Itís illegal and itís a drag!

By Jon Newton 10/07/02

What is? "The unauthorized reproduction and distribution of copyrighted music is JUST AS ILLEGAL AS SHOPLIFTING A CD. Burning CDís from peer-to-peer networks like KaZaA, Morpheus or Gnutella is against the law."

At least, millionaire 'working people' Madonna, Elton John, Eminem, Sheryl Crow, Jay Z, Lenny Kravitz and 84 others apparently think so, says musicunited, a new entertainment industry site.

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It went up on September 26 as part of the latest ad-and-other Hollywood driven campaign to salvage the unwholesome mess it's already made of trying to turn the Net into its personal online market.

And Stone Temple Pilots lead singer Scott Weiland pretty well sums up the musicunited perspective with: "... it's not a free service, it's not like it's done just to please fans. Everything that's done is done for a profit."


And you'll no doubt be amazed and astounded to learn truth adjustor Hilary 'Reach Out' Rosen of the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) chaired the news conference which announced the page, as well as full-page ads in The New York Times and Los Angeles Times. With her were the two Daves - D. Munns of EMI Recorded Music, and D. Benjamin, UMG's senior vice president of anti-piracy.

"But," says a September 25 Lisa Bowman CNET story, "the new ad campaign, which coincides with the [HR 5211] hearing and will appear in at least one Washington-based policy-focused newspaper, may send mixed messages to fans.

"For example, when unveiling the plan Wednesday, Universal Music Group's anti-piracy czar, David Benjamin, said file swapping hurts singers and midlevel music industry employees, whom he described as working people who are just trying to 'put a roof over our heads and feed the kids and try to do right.'

"However, it's unclear whether testimony from multimillionaire recording artists will garner much sympathy among fans, many of whom complain that CDs are overpriced or contain just one or two quality songs.

"What's more, the new campaign comes after a study by consulting firm KPMG that criticizes the recording industry's anti-piracy efforts. The report said the labels need to devote more time to developing new Internet business models instead of trying to lock down their content."

No kidding.

Maybe if the industry stops moaning about online piracy and starts working with the p2p community to develop viable services, they'll start going forwards instead of backwards.

In the meanwhile, rumours that musicunited is a wholly owned RIAA site are, of course, vicious and unfounded ; - )


Jon Newton is the editor of and is a new contributer to MP3 Newswire. Jon's site is devoted to the politics of digital music and his insights as well as those of his co-writers can be read there. We urge to to explore it.




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