July 10, 2005

RIAA Win

Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/4627679.stm

I saw this a while back and it irritated me, but amused me at the same time with how the media represents this kind of thing: File-sharing suffers major defeat

All I can say is "bugger". This means that we're all going to have to start buying music now right?
Hmmm… Forgive me if I'm sceptical but I really can't see that happening for a variety of reasons. Primarily it won't change anything for because I'm quite happy listening to internet radio (generally of the fully licenced and legal kind), listening to my existing pre-university aquired collection of CDs (all ripped to MP3 on my computer of course!) and the files I've already ahem aquired.

If I want to listen to a particular new album then I will buy it regardless of whether I can download it or not, on the flipside to that I download songs which I quite like but have no intention of ever buying. If I couldn't download a particular song then not a single individual is losing out on any money since I would not go out and buy a CD, especially when 4/10 tracks are crap and CDs cost so much.
If anything the music companies have the potential to lose revenue from me since if I download a track and think "damn this is good" I will generally go and purchase the CD, without the ability to preview these tracks I will not bother.

Another factor I see in affecting the download of music files (or rather, not affecting as the case may be) is the fact that in the aftermath of this case developers will be less public advertising their own identity so that they cannot be held responsible for any copyright theft. The fact that there are so many extremely effective file-sharing technologies already in the market that will be nigh on impossible to permenantly shut down due to the very nature of peer-to-peer networking.

There is one area where I will side with the RIAA though and that is the line that "file-sharing networks have legitimate uses". Well yeeeesssss… But… How many times have you been on eMule and gone looking for a file which isn't copyrighted in some way? Very infrequently I'd wager… OpenOffice, the free (and superior in my opinion) open source replacement to Microsoft Office uses BitTorrent as one of its distribution methods, this is an excellent and legitimate use of the P2P technology which I encourage whole heartedly (downloading several hundred MB in a couple of minutes is pretty damn nifty in my eyes) but this is the minority! Everything else on the networks is quite often the latest album release.

I love the irony that I am a Software Engineer who works on a variety of engineering and development products (and therefore retail for a rather substantial sum!) and rely on people buying the software to keep food on my table, and yet I preach about the fact that downloading MP3 files is NOT evil and is NOT going to bancrupt any music producer in my lifetime.
How many times have you walked into HMV or MusicZone and found it completely empty of people (who are all obviously going to be at their computer downloading things)?

Anyway, I'm off to go fire up eMule and find something to download and listen to!


- 2 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. The court case actually changes nothing, just keeps the status quo. so long as it's not intended for piracy, it's fine, which was basically the verdict after Sony vs Betamax

    10 Jul 2005, 22:53

  2. The line between "intended for piracy" and "can be used for piracy" is getting increasingly blurred in the eyes of the law. That is what worries me... Technologies such as BitTorrent and eMule are seriously clever shit, the stuff that is there could be put to so many uses including piracy.
    What concerns me is that the courts will end up ruling against anything that isn't controlled and monitored. Having worked with the code used in these technologies I can see so many possible uses of these things as well as piracy, but if someone said "no, BitTorrent is bad – it can be used for bad things, so get rid of it" that would be a fundamentally bad thing in terms of research and advancement of technology.

    It is a tough line to draw – where does advancement of knowledge superceed copyright law? As a programmer I sure as hell need the money that selling my software brings in to the company; if everyone pirated it I'd be out of a job. But the means by which software and music (they can be considered as one and the same in many cases) is pirated is the product of some fantastic minds which should not be stopped regardless of what they intend and others intend it to be used for.

    I'm gonna shut up now and maybe make another blog entry on this topic since I have quite a few thoughts on this!!

    10 Jul 2005, 23:44


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