Wednesday, 13 December 2006

Digital Disobedience

I bumped into an event called Digital Disobedience and Culture Jamming that reminded me that I meant to write a post about millionaire Shawn Hogan.

According to the EUCAP blog and an article in Wired, Shawn got a call from a lawyer at the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) where he was accused of downloading a film off BitTorrent. He was given the usual warning that he had to cease and desist or else he would be fined $2500.

But Shawn, unlike so many before him, wasn't intimidated by the price tag. Whoops! Turns out Shawn is a millionaire and has put aside 100,000 of thousands of dollars to fight it in court.

The music and film industry just doesn’t get it. They're the one’s that created this problem in the first place with CDs that cost over twenty dollars a pop.

The issue has been and continues to be that the world has changed but their business models haven’t and rather than innovating they prefer to continue to try and sue school children in an effort of sillyness and intimidation.

That’s why I love what people like music producer (and friend) Jody Colero are doing at places like Orange Record Label.

Listen to their mission statement:

“The Orange Record Label is a progressive, twenty-first century music entertainment company in Canada, a company that utilizes cutting-edge Internet strategies, while establishing uncompromising principles.”

The go on to say:

“After the death of Timothy White, Van Dyke Parks quoted him, saying that Timothy had a dream....:

"The dream that the record industry continue to diversify in repertory and improve its contract practices to a survival level for the common good."

We at the Orange Record Label believe in that statement whole-heartedly.”

It's companies this, with new approaches and new ideas that embrance networked culture and attempt to create new value that are going to be the success stories.

As for Shawn the millionaire? I for one will definately be watching to see what happens.


Mark said...

Fading Ways Music is one of the Canadian pioneers in Creative Commons licenses for independent artists, and its founder, Neil Layton, is one of Canada's copyfight activists. As well, there is a great service called Jamendo that posts independent artists' albums under CC license with a pay-what-you-want model to support artists, (with all the music available either for free streaming, or free downloading via Torrent). And don't forget about Magnatunes, another try-before-you-buy online music shop with CC music.

One of the real pioneers of new music business models is (was) Jane Siberry (now Issa) at Sheeba Records. Issa has four levels of payment: A gift from the artist ($0), a standard price ($0.99 per song), user self-determined pay now, and user self-determined pay later.

I think for those who love music, the issue is not so much to take on the industry (CRIA here at home, RIAA and MPAA in the Excited States of America). Rather, we would all do better to support the artists who license their music under Creative Commons, and those who, in general, don't treat their fans (and paying customers) like criminals.

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