Tag Archives: piracy


The Piracy Debate in England

2009 Septiembre LILY ALLEN @ LUNA PARKThere’s been a lot of talk over the UK government response to illegal file sharing. 

The basic premise is that the UK government supports a plan to disconnect users who have been found to be illegally sharing copyrighted files.  First they get a warning, then the eventual step is the ISP stepping it to cut off access.

Now this has raised serious eyebrows all over the place, but no more so than at the Featured Artists Coalition, which is a basically a bunch of big name British musicians.  For a while, the official stance was opposition to this proposal, coming from some of the same artists that a law like this is designed to protect.

Lily Allen launched a blog (that she has subsequently removed) that called for musicians to support this, and collected submissions from other artists.  However, even this wasn’t without controversy because there are allegations that she plagarized her rather moving first post.

It still seems like she won this battle.  The FAC has now, essentially, backed down and has actually issued a statement in support of Lily Allen.  This seems like quite the turnaround, and many believe that it was simply because of Allen’s shockingly successful campaign.

I’m still not sure I believe in the internet disconnection idea, but if you take something away from this it my just be that a little publicity can be a powerful influence on politics.  It’s not exactly a novel concept, but I think this was an example of a very succesful operation.  She launched, she conquered, she deleted the blog. 


Dilla’s estate is suffering because of piracy

Our boy J Dilla has some major posthumous issues.  He was never a very rich man (he actually ended up crazily in debt since he had huge health care bills) and the small amount of royalties flowing in are decreasing all the time thanks to rampant piracy and biting of dope Dilla beats.  His estate is still trying to pay off all his debt.

Apparently Dilla didn’t even get credit for a lot of his dope beats for fairly major artists.  On his biggest it (Janet Jackson’s “Got til its gone”) was “mistakenly” credited to Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.  That’s just absurd.

Even worse, people are just using his name for whatever they want.  People invented a “Dilla Foundation” that was trying to hold events and claimed they were authorized.  Dilla’s estate is trying to launch some lawsuits, but are so strapped that his lawyers are now working for free.

Read more about it here.

[Source: LA Weekly]

Cool Music

Major music label exec supports file sharing

The news seems to be getting better and better for music lovers who prefer the digital atmosphere for this sort of thing. CNET News.com reports that a former Google Executive has become the President of the digital music division of EMI, one of the major labels.

This is potentially huge news for music fans of all kinds. EMI represents artists like Daft Punk, Queen, Gorillaz and many others. Having this kind of variety means they appeal to a huge portion of the music listening public.

Douglas Merrill, the ex-Googlite and new EMI Digital honcho has expressed some views that are actually rather contrary to the common stereotype of the major labels and the RIAA in general. This is what he has to say on File Sharing:

“For example, there’s a set of data that shows that file sharing is actually good for artists. Not bad for artists. So maybe we shouldn’t be stopping it all the time. I don’t know…I am generally speaking (against suing fans). Obviously, there is piracy that is quite destructive but again I think the data shows that in some cases file sharing might be okay. What we need to do is understand when is it good, when it is not good…Suing fans doesn’t feel like a winning strategy.” –CNET

I think that’s completely an underreported statement. In an age where way too many fans are getting sued by the RIAA, having someone in a position of authority with one of the big 4 record labels come out and say that he doesn’t believe in the tactic is a big paradigm shift. Not to say that this will have any effect on the tactics being used, but I’d like to think it may at least turn some heads.

More importantly for the label itself is the fact that bringing in someone with a reputation for innovation is a step in the right direction. For a stuffy old label, it is vital that they understand the nature of the
internet and the growth of digital music sales. Exploring new models for music distribution (e.g. free, but ad-supported; subscription models; DRM-free) is the most important thing Merrill can do.