Paul McGuinness's big-hitting speech at this year's Midem has inspired a wave of reaction, not all of it positive.

The U2 manager's lecture became one of the 42nd annual trade fair's hottest talking points, when he used its podium to attribute blame for the industry's woes squarely at the feet of ISPs.

McGuinness on Monday called for pressure on "the ISPs, the telcos, the device makers" and name-checked a roll-call of technology companies with whom the industry must co-operate with, including Apple, Google, Nokia, HP, China Mobile, Vodafone, Comcast, Intel, Ericsson, Facebook, iLike, Oracle, Microsoft, AOL, Yahoo and Tiscali.

Following the speech, a handful of tech firms and ISPs distanced themselves from illegal file distribution. AOL executives stressed that their company stood for legal music, and always took "prompt action" against users uploading illicit content on its service. Speaking from a "media owners' point of view, but not that of an ISP," Mike Hales, director of entertainment, AOL U.K., said, "AOL always seeks to curtail illegal activities, but the music industry has to play its part and start listening to the clear messages from its customers."

Giant Spanish telco Telefonica's digital content supplier, Telefonica Servicios de Música (TSdM), declined to comment directly on McGuinness's speech. But TSdM marketing director Gisela Fernández-Pretel pointed out that last year TSdM signed a deal with 41-label indie group UFI for the digital distribution of music content through all TSdM outlets in Europe and Latin America - via mobile phones, Internet, legal P2P file shares and via television.

TSdM says that the global deal "represents an important step in the development of the commercialization of music in digital formats, and favors the increase of the legal offer of content."

Mario Mariani, CEO of Tiscali Italia, came out in support of McGuinness's calls for greater cross-sector co-operation. "Tiscali has always been in (the) frontline to promote the legal digital music distribution on the basis of a close collaboration with all the parties involved," he says. "Nevertheless, until now the result has been very poor."

Apple and HP were among the technology firms contacted who declined to give comment to Billboard.

The BPI has absolutely backed-up McGuinness's comments with a hard-line stance of its own. "The time has come for ISPs to stop dragging their feet and start showing some responsibility, by taking reasonable steps to counter illegal music freeloading," said BPI CEO Geoff Taylor in a statement. "Their failure to do so in until now is extraordinary - and it can't be allowed to go on."

The BPI said that after more than a year of negotiations, ISPs in the U.K. are still resisting implementing a three-step procedure intended to rid networks of illegal music files.

For more on McGuinness and Midem, turn to this week's Billboard Magazine.

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