Misunderstanding The Digital Music Debate… Again

from the why-do-I-even-bother? dept

Each time I see an article like this one I send an email to the writer. They very rarely respond (one exception was a NY Times reporter who wrote a very long, very thoughtful, and very detailed response). It seems that reporters (and columnists) like to frame the debate about digital music in a way that leaves out that shows they really don’t know what they’re talking about. The latest is Larry Blasko, a fairly well known AP writer, talking about some new software that lets people create their own music CDs. Of course, there are plenty of other products just like this one. There are also tons of legitimate, non-infringing uses of this product. Yet, Blasko uses the article to blast the company for “selling the tools to steal”. He also makes the very basic wrong assumption that so many people make these days. He says that creators of intellectual property “ought to be entitled to the legitimate profits of their labor”. Unfortunately (for some), that’s not actually how capitalism works. How come he’s not fighting for all the millions of companies that went out of business in the past year because their business models made them fail? According to him, they should be “entitled to the legitimate profits of their labor”. The people who are “entitled to the leigitimate profits of their labor” are those who come up with a business model that allows them to profit. If they can’t, then they go out of business. You aren’t guaranteed a profit just because you open a store. You shouldn’t be guaranteed a profit just because you write a song (or a piece of software) either.

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Comments on “Misunderstanding The Digital Music Debate… Again”

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uberdingo says:

bad analogy

the whole fruit of the labor comparison with people that went out of business does not work. I guarantee the bankruptcy courts are getting the fruit of anything material those companies actually did. Obviously if someone performs a song and no one listens, end of story. But we are talking about many people listening to a song someone created without paying.

That said, the true problem is the attempt to milk money out of every phase of use. That model will not work with American consumers, or many worldwide. I just recently ‘converted’ someone on this issue. He got a portable MP3 player – and is seeing the issue now that he realizes the ‘content’ companies are trying to stop him from listening to CDs that he has purchased on that device. The record companies would like him to have to pay for the same CD again in order to listen to it on his MP3 player – that is the bottom line result here. Certainly the P2P piracy issue is a real one that needs to be dealt with; but there is no magic technology solution to it. It is ultimately going to be a business model solution.

I laughed the other day when I heard Jack Valenti say we need to “plug the analog hole”. I guess the RIAA doesn’t have many engineers, or even people with common sense. Or maybe their ultimate solution is to make us all go deaf, that will truly close the analog holes.

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