Although most of the reading and viewing this week was very instructional, there were a few points that I actually feel less educated having been told. Namely, nearly all of the statements by the RIAA and MPAA. I quickly found the effects of distorting the laws, abusing the legal system, and the American people in a futile event to control. It has nothing to do with saving the music industry, at least not anymore.
The history of Intellectual Property re-use, and the developments over the last hundred years are a great topic of study. The fact that we are in fact going back on some of the ideas that the United States was brought up on is not necessarily surprising, but is very concerning nevertheless. The United States at one time allowed free speech, even through the works of others. Why not? The RIAA and the producers it represents are, in effect, afraid of some competition. Why they don’t just innovate beats me. Like the ‘Free Culture’ article discusses the implications of free software for Microsoft, innovation and not a tyrannical power struggle against the consumer will cause the greatest benefit.
The concept that stood out to me dealt with the actual ‘cost’ of downloading music. Like the article ‘Free Culture’ says: “There is a huge difference between downloading a song and stealing a CD.” I definitely agree. Being a numbers and statistics person, I see how the RIAA can convince themselves into believing that they are losing all sorts of money. When they are willing to ignore the intricacies and rules of statistics, like the readings make it clear the industry is doing, you can make the numbers do whatever you want.
The piracy industry is making it impossible for a band to be OK and survive by selling CDs. Period. Only those bands that are very unique can survive. Like the Beatles, bands have to push the limit, innovate, and be different; then they can compete against the growing list of quality music.