October 27th, 2007

bear eat you


Via balthcat this morning, a fascinating article from a fringer on the record industry on why it is doomed, and what we can do to help its fall. Basically, in the wake of Oink's death, we really need to be looking at what the copyright laws are actually doing for us.

The article also makes a point of the way the record industry has shot itself in the foot, not least by the repulsive, scaremongering propaganda they spread about themselves, and "the pirates" (their former customers). For example, every news article I've read about Oink so far makes a point that Oink users `paid "donations" to upload or download albums'. In point of fact, some Oink users paid donations (no quotes, thank you) to keep the site running, and uploaded or downloaded albums regardless.

Tides are changing a little: Ian Rogers of Yahoo! Music has even posted a rant about how DRM was never good for the industry, and how he won't ever be associated with it again. Good for him.

Of course, it's not just music. Just this week TV Links got shut down and the owner arrested. This is a site which provides links to TV shows hosted by other people - the guy never distributed anything, and I never saw an ad on the site - as far as I know, the guy never made a penny. As one of my colleagues said this week, "it's like being arrested for pointing at a thief". I think it's highly unlikely they'll be able to bring him to any kind of "justice", but it makes a good headline, eh?

It doesn't stop at TV shows, or even movies. Video games DRM has been talked about a lot recently, especially in terms of how it hurts the industry. The only games I've bought since BioShock have been console games or on Steam (which, while not perfect, is at least a sane DRM solution), so I'm a already on a path towards not supporting DRM in games.

My point here, if I have one, is that this is one issue for all media, not separate ones for music, film, tv, games etc. and as such these separate interesting points and plans of action apply to all the other media as well as the ones you know well. DRM isn't just a huge fiscal sinkhole for music - it's been a waste of time for everyone involved. And while some of them are the same companies (Sony in particular), it's the whole of the media industry that needs to change its attitude - not just the games companies.