Music industry lobbyist calls for death penalty for piracy

Here's Fran Nevrkla, Chairman and CEO of Phonographic Performance Ltd, a UK music industry association, addressing the group's AGM. Some choice morsels:

Thank you, David, and thank you for putting some of those pirates behind bars. I know that regrettably capital punishment was abolished in this country some 50 years ago, sad it is, but a few years in jail is probably pretty OK...

To the industry I would say, we would be well advised to delete two or three words from our vocabulary entirely and they are 'promotion' and 'promotional value'. There is no such thing in the 21st Century. There is usage, there are benefits, hopefully often, if not always to both sides but there is no favour in it and no indulgence and no promotion.

PPL AGM 2010: Fran Nevrkla's Address


  1. this guy is a manifestation of ur writings, isnt he. like the nightmare come true. hes a dinosaur from yesteryear come to haunt us with his demented struggle to cherish his failing business model.

    “but lets not allow science and technology take over – because it it is music that is so essential to our world AND THAT DRIVES OUR INDUSTRY further forward”.


    exactly. cmon let him produce the same, repetitive “music”(dont u dare calling it noise!) over and over again without advancements in technology and god forbid accepting any kind of science…it just sells better.

  2. These guys should be jailed for the exploitation of the artists they supposedly represent.
    Go on trial at a minimum.

  3. I twigged this was a hilarious satirical performance piece when he used the phrase ‘Thank you to Peter Mandelson’. A well observed characterisation but that was the bit that gave it away.

  4. Perhaps he’s been reading K. W. Jeter’s 1998 novel Noir.

    “There’s a hardware solution to intellectual-property theft. It’s called a .357 magnum. No better way for taking pirates off-line. Permanently. Properly applied to the head of any copyright-infringing little bastard, this works.”(*)

    I also recall a sequence in which an infringer’s spinal column and brain stem is removed and used to make interconnect cable for Hi-Fi equipment. The infringer’s consciousness remains active in the cable. Or something macabre along those lines.

    (*) Quote from the Novel found at

  5. Gee Cory, when I saw the headline this might be overblown hyperbole, like we all get into when we’re agitated, but sure enough he said it!

    Maybe he thinks it’s obviously funny and sarcastic?

  6. After listening for about 8 minutes, I realised that the world can do perfectly well without people like this chap.

  7. He’s just a typical speaker bullshit artiste, who has to say things like that to create some interest in his horrible, dull speech. It’s telling that he thought the death penalty is a joke that would go down well with the directors & shareholders, but it can’t be taken in the least bit seriously.

  8. I am impressed by the apparent fact that there have ever been members of the polity who are ready to insist that, for nearly any social problem, the instillation of FEAR in (some) people’s hearts “is the solution”.

    I would only add that IMHO a “snappy” tune would not hurt, either:

    Keep those blighters in line, wot?

  9. ” There is usage, there are benefits, hopefully often, if not always to both sides but there is no favour in it and no indulgence and no promotion.”

    This actually makes sense, but only from the perspective of someone working for the industry at large, and not a particular label or artist. The public is going to listen to a certain amount of music regardless of popular tastes, trends, hot genres, etc, and he wants a payment for every single listen.

    Of course, this is a weird way to look at things, and certainly not in the interests of labels or artists. Much like how Viacom lawyers sent take down notices to Viacom marketing, this guy is working against the labels/artists that collectively employ him. Obviously, artists need to get their art heard/seen/read for people to know about them and subsequently to want to get their art.

  10. Well I think that he has a point that in the current technological environment, promotion isn’t really distinct from use. Twenty years ago, distributing music via radio to encourage people to purchase it in other formats made sense, but that is not really true anymore. Of course the problems is that promotion is really what the “music industry” does. Without promotion, there’s really no reason for the record labels to exist, what with their “Works for hire” contracts and chiseling the creators out of royalties.

  11. Didn’t know you could make it to the top, in this day and age, which such terrible presentation skills.

    His bio tells you he’s a violinist… who played for the last time in 1976. The British music biz is led by a guy who can’t play. How apt.

    1. I think we need a new maxim for the 21st Century:

      Those who can, do. Those who can’t, lobby.

  12. meh … I have ceased to care about what these dinosaurs say. I stopped listening to their products the day I discovered podcasts.

  13. I shot myself in the foot 2 minutes in…This is guy is so boring, can we see some numbers of what he is talking about? Show me some slides of kitties downloading pirated music! 5 minutes was my cutoff point. See ya later!

  14. “Don’t click on that torrent link, Lefty. We’ve got you covered – you don’t have a chance!”

    “I’m on the run from a file-sharing rap already, copper!!! I’ll ride Old Sparky either way. Whaddya think I have to lose????”


  15. What a movie. It’s brilliant that he was ridiculed as a madman when he thought he was ‘the lord of peace and love’ and applauded as a visionary when he became an actual murdering madman.

    1. Note: my reply was SUPPOSED to be a reply to Ugly Canuck regarding the film ‘Ruling Class’

  16. Hey Cory…you might want to watch do open yourself up to some criticism by posting (in a negative way) about an anti-piracy advocate making a joke about executing people…immediately after posting (in a positive way) about Warren Ellis making a joke about executing the British football squad.

    Both were hyperbolic jokes used to indicate wry anger and irritation with a group of people. True, one was funny and one wasn’t…but that’s still pretty problematic. Not much to hang your hat on there.

    1. Such jokes ring differently in lands where the death penalty is a common place occurrence.

      I am happy the England is not as of now such a place.

  17. It’s worth remembering that people like this are the music industry.

    The artists are merely the cattle to their farmers.

  18. Well well well now we know who was behind the internet filesharing crackdown laws in the Digtial Economy Act introduced by Mandelson…

  19. Would he be happy to be executed on behalf of the Music Industry?

    Given that in Canada many artists have not been paid for 30 years, in America they tried to force artists to pay to perform *their* *own* works, it wouldn’t surprise me if similar stunts have been pulled or attempted here in blighty, etc etc.

    The biggest pirates in the business are the music business themselves!


  20. Death penalty? Yeah, why not. And when we’re at it, why even bother with the legal case? In Sweden the minister of justice, Beatrice Ask, wants the police to convict criminals to prison, without trial in the court.

  21. I am happy the England is not as of now such a place.

    That’s true, and the UK’s membership of the EU is an absolute barrier against even considering capital punishment. Mind you, with the EU looking economically shaky, an emboldened anti-EU faction amongst the Right, and newspapers and opinion polls regularly showing mass support for the reintroduction of the death penalty (it’ll probably be on the front pages of the Sun and the Daily Mail the day after Britain exits the EU), I wouldn’t say that Britain’s membership in the league of non-executing nations can be taken for granted for all time.

    1. Yeah, I’m sure it’s a risk that they’ll jettison the EU and all its works and re-instate the death penalty as punishment for internet piracy.

  22. Instead of the death penalty, pirates should be forced to listen Britney Spears tracks in heavy rotation.

    1. They already are, thanks to the consolidation of the radio broadcast industry. What do you think is making them into pirates?

  23. The only thing I find surprising is that over the years, considering how many lives the various media associations have ruined, that they haven’t run into that one person they really shouldn’t have messed with. You know that guy, the quiet one, that pays his taxes, and is a “good guy”. The one who gets his life ruined by downloading Brittney Spears new Album (which is bad enough), only to be sued into oblivion, lose his house, get divorced, lose his job, have his kids taken away, and then suddenly thinks, “Hey, you know what, I ain’t got all that much to lose, and I am pretty darn angry”. One would then be looking for a target for that anger, and thinking how unfairly they were treated by the justice system and how it ultimately failed them. Considering how many years they have been doing it, and how many thousands and thousands, they have sued, and how many tens of thousands they plan on suing, if I were an executive of one of these associations responsible for this sort a behavior, then I might be inclined to watch what I say in public that might be considered inflammatory, inappropriate, and maybe give some crazy some bad ideas…

  24. This, friends, is a walking, talking anachronism.

    I can’t wait until the music industry burns to the ground, no one needs them, neither artists/’artists’ nor consumers.

  25. I would like to advocate the death penalty for anyone who advocates the death penalty.

    No … wait … D’oh!

  26. As a working musician who has been ripped off by the “music industry” I am extremely offended by this guys rap. In case anyone doesn’t ,the idustry standard contracts give the artist 10% ,with all expenses coming off th etopof that 10% ! A band splits those points with each other,their agent mgr, lawyer accountant etc. The industry had a strangle hold on traditional networks of distribution. That’s what theis guy wants to protect.I bet he personally gets more points per unit than the creators of the music. WTF does he do for his money that comes out of the work of creative artists?

  27. I’ve listened to this 3 times and didn’t hear the capital punishment quote.

    What timestamp is the the above quote?

    Is it part of the other sections?

    1. Wow. I’m impressed that you were able to listen to the whole thing. He’s such a dull speaker that I was ready to stab my eardrums by halfway through part 2 of 5.

      Someone with more stamina have any idea?

  28. I hope this guy pays Jim Sheridan for having quoted some sentences from “In the name of the father”…

    1. Hell, he’d better pay the Oxford English Dictionary royalties for every word he uses! On pain of death!

  29. Prehistoric turds like this guy are the reason I almost always buy used (usually or directly from the artist.

  30. Original post:
    (in portuguese) – Autotranslation available

    Look at this: “(…) Thanks, David, and thanks for putting some of these pirates behind bars. I know the unfortunate death penalty was abolished in this country 50 years ago, it’s sad, but some years in jail would probably be reasonable ( …) “. (Fran Nevrkla – Phonographic Performance Ltd.)

    When someone – occupying the position it occupies – say such a thing, you need an immediate reaction from the international legal community. There is confusion as great authorities and some professionals in relation to peer-to-peer, the technologies of rupture (disruptive technology) – as well as for some of these phenomena that previous generations can not understand – they want to criminalize everything, they want to punish everything, put all in one basket piracy and criminal law. Wait a minute there!

    It must always be alert against such reactions.

    “There is no minimum financial damage from of copyright that should slide into Criminal Justice.” (RT 604/365).

    I’ve said it a few years ago against the enthusiastic “criminalizing of SPAM.”

    Now back to the topic again:

    Importantly, the crime should lie only on contrasting facts of the highest social life. There is no minimum financial damage from of copyright that should slide into Criminal Justice, where only manage them more infractions or compromising the ethical minimum (RT 604/365). The criminal law is the ultima ratio and the criminal penalty extrema ratio.

    Julio Fabbrini Mirabete: “(…) the crime is no different infractions extrapenais qualitatively but only quantitatively. Since the intervention of criminal law is required by a higher need for community protection, crime should constitute a most unjust serious and show a higher culpability, should be an infraction that merits a penalty. The result of the devaluation, the devaluation of the action and disapproved of the inner attitude of the author is the fact that translate into an “unbearable example, it would be a bad precedent if the state does not repress by criminal sanction. This means that the penalty should be reserved for cases in which constitutes the only means of protection of social order enough ahead to attack relevant. Only the harmful conduct of axiological backbone of the global historical-cultural society should be typed and restrained. (…) The positive planning therefore must be exceptional as the prediction of criminal and not present as an instrument of satisfaction of contingent situations and individuals, often serving only the political interests of the moment to appease the public outcry exacerbated by the propaganda. Moreover, the penalty established for each crime should be that “necessary and sufficient for the failure and crime prevention” (in the words accepted by art. 59 CP), avoiding excessive punitive, especially with the abuse of custodial sentence. These ideas, embodied in so-called principle of minimum intervention, serve to inspire legislators, who must look at the objective reality must be substantial to make effective the protection of property and interests considered relevant when the movement of criminalization, neocriminalização, decriminalization and legalization “.
    On the topic, yet interesting name, as I have another chance, excerpts from the view of vote-Min Sepulveda belongs on the Supreme Court ruling, also reproduced in the Embargo of divergence in Special Appeal No. 240 400, Rel Min José Arnaldo da Fonseca (STJ): “(…) I can not explain my belief that – before the picture of notorious impotence of the judiciary to meet the demand multiplied jurisdiction and, on the other, the impotence also notorious criminal law who wish to attend transform it into Mirifica, but illusory solution to all ills of life in society, and, increasingly, applaud the reservation for sanction and prosecution of the role of last resortand, whenever possible, their replacement by civil or administrative measures, less stigmatizing and more effective application. More than a simple translation of trend criminal policy, the principle of minimum intervention (see eg, Batista: Critical Introduction to Criminal Dir Brasileirit, Revan Ed, 1990, p. 84, Luis Luisi: Criminal Constitutional Principles, Fabus, 1991, p. 25) implies, according to the Court already has noted, the principle of proportionality: that the right sentence as correctly noted Roxin (Claus Roxin, Iniciación al derecho penal hoy, trad. Seville, 1981 , p. 23, apud Batista, op. cit., p. 84) is the most radical intervention in the freedom of the individual that the law allows the state”, it follows – as the subprinciple of necessity, that the appeal criminalization is only legitimate insofar as it is a criminal penalty to the restrictive measure indispensable to the preservation of himself or another fundamental right that can not be replaced by another equally effective but less onerous. “

  31. He is out of league. ;) Don’t worry.

    Piracy is only process of change business model.

    This guy know it and woof, woof like rattled dog.

    –> corsair from Prague

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