Paul Birch is the MD of Revolver Records, and is – by all accounts – a decent bloke. It is a shame then, that in an email exchange published online at New Music Strategies that he comes across in a less than positive manner.
Paul had decide to write to Andrew Dubber who runs the site. Dubber is also the Degree Leader for Music Industries at UCE Birmingham, UK, where he is a senior lecturer and researcher with a particular interest in online music, radio and new media technology. Paul’s reason to complain was the posting of a link to the following article on Download Squad which according to Birch “promote[s] this hatred of the recording Industry”
Birch asks Dubber to take down links from the site that “promote this hatred of the recording Industry, because the assumption is that by linking to them that you support the extreme view heralded.” According to Birch, by linking to stories such as the download squad article Dubber is contributing to the ‘repeating malicious falsehoods that occur in a number of internet blog, and are re-reported as having validity contribute widely to the assertion that right is on the side of wrong-doing”
I actually read the email exchange (published with Birch’s permission) shaking my head and wishing Birch would stop digging the hole for himself. But, no, he can’t help it. The problem with the download squad article is that ‘It expresses opinion, it’s not factual’ he opines. There is certainly a smatting of opinion about the RIAA tactics, but aside from that it is very factual, linking as it does to the court documents, via the very excellent Recording Industry vs The People Blog – run by LAWYERS that help represent people accused of illegal downloading by the music industry.
Could it get worse? Well, that would depend on your view. At the start of the email exchange, Birch tells Dubber “I do not think allowing criticism of the RIAA is appropriate for a Government funded institution”, to which Dubber relies, he isn’t a Government funded institution. Birch goes on ” You might argue that your professional blog is your opinion alone, however you are interwoven into the views and policy of the University of Central England and I think that puts you in an exposed position Andrew”. He ends with: “If you persist then I shall make a formal complaint to the University”
Now, leaving aside the fact that he would be risking making a fool out of himself if he did make a formal complaint, how much of a shooting yourself in the foot exercise is this whole exchange?? What makes the silly threats all the more silly is that in a comment to the original post Birch is keen to point out that his comments are “my personal views not those of the IFPI, RIAA, BPI or others.”