John Walker's Electronic House

CW 170

Copyright Watch 170

John Walker raises a critical eyebrow. And a hammer.

Well now, a new survey has been published that conclusively “proves” that there is a link between file sharing and a drop of album sales in the US. Won’t we look all silly, having suggested that this is a bare-faced lie presented by a greed-driven illegal monopoly, reliant on obfuscated figures and price fixing! What a to-do.

Until you look at what a crock this so-called research really is. The University of Pennsylvania studied the shopping habits of an epic 412 students, to see how their CD purchasing would be affected by the presence or non-presence of the ability to download music. And of the total 592 downloaded albums, 154 of them would have been purchased were they not able to download them. Well now, it’s hard to argue with such a rigorous scientific investigation, eh? The RIAA must be sitting pretty comfortably with something this convincing under their belt.

And yet this is the evidence that is plastered across the media, the PROOF that file sharing is purest evil and that the poor widdle record companies are being robbed of their pocket money. From a study of STUDENTS! With FREE BROADBAND ACCESS! It’s so ludicrous, and yet it’s working.

What makes this all the more remarkable is that such nonsensically small surveys are given more weight than the published sales figures for CD album sales by the RIAA, showing no significant drop in CD album sales, and of course peaks during years where file sharing is particularly rife.

These desperate, floundering attempts to counter the far more accurate studies made by other universities, concluding that file sharing’s affect on sales is “indistinguishable from zero”, are indicative of an industry that cannot accept the conditions of the Capitalism it wishes to support. What is needed is a response to this new model of music acquisition, and not more cheap, flimsy spanners being thrown into an ever grinding machine.