Thursday, April 01, 2004

DOWNLOAD UPDATE: Hey, it turns out that copyright theft isn't copyright theft at all... or, rather, A Canadian judge has rejected the CRIA's claims that offering files was any sort of copyright breach, observing that all the accused were doing were putting their files into a folder than can be accessed (you might recall we pointed this out about thirty five years ago) and that the CRIA (like the RIAA, but mounted) hadn't actually proved any copyright breaching had happened. Justice Konrad von Finckenstein said in his ruling:

"No evidence was presented that the alleged infringers either distributed or authorised the reproduction of sound recordings. They merely placed personal copies into their shared directories which were accessible by other computer users via a P2P service- at least under Canadian law. I cannot see a real difference between a library that places a photocopy machine in a room full of copyrighted material and a computer user that places a personal copy on a shared directory linked to a P2P service."

And so he rejected the CRIA's attempts to force ISPs to reveal the names of people using peer to peer networks, on the grounds that they didn't have good enough reason why. See, this is exactly what pisses off Americans about Canada - they're so bloody careful about their rights, they just don't let any big corporation ride roughshod over them. Have you any idea how frustrating that is?

The IFPI, meanwhile (who are the international body that hooks up music biz cartels worldwide, but basically it's like NATO - North Americans Telegraphing Orders) is playing on with its stupid and pointless plans to sue a couple of Danes and some Italians in a bid to make the continent quake. That's going to work so well - it's a fact that most Europeans love American corporations and will do everything they can to see that they and they alone determine what's acceptable behaviour in their states. In fact, the IFPI might want to think about doubling its Christmas Card orders, so many friends is this activity going to win them. Despite all these global court cases, targetting as many as one in every million file sharers worldwide, the number of files being shared is on the rise again. And worryingly for the Big Inudstry, a lot of that is down to people trying to go straight, and finding that the constraints of the service make it useless:

But most ominously of all, a survey by Ipsos-Insight reports that 22 per cent of US downloaders over 12 had bought music last year. Which shows that people have tried the new 'legitimate' online DRM music services and found them wanting.

And having got them to try once, it's going to be a whole heap harder to tempt people if they ever do sort out the DRM and make it possible to choose what you do with the music that you pay for. Like the man said, you only get one chance to explain the strange smell and the flies buzzing round your kitchen; fuck it up, and you'll never get Jennifer Lopez to come back for dinner again.

Meanwhile, not looking so much like the fatally flawed business it actually is, MusicNet has announced its plans for a UK office and almost instantly got sold to US Dixons-alike (in Dixon's dreams) Circuit City.

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