Friday, May 02, 2003

THE CHARGES ARE LAID: Thanks to Elanor Oguma, who basically did our work for us while we were off sloshing about Brussels and brought the following letter to the editor of the Daily Telegraph to our attention:
"Sir - Having watched the music industry travel down its road of self-destruction over the past decade, I read with interest your report on EMI's internet plans (report, Apr 24).

My anticipation turned to disappointment when I discovered the proposed charging structure. The record company will be saving manufacturing, distribution and retailing costs and the customer will be invited to share in this "progress" by paying broadly the same price as the on-line purchase of the physical product. This kind of naive economic thinking will do nothing to arrest the widespread file-sharing abuse of copyright. It is synonymous with the kind of ignorant strategy that causes the government to encourage tobacco smuggling with stringent and disproportionate duties, rather than reduce taxes, prevent boot-legging and hence maintain the overall tax-take.

Paul Grogan, Birchington, Kent

This is, of course, the crux of the whole issue. It's not merely enough to go "it's legitimate", but also to say "it's really not worth your while downloading illegally." The cost of the Apple downloads are going to be 99cents - at least this is getting nearer a fair price (about seventy pence for a track that you can do pretty much as you please with), but still seems to be double the price we should be looking at. And the comparison of album price costs should be with the more honest average album price - which, when you include those 'best ofs' and cheapo deals can't be much more than five quid each these days, if that.

Meanwhile - thrown away as a side mumble in a long plod through peter gabriel's views - Cooking Vinyl is exploring a link-up with Kazaa. CV has long been the twilight home for bands who otherwise would be without a contract, and it's interesting that a label which thrives on the value of back catalogue is trying a different approach to make file sharing work. In addition, having a deal stitched up with a legitimate record label can't help but help Kazaa's case that if it's network is used for illegal purposes, that's not because its bad in itself.

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