Friday, 30 October 2009

It's stealing not sharing

IMAGINE if you spent three months working your guts out –– only to be told that you’re not getting paid! Well, if you’re a musician, this is exactly what happens to you every day. Illegal “file-sharing” of music means performers often don’t get paid when their music is downloaded for free through some websites. It’s not just unfair –– it’s theft, and on a colossal scale. This hasn’t been lost on the government. They’ve finally decided to do something about it. New laws will stop people from illegally file-sharing. This may even include suspending someone’s access to the internet after a series of warnings. For some, illegal file-sharing is so ingrained that only these tough measures will stop them –– because it doesn’t FEEL like stealing, even though it is. Most musicians and songwriters aren’t loaded, especially if they’re just starting out. If they don’t get paid they can’t make music, it’s as simple as that. We wouldn’t have heard Angels if Robbie Williams had to spend all his time earning money in Argos by singing: “Order number 325 to your collection point please.” And what if Oasis or the Beatles had never been paid? Or pop beauty Katy Perry. The whole world would have been deprived of their talent. Then again, if Chesney Hawkes had never got his first pay cheque we might have been saved from “I am the one and only” being pumped out in nightclubs every weekend. You may well have shared files yourself. Well, stop it! With over 20 LEGAL online services in theUK, like iTunes and Spotify, you can download legally without wrecking the industry. The laws will help,but if we all act a bit more responsibly, that would be best of all.
THERE’S been talk this week that former prime minister Tony Blair might become the President of the European Council. What do YOU think about that? This new post will happen once all the European Union countries have signed up to the Lisbon Treaty No one’s sure what the president’s job will involve yet. But it will be a powerful position. Blair’s a front-runner and a pretty good bet if you want a flutter. You may be surprised to read this from me, but a lot of the work he did as prime minister suggests he’d be quite good. By sending troops to Kosovo he helped stop the biggest European genocide since the Holocaust. And his work in Northern Ireland helped solve one of the continent’s longest running conflicts. These achievements shouldn’t be forgotten. But then come the objections. Some folk reckon the president should come from a country which isn’t “Eurosceptic” like the UK. Then there’s Blair’s track record of getting involved with messy wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and his initial support for the ludicrously stupid prison camp in Guantanamo Bay. The funny thing is, Blair hasn’t even said that he wants the job! But if he gets it, the first thing he should do is change the voting system in the Eurovision Song Contest, so we stop coming nearly last all the time. Mama Mia!
MY pal and fellow MP Albert Owen was very hacked off this week when the Isle of Anglesey, which makes up his constituency, was wiped off the map — by Weetabix. As part of a new competition, Weetabix added a map of the British Isles to all their cereal boxes. Unfortunately, someone forgot to include Angelsey. This upset 70,000 people on the island. The Anglesey Tourism Association chief branded Weetabix “cereal killers” and called for a boycott of their products. I’m not surprised he’s annoyed ’cos it’s happened before. Last year, Walkers Crisps ran a tourism campaign that also erased Anglesey off their maps. I hope the situation gets sorted. Until then I guess it’s Shredded Wheat for Angry Albert!

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