PC Mag Responds To Legacy Recording Industry's 'Complaint' Letter
from the hello,-we're-the-press dept
We recently wrote about a bizarre and mis-targeted complaint letter sent by the bosses of pretty much every old school legacy music industry lobbying/trade group, officially sent to Ziff Davis to complain about two articles concerning Limewire alternatives, suggesting that the articles were promoting unauthorized copyright infringement. Of course, as we noted, these old school recording industry bosses were so upset, they failed to notice that one of the articles in question wasn’t even published by PC Mag (the target of the letter), but by PC World, a competing publication put out by an entirely different company, IDG.
Apparently, in their haste to send a complaint to the wrong publisher, these geniuses of the recording industry also failed to leave an address for a reply letter, so PC Mag’s Lance Ulanoff responded with a public response letter, which basically tells all of those organizations to learn what it means to be the press reporting on a topic, as opposed to an advocate pushing a particular viewpoint:
The story isn’t encouraging or discouraging anything. That’s not our role. PCMag’s job is to cover all aspects of technology, which includes the products, services and activities that some groups and individuals might deem objectionable. We covered these Limewire alternatives because we knew they would be of interest to our readers. We understand that some might use them to illegally download content. We cannot encourage that action, but also cannot stop it. Reporting on the existence of these services does neither.
We have, obviously, written about many online and offline services, including some that these groups might consider legitimate or “legal.” However, the fact is that some users store and manage illegally gained content in music applications like iTunes. We would not stop covering these utilities simply because some users place illegal or even inappropriate content in them.
More importantly, Ulanoff points out the same thing we did in questioning what the hell these industry groups thought they would accomplish in suggesting the press not cover a story:
It worries me that the music industry took this action, because it reeks of desperation. The RIAA and other music industry organizations have spent the better part of the decade fighting the digital transition, with only a shrinking business to show for it. In recent years, though, the fist of anger has turned into at least one open hand as the music industry embraces the once shunned digital music industry. Unfortunately, that warm embrace, and the change that comes with it, are not happening fast enough. Clearly the music industry is still losing money to music piracy and even the recalibrated profit margins brought on by legal music sharing services.
It’s time for these music execs to pull their collective heads out of the sand and fully acknowledge and accept all the ways their industry has changed. They also have to understand that nothing will stop technology’s inexorable march forward. Things will continue to change. Music downloads and sharing will never go away. These execs have to find a way to use all that technology allows and make a business that rivals the good old days of vinyl, cassette tape and even CDs.
We will continue to cover it all–as we must.
Not a particularly surprising response, but kudos to PC Mag for sticking to its principles, and not feeling bullied by these industry folks.