I ran across this article on RIAA this morning attempting to police piracy. Once again I am left shaking my head at the stupidity of this entire piracy circus.
Most industries have competition, which forces down prices and promotes innovation. The music industry clearly has no such drivers, and innovation is someone we absolutely do not see. If organizations like RIAA put half as much time into considering a business model that works with the Internet rather than trying to punish the people interested in their product they would be growing rather than being in decline.
And while I am on the topic, this cartoon video completely captures my feeling on the subject. Yes, RIAA, you need to heed this advice.
What does this have to do with security? Plenty.
I wonder if RIAA employees get spam? Have you seen how many ways they are to spell (or mis-spell) Viagra? How many ways and how easily I can convey the meaning without actually saying it? 'Massive Pole', 'Make Her Happy', 'Top Rated Enlarger', '4 free pills' and 'Vi-Ag-Rah' got through one spam filter just in the last four hours. So if RIAA is looking for common file names of songs, it will only take a matter of minutes until all this content is relabeled and reformatted and become invisible to ‘Media Sentry’. This is a joke. I can only assume that this is a PR exercised to waste money and further blame the consumer for the music industry’s lack of commercial success. It will not stop piracy. It will not detect most piracy.
Why would I want to buy CD full of schlock if I all want is the one song? In this day and age where bands are seldom the organic garage band that creates something special and unique, but rather a ‘package’ of faces and sounds out of mind of recording executives, one good song is all we get. So why am I going to pay 8, 12, 20 or more dollars for garbage? And on top of that I have to deal with what I call ‘the packaging penalty’, or trying to get the CD or DVD out of its packaging without damaging the cover art or media. It’s just easier for me to record it off the radio. Or as most people do, pull a copy from the Internet and create a low-rez copy that they will listen to a couple times and delete.
A friend of mine has been going through a process of acquiring a complete catalog of a couple of female jazz singers that we both like. You would think that this is a simple process of ordering the recordings on CDs, DVD, SACD, .WAV or whatever medium is your preference. Not so fast. It turns out that not all of the distributions are created equally. We have found some cases where the media itself varies greatly in recording quality, but even more troubling is the song lists are different! The DVD-A may contain three unique songs, the DVD a song and a video, and the SACD a different song appended yet again. We have even found cases where the CDs sold to some of the big box retailers differ from chain to chain.
Sure, they would like me to buy the same copy of music on the same medium as many times as I could afford to, and even better, buy it on every medium they can think of creating just so I can get the last song or two. This model does not work for the consumer and demonstrates how some companies have lost perspective of their value. Rather than looking to provide a product people want to buy, they are looking at news ways to mine value from intellectual property. Two very different concepts.
The last point I wanted to make is the use of the word ‘customers’, as everyone I have ever met who rips albums is also a collector. They buy when they can, and the rip when it makes economic sense to do so. I do not know anyone who is so cash-poor that they are unable to purchase songs that they really want. They are in fact customers, but they are not simply going to throw money away. As is a recurring theme in many of Bruce Schneier’s articles, economy is often a much larger factor in security than technology.
The recording industry has created a disposable medium and disposable content. They have now trained their customers to treat it as throw away background music, with the concepts of High Fidelity and cover art becoming all but extinct. Yes, I am saying that piracy is to a very large extent a byproduct of recording industry business practices. If they want to see increased revenue, they need to price, package and distribute it such that it is easier to buy than copy, or provide a higher perceived value for the packaged product. If they continue to punish customers, the recording industry will quite literally dis-intermediate itself and will succumb to a more efficient and more cost effective delivery of music.