The Economist are reporting today that America’s Supreme Court has ruled that makers of peer-to-peer file-swapping technology can be held responsible for the copyright infringement that their products allow. They say that “This may stop much of the free downloading of music and film over the internet, but it will not cure the entertainment business’s ills. Nor will it do much for innovation.”
Firstly, if they think it will stop downloading of music, they’re crazy. The ruling only applies to the USA, and how do they think they’re going to stop it happening? Who’s going to police it?
Secondly, this may stop innovation in the USA (I doubt it), but it will sput it on elsewhere in the world. Legal or not, file swapping is here to stay, and the industry had better get used to it. They’ve got a short reprieve – won a minor battle in a war they’re losing horribly. They’d better learn quickly how to profit from this, rather than fight it. File swapping is the natural extension of democracy, freedom, technology and the free market – all the things America stands for. Its created its own monster, and its can’t tame it again.
The industry are doing themselves irreprable harm at the moment. A 14 year old girl was fined just over $ 4,000 this past week for downloading files. Does the industry think that this will (a) stop this 14 year old ever doing that again, and (b) be a deterent for anyone else to stop the practice? Are they mad?

Part of the problem is the exorbitant nature of the costs of the industry. Everyone who has ever been into a computer shops knows that the actual hard cost of a CD with all its packaging is about $1 – and that’s if you’re being ripped off, and don’t have access to whopping great machines that can churn them out in their thousands. We pay $20 and more a CD because the industry has gotten out of control. It pays Mariah Carey a ridiculous number of millions of dollars NOT to sing another album. And it expects us to pay for that massive blunder!! Wake up, record companies, the free market is talking to you – SHOUTING in fact.
What we need, just for starters, is to be able to purchase only the good tracks on an album – only those tracks we like. We need also to be able to mix and match our selections. We need an experience in the purchase, too – something you can’t get online. There are hundreds of things you could do in such an experience – a little creativity will go a long way. We also need the record execs to know that the gravy train is over. But then, maybe it isn’t. They can still make great money out of live concerts. Those are great experiences, too.
Maybe its time to consider the possibility that CD albums are free marketing for live concerts. Hey, why not?

TomorrowToday Global