Metallica versus Napster
Is Metallica greedy ?
I really like Metallica's music. But I do not consider myself a Metallica fan. Certainly I will never become a Metallica fan now. Not after their attack on the swapping of MP3s on the Internet. Even though I believe this will be a futile attack on free downloads from the Internet any way.
Why was Metallica suing Napster for breach of copyright. Was it really a matter of principle, or was Metallica just greedy. It is hard to believe that people who make so much money from their music, can be greedy. On the other hand, there are plenty of examples of successful business men, obsessed with making even more money, who will do anything in their power to become as rich as possible. Our world is a material world, and I can therefore not rule out that this was just a matter of being greedy.
Are the current copyright laws fair ?
Of course, metallica's copyrights need to be protected but so do the rights of users. The problem is that copyright laws have not yet been adapted to take into account the enormous changes in technology that have occurred in the last few years, while at the same time music companies have become afraid that their profit margins are in danger and are unwilling to adapt to the new situation.
Unfortunately fairness is seldom an issue, when laws are applied. The main issue in applying laws is money and often laws are just used to apply pressure to less powerful competitors, independent of whether the case is fair or not.
In this case, the users of Napster, and other Internet services related to online music, are suffering independent of whether they are misusing these services or not. As I do not have the resources to enforce my rights, I will do the only thing I can do: I am voting with my wallet.
I am no longer buying music. I find that there is enough free music legally available on the Internet. I now support young artists who make money from their music through alternative marketing models and I have been surprised how many excellent songs are now available form artists that did not get a chance in the old established music industry.
Times are changing and we can help them change.
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