Internet Sales and Copyright

Last month, CMCL and IPRIA organized an event to discuss whether internet service providers should be responsible when their customers upload/download illegal material. I wasn’t able to attend, but Sarah Berriman, one of my young and energetic students, did. She wrote to me expressing how a ‘generation gap’ exists in the way the music industry perceives its customers.

The main points made by each speaker were interesting, but also not unexpected. There seems to be a disconnect between the copyright holders and their customers.  They don’t seem able to adapt to the needs and desires of the current generation, and it is a mystery to many why this should be.  It is not as though broad and expensive market research is required to tell them this: the cinema is perceived as poor value for money.  People like convenience, and having things when they want and how they want.  Is it really such a leap to move to simultaneous international online sales?  Is copyright the issue here, or the protection of an outdated business model?  Perhaps it is time infringers were offered a carrot, instead of perennially getting the stick. [reproduced with permission from Sarah Berriman, Medical Student, Melbourne University]

Today I received a stack of books from They were shipped all the way across the world from Kentucky in the United States. And no less by the same company that refuses to sell me the very same books as electronic downloads because we are outside the United States. I am glad I’m young enough to fall into the same side of the generation divide as Sarah.

Author: kwanghui

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