Amid all the hoopla about piracy threatening the content industries, all the uproar about needing to make peer-to-peer sharing or even “inciting” peer-to-peer sharing a crime, all the suing of the music industry’s own customers…music company BMI turns around and reports its best fiscal year ever. What? How can this be? Look, guys, either your very existence is threatened by the Evil Scourge of Peer-to-Peer or it isn’t, make up your minds——you can’t have it both ways!

The favorite record industry response is, “Well, just imagine how good it could have been without peer-to-peer,” but I find it hard to believe an industry that’s really “under threat” can be making more money every year, in record amounts. What if peer-to-peer was responsible for the growth? As I’ve mentioned in my entry prior to this one, many groups have found that giving their content away for free on the Internet is a sure-fire way to sell more of it.

Why is hardly anyone calling the RIAA’s figures about the piracy threat into question? Why are we letting them get away with chipping away at our freedoms on a pretext that may not even be valid?

If you haven’t yet, there’s no better time than now for you to read Lawrence Lessig‘s Free Culture. It may be one of the most important books you ever read.

Advertisements