Hello, file sharing!

The latest study by economists of file sharing supports the techie view of the last three years, mainly that online file sharing does not significantly impact music CD sales. The study is explained in some detail in the NY Times article. The record industry is enraged, and the NYT reporter does a pretty good job of making fun of their illogical responses. Best paragraph is the last one:

“They can’t get to that using the two sets of data they are using – they aren’t tracking individual behavior,” said Jayne Charneski, formerly of Edison Media Research […] “There’s a lot of research out there that’s conducted with an agenda in mind,” said Ms. Charneski, now the head of research for the record label EMI.

(Emphasis added.)

Meanwhile, I just don’t know if it’s funny or sad to watch the dying beast of the record industry hold on to it’s outdated ideas. The Wall Street Journal reports that in response to growing online music sales, specifically of individual tracks that people like, as opposed to force–fed albums of a few good songs and a lot of filler, the 5 major record labels are considering raising prices on individual popular tracks or forcing those tracks to be bundled with less popular ones. Additionally, in many cases popular albums are being sold online, i.e. in a lower quality, restricted digital compressed form, with no liner notes, no physical CD to distribute, etc, at a higher price then what it costs to buy them in stores.

Finally, the creator of the DeCSS hack of yore has released his latest masterpiece, a program called PlayFair that removes the Apple “FairPlay” digital rights management from legally purchased iTunes songs, removing the restrictions on copying and the like. The songs still maintain their unique digital watermarks, including the purchaser’s account information. This reminds me of the late, great eMusic, which offered unlimited music downloading of non-big-5 music, but the music contained digital watermarks and people who shared on P2P networks were dealt with, strongly. Seems like a sensible approach to me, and PlayFair removes the bitter aftertaste I get every time I purchase an iTunes track, because now I know that the possibility exists for me to get out of this crazy DRM scheme at some point in the future.

4 replies on “Hello, file sharing!”

  1. Argh. It mangled that too.

    Look, why don’t I just tell you what happened to PlayFair. In the words of MacSlash (which I was trying to link to above):

    Apple Computer issued a cease and desist order to Sourceforge to shut down the PlayFair web site. The development team is currently looking for a new home for the project. It’s not surprising that Apple did this, but I guess I’m still disappointed whenever they whack someone with a lawyer. No proof that it was an Apple C&D. You can still find PlayFair in a SourceForge search, but it returns a page saying “Invalid Project.”

  2. The parser has problems with links and such that span more then one line. I messed with it for a while but couldn’t figure it out, and I’m just going to assume that it was fixed or will soon be fixed in the WordPress code, and as soon as I find some time to upgrade to the latest version, all will be well. Doing that will require figuring out how to not lose all my customizations, but they’re starting to make that easier by setting up a simple “plug-in” setup.

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