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Rosen routed at Oxford Union debate
By Jon Newton,
(more articles from this author)
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Music Industry News - as it happens
Source: - October 30, 2002

Hilary 'Reach Out' Rosen, Chairman and CEO of the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America), was thoroughly thrashed during a heavy-weight discussion on digital music.

The occasion? An Oxford Union Debate at Oxford University in the UK. The proposition? "This House believes that 'the free music mentality is a threat to the future of music'."

It was October 24 and Reach Out was among those gracing the hallowed halls of Oxford University convinced, we have no doubt, that she'd soon have those Brits reeling under her carefully seasoned (or is it reasoned?) arguments that everyone who downloads music from non-RIAA approved sites IS A CROOK if not a PIRATE and SHOULD BE THROWN IN JAIL at the very least!

Didn't happen. Not that Reach Out was lacking support.

Among her pages during the joust were Jay Berman, Reach Out's oppo in the UK, and Chris Wright, Chairman and co-founder of Chrysalis Records.

Sadly, however, the final vote was:
Ayes - 72
Noes - 256

Debate highlights:

"Rosen saying 'Actually, no copy protected CDs have been released in the US'

"Rosen asks 'Put up your hand if you download and burn music' (most hands go up). She then asks 'Keep you hand up if you buy more music because of it' (many stay up). She gets worried and immediately asks some different and confusing set of people to put their hands up, causing everyone to look miffed, and everyone putting their hand down)

"Rosen nodding like a pigeon for most of the time

"One of the proposition reading out several verses of 'Thank you for the music' by Abba. We got the point after the first verse, but we then started to wonder if he had permission from the rights holder, or was he simply claiming 'fair use'?

"The proposition trying to defend the vast profits they make on many CDs sales, and trying to make themselves look philanthropic about many of the artists they take on.

"The proposition claiming "you can't have/make music without the music industry" and then not letting anyone speak to point out the inaccuracy of this.

"Rosen almost voting against the motion (you vote by walking out the correct door, and she wasn't paying any attention).

"One of the opposition speakers telling us about his recent music shopping experiences (including how he'd been in HMV buying a couple of CDs, and the people in front of him in the queue who were buying several CDs were also talking about how to download various P2P clients).

"Jay Berman probably being the best proposition speaker, and coming out with the insightful 'Each generation has had their own music. For your generation it's filesharing. And I think thats a pretty terrible thing.'

"Us clapping and cheering Hilary Rosen and friends as they left, and them appearing not to get the sarcasm"

For more - not to speak of a good laugh - go here:

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