Lily Allen certainly knows how to start an online dust-up. If it’s not Perez Hilton, it’s the Featured Artists Coalition, who she tore into in a recent blog post. And now Lily has managed to stoke up the ire of geeks around the world by launching a dedicated anti-piracy blog.She doesn’t understand the issues! She’s misquoting what FAC said about piracy! She’s pirated someone else’s blog post! Why does she think she has the right to pontificate about file-sharing being wrong?! And so on, often spiced up with an unhealthy dash of misogyny concerning her intelligence, looks and/or talent. How dare a 24-year-old woman tell people what to do with their internets?Actually, though, it’s quite simple. Lily Allen makes music. She’s got every right to sound off about file-sharing, just like other artists (Matt Bellamy, Elton John, Ed O’Brien, 50 Cent or whoever). She’s part of this whole debate, as are the fans, the record labels, the ISPs, the politicians and the torrent tracker types.And while we’re on artists, who said there had to be a party line? When it comes to file-sharing, artists run the whole gamut of opinion from ‘it’s evil!’ to ‘it made my career!’. That doesn’t mean FAC shouldn’t try to ensure artists’ views are heard loudly in this debate by issuing statements, but nor does it mean artists who disagree with those statements – like Allen – should be muzzled.Yes, she copied and pasted a post from Techdirt without the attribution usually expected on blogs – which was ironic given the piratical subject matter. But really, people, that’s a blogging thing – quotemarks and a link would have sorted it. It’d be great if pop stars were up on their netiquette, but you may as well slam Allen for using Blogspot rather than Wordpress, and not having the right widgets embedded.But the point is, she’s engaging with the debate, and trying to get other artists engaged too. Whether you disagree with some or all of her views – or those of the people quoted on her blog – it’s important that they’re heard, discussed and yes, contradicted. The same is true for the efforts being made by FAC.It’s called… what was it? Oh yes: a debate.Lily Allen’s blog is helping to fuel that debate, as are the people taking the time to post comments on it arguing for, developing or picking apart her views.The sneering tone of much of the personal criticism leveled at her in recent days is not.

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