IFPI claims that music piracy is right up there with climate change. At least they're not being melodramatic about it.


The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry is sorta like a worldwide RIAA, representing record labels, artists, and musicians to make sure their agenda is always out there. That, of course, makes it pure evil. It just published its Digital Music Report 2010, which tries to detail the situation vis-à-vis digital music, piracy, and so on. The big, scary headline: music piracy is right up there with climate change as an issue of monumental, worldwide importance. Sure, OK.

Before we get into the IFPI’s claims, a little anecdote: people steal our stuff all the time! Do you know how many Web sites are set up that merely take our posts, and publish them verbatim on their own site? Copyright infringement, and theoretically lost revnue. Do we care? I certainly don’t. And here’s another one: there was, and maybe still is, a dead trees publication called The Printed Blog. This bright idea was to take certain really good blog posts, and put them together in a paper publication. Get it, The Printed Blog! Now, why on Earth you’d want to print blog posts is beyond me (most aren’t worth the plain text they’re written in, my stuff included, obviously), but so be it. So it turns out that one of my posts was used in this publication, completely without my permission, or the permission of the CG bigwigs. They just took it! Infringed it, if you will. I didn’t even get a copy of the damn magazine, and my stuff is in there. So, no pay and no magazine. Do I care? Not really, no, largely because The Printed Blog strikes me as a bit of a joke and I’d prefer to have no relationship with it altogether. The point is: your friendly neighborhood CrunchGear writers are victims of copyright infringement all the time, and you don’t hear us whinging about it every waking hour.

Back to the IFPI. The report this year is a little more nuanced in its verbiage, admitting that big-time music pirates also happen to be big-time legitimate buyers of music. Go figure. And how many people are pirates out there? Around 15 percent of European Internet users admit to infringing copyright regularly. But piracy is still as important as climate change!

Other highlights include the fact that the international music business is now one-third smaller than it was in 2004. It should be noted that, since 2004, sales of legal digital downloads have increased quite a bit. Digital downloads are generally cheaper than CDs were. Keep in mind that CDs were notoriously overpriced, too, so complaining about lower sales doesn’t make too much sense. Like, are you upset that the value of your home has gone down in the past year or so? Well, what you thought your house was worth was actually incredibly inflated. You know what I mean.

The IFPI hopes that as so-called three-strikes policies go into effect, piracy will decline. (Three-strikes refers to plans, like those in France, that kick people off the Internet for committing copyright infringement three times. I look forward to being kicked off the Internet, by the way. It’s just not fun anymore.)

You will recall that we had totally fixed the music industry’s problems a few months ago: ban music altogether. Maybe we should publish a report?

via Ars Technica