Loreena misses the point – and punishes popcorn sellers

I recently came across this piece, by Loreena McKennitt. The piece appears to have been written by a copyright lawyer. I say that because it predictably trots out the RIAA party line, ignores the consumer and misses the point on several fronts.

  • Piracy is not destroying the music business; the music business is destroying the music business – by insisting that it is still 1975.
  • More Law is not the answer; new copyright legislation will not make your business model more profitable. The US has had the DMCA for over ten years. It hasn’t helped – the music business is imploding. And more heavy-handed legislation will merely hasten its demise.
  • More Technology is not the answer; there is no such thing as a “lockable bit”. What technology can hide, technology can reveal. Not long ago, some very clever people invented state-of-the art encryption for Blu-Ray; a little later, some other clever people broke it. Anti-copying technology does not hinder real pirates (large-scale operations with duplicators that copy everything – content, locks and all), but mainly serves to annoy legitimate users – piss them off at your peril.
  • “User rights” is not crafted language; terms like “Intellectual Property Protection” and “License” are crafted language. The term “User Rights” is not about the right to pirate; it means that I can enjoy my stuff when, where and how I want to. As long as this does not cheat you out of a sale, you don’t get to control what I do with it after the transaction.
  • Not all downloaders are pirates. Not all downloads are lost sales. Not all lost sales are full-price. I would contend that some piracy is push-back against a 19th-century business that is still having some trouble adjusting to the 20th.

Your comment about buying a license is complete and utter bollocks. If I had a license, the medium wouldn’t matter. If I had a license, I could get a replacement disk if the original broke. If I had a license, I could get mu music collection replaced if it were destroyed. If I had a license, I could listen to the licensed music whenever and wherever I wanted. What you are selling, and what your customers are buying, is music. Ignore that at your peril.

The world has changed. Your customers don’t buy plastic disks from record stores anymore; they buy blobs of data from websites and plop them on their music players and phones. You can profit from this, if you are willing to change. You can compete with free – AllOfMP3 proved that before Big Music had them whacked. Just offer your customers what they want, how they want it, at a price that they are willing to pay. Charge more for higher quality – the fans will pay extra. Make it cheap and easy enough to buy music and they will come.

I am against piracy. I do not share content, and I buy my music. But you seem to think that copyright means that you get to dictate terms after the transaction has been completed. I disagree – and since I am the customer with the money, mine is the only opinion that counts.

Your “popcorn” comment was by far the most laughable.

  • Here in the US, corn is heavily subsidized. A five-dollar box of cereal contains about ten cents’ worth of corn. What a great example of free-market economics!
  • I have never seen a popcorn seller at a concert – have you?
  • People have been known to eat popcorn at home!
  • Concert popcorn sellers are not particularly well-paid – whose fault is that?

If you want to support concert popcorn sellers, tour or shut up. Don’t come whining to us if you don’t want feel like touring.

For the record (no pun intended), I don’t have any of Loreena’s music, legally or illegally acquired, but after reading such twaddle I am inclined to avoid her music for the rest of my life.

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