You may have heard of Godwin’s Law, an adage set down by Michael Godwin in about 1990 when observing flame battles on USENET groups. It states that given enough time, any online discussion will at some point invoke the name of Hitler and/or Nazis: “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches.”
Once you pass that threshold, the thread is done. There’s nowhere else to go. Civil discourse has been destroyed, usually along with the credibility of the person making the comparison. Listen, people: there’s precious little in the everyday world that can be legitimately compared to the Nazis. They were that horrible and evil.
Someone needs to take Thom Yorke aside and explain this. He’s just become a poster child for Godwin’s Law with his latest, um, strong pronouncements which came during an interview with the Italian newspaper Repubblica. It would be nice to blame the comments on a mistranslation, but not this time. Here’s what he said when asked about his music listening habits.
I don’t use YouTube, that’s for sure. Although … a friend of mine told me [about] this app to skip commercials on YouTube….The funny thing is that YouTube has said: ‘Hey, this is not [fair’]. You know, they say that is not [fair]. They put that before any advertising content making a lot of money and the artists are not paid or are paid ridiculous sums – and apparently this is fine for them.
Fair enough. But then he really gets wound up when the interviewer broached the subject of how musicians earn an income these days. Here’s the Google translation:
I do not know, you tell me. I do not have the solution to these problems. All I know is that you make money with the work of many artists who do not derive any benefit. It continues to say that it is a time when the music is free, the film is free. It’s not true. Service providers make money. Google. YouTube. A lot of money, doing trawling, like the ocean, take everything there is dragging. ‘Oh, sorry, it was not yours? Now is ours. No, no, we joke, is always yours’. They are seized. It’s like what they did the Nazis during the Second World War. Indeed, they did all during the war, the British also: steal the art to other countries. What’s the difference?
So there’s no difference between the people who run the music industry and genocidal maniacs looking to create a master race? Oh, dear, Thom. Probably not the best comparison. While there are plenty of problems for musicians today, this kind of hyperbole won’t advance your arguments effectively.
(Via Music Business Worldwide)