Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Is Copyright CopyWrong: Lack of talent, not piracy, may explain poor CD sales

According to last year’s industry figures, released by the Recording Industry of South Africa (Risa), the local-repertoire sales fell 2,9%: from R456m in 2006, to R443m last year.

The industry body named physical piracy, digital piracy, absence of broadcast and public-performance licence income, high capital risk in medium to large startups and low average return on capital, compared with other industries, as challenges facing the music industry. It says the consumer’s re luctance to pay for music , broadcasters’ re luctance to licens e royalties, media cynicism and government resistance to economic interventions are the biggest threats to the sector .

Industry role players agree, but most of them say the biggest factor in the fall is the rising cost of living in SA.

More from Sibongakonke Shoba for Business Day.

NVDL: I believe copyright is going to be phased out. It may simply not be enforceable, and the reasons to enforce it (beyond making a few people more rich than they ought to be - for singing a song) are becoming less clear. The likes of Open Source movements, Wilipedia, Google etc are all flattening forces that break down the walls. Copyright is in some cases warranted (for example to regain initial investment costs and overheads). But in other cases it's bizarre. To provide an idea: the cost of a Diesel of Nike branded shirt in a Department store as opposed to the cheaper copy in Thailand (probably made by the same people). The agent of change is the internet and associated computing power, which increasingly makes copyright seem like its copywrong, or at least, brings about an unnecessary and expensive premiun at the expense of the many, when many cannot afford it.

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