So, Lily Allen –– yes, that Lily Allen –– is back on the soapbox again. Ever the donna of the digital domain, Ms. Allen hit up MySpace, Twitter, and even created a blog to bring attention to a cause that is of paramount importance to her, her country, and the world –– music piracy.
Now more than ever, in the midst of Kanye-Swiftgate, we’ve got to look at the big picture. The pop spectacle is all fun and games, until you realize that people aren’t joking. The devil is in the details –– literally. Where Kanye’s blip-on-the-radar-screen “outburst” (still baffled by the media’s word choice on that one) shifted focus from national priorities like, oh, I don’t know, healthcare reform, to a week of punchlines –– no, wait, imma let you finish –– Lily’s most recent tirade is overshadowing other worthwhile crusades. Lily of all people should know this, but I digress. The devil is in the fact that people’s attention is diverted by the details, the effects –– the award show antics, the anti-filesharing rants, Joe Wilson’s debatably racist remark –– and not on the big picture, or the causes –– media hyping pop culture to the point of perception as reality, the future of business and namely the music industry in the face of technological innovation, racism in American politics and society (furthermore, the focus on isolated racist comments, versus the institutionalized racism/prejudice of over 35 million people without healthcare).
That said, I’m not going to focus on the issue of music piracy in and of itself –– whether it’s right, wrong, inevitable, etc. –– but rather, the issue of music piracy’s priority within the bigger scheme of social progress, government involvement, and the always important “so what” factor. So, beyond the legal implications (intellectual property/copyright law, Napster and Betamax cases, Creative Commons, debate between prioritizing creative/commercial artistic value, etc.) I’ll keep my two cents short: