Ponderance

(May 2003 - March 2007.) Tama's thoughts on the blogosphere, podcasting, popular culture, digital media and citizen journalism posted from a laptop computer somewhere in Perth's isolated, miniature, urban jungle ...

Monday, September 15, 2003

The New York Times has an article entitled 'Whatever Will Be Will Be Free on the Internet' on the future of copyright, intellectual property all analysed in the wake of peer-2-peer sharers being sued. The article begins:
The recording industry's long-running battle against online music piracy has come to resemble one of those whack-a-mole arcade games, where the player hammers one rubber rodent's head with a mallet only to see another pop up nearby. Conk one, and up pops another, and so on. Three years ago, the music industry sued Napster, the first popular music file-sharing network on the Internet. That sent Napster reeling, but other networks for trading copyrighted music — KaZaA, Grokster, Morpheus and others — sprang up. Last week, in the latest swing of the hammer, the Recording Industry Association of America filed 261 lawsuits against individual file sharers, which will surely make some of their estimated 60 million compatriots think twice — for now. Earth Station Five, a company based in the West Bank, surfaced recently with claims of being at war with the industry association. It promises the latest in anonymous Internet file sharing. Its motto: "Resistance is futile."
Perhaps 'Litigation is futile' would be more apt? For a country founded on capitalist ideals of consumer choice winning above all else, why is it taking so long for the US music industries to realise that they're going to have to woo customers back with better deals, cheaper CDs and, most desirable, a realistically priced legal music download service a la iTunes?

Elsewhere The New York Times also addresses the justification RIAA are using to sue fans: that you're hurting the artists. But what do the artists have to say:
Since the Recording Industry Association of America began its campaign against file-sharing services and unauthorized song swapping online in 1999, it has offered one chief justification for its actions: downloading songs is stealing money from the pockets of musicians. But the musicians themselves have conflicted responses to file sharing and the tactics of the association, a trade group that represents record labels, not the musicians themselves, who have no organization that wields equal power.
After the spectacular unpopularity of Metallica in the wake of their massive onslaught on Napster, surely artists will think twice about vocally dismissing file sharing? More to the point, many artists feel the fans are more than justified. From Moby's journal, for example:
the riaa (the people who represent the big record labels in america) sued a 12 year old girl for $2,000 for file-sharing. a multi-billion dollar industry suing defenseless 12 year old girls really isn't the best public-relations move on the riaa's part, don't you agree? file-sharing is a reality, and it would seem that the labels would do well to learn how to incorporate it into their business models somehow (see: apples on-line music store as a possible example...). record companies sueing 12 year old girls for file-sharing is kind of like horse and buggy operators sueing henry Ford.
It's time for a change, RIAA, time for a change ...


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