28 July 2011

Not So Fast, FAST

FAST - "Federation Against Software Theft" - is manifestly one of the more risible copyright organisations, since it doesn't even know the law (it's not "theft", it's "copyright infringement" - quite different, because nothing is stolen in these cases.)

Since that is what they are paid to do, its PR company keeps sending me FAST's press releases, which I studiously ignore since they are uniformly ridiculous. But its latest missive is so indicative of what the problem is with the copyright industries, I feel obliged to share part of it (sadly, it's not yet online - I'll add it if and when it appears.)

It's about Newzbin 2, which it inaccurately claims

aggregates a large amount of the illegally copied material found on Usenet discussion forums.

Of course, there's no aggregation whatsoever, just links: Newzbin 2 is a search engine, like Google. Clearly FAST has the same problems understanding that distinction as it does with the difference between theft and copyright infringement.

But the best bit comes towards the end:

Our stance has always been one of carrot and stick – ensuring that customers are educated on the economic impact of piracy as well as advocating compliance with the law protecting creators.

Except, of course, there is no carrot there, just propaganda and threats. And the propaganda is wrong: as I - and others - have noted, there's growing evidence to show that piracy actually boosts sales.

This neatly sums up the problem with the copyright maximalists. Rather than focussing on giving customers what they want - easy access to digital products at reasonable prices - they spend all their time focussing on the stick. Little wonder, then, that the current "victory" in the courts will prove as hollow as all the others, because there is still no "carrot" being offered as an alternative...

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ggravier said...

I can't agree more. It's already a pain in the butt when they talk about theft rather than copyright infringement.

But it's clear that downloading something is my equivalent of listening to it on the radio or watching it on TV before deciding to buy the Blu Ray or DVD or CD (which I *DO*). Sometimes I will even download something while waiting for it to ship. Typical case would be when something is made available in Blu Ray in the USA and we have to wait several more monthes before having it in Blu Ray in Europe. So I download it while it's on pre-order in Europe.

Of course, if the media industry figured out that the internet HAS NO BORDERS, and that the world is a global market, and stop this stupid habit of making something available here at one date and there at another, and make prices reasonable, it would all change...

We the media industry has proven over the previous decades that it fears all kinds of changes to its established business model (yes, business model, not art and culture propagation model), and only changes when it has no other option. Well, they have no other option now. It's time to change.

glyn moody said...

@ggravier: indeed, the disconnect in world views here is painful