Monday, 22 June 2009

Pay it again, Sam

Shane Richmonds blog at the Telegraph has two pieces, here & here under the title 'What will the music industry tax next' - discussing a proposal from the 'Music Business Group' to the UK Intellectual Property Office consultation on copyright exceptions.

"The MBG, who represent "the collective view of the UK music industry" want to clamp down on format shifting, that is the process of, say, copying a CD to your iPod."

What they want is to have a tax on MP3 players to provide revenue for the artists who are having their works format shifted. It would be laughable if it wasn't clearly intended as a serious suggestion.

The argument goes that there is a value in having the music in a convenient format - and that part of that value should go to the artist... But hello guys... the artist makes music - and making music is what they want to get paid for (not that they really ever do). Now I've bought the CD. Now they have been paid and I have the right to play this album 24/7 if I want to. Where did the format come into this? It's not like I'm going to play it more than I already paid for now is it?

I go down to the shop and buy a wine box... hand over my cash and walk out. I get home and pour it into a glass... ching!!! Cash registers whirr and before I kow it there's a bill on the doormat for changing the format. Same wine... different receptacle. C'mon. Get a life!

There is no music on a CD. There are instructions for recreating music. A recipe. How I store the recipe has zip to do with the artists.. It's only music when the sound waves wash against my eardrums. If copyright is intended to prevent me changing the format then it is fundamentally flawed.

Of course - a tax on MP3 players is just what we already have here, albeit more honestly stated as a levy to compensate for piracy. Also levied on blank disks and stand alone hard drives. So when I save back ups of my photos or make a system restore DVD for my computer a cut goes to that creative artist that .... that did what exactly? Took money out my pocket for something they didn't create?

It's proposals like this that gets the music industry a bad name.... Shame that there seem to be so many of them!

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