Interesting Tim O'Reilly article.

From: Eric Smith <>
Date: Fri Dec 13 11:27:01 2002

Wayne M. Smith wrote:
> I understood his point, but I don't agree that the studios/record
> companies are obligated to do anything or face having their content
> stolen.

It's of course true that they have no legal or moral obligation to change
their business practices to avoid having their content copied without
authorization (*) (**). However, as a purely practical matter, it may
well be the case that the record companies DO need to change their
business model.

Record companies are becoming increasingly irrelevant because it is now
possible for bands to market their product directly; the middleman
function provided by the record company offers substantially less value
now than in the past. If you combine this with the idea that they may be
losing money to unauthorized copying (***), and that it is unlikely
that law enforcement can prevent unauthorized copying by individuals
(as opposed to large-scale unauthorized copying as a commercial venture),
it's pretty clear that simply relying on the legal system to prop up
their business model is not a viable option.


* I don't normally use the words "stolen" or "piracy" for this, because
both denote crimes where someone is deprived of a physical object.
Although unauthorized copying of copyrighted material is unlawful, it
does NOT deprive the owner of the original, so IMNSHO it is not the
same category of offense.

** From a legal point of view, it is unclear whether Joe making his
friend Bob a copy of a CD as a non-commercial transaction is actually a
violation of copyright law. The Audio Home Recording Act of 1992
(U.S. Public Law 105-563) states in section 1008:

    No action may be brought under this title alleging infringement of
    copyright based on the manufacture, importation, or distribution of a
    digital audio recording device, a digital audio recording medium, an
    analog recording device, or an analog recording medium, or based on
    the noncommercial use by a consumer of such a device or medium for
    making digital musical recordings or analog musical recordings.

For more information, see

*** There is a lot of evidence to suggest that unauthorized copying by
end users is NOT having a significant negative affect on record industry
revenue. The economic downturn is probably responsible for much more
of the record industry financial woes, but of course the RIAA claims
Received on Fri Dec 13 2002 - 11:27:01 GMT

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