US Music Industry to Sue Individuals in Drive Against Net Piracy

“The move underlines how desperate the music industry has become to staunch the flow of illegal downloads, which are beginning to devastate compact disc sales. In 2000, the 10 top-selling albums in the US sold a total of 60m copies. In 2001 that dropped to 40m, and last year it was 34m.” David TeatherUS Music Industry to Sue Individuals in Drive Against Net Piracy (Guardian)

When the subject of illegal file-sharing came up in a recent class, one of my freshman smirked and said, “They [i.e. the recording companies] should get over it.” In the long run, they will… but history is full of examples of innovation delayed by powerful institutions that feel threatened. In the early 20th century, local musician unions prevented radio stations from playing recorded music, on the grounds that doing so took jobs away from professional musicians. But pre-recorded music won out over live bands, and today it’s a lot harder today to make a living as a professional musician.

I don’t really feel like I am a stakeholder in the file-sharing issue, but I do like watching the fur fly.