Monday, September 29, 2008

NME points a finger

An email from Daniel B points us in the direction of an NME report on file sharing:

Wow - do the NME have a legal team of any kind checking their website postings, or all they all busy fending off suits from Morrissey?

Are they *sure* Sendspace and Megaupload are illegal? And are they
sure the Guardian said they are? Maybe the Guardian site has changed,
but there's no mention of either in the linked piece, which was "last
updated at 07:12 on September 29 2008. "

It's a good question - there's nothing illegal about Megaupload as a service; it could, theoretically, be used to share copyrighted material without the copyright holder's permission, but that would be in contravention of the company's terms of service. You could use a Volkswagen to ram-raid a branch of Dixons, but that doesn't mean the Golf is an illegal car and it's surprising that they've singled out a couple of sites which have serious, legal, business uses at their heart for the pointy-fingering.

It's actually a pity, because it obscures what is a useful piece of research. It's a tiny sample and we tend to not accept these things as being truly representative, but taken on its own terms it's quite revealing:
Some 38 per cent said the [music subscription] services would lead to them reducing their use of illegal file-sharing websites such as Sendspace and Megaupload, reports The Guardian.

The survey also found that 45 per cent of users would buy fewer CDs because of the services, while 47 per cent said they would be discouraged from using digital download stores like iTunes.

So, in other words, the mobile subscription services which the music industry reckons will be their saviour are going to be better at hitting actual legal sales than stopping piracy.

The NME's headline on the article is the bullish
iPhone rivals to kill off internet piracy?

- to be fair, they do put a question mark on there, but given the survey could only find 25% of people with a "keen interest" in taking the services, and only a third of those suggested that doing so would reduce their use of filesharing sites, we're not supposing the lawyers the RIAA keep writing cheques to will be feeling the cold wind of credit crunching just yet.

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