Thursday, July 30, 2009

Banning P2P? Can you say Antitrust?

I decided to take a break from cyber geek stuff and spend a little time talking about the RIAA/MPAA's efforts to cure the illegal movie/music downloads by forcing sites to ban P2P or they'll get sued.

I play in a band that's won a number of awards and nominations for most of our 9 CDs. We were an early adopter of the www. We were signed to an independent music label and since then have our own label. We market our stuff on a variety of online venues like CDBaby and have the prerequisite Facebook, MySpace, etc. sites.

I was asked for my opinion of the Napster lawsuit a bunch of years ago. I made a few observations that I'd like to share here.

1. I FULLY agree that it's illegal to download any form of entertainment in violation of the established copyright laws. However......

2. What if the copyright owner allows free and unlimited distribution of their music, for example. P2P provides an efficient way to distribute that material to potentially a worldwide audience. My band and its record label own the copyrights to our original material and we typically include public domain music on our CDs. We want to market our product and one way to get word out is through the P2P process.

3. So, I wonder if the RIAA/MPAA's efforts to force sites to ban P2P constitutes some sort of antitrust type violation against independent music labels or bands like ours. A P2P ban would hurt our business. We'd be frozen out of potential markets and thereby incur potential loss of income. Again, we are granting permission to distribute some of our materials using P2P. There is NO copyright violation in our case.

4. Public institutions may distribute their own video and audio material via P2P. VA Tech is a land grant institution and its extension service regularly creates videos on a wide variety of agricultural processes. A favorite delivery method is P2P. If a site has to ban P2P for fear of an RIAA/MPAA lawsuit, doesn't that impact their overall ability to get timely information for their site?

More on this later.....

No comments:

Post a Comment