Thursday, July 08, 2004

NO THANK YOU FOR THE MUSIC: We're pretty sorry to hear about Mark Purseglove, sentenced to three and a half years for... selling concert recordings. Obviously, what he did was, strictly speaking, outside the law, but we're not entirely sure who the victim was here. In fact, Aaron S emailed us to make pretty much the same point:

Please, please tell me your going to write something about how utterly wrong the prison sentence for that bootlegger is. It's been filling me with rage all day. When I was younger my friends and I would be overjoyed if we found a bootleg of a gig we went to - it's not like the record industry makes these things available. For the judge to say "Very large numbers of illicit CDs were produced and sold over the years with significant potential loss, not only to recording companies but also to performers and composers" just beggars belief - I don't believe any one in the world has ever bought a bootleg CD instead of a 'proper' album.

This guy may not be the most wholesome of individuals, but that someone can go to jail for selling recordings that aren't even commercially available astounds me. This country....

It does seem extraordinary that the record industry has got so upset about this - apparently, McCartney, Ringo and Jimmy Page were standing by to give evidence if Purseglove hadn't pleaded guilty - and what chance would he have had then, with McCartney stood in his rags, eyes red from having to tell Heather that, no, there was no Tofu for tea tonight, telling the court of how Purseglove had diddled him out... what, exactly? The loss to the music industry is claimed to be "incalculable", although someone seems to have managed to come up with a figure that said Purseglove had benefitted by some fifteen million quid. However, this might be the same person who's decided that 28,000 fake CDs found at his storage units were "worth GBP2 million" - in other words, that he'd be flogging them for seventy one quid each. Even BMG hasn't dreamed of charging that for a record yet.

Of course the loss to the music industry is incalculable, because it's impossible to have a loss from the sale of something that doesn't have a legitimate equivalent. Purseglove wasn't selling fake CDs, and if anyone can provide evidence of anyone saying "Well, I had been going to HMV to buy a copy of This Is Hardcore, but instead I shall troop off to a car boot sale to see if I can get a murky recording of Pulp playing a gig in Blackpool instead" then we'll accept that music industry lost out in some way.

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