Paul David Hewson, better known under his stage name Bono Vox as a frontman of the rock band U2, is undisputedly one of the world’s best-known philantropists. He holds – and expresses – pointed opinions on a huge variety of subjects, leading him to the foundation of his organization DATA, an acronym for “Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa”.  So it was no surprise, when in his recent New York Times op-ed he addressed issues covered by this blog. Of his piece “Ten for the Next Ten” especially number 2 dealing with intelletual property caught my attention:

“A decade’s worth of music file-sharing and swiping has made clear that the people it hurts are the creators — in this case, the young, fledgling songwriters who can’t live off ticket and T-shirt sales like the least sympathetic among us — and the people this reverse Robin Hooding benefits are rich service providers, whose swollen profits perfectly mirror the lost receipts of the music business.”

Is it really true that the biggest losers of file-sharing are the creators? Bloggers at the UK Times come to different conclusions in their recent analysis, presenting the following “graph the record industry doesn’t want you to see”:

The Times-Online analysis shows that “revenues accrued by artists themselves have in fact risen over the past 5 years, despite the fall in record sales”. But Bono did not stop at bemoaning his fellow musicians’ situation. Instead he presented a solution to the problem, namely to “track content” on the Internet:

“But we know from America’s noble effort to stop child pornography, not to mention China’s ignoble effort to suppress online dissent, that it’s perfectly possible to track content.”

Two things about this line are disturbing: First, Bono seems to demand and justify the same measures used to stop child pornography for hunting down kids sharing their favorite songs on the net. Second, he seems to advocate for establishing an infrastructure for online content control similar to the one in China. This infrastructure should, of course, only be put into action for “noble efforts” such as going after evil music pirates. If I was a member of one of the growing pirate parties in Europe (see: “Pirate Parties: German Elections and Transnational Mobilization“), I could not thank Bono enough for such elaborate comparisons.