Monday, October 03, 2005

Digital music sales growing

As reported by the BBC, digital music sales are growing quickly. This takes me back to a post from a few days ago, where I talked about the role of the music "business" and the need (or not) for copyright protection.

I am more than willing to pay for music I like. I think iTunes and the other online music stores have proven that most people are as well. The piracy issue is still predominantly present in the third world, where it always has been. They're not selling illegal copies of music in Hong Kong any faster today than they were twenty years ago.

Oh sure, there are plenty of people in the developed world who download music (and movies and books and everything else) illegally. But there were plenty of people who made tapes of CDs (I know I did), shared videotapes, and passed books around before, too. It's easier now, and more people are doing it, but I'm not so sure it's a larger percentage of the market than it ever was. Jack Valenti will have you believe that it's friggin' Armageddon for the entertainment industry, but I sorta don't think so.

The other day, I ended with "I better be able to do what I want with music I buy", or words to that effect. I'd like to expand on that a bit now.

Once I buy a song on CD or .mp3, I should be able to listen to that song wherever I want, on whatever device I want, as many times as I want. I'm spending $0.99 (or whatever) for that song and, just like the pair of jeans, can of creamed corn, or bag of potting soil I buy, it's now mine to do what I want with it (within certain bounds, of course - I understand why I can't use iTunes to score my $100 million summer blockbuster movie).

Some of you may have read about the "broadcast flag". I encourage you to learn more about this atrocious piece of legislation - remember, I'm the guy who fundamentally supports copyright protection, and I think the broadcast flag is dumb, dumb, and dumb.

The right that I've expounded on above is threatened by the broadcast flag. Make sure your representative is not on this list of supporters of the broadcast flag and, if he/she is, let them know that this is a BAD idea.

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