Campbell Smith: Anti-piracy law a reasonable way to protect obsolete business model

Via Slashdot comes the predictable dreck, “Anti-piracy law a reasonable way to protect artists’ rights”, from Campbell Smith, CEO of RIANZ, in response to criticism of section 92A. From the article:

Music makers welcomed New Zealand’s policymakers tackling this problem, realising that doing nothing was no longer an option. The trade value of recorded music worldwide has fallen by more than a fifth in the past 10 years, despite more people than ever using and enjoying it.

Mr Smith, I am a ‘music maker’ and I do not believe your statistics, nor do I wish this law to be enacted. I know many other ‘music makers’ who feel the same. Please give up the pretense of representing artists’ interests and admit what we all know: RIANZ, like RIAA, like ARIA, does not represent the interests of the artists, but the interests of major labels.

The record companies (and their associated cartels, including yours) did this to themselves. There was an opportunity to embrace digital culture 10 years ago or more; lawsuits and misguided attempts to force this culture into an obsolete business model have eroded whatever good will may have existed, and the downturn in sales is not due to file-sharing. If there is any downturn in sales of your artists’ CDs, it is because you no longer have a monopoly on production and distribution. Artists no longer need the backing of major labels and their wads of cash to make their record. Furthermore, independent reports show the opposite of your statistics: if anything, the greater exposure to lesser-known artists increases their sales. But it’s never been the artists you were interested in protecting, was it?

[T]he widespread availability of unlicensed music on the internet acts as a disincentive to those considering setting up legal services.

Because iTunes was such a miserable fucking failure, wasn’t it? What is a disincentive to people trying to set up legal services is the draconian conditions imposed by record label cartels such as yours. Like, say, DRM. A copied song is not a lost sale, but a song I cannot copy is. (It’s a disincentive to use the system; therefore I will not purchase.)

Oh, and tape-trading certainly killed sales in the 80s and 90s, too.

In New Zealand, we have looked long and hard at coming up with an effective way of tackling the problem.

I assume you’re still looking, since section 92A is in no way an effective solution to the problem.


~ by MattR on March 11, 2009.

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