We take a look at the Artists' Charter which is the latest attempt to stop digital piracy and ask what a list of demands with no potential solutions can really achieve.

Artists CharterWhen are we going to realise simply wanting something and writing it down does not make it happen. It seems like The Secret has been adopted by demonstrators, politicians and music moguls alike. Draw up a list of your desires, believe they will manifest and magically your dreams will come true. You can understand why the Occupy Dame Street camp might live by this philopsophy but more practical rationale is expected from those in the money making business. Yet time after time manifestos are often little more than wish lists drawn up without any indication of how goals are expected to be achieved. 

The Artists Charter is on par with a letter to Santa that hasn’t even been addressed. With only 508 signatures, according to their official site and no clear statement of who they intend to hand this petition to more action is needed to enable artists “just and favourable renumeration” for their work. A list of ten non controversial statements about their rights, wishes and the industry is not going to create any revolutionary change to the current situation. Their call on the government for intervention, “we urgently call all on governments to assist us in the legal protection of our collective artistic output from piracy and other unauthorised infrigement” is likely be in vain. Both SOPA and PIPA have failed to make an impact despite a much larger network of support. 

It would be more beneficial to come up with ideas for potential alternative platforms instead of drafting a list of reasons why an artist deserves to be paid for their work. The fact that artists deserve to be paid for their creative work is not in dispute, but until a new platform is created to achieve this nothing will change. Consumers have happily paid for music for years, that isn’t the issue. If there is a service in place they will pay for it. Spotify and Netflix are examples of online services paid for by the consumer. The WholeWorldBand App, recently launched by Kevin Godley (formerly of 10CC) and Andy Wood also tackles piracy from the outset. The App allows artists to upload their song and video permitting members of the public to also contribute to the song. Both the original artist and any contributing artists earn royalties for every purchased download.

The Artists' Charter needs similar forward thinking action to make any difference. Support will only be offered so long in a losing battle. Occupy Dame Street is proof of this, residents were recently evacuated after five months. Although many people agreed with their sentiments about society,  initial support waned as they produced no active agenda and no results. Likewise the Artist’s Charter has failed to gather momentum and needs to take a step into action. We don’t need another another petition or demonstration, it’s time to stop asking and start doing. Neccessity is the mother of all invention. If the music industry wants to tackle the piracy crisis it’s time to put away the vision board, stop pointing the finger of blame and put a new effective business model in place.


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