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Friday, June 27, 2003

Filesharing 

The RIAA plan to sue filesharers really seems a bit counterproductive to me. It seems more likely to antagonize those who are already using filesharing networks than to help encourage the uptake of legal alternatives ... not that there are any real alternatives (at least not until iTunes develops a PC version).

Actually, a lot of the reporting of the suit threats irks me because it misses the distinction between filesharing networks and downloading music. Not all downloaded music is pirated material, and not all of it is accessed via peer-to-peer networks; however, the stigma being attached to electronically delivered music seems be applied in the popular press with a very broad brush. I have about 2 gigs of MP3s on my computer, none of which were downloaded from a peer-to-peer network. A bunch came from Amazon; others from CDs I ripped to create mixed Y2K+ versions of mixed tapes; and still others from artists websites, radio stations, and MP3.com.

Maybe I’m being too easily provoked by reporting that is trying to simplify a complex issue, but it I also think the RIAA and the major labels would rather not see any sort of digitized music files and that they benefit from popular confusion about legal downloading vs. downloads that violate copyright protections. For small artists, newcomers, and bigger acts that want to give a little something extra to the fans, I think MP3s are a great idea. In that vein, go ahead and (legally) download a few songs by these artists (links are to artist sites, not directly to MP3s): Pong Nan, Riku Lätti, and Maus (MP3s only available on the Icelandic version of the Maus site).

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