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Educate not punish

Radiohead guitarist and Speech Debelle have their say on downloading debate

  • 22/09/2009
  • Georgie Rogers
Radiohead guitarist Ed O'Brien

Featured Artists Coalition member Ed O'Brien and Mercury Prize winner Speech Debelle think education is the way forward to tackle the problem of illegal file-sharing.

The musicians appeared on BBC Breakfast this morning to discuss the raging battle over the government's proposal to sever the internet connection of persistent offenders.

Speech Debelle said it's a matter of ignorance and that young people don't know about its implications: "There's so many young people that want to do music.

"If they knew that if they file-share that's not going to happen, it might persuade them to stop."

Radiohead guitarist Ed O'Brien went on to say: "I think you can educate people. What Lily's done is brilliant, she's brought it massively to the agenda.

"This is the first time artists are saying, 'Hang on a sec, if you do illegal file-share there is a consequence to your actions'."

"I think you can educate people. What Lily’s done is brilliant, she’s brought it massively to the agenda."

Ed O'Brien

In a recent rant on her Myspace blog Allen criticised O'Brien and members of the FAC for not thinking about the needs of upcoming musicians, something which he acknowledged.

"As so many teenagers and young people identify with musicians and maybe aspire to do that, they will understand finally that artists are taking a knock on this, and young artists especially," he explained. "I mean old farts like myself, we don't have so much to worry about."

Allen has since set up a new blog for her and her fellow musicians to form a united front against unauthorised file-sharing.

O'Brien stressed the only area the FAC disputes is that suspending persistent file-sharers from the internet is not feasible, it would require complex technology and cost a lot of money.

"You're going to drive a lot of people underground into dark nets and all sorts of stuff that you really don't need to do," he said. "Our problem has been, how do you differentiate between a serial user and somebody that does it in the spirit of discovery?"

The FAC is hosting an educational event specifically for featured artists on Thursday 24 September, with its board members Ed O’Brien (Radiohead), Nick Mason (Pink Floyd), Mark Kelly (Marillion) and Master Shortie answering questions about the file-sharing debate and discussing organisation's goals and aims for the future.

It will not be open to press or public.

Read more about FAC's stance on file-sharing.

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