I am a bit of stickler for intellectual property respect. That’s a trait, I am proud to say, I have passed on to my children. I glowed when one of them opted to buy the latest Phoenix Wright rather than play the pirated copy that his friend acquired. The Ace AttorneyÂ himself would be proud too.
I get funny looks sometimes when I ask about fair use of stock photo images that I have bought (bought!) … and why would anyone pay $10 per month for Rhapsody when all the songs in the world are just sitting there for free on the internet waiting to be taken? The whole population of Malta (and China? and India?) thinks it a sign of mental illness to pay for anything that can be stolen for free.
As someone who makes a living from intellectual property, I feel a certain solidarity with people whose livelihoods are slowly leaching away into the pirate-infested deeps of the Internet. A couple of deep blemishes tarnish my otherwise squeaky-clean self-image though and I need the world to change a little to help me restore my faith in myself.
Firstly, don’t make it so damn difficult to comply with your rights and regulations. I’m not too good at dealing with bureaucracy. Make it easier for me to do the right thing. Maybe y’all could embed urls or licenses in digital images. Blogging software and browsers could do something smart with them like show attribution info and link back to the copyright owner.
Secondly, and this is the biggie, someone needs to clean up the cesspool in which sheet music swirls – and I am talking about the so-called legitimate sellers here, not the tab sites.
The tab sites are a soggy morass of pirated content with their gossamer-thin chemise of this is for private study only covering their shame.
And my shame.
But they are not the real criminals.
Every now and again, I decide I would feel so much better to pay for a piece of musicÂ rather than download it for free but each time I see the price tag I conclude that the merchants are bigger pirates than the pirates are.
Five bucks for I Just Can’t Help Believing! How can they possibly justify that?
It reminds me of those third world markets where the shops have an outrageously marked-up price for locally-crafted kitsch when the exact same crap is on sale out in the street for a twentieth of the price. They can dismiss the vast majority of the market because one sucker keeps them in rice and beans for a month.
The market for sheet music is a sucker’s market. But, just as iTunes – despite the best efforts of the music industry sharks – made it easier to be moral than to sin, maybe someone out there can bring some sanity to the sheet music business.
Steve? Larry and Sergey? Jeff?
I read, the other day, that, compared to the software industry, the entire music business is relatively tiny. One of the tech titans could buy up the whole thing with spare change the way Russian billionaires buy up English football teams.
How about if a consortium of leading Internet companies – Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Baidu, Amazon etc. – jointly bought the entire music industry, and promised to license its content to anyone on a non-discriminatory basis?
Sheet music on my Kindle or iPad? How awesome would that be? I’d be sending you 99c every couple of hours, Jeff. Just make it easy for me to do the right thing. I’ll pay.