U2’s Band Manager Praises France’s “Three-Strikes” Law

Says it’s a “myth that artists can build long-term careers on live music alone.”

Paul McGuiness, band manager for Irish-rock band U2 for well over 30 years, has taken another swing at file-sharers, this time with his praise for France’s recent passage of a “three-strikes” law, and with his hope that “the rest of the world may follow” in its footsteps.

In a post on the UK’s Guardian, he says the “crisis in our music community is real” and that the French govt, by recently passing the controversial “Creation and Internet Law” which establishes a formal system, the HADOPI, for sanctioning repeat file-sharers.

“By proposing the creation and internet law, the French government is protecting artists’ rights as well as those of internet users,” he writes.

Why he thinks the law protects the rights of Internet users by giving corporations control over the Internet pipe into your house is beyond me.

He then goes on to say that the copyright debate is an important one that he thinks will “shape the lives and the working conditions of creative professionals for years, even decades, to come.”

That’s because artists and record label execs have much more terrible working conditions of late compared to the thousands of unemployed autoworkers, teachers, and construction workers.

McGuiness hopes that France’s new “three-strikes” law will also lead to a worldwide copyright law revolution, that the “rest of the world may follow.”

He cites several reasons why the law is justified:

First, the crisis in our music community is real. A generation of artists, all over France, and further afield, are seeing their livelihoods destroyed, their career ambitions stolen. Investment that should help them build careers is draining out of the industry. This isn’t just a shift in the business model from recorded to live music. It’s a catastrophe for all the business models, old and new. It is a myth that artists can build long-term careers on live music alone. U2 will this year fill huge stadiums around the world, including two shows at Stade de France at a capacity of 93,000. That is because they have had parallel careers as recording artists and live performers since their inception 30 years ago.

Here’s where the faults in his argument again appear. Contrary to his assertion, bands like The Grateful Dead have certainly built a long-term career on live music. I suppose it’s what your definition of long-term is. Good music will always have an audience and good bands will always have fans. It’s that simple.

He also goes on to falsely claim that “95% of music downloads see no reward going to the creator.” There is no data to support this and it rehashes the same tired argument that one illegal download equals one lost sale. It’s simply not true, and studies, including a Canadian-govt funded one I might add, have shown that illegal file-sharing actually encourages overall music consumption.

McGuiness, if you recall, is the same guy who has made his anti-file-sharing stance well known over the years.

First it was when he lambasted the “internet freethinking culture of California and Silicon Valley” and its “liberal hippy values” for being part of the “problem of paying for music.”

A few days later he then said that Radiohead’s “In Rainbows” experiment with a pay what you want album download “backfired.”

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