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17 août 2008

Stopping Music Piracy

Slap on the wrist

The UK music industry has launched its biggest initiative against download piracy: a huge letter-writing campaign, targeting hundreds of thousands of illicit file-sharers with a mixture of appeals and vague threats. So far the business has concentrated on nailing the big peer-to-peer networks (most famously Napster in 2001) but the industry's efforts have had little effect: the average UK teenager now holds around 800 illegally-downloaded songs on his MP3 player.

This latest move attempts to jolt ordinary internet users out of that warm, fuzzy feeling of total anonymity. Legally, however, the record companies can’t actually lift a finger to stop them. With UK law skewed towards personal privacy above all else, and web providers unwilling to play policemen and sever any customer's internet connection (which would include the connection to their bank account), this new initiative isn’t likely to change much. Nor has the Digital Rights Management fiasco done the industry's moral stance much good.

A more realistic policy was suggested this week by former Genesis front-man Peter Gabriel, who called for a radical overhaul in the commercial structure of the music industry, with subscription and advertising replacing the increasingly unworkable pay-per-song system.

Posted by Jonathan Theodore, 28 July 2008

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