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. identicon
    Richard Corsale, 30 May 2010 @ 1:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It seems to me that piracy has a negative impact on some individuals but overall has no negative impact on the economy, and may in fact actually have a net positive effect on the overall economy

    You seem very hostile and confused. First, lets just find common ground.

    Copyright is a good thing. I agree.
    Patents are a good thing. I agree.

    So, just like any other right, Patents and Copyrights are to be respected.

    Now, your not getting anywhere with slavery or other such arguments, so you can pretty much drop those. They're invalid and frankly, juvenile.

    Think about this, if you have any right granted to citizens, such as the right to own "slaves" for example; then you understand that these rights incroach on the rights of others, and are therefor anti-rights. There are many examples of such rights, which infringe upon the liberty of others. The point is, who is more valuable to society? How did slavery end given the value propitious of slaves vs. wealthy plantation owners? How will the over powered lawyers deal with every conceived violation of their IP? What rights will they have to recoup the hypothetical losses incurred?

    These are the most relevant questions facing us today. No one wants to live in a world lorded over by iron fisted content dictators who crush someone else's right to express themselves because they sing a song on youtube. Do you see the concern being expressed here? This is *not* totenkopf vs content. This is about the average kid who will grow up in a world of extreme cultural rigidity. The 90's were about progress. The 0's(?) were about serialization and it seems that the 10's are going to be about consolidation of power. The question is, who looses the power and who takes the power.

    Tell me you understand the concern of these people? Because if you cannot understand it now, you're clearly refusing to understand. That moots you and your voice. Lobbyist's opinions are so predictable, they could just develop robots to spam their talking points all over the web.

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