Today the Australian Senate passed a bill to allow copyright owners to seek a court injunction to force internet service providers to block overseas ‘piracy websites’.
While I agree that profiting from file sharing or purposefully avoiding paying a fair price for a product that is freely available for purchase is wrong, these ‘new’ laws will do little to curb file sharing. We’re talking about 0’s & 1’s here.
The digitisation of music and its convergence with participatory culture online has led to a total shift in the way we interact with, and consume music in our everyday lives.
Distrust of new technology is nothing new. In 2009 Greg Kot wrote; “Phonographs were seen as a threats to live music at the turn of the twentieth century: if consumers could get music at home, what incentive would there be to go out and see a show or an opera? Radio was going to kill the phonograph in the 1930’s: if listeners could access music for free over the broadcast airwaves what need would they have to buy records? The introduction of the cassette and home taping was going to undermine the business in the 1980s; Why would you buy an album when you could record your friends copy?”
The music industry has feared and eventually embraced and profited from new technologies to create, produce and disseminate product since the phonograph. And it will do it again.
We’re experiencing a very exciting time in the evolution of communication here. We need to embrace it.
I truly do feel for those who have lost income from file sharing. I do. But unfortunately the industry has yet to fully embrace the internet in the same why they did Phonographs, Radio, cassettes and compact discs.Napster existed way before the first online music store. That’s a fail for the industry.
In 2010 Patrik Wikström wrote a book called, The Music Industry: Music in the Cloud. In the book he wrote; “Participatory culture is a trend pushed from the consumers desire to be creative and social”. That desire isn’t going away and neither is the access to the tools to fulfil it.
The mechanics of internet based communication and the world wide web mean that copies are made. Some people share those copies. We need to get over it, and stop playing wack-a-mole. The only way you’ll stop all online file sharing is to pull the plug on consumer access to the internet. Do we really want to kill the most amazing communication technology we’ve ever seen?
The last point I want to make is that the music industry is not alone. Photographers, writers, designers, developers, directors… We’re all experiencing change, and we can learn from each other.
These are exciting times.