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File-sharers should get ready to pay, say experts

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03/09/2008 10:51 AM
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File-sharers should get ready to pay, say experts
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Overheard at Music Week about file sharing in Canada:

• The incidence of peer-to-peer file sharing in Canada in the last fiscal quarter is the highest in the world.

Eric Garland, media measurement company BigChampagne:

• In the free music download landscape, Canada is between Romania and Ukraine as one of the world's worst offenders.

• Software is now so advanced that a movie can be downloaded in 6 seconds, as opposed to 24 hours a few years ago.

• Of all the music downloaded in the U.S., only 10 per cent is purchased. In Canada it's 1/45th, because there are no legal sanctions against peer-to-peer use.
David Hughes, Record Industry Association of America

• The U.S. music industry hasn't handed out a diamond award –for sales of 10 million – in the last four years because of peer-to-peer usage and other methods of free downloading.
Chris Gillis, Internet piracy prevention company Mediadefender
New chapters in book technology
Goodbye Gutenberg? Not yet.Consensus at CMW seminar: fees for file sharing are coming, sooner rather than later

Mar 09, 2008 04:30 AM
Greg Quill
Entertainment Columnist

Some of North America's leading experts in peer-to-peer file sharing on the Internet are convinced that sooner rather than later – maybe within a couple of years – we won't be downloading music, movies and TV shows for free.

In fact, the consensus at Thursday's key panel discussion – The Evolution of Peer-to-Peer Music: From Enemy to Business Partner – in a day-long round of seminars during Canadian Music Week was not dissimilar to a controversial idea advanced just last month by the Songwriters Association of Canada (SAC).

SAC has proposed making it legal to share music on peer-to-peer networks in exchange for a monthly fee of $5 going to royalties for music's creators. But David Hughes, senior vice-president of the technology division of the Record Industry Association of America, suggests that business may find its own solution, with internet service providers charging some users an extra fee for their downloading habits. Downloading eats up precious bandwidth and slows down the network.

"Eighty-five per cent of available bandwidth is used for piracy," Hughes told a tightly packed crowd at Toronto's Fairmont Royal York.

"It's the ISPs who have to crack down, and they will, once they realize they can make money from the people who use the most bandwidth. The shift will be to subscription services costing (high bandwidth users) a fee, as much as $12 a month," Hughes predicts.

Eric Garland, CEO of BigChampagne, the California-based media measurement company that monitors digital music activity on the Internet, added: "Maybe the ISPs will have to find the bandwidth hogs and charge them extra; making it more difficult and expensive for ordinary subscribers to acquire bandwidth isn't a good strategy. It doesn't serve the hunger. This is a beast and you have to feed it."

Eric DeFontenay, founder of the New York-based MusicDish e-journal, about online music by new and emerging artists, agrees that things should and will change.

"Radio was the first medium accused of ripping off music and musicians, till performing rights and (methods of) compensation were established. What's needed is compensation for artists that's transparent to consumers, something like the SAC proposal.

"If you want all-you-can-eat music, $60 a year is cheap," he said.

The analysts and experts at Thursday's discussion – including Washington-based Gary Greenstein, a specialist in the future financing of digital media space, and Chris Gillis, a business development manager at the California-based Mediadefender Internet piracy prevention company – offered different hypothetical solutions to the increasing use of the Internet by peer-to-peer file sharers, free music downloaders and the subsequent massive loss of revenue to music creators.

They generally agreed that the commercial music industry in the U.S. had erred in pursuing and penalizing peer-to-peer networks and those who used them. "Suing customers is not a good way to do business," DeFontenay said. "Music industry efforts to stop file sharing by litigation was a huge failure."

Hughes says there needs to be another way to raise obstacles for downloaders. "Raising awareness of the morality of free downloading doesn't work, nor does litigation," he says, adding, "If you make the hassle factor high enough, people will pay."

Greenstein warns, however, that customers won't go for extra fees.

"Only a fraction of music consumers in the U.S. use existing (legal) subscription services such as Napster and Rhapsody (or Puretracks in Canada). They aren't going to buy into an ISP-based subscription . . . they'll go around it, find other ways to get their music for nothing.

"In the meantime, they're looking at an empty screen waiting for searches and downloads – that's a huge and untapped opportunity for advertisers. "

Trying to stop free music-file exchanges – in Canada there's no legal impediment – is a waste of time and effort, most of the panelists agreed.

"People don't care that they're using peer-to-peer," Garland said. "They use it without knowing or caring because it's easy, it's comfortable and it works. It's the very definition of the Internet. You can't stop people using the Internet for entertainment. The problem is getting them to pay for it."

[link to www.thestar.com]
Anonymous Coward
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United States
03/09/2008 10:57 AM
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Re: File-sharers should get ready to pay, say experts
They already tried too shut down pirate bay... The swedes told em' too climb a shit rope... ... Go to pirate bay and read the letters that mad copywrite lawyers have sent them its better then comedy central....