Give The Devil His Due
It is fortunate that it is in Apple’s own interests to defend the rights of consumer. The reality of copyright law isn’t going to go away however. Its complexity is seldom discussed in the simpleton arguments that suggest that the RIAA should vanish and that “the artists” are somehow magically going earn a living without a complex system to funnel money back to them as their work is copied and performed, particularly when most music is traded around for free.
This is the one (and so far only) argument I’ve heard for the RIAA that I actually understand and even agree with. At a friend’s birthday party a few months ago, I was talking to a friend of a friend who happens to work in the music industry, and he brought up the same point.
Sure, it would be great for the music industry as we know it to crumble, and for the great independent labels and artists to rise from the ashes and rid the world of bad music and one hit wonders. But in reality, that wouldn’t happen. If the RIAA (and/or the major labels it represents) were to cease to exist, there would be a great loss to the industry as a whole. Yes, Myspace, iTunes, and illegal downloading are changing the way music industry works, and the recording industry needs to rethink it’s methods in order to survive, but without big pockets you cannot have the “complex system” mentioned above to move music (and money) from location to location.
The Internet has given people this false sense that they can have anything they want and not need to pay a dime to get it. While many musicians will say they are not in it for the money (and a lot will even be telling the truth), they are still in it to earn a living. Whether it’s from playing shows 300 days a year, selling 1,000,000 CDs, or getting a hit song on a blockbuster movie, musicians deserve to see the fruits of their labor, and consumers owe it to them to pay for it.
Now, that is not to say I like the RIAA (or the MPAA for that matter). Using scare tactics will not keep people from illegally downloading music and movies; welcome to the digital age, where that kind of activity cannot be stopped. I just think that maybe, just maybe, the root idea of these organizations is to help artists, not to hurt consumers.
But maybe you disagree. In that case, continue to use RIAA Radar, and time will tell how this all plays out.
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