Sunday, January 23, 2011

IFPI - Time for the Government to Intervene

The most recent report from the IFPI (released this month) states that "the music industry is still haemorrhaging revenue as a result of digital piracy"[pg3] with an estimated decline in the global value of recorded music from 2004 to 2010 of -31% [pg5]

This is despite 'proactive measures' to reduce the availability of unauthorised tracks:

"The music industry is stepping up to the task of protecting its content. Industry pressure in the last year alone has led to the closure of Limewire, the blocking of The Pirate Bay in Italy and Denmark, the removal of more than seven million infringing links and growing successes against pre-release leaks.... Yet tackling digital piracy is ultimately a task for governments... Many governments are now recognising the need for proportionate and effective steps to curb piracy. In the last year, France and South Korea implemented “graduated response” measures that will for the first time engage ISPs in reducing peer-to-peer infringement on their networks. Similar moves are underway in the UK, New Zealand and Malaysia." [pg3]

Finally the IFPI acknowledge that individual lawsuits are an ineffective means of addressing "piracy" :

"[T]he industry favours a preventative and educational approach involving communication with subscribers over the more punitive and less effective alternative of mass-scale individual lawsuits."[pg18]

However I dispute their claims that a graduated response scheme is the only alternative to individual lawsuits. There remains scope for the introduction of a licensing scheme to enable the free sharing of music whilst still ensuring that artists receive an income. There may be scope to consider this if the global value of the industry continues to decline - at the tipping point - 50% or more, the company directors who hold the responsibility to make decisions in the best interests of the corporation, will have other choices available to them. A drop of 31% means there is still a short way to go before that point is reached but one can imagine that at some point they will start insisting on a licensing scheme instead.

Further Reading
IFPI, IFPI Digital Music Report 2011: Music at the touch of a button (January 2011) < > at 23 January 2011

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