Must Read – Cory Doctorow on Illegal filesharing: A suicide note from the music industry

Use your wrists, Mr. Record Company Exec...

Cory Doctorow’s article in the Guardian.co.uk (it’s British, so the law doesn’t necessarily apply to the Americans in the crowd…) has an outrageously good look at how the record industry blew it  with their incredibly transparent and stupendously idiotic plan to stop music piracy.

This month’s announcement of a back-room deal between ISPs (internet service providers) and the big record companies to spy on suspected copyright infringers and reduce the quality of their internet connections is just the latest paragraph in the record industry’s long, self-pitying suicide note, and it’s left me wishing they’d just pull the trigger already and stop beating their chests and telling us all how unfair it all is.

Under the new scheme, the rule of law is replaced by a cosy inter-industry deal. Whereas before, anyone who wanted your ISP to spy on your internet connection would have had to show evidence to a judge and get a court order, now any joker who claims to be an aggrieved copyright holder can do so.

Really…the music industry couldn’t do a better job of vilifying themselves if they’d decided to start making dvds out of freshly clubbed seals.  Once again, they’re not only wrong-headed, they’re aggressively evil in a Bond-ian-villain sort of manner.

This is why I tend to run jam bands, jazz bands, anything but mainstream acts on the Friday Music Video; I simply cannot support the record companies.  I’d rather support the artists directly.  I buy direct from artist sites, or download live shows at Archive.org for my IPhone/IPod and I do the same as much as I can for my daughters.

If the record companies could envision a world in which we are something other than a completely captive audience, I may rethink things.  Cory offers these suggestions:

…when the record companies objected to the radio stations playing their discs without compensation or permission, the answer was a blanket licence for records played on air. It’s the tried-and-true answer to the problem of copyright-disrupting technology:

  • acknowledge that it’s going to happen;
  • find a place to collect a toll;
  • charge a fee that’s low enough to get buy-in from the majority;
  • ignore the penny-ante fee evaders;
  • sue the blistering crap out of the big-time fee-evaders.

The ideas not new.  It’s been around since filesharing first threatened to rob a record exec of the means to pay for his beemer.  The point is this, they’ve now gone so far as to have made themselves unsalvageable.  In ancient days, you had one opportunity to save your city when you came under siege – surrender before we have to attack.  Once the attacks begin, your city will surely be sacked, the buildings burned and the women ravished when the walls are breached.

Now we’re at the point where anything less than completely sacking the record companies won’t suffice.