Monday, December 11, 2006

Billboard on music piracy: "The Crack Connection" by Tamara Conniff : really?

So I was having lunch when a friend of mine pointed out an article in Billboard titled "The Crack Connection". It was about music piracy. I took it, expecting the usual FUD straight out of RIAAs and MPAAs throat.

But this article was a jewel in it's own right. Tamara Conniff is the Executive Editor and Associate Publisher of Billboard is the one responsible for polluting the writescape with it.

In a satirical style she points out that the organized crime copying and selling music is bad bad bad and that they cost the state a lot of tax money the music industry lost in sales to these questionable individuals. So she goes (gleefully) on and puts the selling of pirated music right in the category of like selling crack, and how in 2007 selling pirated music is not any longer a misdemeanor.

I may quote here a few of the jewls.

  • "Dealing pirated CDs on the street corners is more lucrative then selling crak."
  • "But think again. In los Angeles, gang members and drug dealers are now setting up shop to sell CDs."
  • "To deal with what has essentially become organized crime, the anti-piracy division (of los angeles) needs a bigger force. It also needs more money."
  • "The anti-piracy unit has served 58 search warrants, made 190 arrests and covered more then $10.7 million in contraband for 2006. Imagine what they could do with more manpower."
  • "It's killing the music business. Not just the artists---it's killing the songwirters, engineers, the recording studios, the record stores, the graphic designers who do album art, photographers, mixers, producers and the mailroom clerk."
  • "If we make enough noise, maybe, just maybe more funds will get approved. To make a difference, go to"
Dear Tamara Conniff:
It's unquestionable that criminal elements engage in all kinds of piracy, big news, tell me new, and certainly something has to be done about it.
When you told me how the music industry is beeing killed (having multi-digit billion revenues) by these petty pirates I was moved to tears over how producers, executives and studios are soon to be seen begging the streets for mercy money.
But let's look at the cold hard facts for a moment painfull as they are:
  • Wouldn't you (and the content industry) missuse copyright to establish a marketing monoply to hold prices high there wouldn't be a black market.
  • Would you engage your customers in innovative content services they wouldn't go out of their way to do with your content what you'd like to forbid them to. Here's a friendly cue: When your customers do something they like doing with your product, what's smarter, stamp down on it or try to develop a market on it?
  • Do you really think that selling pirated music is about as bad for society as selling crack to kids? Well I'm sure you rather would your kids buy crack then?
  • When the RIAA/MPAA wouldn't bend the laws to their hearts wishes and blow civil offences hugely out of proportion they wouldn't clog up court so badly. I mean, do you really think that your court time for sueing a Grandma and an 8year old is more important then that victims of Rape, Murder get Justice dispensed as quickly as possible?
  • Nobody, and I mean NOBODY is ruining the business of the music industry then the music industry themselves. You artificially hold prices unreasonably high, you complain about your customers openly all the time, you sue a percentage of them, you go as far as to actually break the law to get what you think is yours (yes DRM is actually unconstitutional as it is today). Do you think consumers are impossible to annoy?
  • You constantly are in the news, and almost always it's bad news (for you). In countries political parties have been formed to form a defense to what the RIAA/MPAA are mounting.... political parties, dear lady. You can tell by how annoyed youths are when they start to engage about something with politics, because that's usually the last place you see them doing anything (youths are notoriously annoyed about politics and thus usually avoid it).
So to put your picture in perspective, sure I feel for you, you have to deal with crooks and thus you go on to destroy democratic and human rights in the row and are a major moving force for trashing all what a sane, just and humane society stands for in the name of bigger profits for an already fat industry. Hell I can even sympthize, but don't expect me to shed a tear here.

Tamara, a new time is coming, and it's coming fast. You alienated your customer base from the craddle up. You missed out on the prosumer movement and soon you'll be extinct, killed by your own inevitable collapsing mass. Unable to adjust to a time of rapid change and surprising emerging markets and usages. Copyright is a phase that is going to pass as it is today, so enjoy your time in the sun while a mafia of content cartels can reap all the business from a legal situation bend to their benefits, it's not going to last forever because as other people have said before, Tamara, "we are the people".