Thursday, July 24, 2008

Should bands sue record labels over threat to ban fans?

This is such typical centralised, broadcast thinking. Just exactly what do they think they can control?
The record industry has struck a deal with the six major UK ISPs and the Government to 'deal with' people who illegally share music*.

Deluded fools.

So the second mass media (recordings) is trying to exert control over the sixth (the internet) and the eighth (us)? (image by digitalbear)

How do they propose to do this? Well, they'll send us a stern letter (anyone else see the irony in choosing the post as a delivery mechanism rather than an IM or an email?). Er....and then they'll think about what to do next... Right.

There are a few problems here. I don't have enough life to detail them all, but let's describe the biggies.

1. Nobody owns the internet - least of all the six major UK ISPs. They have no control over what is done on it or by whom or how one node or person connects to another. Their only control is to charge admission. They aren't the only ones to supply access. Others will see a competitive advantage in refusing an invite to this Government-hosted record industry party. Beware the backlash big fellas!

2. Haven't the record companies heard of the because effect? Prince has, Radiohead have, NineInchNails have, and recently (free cd on the Mail on Sunday just before the release of a not free CD) David Bowie has. If you can't make money with content, you can because of it (eg google vs yahoo!). Is the Guardian about to send me a letter insisting I cease and desist from linking to its website because of the link I shared at the top of this post? No it expects the attention I have given it to create value (see also point 4!). Get it?

3. This is a slippery slope. If the Government is so keen to encourage complicity with national laws in respect of music downloads, why not on porn? What if it gets a taste for this control lark? Would anyone use the Government-approved internet?

4. *Thou shalt not promote/recommend to your friends (leveraging your own social graph as the perfect distribution method) or otherwise solicit the sales of our product... is not something I would expect the promoters of artists (that's you, record companies) to demand of my fans.

If I was in a band I'd seriously consider sueing!

The internet changes everything. You cannot expect to impose old ideas of business as usual.
As Clay explains (via Alan) below. Buy Clay's book. It's great. Mind you, so is Alan's.

The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?