HENRY DILTZ, AFP/Getty Images When Rhode Island's Newport Jazz Festival…
- Posted on Jan 30th 2012 11:45AM by Jason MacNeil
Alan Weller, FilmMagic
"It amazes me that Google has not done the right thing," McGuinness said at the MIDEM conference in Cannes over the weekend, as reported by Billboard. "The experience of people when they go on Google and look for U2 music or PJ Harvey music is a shopping list of illegal opportunities to get their music. They have done nothing meaningful to discourage that."
"Why are they not trying to solve the future in a more generous way?" he continued. "Ultimately it is in their interest that the flow of content will continue. And that won't happen unless it's paid for. And I don't think we can rely on politicians who are afraid of being unpopular to accomplish this without some willingness and generosity on the part of the tech area."
During protests earlier this month to prevent the Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) from becoming U.S. law, Google served as a conduit with online petitions linked from its homepage.
"The fact that Google were able to turn their entire network into a lobbying device, a petition, does not mean every person who ticked the box understood the argument ... it wasn't really a debate, it was a demonstration really.
This isn't the first time McGuinness has spoken out against online piracy at MIDEM. In 2008, he took Internet service providers (ISPs) to task for allowing illegal file sharing to continue on their networks. The only bright spot McGuinness mentioned was Spotify, saying it is a "good thing" but referred to it presently as a "promotional medium" than a means of "monetizing the distribution of products" for artists.
"That's partly the fault of the labels because the labels partly own Spotify, and there is insufficient transparency," McGuinness said. "But I see no reason why the basic Spotify model shouldn't be part of the future. It is essentially honest so it should be encouraged. I'd like to see it everywhere."
Perhaps the true oddity of McGuinness' stance comes after The Register reported Bono's investment company Elevation Partners at one point organized "significant donations" to the Wikimedia Foundation, a charitable organization behind Wikipedia. The research information site was instrumental in bringing attention to SOPA and PIPA by shutting down for a 24-hour period on Jan. 18.
One can only hope for U2's sake that their position doesn't rub hacking group Anonymous the wrong way. The group was responsible for essentially shutting down various music sites such as Warner Music and Universal Music for some time following the file-sharing site Megaupload's shutdown.