Sony BMG Thinks You’re a Thief

If you want to buy music, buying a CD is a good way of doing it. There’s no

risk that some computer error will destroy your purchase, and it’s easy to transfer

the songs onto your computer and iPod. Many people, I suspect, are like myself:

I do buy CDs, but I never play them on a CD player. Instead, the CD gets ripped

straight into iTunes and then stored in a dark corner somewhere in case of emergency.

Which, according to Sony BMG’s head of litigation, Jennifer Pariser, makes

me a thief. Here’s what she said testifying in court, in the case Capitol

Records, et al v. Jammie Thomas:

"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we

can say he stole a song." Making "a copy" of a purchased song

is just "a nice way of saying ‘steals just one copy’," she said.

This kind of absolutism can’t help but backfire on Sony, and not only because

Sony itself makes any number of computers and music players which try to make

exactly this kind of "stealing" as easy as possible. Pariser is essentially

saying that anybody with an MP3 player is a thief – and people with MP3

players, of course, are the heart of Sony BMG’s customer base. If a company

continues to insult its customers like this, it’s unlikely to do very well.

On the other hand, this is clearly a very fruitful line of thinking for the

likes of the IPI

to explore. Work out how many songs are ripped from CDs every year, and then

come up with a percentage of those songs which would otherwise have been bought

on iTunes if no-one ripped CDs or downloaded music illegally. Presto –

even more spurious "losses" for the music industry to moan to Congress


(Via Guambat)

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