Is the BBC report on the effectiveness of the Pirate Bay block missing the point?

Earlier this week the BBC reported the drop in file sharing following the court-ordered block of the Pirate Bay (TPB) was short-lived (link to article). The BBC said it had been shown data by an unnamed major UK ISP which confirmed that P2P activity on the ISP’s network had returned to just below normal one week after the block was put in place. Should we all be surprised by this? Of course not. Stopping Internet users in the UK from accessing TPB won’t stop them file sharing. What will stop them file sharing is if ISPs blocked access to all file sharing services. Interestingly enough, most ISPs’ customer-use policies make it clear that the Internet service provided should not be used to infringe copyright. In fact, the usage policy usually forms part of a contract, and therefore any breach of this contract should result in the customer’s account being terminated. Such a scenario never happens. Continue reading “Is the BBC report on the effectiveness of the Pirate Bay block missing the point?”


Should faster broadband speeds mean better quality digital-music downloads?

For a number of years, the MP3 audio codec dominated digital-music downloading. MP3 was initially synonymous with illegal downloading, but in 2007 the major record companies dropped their opposition to selling music in unprotected formats. Although Apple chose to stick with the AAC codec, most others opted for MP3. Until recently little has changed in terms of quality. But with broadband speeds and household penetration continuing to rise, is now the time for the music industry to up its focus on quality? Continue reading “Should faster broadband speeds mean better quality digital-music downloads?”

Are blue-chip companies unknowingly supporting pirate music sites?

Pirate-music sites offering free music downloads are being indirectly funded by a wide range of blue-chip companies. A survey conducted by Music & Copyright in the UK has found that all of the companies whose advertising appeared on a selection of pirate sites were unaware of the ads’ presence. Should these companies know where their ads are going? Continue reading “Are blue-chip companies unknowingly supporting pirate music sites?”

Rock fails to burst the pop bubble in 2010

The two most popular music genres in terms of retail sales last year were pop and rock. According to the annual genre study by Music & Copyright, retail sales of pop music stood at US$7.3 billion in 2010, while retail sales of rock music totaled US$6.2 billion. Pop sales had a better year than rock, falling by just 3% compared with rock’s decline of 6.6%. However, sales of jazz, classical and other smaller genres fared worse last year. Continue reading “Rock fails to burst the pop bubble in 2010”

Legal clarity is essential to break the digital-locker-licensing stalemate

With Google (and a few others) launching digital music locker services, Music & Copyright has updated a previous blog about this subject with a shiny new table (see below). In the latest issue of the newsletter we have a look at the digital locker sector and how all the uncertainty over licensing requirements is damaging an already fragile digital-music sector. Continue reading “Legal clarity is essential to break the digital-locker-licensing stalemate”

Why is Spotify playing hard-ball with its free users?

Spotify is reducing the amount of music that free users of the service can stream, capping it at 10 hours per month. This should not come as a surprise. It is simply part of a “get them hooked, then make them pay” strategy Spotify began when it reduced the free service from unlimited to twenty hours listening a week. Continue reading “Why is Spotify playing hard-ball with its free users?”

Amazon stirs the locker-licensing debate

Amazon has rolled out a new service in the US that allows users to store music in a digital locker that can be accessed from any PC or Android-powered mobile device. The latest issue of Music & Copyright takes a look at why the launch has prompted a significant amount of debate over its legality. Amazon claims it needs no license for simple remote storage. Continue reading “Amazon stirs the locker-licensing debate”