Paying the piper - Producers feel squeeze

PAUL McGUINNESS, the manager of U2 for more than 30 years, has joined an argument that involves a growing number of disparate producers of all kinds of goods.

Speaking in Cannes he launched a scathing attack on internet service providers who allow their systems to be used for illegal music downloads.

Just as Hollywood scriptwriters fight for a proportion of the revenue generated by their work through new media, Mr McGuinness wants musicians and producers to stand up against what he called the “shoddy, careless and downright dishonest way they have been treated in the digital age”.

Though unlikely bedfellows, U2 and farmers are in a similar, frustrating bind. Earlier this week the IFA protested that it cannot get a fair price for produce from supermarkets, especially farmers who send fresh produce to market.

In each instance those who control the conduit to the market, the delivery method — internet service orhypermarket vegetable stand — seem to be in a stronger position and better rewarded than those who create the goods in the first place.

Though it is hard to imagine that Bono or the Edge are fretting over the Christmas credit card bill or the next fill of heating oil, the fact that a business as determined and deep-pocketed as U2 should be helpless in the face of international internet service providers gives and indication of the problem facing smaller producers such as our farming neighbours.

As in so many areas of real importance the only real vote you have is how you use the euro in you pocket.

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