The arts have since time immemorial been somewhat of a peculiar endeavour. They have at times been seen as the herald of a new era, been misunderstood, been seen as rather weird to one generation only to be loved by another. In any case society as a whole (despite the misgivings of some) has always lauded artists whatever the occupation. Since the Renaissance the role of the artist has changed dramatically such that about a hundred years ago the rather antiquated copyright laws were re-written to provide a framework for artistic endeavour, rather than a mechanism for censorship. Apart for some minor revisions they remained more or less the same until the US devised this wonderful thing called the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act). It strikes me that the whole intent of the DMCA was not to encourage artistic endeavour but to prop up the obscene control large corporations had gained over the arts.

I have been reading an interesting paper published by Koleman Strumpf on the effect of unorthorised downloads on music sales. (Warning PDF link.) In it he suggests that not only are the figures quoted on losses by the recording companies exaggerated but in fact it may be the case that music sharing increases the sales of music. It makes a very interesting read and certainly demonstrates that there are many misconceptions being perpetrated by the music companies.

In light of that, the information here makes the recording industries actions not only counter productive but downright idiotic. Not only are they cutting off the head of the golden goose but they are wasting millions of dollars to do it.

So in summary the recording industry are suing the very people who are in fact buying their music and are cutting into their profits by millions of dollars in doing so. Hardly what one would call a smart business decision. The obvious conclusion is that the recording companies are only interested in maintaining their control over the industry and have little or no concern about the artists that they purport to represent.