The Big Picture: Music

The Big Picture: Music

The specific article I have pulled a quote from below is located directly:

Big Picture: Music – New Arguments Against P2P: The Phony Moral Debate

“Its Illegal.”

That’s the phrase the Recording Industry have been chanting nonstop for the past 5 years. It has been the mantra of the big labels and studios ever since Napster winked into existence.

But a subtle shift is already underway. As we await the Supreme Court’s decision in the Grokster case, the industry — or in this case, its apologists — is positioning itself for a defeat on the merits. They want and need a fall back position, in the event the Supreme Court decides not to overturn the well settled law — “substantial non infringing use” — of Sony BetaMax case.

If the Betamax decision is not overturned, than on the law, the case is over: Articles such as this one — File-sharing case worries Indie artists — incontrovertibly demonstrate the inescapable conclusion that not only are there substantial non infringing uses for P2P, but they are from direct business competitors to the Big Labels. If P2P is quashed, it would have the effect of limiting competition to the majors from the small, underfunded, scrappy independents.

And that’s even before we get to the issue of stifling technological innovation.

Indeed, knowledgeable observers have long since figured out that P2P is not about copyright at all. Instead, its about disintermediation — getting the Labels out of the middle, removing them from between the artist and the listener.

Of course the labels are horrified about P2P — it makes them irrelevant. Who the hell wants to be replaced by a collaborative filter?

But even if the industry wins the Grokster case, the result will be a pyrrhic victory, largely unenforceable against the free roaming decentralized software the Recording Industry inadvertently birthed when they litigated the centralized Napster to death. In fact, just this past week, the WSJ Op-Ed page acknowledged that stopping swapping is all but impossible:

“Allofmp3, which resides in . . . Russia, and was described to me by one knowledgeable user as “more or less legal.” Even if the anti-Grokster forces can next afford to spend 10 years to win (and enforce) MGM v. Putin et al. in the Hague, there will always be another wave of digitized aliens hacking through the copyright walls. There has to be a better way.”

So a new approach has been hatched: Apologists for the industry are replacing the catchphrase “Its illegal” with a new mantra.

Are you ready to hear what it is? (Hold onto your seat):

Check out the article to catch what it is, and for the rest of this great piece. I couldn’t have said it better!

There are also some great links to other very worthwhile articles at the end of the piece and some very thought provoking comments as well by folks.

A big thanks to Barry and The Big Picture: Music!

NOTE: Originally posted: April 2005 (recreated from mangled original bambismusings.blogspot.com)

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