Wired Prescribes the End of Music Piracy

Is it time to stop pirating music? According to Paul Boutin in Wired (via reddit), yes.

It’s time for everybody to go legit. The reason: We won. And all you audiophiles and copyfighters, you know who fixed our problems? The record labels and online stores we loved to hate.

Paul lines up arguments in favor of pirating, and then attacks each argument in turn. DRM? Gone. Resolution? Improved to the point at which most ears couldn’t hear an improvement in quality. Catalog? Expanded, in fact wider than Paul claims, since you can now find the Beatles in iTunes. And so on.

I’d take issue with Paul on one point (besides the quibble about the Beatles). “The age of stealing music via the Internet is officially over.” But his arguments are that it should be over. In other words, they are prescriptive arguments.

I haven’t seen a strong descriptive case that music piracy is ceasing. That would require data showing that people aren’t taking music for which they payed, and which was not given to them. As the discussion on Reddit shows, there are people who intend to obtain music without paying for it. That raises questions such as: How many of them are there? How responsible is the music industry for their existence? But I won’t go into that here.

I will read with interest Appetite for Self-Destruction: The Spectacular Crash of the Record Industry in the Digital Age. I didn’t steal it, I borrowed it from the library. I hope author Steve Knopper doesn’t mind. Perhaps the music industry has become less self-destructive since the book was published.

Music Journalism is the New Piracy

Good post title, huh? I didn’t make it up. I copied it. It’s fine for me to copy it, as long as I give proper attribution. Even if there were no such thing as fair use, it would still be fine for me to copy “Music Journalism is the New Piracy.”

That’s because the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Tim Jones, who posted under the same title at the EFF’s blog, placed that content under the Creative Commons Attribution License. That’s the same license I use for this blog, by the way. Tim’s post is about the recent deletion of six music blogs at Blogger, which is owned by Google.

Although the takedowns were made in the name of stopping piracy, the deleted blogs do not appear to have been hotbeds of illegal file-sharing… In at least one case… accusations of copyright infringement were almost certainly incorrect.

Tim’s post links to a list of web hosts that cherish free speech. I wasn’t previously aware of the list, or of any of the hosts on it, so I thought it worth remarking on.

John Hiatt and Joss Stone Sing the Same Tune

Each of the two musicians likes the current state of the music business, because they recognize good times for music even as they see bad time for big music business. Here’s Johhny, via Reuters and Reddit:

“An artist like myself, us old dogs who have an audience kinda feel like we’re in the catbird seat because it’s about the music again,” said Hiatt, not exactly old at 55.

That’s because the demise of the major labels allows independent record companies — such as Los Angeles-based New West, Hiatt’s home since 2003 — to fill the breach. These nimble operations sometimes have longer attention spans than their lumbering, larger brethren.

The rather younger Ms Stone goes further. Here’s what she said when asked about piracy.

I think it’s brilliant and I’ll tell you why… Music should be shared… The only part about music that I dislike is the business that is attached to it. Now, if music is free, then there is no business, there is just music. So, I like it, I think that we should share.

It’s ok, if one person buys it, it’s totally cool, burn it up, share it with your friends, I don’t care. I don’t care how you hear it as long as you hear it. As long as you come to my show, and have a great time listening to the live show it’s totally cool. I don’t mind. I’m happy that they hear it.

Both Mashable Stan and TorrentFreak Ernesto emphasize that Joss is not being naive. The latter points out that “several studies have shown that artists actually benefit from filesharing. The more music people share, the more CDs they buy and the more concerts they visit.”