Monday, October 13, 2008

On Piracy

Three interesting items on copyright, piracy and music today:

1. Lawrence Lessig writes "In Defense of Piracy" for the WSJ.

"The extreme of regulation that copyright law has become makes it difficult, sometimes impossible, for a wide range of creativity that any free society... would allow to exist, legally."
2. UMG Chairman Doug Morris discusses piracy and (other topics) in a Billboard interview.

Morris actually seems more upset about institutional content providers than pirates. He talks about new entertainment platforms on the web, and compares them to "a company like MTV, where [UMG] gave them... music for very little money and [MTV] built a $30 billion company or whatever it was for nothing." (Morris seems to be holding a bit of a grudge.)

On the web, Morris's clearly talking about sites like MySpace, but the "there is no promotional material/always get paid" strategy hits smaller, more innovative groups like Muxtape far harder. Muxtape's version of this story makes for an interesting contrast, and feels like a potential example of what Lessig might call "creativity any free society should permit."

3. xkcd has a webcomic breaking down the dilemma of a music fan given the DMCA.

Of the links, this undoubtedly has the highest payout per sentence.