Robbie Williams’ manager has accused the UK government of “wimping out” in the fight against illegal P2P downloading. ie:music MD Tim Clark told the MidemNet music industry conference in Cannes: “In France, Sarkozy is doing something about it. In the UK, as you’d expect, our government is completely wimping out. They’re trying to avoid any responsibility in this space.
“They insisted that ISPs sent out letters to their subscribers saying ‘don’t download, it’s naughty and if you continue you’ll be spanked’. We gather what (actually) happened was encryption (masking illegal downloads) went up by 10 percent. I’m told if encryption continues to rise then the game really is over for recorded music and getting paid for it.”
Clark isn’t strictly accurate. The government’s BERR department bashed the heads of labels and ISPs together last year under threat of legislation, leading to an agreement under which ISPs sent warning letters to thousands of alleged lawbreakers. Now BERR and the DCMS are ready to consider the recommendations of Stephen Carter’s upcoming Digital Britain report, which, FT.com says, will call for a new agency to manage permanent collaboration between ISPs and labels on data sharing and letter sending. France’s national assembly is due to vote on a senate bill that would go further, disconnecting customers after three warnings.
Clark’s view is also contrary. On two consecutive days at MidemNet, UK Music CEO Fergal Sharkey and Internet Service Providers Alliance secretary general Nicholas Lansman urged government not to regulate the space but to leave them to self-regulate.
Clark had some other wacky ideas, demanding a way to monetise mere mouse clicks and admitting to a failed social media strategy for the ex Take That star…
— “Imagine how many clicks Robbie Williams gets on all sorts of sites – lets have a cent or two for that, just to start; we’ve got to find ways of getting value back in to recorded music.”
— “We did a blog from Robbie Williams which actually wasn’t written by him – it was spotted immediately! So we never did it again.”