Unlike old days, when the only way to access music meant buying a CD from a shop and listening, copying, or borrowing it to friends simply involved the long walk to the store, today’s iTunes or similar services request just a credit card number. Competition, on the other hand, is tough and does not play the same (legal) rules.
On Thursday, the MPAA(Motion Picture Association of America ) sued Downloadshield.com, Full-movie-downloads.com, MP3eternity.com, Moviesadvance.com, Thedownloadplace.com and Easydownloadcenter.com for unauthorized movie download. Furthermore, “These scam businesses charge customers for facilitating illegal downloads of movies, which could lure innocent consumers into becoming lawbreakers. We won’t tolerate this scam premised on the illegal swapping of valuable movie content.”, stated MPAA chairman and CEO Dan Glickman.
This is just a fairly recent example of illegal download brought to an end. It seems that news like this form a pattern, in the attempt to convince the user of a major strike against peer-to-peer networks. The only new thing might be the fact that consumers just won’t realise that the downloaded movies, from the above mentioned sites, are not original copies… A subscription fee of just $20 for a three-month trial or $40 for lifetime membership must, at least, ring some bell.
Sometimes competition might be stiff, but posting banner ads on pirate internet services isn’t probably the wisest thing companies like Napster, or Apple ever did, at least so does The British record industry say. The idea seems great, though: advertising on sites like this does not build up negative attitude from the user…it’s close to indifference. And not to forget it brings into the buying system new users from an unexplored world. Apple’s media buyer, Mediabrokers statement is quite childish-one of its suppliers breached conditions without its knowledge-they say. At least Napster limited to “Our advertisements will be removed immediately”.
Among other “ways” of getting more and more consumers, companies invest in hardware devices (a little bit harder to crack than software products, but still, not impossible). Such an example is Apple’s iTunes: simply build up a small, easy to use gadget and use for encryption a special file format (AAC), combine it with the so-called FairPlay DRM(digital rights management system) and you get a brilliant way to listen to music. Or one could simply buy a CD (almost the same price). Besides, Apple users become more and more annoyed that, once bought, the iPod can only play music downloaded from iTunes.
Above all, iMesh did stop providing a free service. On Tuesday, the Israeli based company released version 6.0-which marks the transition to payed p2pnetworks. By using the AudibleMagic, download of unlicensed files is restricted and on future searches, the returned results for these files will be blocked. A striking resemblance with other systems like Napster to Goâ€? or â€œRhapsody to Go”. There will also be a free trial period of 60 to 90 days (mainly until the service has passed implementation) until the new â€œslightly largerâ€? than that of iTunes database, as Talmon Marco, co-founder and president of iMesh, appreciated.
In spite of numerous lawsuits, piracy does exists. It re-flourishes with even greater performance and new types of services (BitTorrent, for example). The main accusation RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) finds to these peer to peer networks is the widely reported collapse in CD sales from 2000 to 2003. The statement’s precision is almost similar to predicting summer rains. The wide scale of events that takes place in a year means a lot of variables. On the list of things that brought down the CD sales might as well be the September 11th events and also a simple down-path of quality tracks. A study made by two university researchers in march 2004 shows a clean, easy to follow up argument in favor of Internet music download. Consumption of music increases dramatically with the introduction of file sharing, but not everybody who likes to listen to music was a music customer before, so it’s very important to separate the two,” said Felix Oberholzer-Gee, associate professor at Harvard Business School. He and his colleague, University of North Carolina’s Koleman Strumpf, showed that illegal file sharing caused only 2 million fewer compact discs sales in 2002, whereas CD sales dropped by 139 million units between 2000 and 2002. In fact, the 17 weeks of tracking sales and monitoring activity on the OpenNap file-sharing network concluded that file sharing actually increases CD-sales for hot-new albums by 600,000 units. To be precise, a sale increase by a copy is registered at 150 downloads of a song. Why these kind of studies have gone from few to none will probably remain a mystery.
Paying for a multimedia file it is not a question of choice, but rather more a proof of respect for the artist’s hard work. The future of music might just mean bands making their money only by touring, live concerts, merchandising. It will never be a no fee download world, but if more and more artists will get a chance to be heard, competition will rise and prices will go down. In the end, a question remains unanswered. Why will RIAA request file protection for sharing through iMesh for only 2 million songs, a little less than 12 percent of the content? Should it be simply because 17 million other tunes just don’t mean a thing?