We got the latest issue of Time in the mail today. I was sort of idly flipping through it when I found a lengthy article on online piracy that was so one-sided and accusatory that I couldn’t help it… I wrote them a letter. This is nothing you guys haven’t heard before, but what the hell… Time isn’t going to print the whole thing.
Your article on music piracy is the most unrelentingly biased bit of journalism I’ve read in a long time. It parrots the party lines of the RIAA and MPAA, and neglects to even mention the opposing viewpoint held by artists like Janis Ian or Natalie Merchant. Instead of presenting a balanced story, your article calls interviewees thieves and threatens readers with going to hell. Nice work.
I’m sure CD sales were down last year, since the record companies shipped fewer units. (Did they leave that part out, or was it your doing?) In addition, many copy-protected CDs either didn’t work or actually sabotaged customers’ equipment. Who wants a CD that’s going to break the CD player? CD-R sales probably did increase exponentially, since they’ve become the backup medium of choice in most offices. By stating that all these CD-Rs become pirated music CDs, your reporters are jumping to conclusions that are not supported by the evidence they’ve presented. Logic 101, people.
Let’s talk video: have you tried Movielink? It doesn’t even allow Mac users to view the website, much less try the service. How about TV shows? It takes far less effort to order a series on DVD than to find and download it online. If more studios would treat all shows like 24—which was released at an affordable price immediately after the season finale aired—they’d see far fewer people going to the trouble of finding the shows online. Studios that pushed DVD rentals or offered downloads of one or two sample episodes from their websites might even find DVD buyers among people who never saw the show on TV.
Apple has gotten it right with their music store: songs are easy to find, affordable, and free of asinine copy protection measures. Apple treats its customers like customers, not like thieves, and the customers are responding. The music and film industries have spent the last several years suing their own customers for ridiculous “damages” while simultaneously fixing their prices, booby-trapping their products, and shortchanging their artists. Small wonder the customers are looking elsewhere.
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