Thursday, July 10, 2003

FIGURES?: On this morning's Today, Jay Berman of the IFPI (the global equivalent of the BPI/RIAA) turned up to back up the figures for the size of the pirate CD market. The figures themselves are suspect - apparently, one billion pirate CDs sold last year - which is a hugely unlikely-sounding 'one for every sixth person on the planet'; they also from this extrapolate that the pirate CD market is worth three billion pounds. Really? An average burned CD changes hand for three quid? Bear in mind this includes everyone who copies their old Jeff Buckley for a mate as a favour, or to apologise for having thrown up on their shoes; and that this is worldwide figure, we'd suggest that the average price for each thieved album is a lot lower than that. Berman (and we're sorry if that's not his actual name, they didn't give a spelling) then conjured images of CD piracy funding other crime (he didn't say osama has been flooding the market with S Club 8 singles, but you could join the dots) and suggested that garages were full of computers with "a thousand machines [tied] together", like a CD-R Matrix. Sure, there are some large scale operators, and, actually, we can understand why the record companies are pissed about their activities. But... as with downloads, how can we take them seriously when they're desperately feeding out pure nonesense of this sort? It seems to me that Mr. X, my friend who knows a bloke who sells the odd cd round his office, is going to feel less, not more guilty because his bloke only flogs a few, and he clearly isn't using it to fund international terrorism. The more grotesque the record industry paint the pirates, the harder they make it for people to recognise them.

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