For decades,The corporate music industry, AKA Big Music, in the shape of huge, obscenely rich multinational conglomerates has been ripping off and persecuting the very people who’ve been keeping it alive, suing innocent mothers, fathers and young children and even dead grandmothers, in the name of copyright.
They assert sharing music by downloading files is exactly the same as stealing it off store shelves and they make the claim even though no money changes hands, and nothing has actually been physically removed to the detriment of former owners, or anyone else.
If theft has been going on, it’s been perpetrated by the labels and in fact the argument has been made that sharing online is an invaluable fom of viral marketing.
Examples of the harm done by Organized Music in its quest for more profits at any cost are legion and one of the first I came across as the former owner/editor/publisher of freedom of speech advocacy site p2pnet centered on Tammy Lafky, a single mother, who according to the major record labels, owed them more than half a million dollars. But they said they’d ‘settle’ for a mere $4,000.
Tammy told the lawyer who approached her she didn’t have any money. But, continued a Pioneer Press story, “She told me to go talk to a lawyer and I told her I don’t have no money to talk to a lawyer.”
Lafky cleared a paltry $21,000 a year from her job and received no child support, said Leslie Brooks Suzukamo in her report.
Record label statements they’re being “devastated” their word) by file sharing have repeatedly been shown to be specious and one of the first academic papers to give the lie to the claims was The Effect of File Sharing on Record Sales An Empirical Analysis, Felix Oberholzer and Koleman Strumpf.
“Downloads have an effect on sales which is statistically indistinguishable from zero, despite rather precise estimates. Moreover, these estimates are of moderate economic significance and are inconsistent with claims that file sharing is the primary reason for the recent decline in music sales.”
“Copyright has an innovation problem. Judicial decisions, private enforcement, and public dialogue ignore innovation and overemphasize the harms of copyright infringement,” writes professor Michael A. Carrier of the Rutgers School of Law, Camden, New Jersey in the abstract to his July 3 63 page, 2012 paper Copyright and Innovation, the Untold Story Wisconsin Law Review, forthcoming .
“Just to pick one example, ‘piracy,” “theft,’ and ‘rogue websites’ were the focus of debate in connection with the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) and Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA),” But such a debate ignores the effect of copyright law and enforcement on innovation, . Even though innovation is the most important factor in economic growth, it is difficult to observe, especially in comparison to copyright infringement.
“This article addresses this problem. It presents the results of a groundbreaking study of 31 CEOs, company founders, and vice-presidents from technology companies, the recording industry, and venture capital firms. Based on in-depth interviews, the article offers original insights on the relationship between copyright law and innovation. It also analyzes the behavior of the record labels when confronted with the digital music revolution. And it traces innovators’ and investors’ reactions to the district court’s injunction in the case involving peer-to-peer (p2p) service Napster.
“The Napster ruling presents an ideal setting for a natural experiment. As the first decision to enjoin a p2p service, it presents a crucial data point from which we can trace effects on innovation and investment. This article concludes that the Napster decision reduced innovation and that it led to a venture capital “wasteland.” The article also explains why the record labels reacted so sluggishly to the distribution of digital music. It points to retailers, lawyers, bonuses, and (consistent with the “Innovator’s Dilemma”) an emphasis on the short term and preservation of existing business models.
“The article also steps back to look at copyright litigation more generally. It demonstrates the debilitating effects of lawsuits and statutory damages. It gives numerous examples, in the innovators’ own words, of the effects of personal liability. It traces the possibilities of what we have lost from the Napster decision and from copyright litigation generally. And it points to losses to innovation, venture capital, markets, licensing, and the “magic” of music.
“The story of innovation in digital music is a fascinating one that has been ignored for too long. This article aims to fill this gap, ensuring that innovation plays a role in today’s copyright debates.”
Jon Newton – myblogdammit.net
Stay tuned …