Music industry fights back piracy

24Sep12

The two articles (links shared at the end of the post) reinforce the two points made by Harvey regarding how peer-to-peer networks are disrupting the distribution mechanism & profits of music industry and how recording labels, most affected by this free online music downloads, are suing such internet websites and people who download music from these websites.

The first article highlights the findings of an in-depth study (in UK) of illegal file-sharing activity via the internet by Musicmetric, which provides music data on the web. The study underlines the challenges facing the industry as the “digital native” generation, generally much less in the habit of paying for online content, comes of age. It mentions that student cities like Manchester & Liverpool are a hub of such illegal music download and more than twice as many music albums are downloaded illegally than from, say iTunes. It also points out to BitTorrent being the most popular music sharing website.

I find the following quote particularly interesting as it speaks of the real problem at the heart of this issue:

“Clearly the biggest problem with illegally downloaded music is that there is a generation who feel it is natural that music and all creative content is free,” says Andy Heath, director of Beggars Group, the British record company behind artists such as Adele and Dizzee Rascal. “Once they are in that mindset it’s very difficult for them to see it as not free.”

The article further notes how these record companies are fighting back to save their industry. And here, the second article comes into picture as it gives a recent example of how offenders of music piracy are being punished.

It speaks of how the music industry is using the Copyright Act to pursue individuals who illegally download music from the Internet. The law allows copyright owners to recover damages between $750 and $150,000 per infringed work. And so as per this law, the US Court of Appeal asked a woman, Jammie Thomas-Rasset, who illegally downloaded about two dozen songs on Kazaa (a peer-to-peer network), to pay the fine of $222,000.

Thomas-Rasset, from Brainerd, Minnesota, was one of 18,000 individuals sued by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) between 2003 and 2008 in a legal assault meant to discourage people from illegally downloading songs from sites like Kazaa. The association sued Thomas-Rasset in 2006 over 24 songs on behalf of six major record labels, including Sony BMG Music Entertainment, UMG Recordings Inc and Arista Records.

And once again, the links:

Article 1: http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/3028e704-fdd0-11e1-8fc3-00144feabdc0.html#axzz27RZ7k1wz

Article 2: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/11/entertainment-us-copyright-thomasrasset-idUSBRE88A1CH20120911

-Namrata

 

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