McGuinness Repeats Call To ISPs

U2 manager Paul McGuinness used the Music Matters conference in Hong Kong to repeat his call for Internet service providers to partner with "the legitimate music business" in the battle against Internet piracy.

"When it is the manager and not the artist getting the headlines, then something is out of kilter," he told delegates at the city’s Grand Hyatt Hotel June 4 in a keynote speech that echoed a similar one he made at MIDEM in January.

McGuinness, who isn’t known for regularly voicing his opinions on music biz matters, said identifying a course of action that will benefit "artists, labels, writers and publishers" is something he believes in quite passionately.

"The recorded music industry is in a crisis and there is crucial help available but not being provided by companies who should be providing that help," he said, reiterating his call for the ISPs to help the industry find a way to earn money when their customers download music.

"[It’s] not just because it’s morally right but because it’s in their own commercial interest," he explained, pointing out how ISPs have ignored the issue of piracy and "turned their heads the other way, watched their subscriptions grow, and profited handsomely."

However, McGuinness does feel a wind of change in the air as governments in a growing number of countries have woken up to the catastrophe that their cultural industries are facing.

"They have seen the statistics, understood the inherent benefits of a system which addresses piracy near its source, via the ISPs who can help to do something about it," he said.

"For the first time there is the prospect that if ISPs do not cooperate at least with steps to help tackle copyright theft, then legislation may require them to do so."