If you have not heard of the “Six Strikes Plan” yet check out the links below. For all you concerned about file sharing on the internet, no matter what ‘side’ of the issue you are on, it is an interesting read and something you should know.
Obviously sharing of copyrighted material is wrong, so we won’t debate that issue. To me the debate here is whether or not the government should assist private industry in security efforts. Let’s take the recording industry for example…
If the recording industry looses between $7 and $20 billion 1 annually as they claim, then isn’t it in the best interest of all Americans that those loses be minimized. After all those are numbers that represent taxes not paid (from profits), jobs lost for the record labels, CD’s or MP3’s not being sold/downloaded (legally) which creates jobs for the retailers etc…So it would seem logical it is in all our best interest that the government step in and help out.
But is it that simple? Nobody says that the industry is not losing money, but many say that those numbers are greatly exaggerated. It is in the interest of the record labels to enhance the numbers after all – the bigger the loss the bigger the tax write-off. Some also argue whether the labels themselves aren’t behind much of the sharing, especially when it comes to new artists. A few things happen when a new artist’s music is shared. The obvious thing – exposure. The better the exposure the more interest in the artist. The more interest the more sales for future recordings for an artist that may otherwise have not become popular. Why would the record label do that instead of getting all the sales the first album? The answer is risk. When a label records a new artist there is a monetary risk involved. If that new artist does not take off, if no one likes the music, it would have never sold which would create a loss for the label. If however the album is being illegally shared then the company can claim the reason for the poor sales is theft and write the loss off on their taxes…not to mention the insurance claim they will undoubtedly make. All this therefore leads doubters to say that the record labels themselves leak most of the (new) music to limit the risk of potential losses.
I’m not here saying I doubt the industries claims. What I am asking is it then in the best interest of Americans to have the government spend our tax money helping out private industry? Those government officials that are involved, get paid from our taxes, the studies of loss cost money which come from our taxes, the programs take tax money, the overseers, the voting, etc…Then there is the tax write offs from the labels that I already mentioned. But if you look further, theft is covered by insurance, all claims on insurance come out of the insurance company’s profits, which are another loss of tax revenue AND the federal government subsidizes insurance companies for those losses- bet you didn’t realize that.
So you can look at this from two different ways. Either the government needs to do something to stop the illegal sharing or else those losses are going to continue to hurt the economy , or, the government needs to stop helping the industry all together and stop subsidizing losses.
So the question is…should the government be involved at all?
1) From http://www.riaa.com/faq.php