Home > Business End of Piracy, P2P > Business End of Piracy In The Media Industries Part 3

Business End of Piracy In The Media Industries Part 3

In part 1 we explored the beginning of the electronic dance music industry.  In part 2 we explored the rise of and birth of white labeling an accepted use of copyright infringement in order to test market media.  In this post we will explore where the electronic dance music industry is today due to global exposure from file sharing, and “piracy”.

It’s important to note that before we get into the nitty gritty of this post, that it’s the media industry as a whole that’s been effected in virtually the same way as the music industry.  As a society we have a greater understanding now of what has occurred in the music industry as a result of piracy.  To simply dismiss the economic transition and confining this change to the music industry, I think shows a lack of understanding of where economic value has shifted in the industry on whole.

Think of it this way, as a media producer, music, film, your goal is to get people to watch, and listen.  The more people who listen and watch, the more valuable the works become from a marketing and advertising perspective.  Value can come in many forms through media.  Radio is an excellent example of how the free consumption of audio from an audience prespective has been turned into a value added and essential part of the media industries.  I consider non-commercial infringement of online media both video and audio to be the new radio and essential for not just the transition to a more consumer centered digital marketplace, but the survival of industry itself.  I’m not alone with respect to my views on non-commercial infringement either. US Register of Copyright Maria Pallante seems to agree with me regarding some aspects of non-commercial infringement:

I also agree that the law and industry needs to respond to “Unauthorized Distribution” of copyright works, however I have a bit of a different take on this as well.  I think the best way to enforce “unauthorized distribution” is to make it easier for different distribution models to get authorization.  If we allow for such licenses for P2P sites to exist, a new revenue stream is built.  The online ad market is starting to boom now, and revenue sharing rather than revenue destruction would probably be the better path here.

For those of you skeptical of that path, and that industry can’t compete with free, well it’s competing with a free option now however could be bringing in more income if it shifted focus from enforcement to revenue sharing.  I expect many supporters of the current copyright regime to strongly disagree with me on this.  Industry fought tooth and nail against this same idea when applied to the early days of radio.

That being said, over the last 25 years the electronic dance movement has grown from house parties in the UK to the open fields of Europe to filling stadiums 2 or 3 times the size of the Air Canada Center since the out break of file sharing online.  P2P has grown a small movement into a global force.  Each year electronic dance music festivals held around the world promote acceptance, peace, love, unity and respect across the planet, including placed like Lebanon where Jews, Arabs and Christians get together for a night of peace and music.  It’s the experience of these events that’s being marketed in a big way with record turn outs.  Value added and income from artists shifted to these massive events which more than make up the measly 6% royalty pennies from legal purchases.

One of the biggest events is called Sensation White.  One of Sensation White’s biggest venues is in Amsterdam.  The below video shows where “house music” is today. Those that remember Chris Sheppard back in the 90’s will get a kick out of the first 3 mins of the below tribute to Capricorn’s – 20 HTZ.  A house tune that was not only huge in the UK, but also in Canada as well:

Sensation White – Celebrate Life With House at Amsterdam Arena

The movement didn’t spread to just house, but it’s spawns as well. A few years back a little known DJ in the Netherlands had his radio show shared online. As a result it’s become a global force to be reckoned with. Armin Van Burren’s “A State of Trance” has touched millions across the globe. Armin became the world top ranked DJ as a result, selling out crowds where ever he preformed. In 2008 he began touring. Here is the “intro” to his 2008 tour. Notice the beach balls, which where a staple of the early gatherings back from the early days of these gatherings:

What I think needs to happen is a necessary shift of the policy of copyright enforcement to the effects and adaptation of traditional  media business models around file sharing.  We’ve heard time and time again about P2P sites being taken down and users sued for downloading content. It’s been over a decade since Napster and the enforcement regime in place globally hasn’t really done much other than small dents to the online file sharing community. It would be therefore reasonable to assume that business models have evolved over the past decade to take into effect and benefit from file sharing across the media industry and within the purchase of legal downloads and ticket sales to events.

In this series of posts I focused on one are of the industry where value is returned through sharing.  If the driving force of technological change in one sector of the industry has adapted, where’s the adaptation of P2P in the media industry on whole?  I think that’s an important question that should be asked and answered. A very easy and fair way for that question to be answered is to limit copyright damages against file sharers to actual costs. The economics of non-commercial infringement have yet to be fully tested in a legal setting.

Until we can grapple with and take on the actual problem here underneath all the political bull, copyright itself is at risk of becoming a relic of the past.  I think that there are important discussions that need to happen around our current copyright enforcement regime.  I hope to some degree I have added to those conversations with this series of posts.

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