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Article:
  A Musician's Take on File Sharing, DRM, and Copyleft Licensing
Subject:   My point of view (By IceDude)
Date:   2003-07-21 07:03:36
From:   anonymous2
Response to: Mp3 Helps, the record industy hurt themselves

Bare with me here, I'm trying to be as objective as possible.


Let's take a look at some basic facts we might be able to all agree on.
- People buy less CD's


The first one is the obvious one :) Still, often forgotten when flaming each other over the P2P issue.


The logical question is of course:
Why?


This is where people get guessing and claiming they know better.
"The problem with not getting to an answer often lies with not understanding the problem"


To get closer to the core of the problem (and closer to the answer) I'll introduce another element.
- The amount of people listening to music has not decreased.


Again, a simple fact. As far as 1+1=2, so can you merge the first fact, with the second one.
Resulting into something like this:
- People have other means of listening to music than simply buying CD's


To fully understand this concept, we must ask ourselves two questions:
- What ways of getting music are there?
- Why do people use these means?


Both complex answers that can be answered fairly simply.
I'll divide the answers of the first one in main groups (accordingly to the main problem):
- Static free media
- Static paid-for media
- Dynamic free media
- Dynamic paid-for media


And for the second one:
- Preferences


Static media refers to a medium of which you can't change the content. e.g. radio, TV, commercial CD's, etc. The free part refers mainly to TV, radio, and the likes, because you only pay for the means of getting the content, rather than the content itself. (As for CD's you pay for the content)


Same goes for dynamic media. With a difference that dynamic refers to mediums that can give the content of choice. e.g. P2P networks, Internet services that sell costume CD's, etc.


Now we have enough information to describe the problem.


Out of the four groups mentioned, we pick the two that are in conflict with each other:
- Static paid-for media
- Dynamic free media


These two groups are the biggest of the four mentioned above. To specify even more wouldn't be objective anymore. But we can say where the "voice" of these two groups is situated.
Mainly the RIAA and the music labels for the static paid-for media, and the P2P Networks for the dynamic free media.


Back to our first fact:
- People buy less CD's


And the one why they use the mediums they use:
- Preferences


+ a new one, which we can all agree on:
- More and more people use P2P Networks


This is where people start to make mistakes.
They conclude out of the above three facts:
- More and more People prefer P2P Networks over CD's
Which, in there eyes, means that for everyone who downloads a song over a P2P Network and keeps it on there PC, without buying it, steals some of the rightful money otherwise made by buying a CD. Which makes P2P illegal as it harms the industry and promotes stealing.


The problem with this assumption is that it's flawed. It's based on a flawed equation of elements, consisting of two different groups (because it's possible for someone to belong to these two groups at the same time, it becomes impossible to add them to each other). If we correct the basic equation, it would look more like this. 1+1 and 1+1 = 2 and 2.

Again, back to our first fact:
- People buy less CD's


And the one why they use the mediums they use:
- Preferences


+ the new one about P2P:
- More and more people use P2P Networks


And again the one why they use the mediums they use:
- Preferences


These would result into:
- The preference to buy CD's is dropping
- The preference to use P2P Networks is rising


Again, this is as far as you can compare these two elements without seizing to be objective.
(As they are two different elements AND come from two different groups)


Again, back to the basics:
- People buy less CD's


Both sides have their ideas on solving this.
Some P2P enthusiasts clamed the music industry has to evolve to survive, while the RIAA aims at stopping P2P.


Lets look at these two solutions.
The first one is aimed at adapting. The music industry has a vast grip on all forms of static media. Adapting to P2P by imitating there "advantages" (by offering a form of dynamic content), and surpassing them with things digital media can't offer (such as certain quality's, ease of use and bonus stuff/material... etc.) could give the music industry a stable base to build on. Although they will have to live with the fact that allot of people will have their songs, before they'll even consider buying them.


The second one is the way of the RIAA.
It's based on statistics and charts that show that P2P is one of the fastest growing means of getting songs. As I said before, the general assumption they have is flawed. They do not see "a new public" for which they have to adapt their content to accordingly, but merely the same people now getting things for free. Although the assumption is based on a flawed equation, the solution they aim for is equally efficient. Eliminate the competition and get 100% control over the market again. The problem for the RIAA is that new consumer groups have the tendency of growing really large really fast. They are somewhat aware of this fact and try to stop P2P now, while they believe they still can.

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  • My point of view (By IceDude)
    2003-07-21 07:06:53  anonymous2 [View]

    PS: sorry for the typo's (e.g. typing "answers" instead of "questions"), but I think you get my point.