Why Do The Labels Continue To Insist That 'Your Money Is No Good Here?'

from the the-internet-has-no-'regions' dept

You'd think that an industry so concerned about piracy would at least get its own house in order before carelessly chucking stones at people who make unavailable music more readily available, usually, without a price tag. This screenshot came across my Facebook feed recently, the frustrated result of Daniel Barassi's (a.k.a. BRAT Productions) attempt to purchase music.

In case you can't see the text the arrow's pointing to, it reads: "Due to copyright restrictions you cannot buy this product in your country."

This rant was attached:
I am so fucking sick of this shit! I am a music lover! I love to buy, and own, music. If I can not buy an actual CD, I buy WAV format, so I can have the best possible quality (fuck mp3/aac). More often than not, when I want to buy something legally, I get this shit. You want illegal downloads to stop? STOP FUCKING PUTTING REGION RESTRICTIONS! Figure out a way to talk to your labels in other regions, make a FUCKING DEAL, AND GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER! There is a globe full of people who want the opportunity to hear new music. Stop selling to only one region! Fix this, and watch. You will you see less piracy. GET YOUR HEADS OUT OF YOUR COLLECTIVE ASSES!
Yes. Seriously. W.T.F.

Tell me (and Barassi) why this sort of thing happens. If your answer includes words like "licensing," "rights" or any other explanation of the convoluted system that the labels themselves set up to prevent people from purchasing their music, your answer, while "technically correct," is completely wrong.

What I want you to explain is why, in this day and age, with the internet handling a large quantity of the sales, are labels still attempting to pretend that the purchaser's country makes any difference. Because it just doesn't. The only people who would find this sort of thing acceptable are the legal teams, administrators and royalty-collecting intermediaries who need this sort of relentlessly stupid convolution to maintain their positions.

Let's use a physical analogy because that's just the sort of thing everyone likes to do when dealing with a digital product: If you're a German citizen visiting or living in the US and you stop in at Best Buy to pick up a CD or movie, no one checks your passport to see if you're legally entitled to make this purchase. Or, for that matter, anyone can order a physical CD from anywhere in the world and get it shipped to them. Obviously, it's more expensive but no one stops them from doing it. If it already makes no sense in the physical world, how in all hell do you expect it to work in a world where anyone from anywhere at any time can at least attempt to purchase music or movies?

(If your answer contains anything like "they're purchasing licenses, not songs," go ahead and give yourself an F-.)

You've got so many entities vying over every last digital nickel that they've conspired to keep BRAT from shelling out $6.99 for an EP. That works out to zeroes across the board, much like piracy does, except in this case, you've got someone throwing money at the screen and receiving asinine statements in response. Do you seriously think that telling people "no" repeatedly is a great way to build a business? And what if these people are so determined to purchase your music that they jump through a few hoops in order to appear to be purchasing this album from an "approved" region? How does that play into your tangled web of royalty payouts? Or does it even matter? Is this just some obtuse attempt at control?

Explain. I'm all ears.

(Oh, BTW: before you critics start writing off BRAT as just some "nobody" from the internet who *gasp* occasionally cranks out mashups when not espousing freedtardist views, check out his FAQ. BRAT is also the official webmaster for Depeche Mode, a position he's held since 1998. He also manages their Youtube presence, which includes issuing takedowns on infringing content. So, he's not some Google shill or whatever it is that you imagine those of us that refer to piracy as a "customer service issue" are. And by all means, go and listen to his stuff, which includes official remixes for Depeche Mode, some "mixtapes" and a fine selection of quality mashups. I recommend the Echo & the Bunnymen vs. UNKLE track "Follow Me Down to the Killing Moon," which I hold is actually superior to the originals.)


Filed Under: daniel barassi, infringement, piracy, regional restrictions

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  1. icon
    TtfnJohn (profile), 20 Mar 2012 @ 11:55am


    The incredibly stupid thing about the windowing and agreements they make is that often, in places near or virtually on the US border up here in Canada can pick up broadcasts we're NOT allowed to see on line because of some agreement with a Canadian cable network.

    It's as if the "content" industry hasn't figured out that the Web changed regional markets to global ones. Not just for English speakers but for just about any major linguistic group you can think of.

    Punjabi speakers want Bollywood in North America and the UK. Chinese speakers pretty much globally. The same applies to Spanish and Russian speakers. And that's just the beginning of the list.

    National laws have little bearing when the market is global unless you want to sell shiny plastic disks. Windowing is old school marketing and was starting to die in the motion picture industry before the Web became what it is. Hollywood would launch movies in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver first but the first, even before the Web, was often less than a fortnight and I doubt the difference was any different in the States. So the so-called secondary markets like Edmonton, Calgary, Regina, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Halifax etc got the hit films very quickly after the big three.

    They're hanging on to relics of the past, a past that will never, ever return. The more they hang onto those relics the more they, the "content" business itself, encourages piracy because the market will get what the market wants. One way or another.

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