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Debating the effectiveness of the industry’s current antipiracy stance

12 August 2010 49 views No Comment

After reading this article from Broadcast Magazine, it got us thinking:

Don’t demonise piracy, says IT Crowd creator

12 August, 2010 | By Ellie Broughton

Graham Linehan, the writer behind comedy The IT Crowd, has said the entertainment industry is gambling with its future by “ignoring or criminalising” the issue of piracy. Speaking at a debate on piracy last night, Linehan said the current response to online pirates was unrealistic and aggressive.

“It seems a bit like the big corporations are saying, ‘put down the gun or I’ll stab you’,” he said. “The discussion at the moment is not particularly reasoned.”

The television sector mirrors the music sector in many regards – sharing and unlicensed distribution of telly is almost as rampant as music, what limits its spread is more the unwieldy size of the resulting video files more than anything else (which is where we in the music industry have more of an uphill struggle with as music’s far more squeezable than video!)

We’ve traditionally taken a fairly lenient stance towards issuing takedowns, going instead after those originally uploading our music to sharing sites – largely because it’s a pointless exercise to spend all of your waking hours chasing pirates, unless you have VERY deep pockets and sufficient human resources to dedicate to solely pursuing the culprits. We do issue takedowns to the sharing sites when we find our artists’ music available without permission, but pursuing individual filesharers is like cutting the head off a Hydra.

By contrast, sites like Youtube – although they have music by our artists uploaded without our permission – serve to be very useful as promotional tools and aid exposure to new audiences, so it can be a balancing act deciding how heavy-handed one should be when enforcing copyright infringement. From our standpoint, it’s refreshing to see that other large programme producers can step back and highlight that neither side is totally blameless in this ongoing saga of legit vs pirated… Imagine what it would’ve been like if the music industry had cottoned on Napster upon its launch and then rolled out a pay service model on top of the existing system? They could have cleaned up!

We are fortunate that most of our customers are still music fans in the truest sense of the term – they buy CDs or the downloads, they respect the musicians for their hard work and investment and they also respect the role the label has in the process, a role which has dramatically changed over the past decade. We value those customers immensely and always seek to reward them for their honesty however we can :-) If you have a suggestion for a competition we can run, or the kind of things you would like to see us offering (interviews with bands, backstage features, exclusive podcasts featuring an artist’s Top 10 tracks etc) then hit us up on Twitter at either @revolverdigital, @heavymetalrecs or @revolverrecords!

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