I get Google News for "music law," and I actually get a wide variety of articles. I started receiving this by request because I was taking an Entertainment Law and Licensing class at Belmont that required an article to be brought in every week, as well as working on my Honors Thesis about Digital Downloading. (Entitled The Distribution of Music and the Adaptation of Digital Downloading to the Industry's Business Structure. Yup. Fun way to take up time in the presentation.). I still get it because sometime I come across some gems of information.
So one of the articles that came across recently was on the Dutch Parliament's statement that downloading movies and music will remain legal. This was posted by Ernesto on TorrentFreak - you can check out the article here.
Notice the cute little italicized "remain"? There was a law trying to be passed to make it unlawful, but the Dutch believe that this is actually a form of free flow of information. While it seems like our industry is trying to figure out a way to squeeze every dime out of consumers for listening or watching, this industry is being encouraged to look for other means to make their income - something I have been preaching for a couple of years now. The money's not in the sale of the song anymore. It's nice, and not really declining as much as we're lead to believe (people do actually like owning the music themselves more than stealing it), but the revenue streams have shifted.
They also brought up the topic of privacy, something I hadn't given much thought to in this realm. Of course, to find out what people are doing illegally, you need to be able to see it. Downloading's a tough crime to catch without getting into a person's personal hard drive space. It's not like you can see the stolen car in their garage - you've got to break and enter. The Dutch see this, rightfully, as an invasion of privacy. Probable cause is one thing, but you can see how this reasoning could grow entirely out of hand, right?
One of their suggestions to the industry is to focus on quality, since it's really hard to find good quality downloads for free. Another, in my opinion, is to put more stock in the live performances. And license the music out for other uses. TV is an awesome avenue for new music to get to the world.
This is a trend that's catching on. Shortly after this was reported, the Swiss passed a similar ruling. It's going to get harder and harder to deny the reasoning. Here's my stance: keep buying music you love, and share it with friends. I don't like the idea of not paying for it, but encourage purchases. In the meantime, subscribe to Spotify, or something like it, and stream it online for a nominal fee. That money IS being divvied out to the songwriters and artists appropriately. Also, GO TO THE SHOWS. The live experience is almost always better anyway.
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