Music business demands more protection, despite soaring digital revenues

Weasels' wish list demands that everyone but the music business defend profits from music

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Within all the good news about how much more money RIAA members are making were a series of demands (ably summarized by Ars Technica) the IFPI and RIAA believe the industry needs to be able to put the appropriate amount of pressure and assumption-of guilt on their customers:

RIAA/IFPI legislative/regulatory priorities for 2012


  1. Graduated response laws (punishment graduated according to grievousness of the offense. (Grievousness refers to the number of illegal music files, not how bad they are. They're not promoting laws that carry greater penalties for downloading Justin Bieber, for example. Unfortunately.)
  2. Site blocking: everyone should block sites RIAA and IFPI have decided are detrimental to their business and not ask questions about how they came to that conclusion.
  3. Search engines should be required not to search for things music execs don't want them to search for (repeat the part about 'no questions' from item No. 2).
  4. Credit-card and other payment processors should cut off those accused of hosting illegal downloads, or downloading music illegally, even when (usually) payment processing had no part in those transactions.
  5. Ad networks should cut off pirates – Megaupload and its ilk shouldn't be able to profit from ads.
  6. Mobile operators should also try to punish illegal downloaders by monitoring their customers' traffic to identify and cut off files RIAA and IFPI believe customers shouldn't be able to access.
  7. Lawsuits. More lawsuits against big downloaders.

All those demands are shaped as public priorities that support public safety and prosperity, even though none of them have anything to do with either of those things.

If they're passed into law and other people are forced to enforce copyrights owned by music producers, the only thing producers have to do is occasionally post onto sites other companies pay to maintain new content other people (bands) write and produce, and rake in money other people (consumers) pay to download.

How much better is that than the days when record companies had to actually produce records, promote them, ship physical media around the world and get people to buy and play it? Think how much effort went into convincing people to throw out their record players, buy CD players and re-buy all those albums they'd been collecting?

Think the industry wants to go to that much trouble again? Absolutely not.

At first, from the perspective of public policy, ethics, Constitutional law and avoiding the coddling of greedy idiots, none of the RIAA's political positions makes any sense.

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