Rampant Piracy of Music

It is obvious that the incredible noise that the RIAA (and, now, the MPAA) are generating in regards to the supposed ‘rampant piracy’ of music via the Internet– the supposed bazillions of $$$s lost– is just a show to distract the world from some other ploy.

I was in the China Town area of Manhattan a few days ago. Had some awesome soup dumplings and other delicacies at a hole in the wall that few tourists ever visit– ping me if interested.

While walking up Mott street to Canal– then a couple of blocks on Canal to the subway stop– I passed at least a dozen street vendors who each had several hundred CDs for sale. All were current hits and weird collections. All were $10/one, 3/$20, etc and everything was negotiable.

Unless the record companies have started distributing shoddy quality– lots of poorly aligned/printed K cards and booklets– loosely packaged CDs, most of the CDs were pirated copies.

In my 5 minute walk, I probably saw close to 2,500-3,500 CDs for sale and most of the vendors wer in the process of making a sale.

Now, of course, the copy protection “schemes” that the industry has used so far will do no good in this situation. To bulk copy that many CDs requires professional level equipment — the kind of stuff that is perfectly happy copying whatever the hell happens to be on the disc, red book compliant or not.

There is no proof– considerably proof otherwise– that downloading a song or album represents a lost sale.

Evidence and common sense would indicate that, if someone were willing to pay $10 for a pirated copy of Britney Spears latest dribble that is packaged to look somewhat legitimate, that individual is pretty much guaranteed not to drop $18 on a real copy.

Until I see any evidence that the RIAA/MPAA actually cares about real acts of theft of their materials that happens every day on the street corners of major cities around the country– as well as through mail order and online– I cannot take anything they say regarding piracy through downloads even remotely serious.

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