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Music Piracy – Even the Experts Get it Wrong

By October 17, 2007June 16th, 2013Internet Lawyer

Andy Greenberg has an article in Forbes that cites intellectual property (IP) experts whining about the peer-to-peer (p2p) piracy of Radiohead’s latest album. Because Radiohead let fans name their own price, but pirates still downloaded the music on bittorrent instead, the mistaken assumption is that the piracy hurt the distribution model used by Radiohead.

You really have to wonder if some of these experts are tied to RIAA and the MPAA because the argument falls flat on its face when examined on the merits.

In the article, Big Champagne’s CEO Eric Garland hints at the truth: “In the big picture, if people want something, some will pay, and others will find a way to take it for free.”

But that’s even just part of the story.

Radiohead’s model was successful despite the piracy because of the buzz that it created for the album. As noted in a comment to my prior post on the Radiohead album, the band’s downloadable mp3s were produced at a low quality bitrate as an encouragement for fans to pay for the higher quality CD. Although a bad marketing ploy because the quality disclosure wasn’t made up front prior to the client’s decision on how much, if anything to pay, the concept has merit.

Imagine a distribution model where albums are intentionally released with full disclosure on the Internet at a lower quality. The model lets clients choose the amount they want to pay. Now follow up with the same music flooded onto P2P sites intentionally but laced with ads in between songs…woven into the intro and outro parts of each song so that it is impossible to crop the ads without destroy the music in the process.

The music industry needs to move away from cramming high priced CDs down the throats of the consumer that simply aren’t wanted…CDs that have one or two songs that someone wants to listen to and the rest are garbage that the client has to subsidize in order to get the quality stuff.

And let’s not forget the music piracy hypocrites that run the industry. Don’t feel sorry for any of their copyright infringement losses until they prosecute their own executives and families who illegally download songs.

Mike Young, Esq.

Author Mike Young, Esq.

Mike Young has been practicing business and technology law since 1994 and is an angel investor in startups. He's been an entrepreneur since 1988. To get legal help from Attorney Young, click here now or call 214-546-4247 to schedule a phone consultation.

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