#30635726) Journal

    Obviously he must be an idiot!

    Well, at least that part of your comment is true.

    Do you really believe that the reason "young, fledgling songwriters" can't make ends meet is because too many people are downloading their music?

    Son, there was a time before you could download music online. There was a time before you could copy CDs. There was a time before you use a cassette recorder to tape songs off the radio. There was even a time before you could xerox a piece of sheet music.

    And you know what? Even way back in those neolithic pre-Napster days, "young, fledgling songwriters" didn't have a vessel in which to micturate. If you could wave a magic wand tomorrow and there were no more illegal filesharing, do you think that all of a sudden "young, fledgling songwriters" would become financially secure? That music industry executives and magnates from the entertainment/industrial complex would slap their collective forehead and exclaim, "Say, we really need to start paying struggling young artists what they're worth instead of using them like toilet paper! And let's do that immediately after we're done making sure we give Willie Dixon his share of the profits from Led Zeppelin II, OK?"

    It is not concern for the struggling artists that motivates Bono to care about filesharing and downloading, I assure you. Unless he's even more out of touch than he seems. No, rather it's the loyalty to the putrefying pyramid scheme to which he owes his villa in San Remo and castle in the Scottish Highlands. The same global scam that allows him to rack up the frequent flyer miles and tour with a band that's got a carbon footprint bigger than Beijing. The same flim-flam that allows him to get up on the dias with Nelson Mandela while pretending he's just "concerned about the planet".

    Shit, who's idea was it to bring up Bono and get me all worked up, anyway?

  • It's hard to argue against control of the internet without appearing pro-piracy

    And that's bad, because...? Fuck it, people, stop being scaredy-cats. Say it out loud: I do support piracy! I do support unbridled copying! In the deal of copyrights, we the people have been screwed real bad. It was supposed to be an incentive, to enrich the public domain. But nothing goes to the public domain anymore. Why play the game clean when they have the dice loaded against you?

  • Fuck the revolution (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) * on Sunday January 03, 2010 @09:54PM (#30636576) Journal
    Well said, recognising someone's good work does not mean you have to agree with everything they say, in fact you don't even have to like them personally. I don't agree with tracking files either but I do agree with him on a lot of other infinitely more important issues.

    There were very few Irishman with the balls to publicly denounce the IRA during the 80's. At a concert in Boston, he went into a rant about "irishmen who hadn't been home in 20yrs enthusiatically asking about the revolution" and ended the rant with "fuck the revolution".

    Boston was the main source of funds for the IRA and he was speaking directly to their sponsors, naturally the IRA responded with real death threats as opposed to the OP who mearly wishes him dead for his opinion on file tracking.

    Speaking of Band/live aid, I think the best refutation of the OP's attitude is the skeletal baby sitting in the dust who's photo was used in the first campaign was on stage as a healthy 21yo woman at the second concert.
  • by ClosedSource ( 238333 ) on Sunday January 03, 2010 @10:10PM (#30636660)

    No, we older people pay for content because it's the right thing to do. We also would rather not have home-made videos on youtube represent the highest quality entertainment available.

    Enjoy films like Avatar while you can. If your theory is correct, you won't be seeing anything on the cutting edge once the "old folks" stop paying for it.

  • Re:From Wikipedia (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cpt kangarooski ( 3773 ) on Sunday January 03, 2010 @10:28PM (#30636764) Homepage

    Copyrights are protected by law, but that is endangered if the community decides that to ignore it en masse.

    And? The government can only act legitimately with the consent of its people, is only empowered by us to grant copyrights in order to promote the progress of science, and should generally conform to the desires of its people unless there is an adequately important reason to do otherwise.

    If the community decides to ignore copyright en masse, then we shouldn't have copyright, or at least should reform copyright to better conform to the community's wishes. (E.g. granting a copyright that could be enforced against non-natural persons, or anyone acting commercially, but not against natural persons acting non-commercially)

    The collapse of the leading record store chains within a few years of one another is an example of where the grey market led to a catastrophic loss of sales.

    Okay. Copyright is meant to encourage the creation and distribution of creative works when that otherwise would not occur, while minimally restricting the public, in scope and duration. It isn't meant to prop up record stores in particular.

    Personally, I am hoping for more instances of the former rather than the latter.

    So long as copyright law is tailored in such a way that it serves the public interest better than any alternative copyright law would, I'm happy. If lots of businesses can thrive under those circumstances, then that's great; I'm happy for them. If not, then I can't say I'd shed a tear.

  • Re:Sorry (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Macrat ( 638047 ) on Sunday January 03, 2010 @11:06PM (#30637006)

    Feed and clothe the starving orphans in Africa so they are healthy enough to be recruited into military factions to repeat the cycle.


  • Re:Sorry (Score:4, Interesting)

    by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Sunday January 03, 2010 @11:58PM (#30637296) Journal

    However, welfare has never increased anyone's standard of living over the long haul, as both the billions poured into foreign aid in Africa and our own welfare states can attest.

    Are you seriously claiming here that the standard of living in European states before introduction of welfare net was higher than it is now?..

  • Re:From Wikipedia (Score:2, Interesting)

    by blarkon ( 1712194 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @12:10AM (#30637378)
    Bono is at the extreme end of the curve when it comes to compensation for artistic output. He gets attention with what he says because of that. Someone who was in the middle of the artistic compensation curve was complaining about their work being pirated wouldn't be newsworthy (or would be newsworthy in a "streisand effect" way by which people would pirate their stuff to find out who the heck they were to be complaining about piracy in the first place)
  • by stimpleton ( 732392 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @01:28AM (#30637768)
    Years ago I ran a parody website in my smallish town. My coup-de-etat was my "paedophiles-hang-their-six-packs-of-yogurt-on-the-side-of-their-supermarket-trolley" expose. I quoted a fictional study, used actual photos with the censor strip over the face, and mock interviews with supposed paedophiles that all hung the yogurt on the side of their trolley. The local newspaper picked up the story. Apparently the incidents of the six packs *in the trolley* went thru the roof according to my checkout friend.
  • Re:Sorry (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 04, 2010 @04:08AM (#30638430)

    In 2007, they dug 11 wells in Liberia (sometimes hundreds of feet deep), (...) Try as I might, I'm having trouble finding reasons why this was a bad idea, but feel free to educate me.

    Very simple: The old wells dried up because ground water levels are dropping. These are dropping due to overuse, which in turn is caused by inefficient irrigation systems, unsustainable large cattle herds, etc.
    The solution "Build deeper wells" is no solution at all, especially if it allows the villages to "prosper" in the old ways and consume even more water.

    Caveat: I know that this is true for most Countries neighboring the Sahara desert, but am not familiar with the situation in Liberia itself - I hope for those villages that it is different.

  • Profits... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by YankDownUnder ( 872956 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @04:29AM (#30638508) Homepage
    Yes, Bono, I'm sure you're more than happy to make statements about the media industry grubbing more profits than they've already grubbed from us - God forbid that the rich shouldn't get richer - all from a mediocre artist/musician that would have not gotten far without a huge record company's promotion in the first place - and Mr. Bono, as you so comfortably sit up there in "Richland" with the rest of the well fed, well taken-care-of, well paid pigs, we, the underdogs, the underpaid, the underfed - the BASE OF ALL ECONOMY - will plodge along and listen to your philanthropic banterings about the "less well off" and the "starving people". Too bad you can't just bloody retire and take what you've already raped - along with the RIAA and their ilk - and just sit back and live quietly without your pigish rants and demands for more money, more profits. Make what you make, make it honestly, and don't whinge. Why didn't anyone jump on this bandwagon back in the 60's and the 70's when folks were already taping music from the radio? Anyways, Mr. Bono, if you're such a good soul, cut your living expenses to $40AUD a year, give the rest to the starving, the waterless, the sick and the poor, and then I'll admire you. Better yet, give it all away, and start again from scratch...shouldn't be that hard if you're a really good musician...
  • Re:Sorry (Score:2, Interesting)

    by wall0159 ( 881759 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @05:03AM (#30638640)

    "What this world needs is a good secular church"

    Do you mean like Engineers without borders? (
    Or one of the many similar organisations?

  • Re:Sorry (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Dalambertian ( 963810 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @04:29PM (#30645588)
    In this case the wells didn't dry up. They were getting their water from local streams that had become contaminated. Children were dying from dehydration due to diarrhea. In this case, they needed a naturally filtered water source that wasn't open to the air, hence the wells.
  • Re:From Wikipedia (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cpt kangarooski ( 3773 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @04:59PM (#30646070) Homepage

    If a law is respected, though occasionally broken, there's no problem, e.g. murder being a crime.

    If a law is widely broken, yet even those breaking it agree that it is worthwhile, then that's not great, but it is acceptable, e.g. speed limits.

    If a law is disrespected by those who should follow it, and it is not agreed that it is worthwhile (whether at all, or at least in its present form), then it should be repealed or modified so that it is more acceptable, lest disrespect for that law spread, e.g. Prohibition, the disrespect for which led to increased corruption amongst public officials, violent crime, organized crime, etc.

    If a law is disrespected by those who should follow it, but it is sufficiently important, it may be appropriate for the government to force it on an unwilling populace, e.g. calling out the National Guard to help enforce desegregation.

    Personally, I think that copyright presently falls into the third category; it's potentially worthwhile, but the current law needs to be massively reformed in order to make it worthy of respect. If we keep going as we have gone, it will not only fail to be respected, but it will tend to drag other, more worthy laws down with it. So it's not so bad that people break the bad law; it's the side effects of this on other laws that are the problem.

    We don't have a directly democratic means of changing copyright law in the US; our federal government is a representative democracy. It would be great if we could successfully lobby to have the law changed quickly. However, we should expect and demand those we elect to office to pay attention to the public interest and to act to serve it without needing to be asked. An honest, competent legislator ought to be able to look at how much copyright law is ignored at present and understand that it needs to be changed so as to be worthy of respect.

Logic is a pretty flower that smells bad.