Is Bono the new Lars Ullrich? CNET News thinks he could be.
In an Op-Ed piece in the New York Times discussing the past decade, the sunglassed U2 frontman took blames ISPs for piracy. “Caution! The only thing protecting the movie and TV industries from the fate that has befallen music and indeed the newspaper business is the size of the files…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.” ISPs could track unauthorized music and movie file downloads if they wanted to, Bono says. As for who should stand up to the Time Warners and Verizons of the world? “Don’t get over-rewarded rock stars on this bully pulpit, or famous actors; find the next Cole Porter, if he/she hasn’t already left to write jingles.”
Here’s the thing, dude. They already left to write jingles. Why? Because record companies were ripping them off. And if someone really is the next Cole Porter, the Internet enables them to sell music directly to the consumer. I’m not defending piracy, but this particular argument is a little stupid. As for the comparison to newspapers, they aren’t the victims of unauthorized file-sharing. It was their own poor planning and bad choices that caused the problems they now face. Does ANYONE remember the New York Times botched effort at a web portal called NYToday.com? They did exciting and innovative things such as marketing themselves to movie theaters and offering local dinner reservations. Because that’s what good news organizations do, right? Not blaming the Times specifically, that’s what everyone was doing in the late 90’s — starting free websites, spending a fortune and figuring that advertising would support them forever. (As opposed to the 80’s, when we all had goofy hair — nice ‘do, Bono.) The New York Times is an amazing newspaper that produces a staggering amount of content every single day. People might have paid to access their web site if they had gone with that model from the beginning, but now it may be too late. Bottom line — there’s no comparison between newspapers and file-sharing, unless you want to say that people are too busy downloading MP3s to have any time to read. Raising a generation of kids on the idea that all Internet content should be free is something that many major news organizations did to themselves. End of rant.
Speaking of technological innovations, Google did in fact introduce a phone yesterday (as we told you they might). It’s called the Nexus One. Currently you can only use it with T-Mobile, although it will be available on Verizon in Spring of 2010. Amusingly, Google’s site was overloaded with requests to buy the Nexus One. Seems even big companies can screw up.
Former CNN guy Lou Dobbs launched a members only website. Don’t laugh. I hear five, maybe six people have already signed up. (PoliticsDaily)
Discovery News asks the question that you know you’ve been asking yourself — Could the tides signal the approach of the next major earthquake? Um, sure, why not. (Discovery.com)
And finally, a polygamy club in Malaysia. I mean finally as in “the last item in today’s column,” not “Man oh Manischewitz! I’ve been waiting for someone to open a polygamy club in Malaysia for years! Thank goodness someone finally answered my prayers!”