How the Music Industry Encourages its Audience to Steal Music

How the Music Industry Encourages its Audience to Steal Music

I’m not the stealing type. Let me be clear about that from the start. When I was in high school every one of my friends got arrested for shoplifting except for me. I can’t cope with the idea of stealing. But man, the music industry actually makes me want to steal.

Actually, let’s start with the movie folks and work back to music, because my first example of stupid pet tricks on behalf of the people with a lot of money is the one they pull in movie theatres. There are those ads about how many people it takes to put a movie together, and how mean it is to download that movie without letting these people get paid for their work. Let’s leave aside the fact that the Best Boy and the Key Grip has already been paid for that movie and won’t get paid again whether or not we download the movie; they tell us this sob story while we’re sitting in the theatre with our paid ticket in hand. Why are they guilting the people who are actually paying to be there?

And this leads into what the music people are doing. The music people want to stop people from stealing music; but since they don’t think they can reach the actual abusers (or because they think we’re ALL abusers), they punish the people who actually buy their music. And how do they do this? They don’t let you transfer music files to your ipod. They restrict how many copies you can make. They’ll make music play in formats that aren’t likely to be supported past the latest operating system, forcing users to buy new cds every time we pass through another tectonic technological shift. And in a new turn of events, they put malware on your computer. Yep, that’s right: if you legitimately pay for music, Sony will make sure you get what amounts to a virus on your system. They will add secret files to your computer so that you won’t be able to do anything sneaky with their property. They will do this without telling you it’s happening, without giving you the option to uninstall it, and doing all this in such a way that if you happen to find the files and delete them, you will accidentally cripple your own system. [This via metafilter.]

I’m not sure what upsets me more; that the music industry can’t seem to come up with a logical way to cope with the fact that is the internet, or that they’re learning from malware to figure out how to disable systems rather than changing their business model, or that these people have opted to exploit the general technical ignorance of people in order to make people have to buy more CDs for the rest of their lives. Or maybe the worst part of it is that they don’t trust anyone, not even the people who opted to lay down cash for the product. Isn’t that what they want us to do? Does this make you want to support them? Particularly when you can download those same files for free, and you will be able to burn as many CDs as you like, transfer them to your ipod, send them to your sister, and whatnot? The music industry is setting itself up for failure here. They’re making the stolen product better than the purchased one.

Makes me want to steal some music, I don’t know about you. And as I said, I’m not the stealing type. Way to go, Sony!

0 thoughts on “How the Music Industry Encourages its Audience to Steal Music

  1. The sad thing is that while I’m appalled by Sony’s malware practices, I’m not in the least surprised.

    Like you, I’m not particularly comfortable with theft, but the more I study copyright law, the less I find any degree of natural justice in it. The concept was good, but the current practice is highly disheartening.

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