Friday, April 08, 2005

File Sharing - update

The biggest and best live-music BitTorrent tracker was shut down the other day because of pressure from record companies. was an amazing resource. Here's my rant from another message board:

Easytree was a massive bittorrent tracker that allowed sharing and trading of live musical performances. In almost every case, artist approval had been secured, and no $$ was ever exchanged. Now, thanks to a policy that is meant to stiffle creativity and subvert existing copyright laws, easytree is no more. It doesn't matter that proper enforcment of copyright law would permit the practrice of file sharing (copying is OK without commercial exploitation). The only thing that matters is that the most creative programmers are independant and are not in a position to defend against a well-funded aggressor - even if the aggressor is not on solid legal footing. As is too often the case, the party with more $$$ wins.

I mean here's the question:Is it the existence of bootleg concerts that causes record sales to be soft, or is it the fact that record industry charges at least $17.99US for new records and then produces rafts of crap? They're losing money becuase they don't know how to survive in this new environment - the digital age, whatever.

So what does the RIAA spend it's money on? Eradicating the exchange of concert bootlegs. My favorite band is Genesis and their management has explicitly sanctioned this type of sharing - THEY THINK ITS OK! The only rules are that you don't trade released material (no problem - got all that anyway) and you don't exchange any $$.

But let's look at someone who (I think) hasn't expressed an opinion on the disemination of bootlegs of his concerts - english picker John McLaughlin (showing may age a bit here). This guy appears with his band Mahavishnu in Germany 30 YEARS AGO for a concert that is aired on local TV. Decades later that concert is traded via Bittorrent. How is McLaughin being harmed?

The theories are that it dilutes the perception of the artist or kills any market for an official release of that material. This is pure bulls&^$t. A guy like McLaughlin should be thankful that easytree exists (er, existed) so that people remember why he became famous in the first place.

So the 'regulators' say that it's not the actual practice of trading (I can still make you a copy of something from my collection and send it off to you as a gift), but the technology is so dangerous to their commercial interests that ALL USES of that technology must be banned.

So, of course, the result will be that, without final clarification of the law, the RIAA and their friends (Don Henley? give me a break - not an Eagles fan), will continue to push around the little guy. Maybe one day they will realize that without innovation, people like Miles Davis would never have helped to make them so rich in the first place.

End of rant.

1 comment:

Becks said...