Tuesday, January 18, 2005

CanWest, Big Music and File Sharing

Today in the Times Colonist's Arts section an article about file sharing. The title caught my eye: "File sharing costs artists millions, law still vague."

Having followed this story closely, I was surprised to see that these ridiculous statements are still being printed. Do CanWest's articles not have to pass some kind of "smell test?" Obviously this must be an opinion piece, since their claims are far from today's reality.

According to CanWest the legal debate is murky. Being a Dutchman, not totally sure what murky means, I looked it up in Merriam Webster:
murky: 1. Characterized by a heavy dimness or obscurity caused by or like that caused by overhanging fog or smoke.

So why murky? Because "in the U.S. lawmakers have cracked the whip on file-sharing" but in Canada "no definite rulings on the [file-sharing] have been made". "Therefore it is currently not illegal". Don't you like it how these CanWest people try to make you believe there is something wrong with the Canadian law? The Canadian ruling is different from the U.S. position, but is different murky?

Like with many things, it all depends on who you ask. To CNET News.com the last rulings on file-sharing in Canada is clear: file sharing in Canada is legal. Nothing about murky or any other related words (yes, this Dutchman checked Thesaurus). CanWest also states that "U.S. lawmakers have cracked the whip on filesharing" but "Canadian courts nor elected lawmakers have made definite rulings on the matter". Therefore, according to the article, it is not illegal.

First of all, not American lawmakers cracked the whip, but the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) did, by suing whoever they could (including 12 year old Brianna LaHara). And, why WOULD Canadian lawmakers crack the whip on filesharing when they already decided that it is totally legal?

The Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) is appealing rulings that make these downloads (and uploads) legal. Now why would they do that if the law is so clear? Fortunately no phone calls have to be made; they have their own answer.

If Canadians are comfortable file-sharing, they should be able to make an easy switch to a legitimate online music marketplace, once the proper conditions are in place.
The CRIA hopes to see everybody paying for "legitimate" downloads (read: paid downloads), but why would anyone in Canada pay for something that is already available for free? Exactly, that's what they try to change. Not for themselves of course, but for the artists. And CanWest is with them, with their article "File-sharing costs artists millions, law still vague".

After reading this article I started to wonder what the news worthiness was: nothing. No news in this article, only old facts, mostly directly from the CanWest's "friends" at the CRIA. I tried to look up the article online: for subscribers only. Good. People crazy enough "to pay" for old news, should.


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