ABA Journal Highlights How The Music Industry Is Thriving And How Copyright Might Not Be That Important

from the wow dept

Michael Scott points us to one of the best summaries I've seen of the state of the music business today -- published in the ABA Journal. It's an incredibly balanced piece, that really does carefully present both sides of the story on a variety of issues, and presents actual evidence, which suggests the RIAA is blowing smoke on a lot of its claims. The piece kicks off by highlighting that the music industry appears to be thriving, and then noting that it's not the same as the recording industry, which has been struggling.

Much of the piece does present the RIAA's viewpoint on things, such as the idea that the legal strategy the labels have taken has been a "success." However, it follows it up by questioning what kind of success it has been when more people are file sharing and more services are available for those who want to file share. From there it segues into a discussion on "three strikes" and ACTA, which includes the jaw-dropping claim from an RIAA general counsel that "three strikes" was "never even put on the table." I've heard from numerous ISP folks who say that's not true at all. However, the article does a good job (gently) ripping apart the RIAA's claims, with evidence to the contrary, and does a beautiful job digging deep into ACTA to show how the text might not explicitly require three strikes, but is worded in such a way as to make it hard to qualify for safe harbors without implementing three strikes.

The latter part of the article then focuses on how the music industry really is booming, and how more people are making music, and there are lots of opportunities for musicians to do well these days, even without relying on copyright law. The arguments made (and the people and studies quoted) won't be new to regular Techdirt readers, but it really is a very strong piece, targeted at lawyers (many of whom may not have realized some of these details). For example:
If the ultimate goal is to promote the creation of new works, then perhaps it isn't really necessary to take stronger legal actions against illegal file-sharing because the evidence does not suggest that it is hindering the creation of new works by musicians
I certainly don't agree with everything in the article, and there are a few statements from the RIAA folks that could have been challenged more directly. But, on the whole, it's definitely one of the better articles I've seen looking at the music industry from the perspective of the legal profession that doesn't automatically drop into the "but we must protect copyrights!" argument from the outset.

Filed Under: business models, copyright, music, music industry


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  1. icon
    Karl (profile), 1 Jun 2010 @ 2:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Why did he explain copyright as a natural right in the Federalist

    You are smart. Read more critically and more objectively.
    Now you read everything with an agenda. Accept times you may be wrong.


    Man, you are really unbelievable sometimes. I've been doing nothing but giving you information from critical and objective sources, and you've done nothing but say "you're wrong" without evidence. When you do quote something, you deliberately (often hilariously) twist the words to make them fit your radical agenda.

    Accept that sometimes you may be wrong. This is one of those times.

    reply :I WORK FOR ME.

    You miss the point. If what you say is true, then works for hire would be a violation of civil rights. They're not. For why it's relevant, you might want to read this:
    http://www.salon.com/entertainment/music/feature/2000/08/28/work_for_hire

    The only people in the world , who want to abolish copy right & Patent LAW are all AND ONLY certain techdirt readers. Maybe a few hundred in the whole world.

    Ha ha, I've met a "few hundred" in the Boston area alone, most of whom have never heard of Techdirt. But I don't want to abolish copyright, just roll it back to what it was before 1997. Most Techdirt readers don't want to abolish it either, just reform it.

    search : "the "moral" rights of authors"
    http://www.google.com/search?q=the++%22moral%22+rights+of+authors&ie=utf-8&oe=utf- 8&aq=t&client=firefox-a&rlz=1R1GPMD_en___US361


    If you read those linked articles, every one agrees that copyright and "moral rights" are different, and that the U.S. only has "moral rights" in the case of visual arts (and only since 1990). Many of those links I've already cited here.

    Perhaps I'm not the one who needs to do research.

    It is a philosophical question, and unresolvable, except academically

    ...Unless it's specifically written into the language of the law, which it is. That copyright is not a "natural law" is not a philosophical question, it is a fact. If you say otherwise, you're not having an academic debate, you're simply wrong.

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