These ‘new’ laws will do little to curb file sharing. We’re talking about 0’s & 1’s here

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’.

You can read about it on The Australian’s website. The story is located here.

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.

Digital Rights Management: Devaluing content and criminalising consumers in the war to control end user piracy.

The following article was researched and written over the last three months of my undergraduate BA in Internet Communications through Curtin University. It was presented with a literature review that can also be found here.

My Research looked at the qualifying factors for the use of Digital Rights Management (DRM) in the war against end user piracy.  While some publishers of digital products including Tor Books have reported no increase in end user piracy since removing all embedded DRM from their stock in the last 12 months, others such as Electronic Arts have reported no decrease of unauthorised product in the market since rolling out new anti-piracy technology.  As the arts, entertainment and cultural industries navigate their way through the current transitional period of Intellectual Property Rights Management, many consumers have expressed confusion and frustration over the legal frameworks that govern the use of digital goods, and the technologies that protect them. While the removal of embedded anti-piracy technologies can leave digital product open to end user piracy, the implementation of DRM effectively wages war on paying customers. Before any DRM can be presumed a success there must first be evidence of a return on investment and a notable decrease in piracy.  Without assessing the economics of piracy compared to the financial cost of implementing restrictive anti-piracy technologies, those that implement DRM will continue to devalue their product and force consumers to seek unrestricted alternatives.

If any of that sounds remotely interesting to you, I would suggest a good cup of coffee, glass of wine or bottle of craft beer for the rest of the journey.

As always comments, feedback and constructive criticism are greatly appreciated.

Continue reading Digital Rights Management: Devaluing content and criminalising consumers in the war to control end user piracy.

The current state of DRM; a literature review.

The following Literature Review is a accumulative update of the major ideas, concepts and accepted statistical data surrounding the state of Digital Rights Management (DRM) and its effectiveness for protecting the Intellectual Property (IP) online. By bringing together academic research, industry data and contrasting arguments regarding the use of DRM in the distribution of digital products, this document hopes to bring the reader up to speed with the current contributions to the DRM debate and the laws and economics that surround and inform it.

Continue reading The current state of DRM; a literature review.

Fair participation; why copyright laws don’t work.

Traditional applications of copyright are becoming unworkable in the contemporary media environment.

As our culture moves from a mass media environment into a participatory system of media consumption, traditional applications of copyright have become unworkable (Regner, 2010 p1). Publishers and broadcasters who once controlled the spaces their product was consumed, now face an online environment where media is increasingly utilised in spaces controlled by the audience (Bowery, 2002 ). Because of this trend, copyright law must evolve to remain relevant and ultimately protect the rights of content creators, media producers and corporate entities whose business model is based on the profitable distribution of media. This essay will argue that traditional copyright law fails to account for the economies of sharing (Lessig, 2004 p56) and the anthropological nature of human desire to use the tools available, to communicate and create, as an expression of their culture (Wikstorm, 2010 p2).

Continue reading Fair participation; why copyright laws don’t work.

Piracy: it’s not the problem, it’s the answer.

Online communities who use peer-to-peer and Web 2.0 technologies to interact with the digital music produced by major recording labels, are often blamed for the industries’ suffering profitability. This paper will argue that at a time when the industry is struggling to evolve its business model to keep up with the trends of consumers, members of virtual communities using Web 2.0 technologies to discuss, share, and remix digital music with an aim of gaining social capital, have in fact revealed a new method to promote and distribute recorded music. This is a model that should be adopted by the greater recorded music industry for it to thrive, despite the threat to profits posed by any infringement of copyright. The following will define social capital, discuss why people share music and offer examples of artists who use community-based consumer experiences to their advantage.


Continue reading Piracy: it’s not the problem, it’s the answer.