How has piracy affected the music industry/royalties/record sales etc

Copyright etc

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Piracy; meaning “the unauthorized use or reproduction of
another’s work” (definition), has been an ever-growing issue in the music
industry with it ranging from copying CD’s to MP3 audio files. There have been
many attempts to try and stop piracy of artist’s work but the continuous stream
of sites that appear is non-stop; with website such as Grooveshark, BitTorrent
and Pirate Bay playing a big part in this.

The beginning of recorded music started in 1878 when the phonograph
was invented by Thomas Edison, closely followed by the invention of the
Gramophone by Chichester Bell and Charles Tainter in the mid 1880’s. Both machines
were primarily for recording sound onto a delicate cylinder, with them being
aimed towards office supplier marketplaces; these aims failed due to separate
machines being required for making each individual copy. This led to the
foundation of Victor Talking Machine Company in 1901 who used disks instead of
cylinders. A few years later in 1909 the Copyright Act specified that
compulsory licensing provision are of immense importance for the music
industry, with ASCAP forming in 1914 to enforce this law. From the 1940’s saw
the start of illegal
copying of phonograph records with the act of ‘bootlegging’; this term defined
the unauthorised distribution of existing songs, as well as the illegal
distribution of otherwise newly made or unobtainable tapes taken from a recorded
concert/broadcast, or from unreleased studio sessions etc. Bootleg was
different to that of copying, as bootlegging involved the distribution not the
copying of existing material. A major bootlegger in the early 1950’s was
Dante Bollentino (Jolly Roger Label) who released historic recordings that
major record companies declined to put out, that meant Dante was providing customers
with songs that would have been unavailable if it wasn’t for him. At this time,
copyright only applied to music that had been publish, so for a song to be
protected it had to be published by being written or printed; this meant that
sheet music could easily be copied but recordings could not. The reason behind
this was the main requirements of the Copyright Act did not apply to
unauthorised copying and distribution of recorded pop songs, resulting in
recordings being protected in a secondary way of licensing provisions. Even though
bootlegging was very present in this decade, it was only a minor annoyance for
the industry with the recording industry selling 350 million disks in 1946 and these
sales increasing throughout the 50’s with it hitting over 100% more from
1954-1959. The copying of
phonograph recordings resulted in each generation losing audio fidelity.

Tapes (Compact Audio Cassette) were the next recording format
to be released in 1962 by Philips, they could come either as a blank cassette
ready to be recorded onto or pre-recorded. The late 60’s saw tape piracy overshadowing
that of unauthorised distribution of phonograph recording, this resulted in a
new genre of album bootlegging. In 1970, FBI seized 20,000 counterfeit records,
100,000 labels and 15,000 covers, with them also seizing machinery used to
shrink wrap copies of the ‘Let It Be’ album by The Beatles and the ‘McCartney’ album
by Paul McCartney. This major tape bootlegging resulted in a Copyright Act
change in 1972 where songs no longer had to be published in order to be protected,
they merely had to be ‘fixed’, i.e. onto a disk or a tape, to be protected. As technology
was changing the face of the music industry, this change was closely followed
by another change; in 1976, infringement in the industry needed to be clearly
defined, this was to be
made by the extensions of Copyright life being made to the life of the
author plus 50 years.

Tape copying was so big because it was simpler and cheaper than copying phonograph
recordings; it was easy for bootleggers to set up a plant that was devoted to
unauthorised manufacture. this mass production punched a huge hole into the
recording industry’s control of the distribution system. Tape package was also
a leading factor as they were less detailed than disks, meaning that making counterfeit
copies was easier; the smaller detail in the packaging resulted in authorities
finding it harder to distinguish the real recording to the copy which meant it
wasn’t difficult for bootleggers to ship their goods into well-known systems. As
you could get blank tapes, it aided tape makers in compiling or re-ordering
songs that had already been recorded into any program that was within the available duration, ranging
from 30 minutes to several hours; this allowed not only just strict copying,
but it could make tapes look like greatest hits or party tracks. But,
tape copying was all good, unauthorised tapes were copied from existing records
resulting in each stage of duplication degrading the sound and added a higher
level of hiss on the tapes, not only this but they were carelessly made.


RELEVANCE????????? In New
York, 1980, the police raided two sites, with one leading to a seizure of 3,
$40,000, automated record presses (with each one, in 8 hours, producing 6,000
LP’s), thousands of polishes and metal parts, shrink tunnels for wrapping,
finished LP’s totalling over 10,000, and hundreds of labels

The Compact Disk, co-developed by Philips and Sony was
released to the public in 1982 to store and play sound recordings, with CD’s
accounting for 87% of the volume of units sold in 2000, increasing up to 91%in
2001. Soon as the Cd was released it saw the beginning of bootlegging in East
Asia which was soon followed in 1990 by the recordable compact disc being
entered into the market; this disc allowed anyone to copy recordings onto it. Seven
years later in 1997, Dutch customs halted an attempt to import 100,000 pirate
Cd’s from Bulgaria, which resulted in a Copyright Act change in 1998 increasing Copyright
life from the life of the author plus 50 years, to the life of the author plus
70 years. Copying CD’s was such an easy thing to do that you could do it at
home which made it extremely easy for recordings to be duplicated. CD’s didn’t
have the same issues as tapes that the sound degardes with each generation of
copying, as it was a digital file it could be copied without degradation of
sound quality.

MP3 files were the most radically transformed example of
unauthorised songs as they were no longer physical, but virtual. The initial
release of the MP3 in 1993 made it easier to copying recordings, with you only
needing to select the desired recording, copy its digital form and then post it
on the internet. The release also saw the beginning of Napster in 1998, with
the creator Shawn Fanning creating a computer interface that brought together
MP3 format with existing software for peer-to-peer networking. Fanning’s
software grew from a few hundred users to over a million in less than a year,
with Napster being a hub for examining, logging and swapping digital song files
that were stored on any person’s computer.

A year later, in 1998, RIAA filed a law suit of copyright infringement
against Napster with Metallica closely following a year later; that year, in
2000, Napster closed 313,377 accounts with them having over 58 million users
registered and more than 450 million songs available to be downloaded in the
summer of 2000.

Napster finally deceased in July 2001, with it not entirely shutting
down but being forced to close due to bankruptcy of complex court running’s. This
was a victory for song owners, meaning that their songs would not be illegally
downloaded anymore with this bankruptcy forcing Napster to block access to thousands
of songs that the RIAA had gathered a list of. With the termination of Napster,
rival networks attempted to take its place; these sites included BearShare,
LimeWire, KaZaA and Morpheus. These sites didn’t exist until Febuary 2001, 3
years after the release of Napster, with them not encountering a lot of traffic
until the July when Napster ‘died’ and they soared into prominence. Fast tracking
was used by KaZaA and Morpheus which made KaZaA the most widely used of these
new services, with BearShare and LimeWire using the Gnutella network. This same
year the iPod was launched by Steve Jobs with no one wanting it because they
could get the same songs for free; two years later introducing a pay-per-song network
called iTunes which had copyright protections built into the device. iTunes
sales in 2006 tallied over a billion downloads resulting in EMI, a year later
in 2007, allowing iTunes to sell its catalogue without copyright limitations
that previous major labels insisted on; this led to the general policy of
unrestricted copying of downloaded songs in 2009. RIAA started a campaign in
2003 that intimidated the general public by filing law suits against
individuals that made large numbers of MP3 files available for the public to
download. The unauthorised distribution of recordings has caused great anguish
to song owners, with illegal downloading even damaging the recording
corporations; this is why laws have been put into place to protect recording by
penalties being raised. Although Napster provided immediate access to many
genres of songs that may not have been found otherwise without a lot of
digging, the files could be altered or uncomplete, somewhere even unadorable. On
the other hand, iTunes provided high quality recording that were extremely
reliable resulting in many people wanting to pay for this service.


Three major networks of song sharing in the 21st
century are the mobile phone, You Tube and Spotify; these platforms




2008 nokia instituted “comes with music” where purchase of
phone enabled buyer to have unlimited downloads from catalogue of 5 mill songs

MySpace – Universal, warner and sony BMG music entertainment –
agreed to create music website where they would sell digital versions of songs
in their catalogue – EMI declined – tried to convert social network audiences
into paying customers


Fredd Goodman Rolling Stone magazine “why pay eighteen
dollars for a CD that has three good songs on it when you can get those songs
free through file swapping?” (FIND QUOTE)


Infrared and Bluetooth on phones

Copying CD’s

Constant threat of leaks – have to publish songs immediately

BitTorrent rates continue to increase

Hurts emerging artists – Hollywood studios have financial
backing to track illegal downloads and streams, they estimate losses in the
hundreds of millions of dollars

Albums can cost thousands to produce – Kimberly James
(President of incdie label CBM Recrods) says estimate of 10% of royalties lost
to piracy FORBES LINK (i.e. equivelant of Katy Perry losing at least 13.5 mill
dollars of 125ill dollars she made 2015





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Nelson Granados. 2016. How Online Piracy Hurts Emerging
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Kernfeld, B. 2011. Pop song piracy: disobedient music distribution
since 1929. University of Chicago press

American Songwriter. 2018. A Brief History of Copyright Law «
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Fred Goodman, “The Future Is Now: Hot The Internet Is
Reshaping the Record Industry”, Rolling
Stone, no. 844-845 (July 6-20, 2000): 41-42, 45