ISPreview - UK Music - Illegal File Sharing Interview Part2
UK Music - Illegal File Sharing Interview Part2
By: Mark Jackson - February 2nd, 2009 : Page 2 -of- 2
"Education is one of the three strands of the MOU process. It’s a vital part too, although arguably of limited effectiveness on its own"

13. The use of Digital Rights Management (DRM), while admittedly not within your remit, appears to be playing a part in piracy. Consumers often complain that, with the exception of some notable sites, others still use DRM to lock a downloaded track so that it can only be played on a single device.

As a result if you wanted to play it on your PC or another MP3 player then you’d need to buy the same track more than once. Thankfully some big moves to rid the world of music DRM are now taking place, although it has yet to affect the industry as a whole. What more can be done or would you prefer to see aggressive DRM?

UK Music: It depends on what you define as Digital Rights Management. If you’re talking about Fairplay or WMA-encoded a la carte downloads – those are on the way out. In fact, following Apple’s decision to drop Fairplay in the ITunes Store, it’s really a non-issue.  7Digital became the first UK a la carte retailer to go 100% MP3 in September 2008, while the likes of eMusic have been MP3-only for a number of years. 

If you’re talking about DRM in the sense of non-intrusive technology, it will have a big part to play. Certainly, a legal P2P business would require some form of DRM to ratify download/stream volumes and ensure that rights owner get paid. 

14. Do you believe that cost also plays a factor in encouraging piracy or is existing pricing, especially for individual track downloads from an album (i.e. not monthly subscription models), fair and balanced enough?

UK Music: Amazon is selling certain new release albums for £3.  eMusic offers 100 MP3 downloads a month for £20.00.  We7 and Spotify allow free streaming to anyone with a broadband connection. Then you’ve got MySpace and YouTube.

I don’t think the consumer is struggling for cheap legitimate options.  And, let’s face it, CDs have never been more competitively priced.

15. Music piracy has always been a problem but what one element do you hold most responsible for turning such a previously niche activity into the mass market problem that it is today (e.g. the Internet, broadband connections, P2P file sharing technology etc.)?

UK Music: I don’t think copying has been a niche activity for some decades. That said, there’s obviously a huge difference between copying a vinyl album to C90 or burning a shop-bought CD to CD-R  to downloading an artist’s whole catalogue via BitTorrent or gaining a whole new  music collection via a hard drive swap.

The bottom line is that today’s music fan can consume more and a greater variety of music than at ever previous time in history. That’s a fantastic thing. However, if those who create or invest in music don’t get paid, everyone will be worse off – the consumer most of all. 

16. France’s “three strikes” proposal included a provision for a new law enforcement authority to investigate accusations of illegal file sharing before carrying them forward, thus keeping customers personal data reasonably secure while avoiding turning ISPs into police. Similar pre-MoU proposals in the UK did not include this idea, why?

UK Music: As already discussed, the MOU process will not turn UK ISPs into some kind of police force either. And as you well know, the onus is on the rights holder to identify an IP address - not the ISP. This is typically achieved by simply logging onto a Bit Torrent and accessing the data that the uploader is freely making available.

17. Finally, has the industry considered launching any major TV campaigns to help promote the criminal risks and damage of downloading illegal music? We’ve seen this done for movies, although to date very little of that effort has touched on music. This could help to quell the problem by raising awareness of its illegality.

UK Music: Education is one of the three strands of the MOU process. It’s a vital part too, although arguably of limited effectiveness on its own.

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