So I posted something a little while back about sharing music. I’ve been pondering it since and have condensed my argument down into two paragraphs.
The big problem with copyright is a question of attitude. People on the internet tend to assume that they have a right to people’s intellectual output without paying. There are, admittedly, some things that people should have a right to for free. These include Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. They also include the right to love who you want, to think what you want and to be who you want. I would not class free music downloads amongst these things. Like it or not (I don’t), we live in a capitalist society and to expect one sector of society to give up their output for free without asking everyone else to do so is ridiculous.
The problem with free downloads though is control. Listening to music before purchase is fast becoming the modern paradigm and understandably so, but a download signifies loss of control. If an artist has their music on a site such as bandcamp, then they retain control over how people listen to it and how they disseminate it whilst still enabling users to listen to it before purchasing. The difference between listening to something on the web and downloading it is that in the latter, the control passes from the artist to the listener without any money changing hands. I think that money shouldn’t be paid in order to listen to music, it should be paid in order to have control over how you listen to that music.
By targeting these two things, attitude and control I am convinced that the internet may be made compatible with copyright. Subject to me convincing everybody else, of course.
As an aside, it is interesting to see that the organisers of the Olympic Games in London this year have decided not to pay the musicians. If artists should accept giving away recordings for free in order to get exposure, yet should also accept performing for free in order to get exposure, then where exactly do they get their living from?