PHONAR: Copy Culture

In this day and age, the internet has made file sharing all too easy. Brilliant for us; being able to steal a couple of songs off of a friends ITunes, not so great for the music industry it’s coming from. This is the case with everything; photography, art, music, films. The sharing of files, in particular in music is something the great David Cambell is writing about, right here. 

The American Assembly, affiliated with Columbia University in New York, has produced a study on Copy Culture in the US and Germany, which “explores what Americans and Germans do with digital media, what they want to do, and how they reconcile their attitudes and values with different policies and proposals to enforce copyright online.”



When the American Assembly study looked at the composition of people’s music collections they found two things. First, that “‘copying from friends/family’ is comparable in scale and prevalence to ‘downloading for free’.” And it is worth remembering that much of the material copied from friends and family is legally purchased in the first place – it is similar in many ways to passing a book around once you have finished reading it. #

Secondly, they found something that matches the conclusions of numerous other studies that have put illegal file sharing in perspective: ”The biggest music pirates are also the biggest spenders on recorded music.”  ‘

So what does all this mean, does it balance it out a bit more? Is sharing between your family the same as copying the same CD? I don’t really remember much of a full being kicked up back in the day about people sharing CDs. I think part of the losses is the availaility of online music as it is. You’re not buying a cd, with a case and a cover for £10. You’re buying just the tracks (that you don’t even own) for £5. That’s a loss. I personally hate not getting the CDs, I still like the covers and the cases. Is it a downward spiral? What do you think?


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