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Universal music chief blasts Slashdot

'Pie throwers'

And we could have provided him with an even better example: the famous "p2p is leagal its in the air" we received from a Kentucky school.

But Kenswil paid particular attention to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, "zeropaid", and Downhill Battle Labs.

"One wonders if they haven't got anything better to do," mused the Universal executive.

"With all the crap going on in the world, is Sony BMG the worst corporation in the world? Is it worse than the spammers, or the people who write viruses on purpose?" he asked.

"A lot of this is just fund-raising demagoguery. All they're saying is send us the money. But when you ask them what do they think is going to happen to the industry - the answer is some amorphous 'we'll figure it out eventually'".

All good knockabout stuff for his audience - and it's easy enough to find a copyright extremist in diapers to represent the opposition. There's plenty of intelligent discussion on Slashdot.

But Kenswil does, unfortunately, emphasize a depressing aspect of the debate we've often touched upon, and he goes on to prove the point himself. Which is that extremists from both sides need each other's caricatures, so they can continue to posture for their own base.

The RIAA needs to present us with extremists who think copyright is dead, or who don't value creativity. In turn these people need an opponent that keeps suing its customers, maintains cartel pricing structures for digital services, and produces irrational arguments against blanket licensing. And, guess what? The RIAA is only too happy to oblige.

Fortunately there is enough material progress, with new services such as Mashboxx and PlayLouder, and sensible talk (largely off the record) to confirm that the extremists of both sides are increasingly irrelevant.

For more reports on the politics of blanket licensing, and the new services, stay tuned. ®

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