Bono told to shut up

A British ISP has posted an attack on U2 frontman, Saint Bono of Solipsis, advising him to shut it.


Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing at Entanet, reckons that the blessed Bono’s call in the New York Times for creative types to beware of the evils of the Internet, especially ‘greedy ISPs’.

In the NYT, the perpetually-sunglassed one stated: “A decade’s worth of music file-sharing and swiping has made clear that the people it hurts are the creators – in this case, the young, fledgling songwriters who can’t live off ticket and T-shirt sales like the least sympathetic among us – and the people this reverse Robin Hooding benefits are rich service providers, whose swollen profits perfectly mirror the lost receipts of the music business.”

Says Farnden: “This statement just goes to show why multi-millionaire Bono should stick to singing and campaigning for poorer nations and leave the economics of Internet service provision to the professionals.

“Those of us within this supposedly swollen, profit rich Internet industry are more than aware of the reality. Consumer demand for the cheapest, fastest broadband continues to increase resulting in even lower profit margins for us greedy ISPs.

“And as for the comment about our ‘swollen profits perfectly mirroring the lost receipts of the music business’ – where do we begin? I would hazard a guess that these, are yet again, calculated on flawed hypothetical principles that everyone who downloads illegally would actually legally purchase the same amount of music. This is ridiculous. Just because Fred can download 20 songs for free does not mean that he would have otherwise paid for them all.”

According to Entanet, it goes from bad to worse as Bono goes on to slate ISPs for not being prepared to police the Internet and completely misses the point, stating ‘We’re the post office, they tell us; who knows what’s in the brown-paper packages?’ There are two things very wrong with that analogy. Firstly by law, the Post Office is not allowed to open your mail nor would most reasonable people with reasonable privacy awareness want them to. Secondly, ISPs have not said they can’t or won’t inspect packets, they have simply raised concerns regarding privacy and the morality of this practice. What ever happened to innocent until proven guilty?

“Bono is simply demonstrating once again that the music industry does not understand the new distribution models that the Internet has provided,” says Farnden. “Rather than attempt to adapt and embrace the new opportunities as have many of his ambitious rivals such as Radiohead and Ash. He instead wants someone to blame, and that I am afraid is once again, the ISPs.”

Concludes Farnden: “We think it’s high time that rights holders rethink their distribution models to take account of modern channels and the nature of customer demand. My favourite comment of Bono’s article is possibly his closing line where he states ‘Note to self: Don’t get over-rewarded rock stars on this bully pulpit, or famous actors’. Oops too late!”

Farnden’s full rant is available here.