Wednesday, February 16, 2011

On the eve of the 'British Grammies', organizer says "Illegal downloading is suffocating the music industry"

David Joseph, Chairman and CEO of Universal Music UK, wrote an op-ed today in The Telegraph entitled "Illegal downloading is suffocating the music industry."

The culprit, says Joseph, is the "delay in implementing legislation to tackle the problem that was passed nearly 12 months ago."   Twelve months is a long time.  One might infer that either the sanctions in place have not proven to be tough enough or even after 12 months the implementers (whoever they are) are having trouble finding a way to devise sanctions that are consonant with Britain's values. What will the next twelve months bring?  Fileageddon??

Or perhaps there is another source of the suffocation altogether.  That source is the estimated multi-billions of illegally downloaded songs already out there.

Even if you stopped illegal downloading cold tomorrow you would still have to deal with the billions of counterfeit copies that flooded onto people's computers, mobiles and "cloud solutions" when the dike was open.

Rather than go for more draconian sanctions .. why not at least experiment with the Digital Content Exchange?  If you had the DCE in place, enforcement (Draconian or otherwise) would be less a priority.  Why prioritize ISP enforcement when illegal downloaders could basically "knock themselves out" only to find the uses for their ill-gotten gains to be paltry and few.

Joseph has chosen a good word ... "suffocating".  That is what is happening.  Counterfeits are a silent killer.  Just like they would be to an economy where people were allowed to create dollar bills at will.  But unless you deal with the 15 years of counterfeits in music, the air passage will not be significantly reopened.

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