BBC News article – Bono net policing idea draws fire

This entry was posted by on Monday, 4 January, 2010 at
Bono (Getty)

Bono’s call was to “rally America…the most creative economy in the world”

Bono, frontman of rock band U2, has warned the film industry not to make the same mistakes with file-sharing that have dogged the music industry.

Writing for the New York Times, Bono claimed internet service providers were “reverse Robin Hoods” benefiting from the music industry’s lost profits.

He hinted that China’s efforts prove that tracking net content is possible.

The editorial drew sharp criticism, both on its economic merits and for the suggestion of net content policing.

“The immutable laws of bandwidth tell us we’re just a few years away from being able to download an entire season of ’24’ in 24 seconds,” he wrote.

“A decade’s worth of music file-sharing and swiping has made clear that the people it hurts are the creators…the people this reverse Robin Hooding benefits are rich service providers, whose swollen profits perfectly mirror the lost receipts of the music business.”

In a move that drew significant criticism, Bono went on to suggest that the feasibility of tracking down file-sharers had already been proven.

“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 said.

Several commentators assailed both the logic of net monitoring and the economic arguments of the essay, pointing out that U2 topped 2009’s list of top-grossing live acts.

“Bono has missed that even a totalitarian government…can’t effectively control net-content,” tweeted Cory Doctorow, a blogger and journalist noted for his study of file-sharing policy.

“If only greed and ignorance could sequester carbon, Bono could FINALLY save the planet,” he added.


So it would seem that Bono( believes that China has the right idea about “tracking net content”, I do strongly agree that artists need to be compensated for their music and movies etc but I also feel that that there are better ways to accomplish this than putting a filter on our network connections. It brings us back to the same debate that has been happening since the digital economy bill ( was published. I think the onus needs to be on the music/movie companies to come up with a plan to provide music in the format and timeframe that we as consumers want and are willing to pay for. Music on demand, movies on demand, (audio)books on demand – all at a reasonable cost and without the DRM restrictions that prevent me from listening to my itunes library on my android phone. I am willing to pay for music/movies etc and do so regularly but am not willing to have the piss taken.
On the subject of e-books, I tried to buy an e-book through my iphone – – $25.99 for an e-book????? Surely distribution costs make this a cheaper way to get books out to the public?