Kirk Evans Blog

.NET From a Markup Perspective

Google and Time Warner: How YouTube Stole My Friend’s Career

I’ve got a buddy who is a very talented musician.  He has talked to several record companies, and they all have the same story:  we would love to sign you, but we just don’t have any money to promote you and get you started.  Sales are down, profits are down, and they attribute a large portion of that lost revenue to illegal downloads.  It’s a much different story when you remove huge companies from the subject line and replace them with a personal face and see how it affects the guys actually trying to make a living making music.

I read this today, and my jaw dropped.  The audacity here is simply baffling.

He said there are ways for the music industry to experiment and innovate in a way that still supports their core business of selling recorded music – he cited the YouTube buttons sending people to buy songs on Amazon as an example.

[via “Google boss denies ‘screwing’ music industry and defends YouTube in Warner row“]

By this same logic, this guy would justify Best Buy burning their own CDs of copyrighted music and handing them out for free with every purchase, as long as they include a link to Amazon’s web site in the CD cover.  Or better, maybe Circuit City would still be in business if they would have burned copies of copyrighted DVD movies and handed them out for free with purchase so long as they included information on how to purchase a legitimate copy.  Wow, I am stunned.

He then goes on:

The people who upload videos aren’t typically intellectual property experts. They just love the music. These people would have been the presidents of your fanclubs before. So do you punish them, yell at them, block their content from going up?

Umm… yes!  Certainly everyone agrees that content should be blocked if it is not properly licensed.  No, the people who upload videos aren’t typically IP experts, but even kids in elementary school are taught about plagiarism… they know that they aren’t supposed to do it, but they do it because the website allows them to.  It’s not up to the individual, it’s up to the site provider that is making tons of money from illegally shared content.