Bono Hates Poor People

Poor people who download music and movies for free, at least.

In an op-ed in today’s NYT, Bono, who was already super-annoying, suggests that in the coming decade we need to control people’s internet use to stop them from illegally downloading media.

Bono recognizes that rock stars like himself aren’t very sympathetic public leaders for an intellectual-property crusade because they’re already rich. So instead, he suggests, “young, fledgling songwriters” should be the mascots for the new war on downloaders.

How disgraceful. Bono knows very well that the primary beneficiaries of IP are not “fledgling songwriters” but the big media companies he works for. Of course, aged rock bands also benefit from IP because without it they would have to keep doing new things to please consumers instead of resting on their laurels collecting royalties.

As for songwriters, presumably a “fledgling” won’t make much money from royalties in any event. And if a writer’s songs are desirable, there’s no reason why he couldn’t make money without IP protection. Singers, bands, or record labels could pay to be the first to receive and record a song. Publishers could pay to have first-publishing rights.

If the government really wanted to support struggling songwriters, it could just send them a check every month. That would be a really bad idea, but not nearly as bad as the internet tyranny following the model of China’s internet censorship (yes, he actually says that!) that Bono wants.

It’s not too surprising that Bono wants to use government to not only create world peace and alleviate poverty, but also to line the pockets of himself and big corporations. (After all, Bill Clinton’s done pretty well with that.) It’s a little surprising that he would be so brazen about it.

Essential reading: Against Intellectual Property and Against Intellectual Monopoly.

(HT Daniel Roncari.)


5:05 pm on January 3, 2010