The Practice formerly known as Piracy

18 09 2007

Prince and Piracy

It’s being reported around the internet this week that Prince wants to “reclaim his art on the internet.” Sounds like he’s been drinking the same Kool-aid as Elton John. Apparently, Prince is upset with YouTube (people are posting videos of his concerts), eBay (people are selling unauthorized merchandise) & Pirate Bay (people are providing an easy way to search for Prince’s stuff). It’s not that I don’t think people should respect Prince’s copyright – they should. But you have to suspect that these sorts of statements will only alienate Prince from his fans.

This is yet another example of how laws in the physical world, don’t lend themselves very well to the internet environment. Prince is concerned that watching a YouTube video of one of his concerts degrades his art – and to be fair, a video shot with a cellphone from the upper deck is about as low quality as you can get. I just think Prince is missing the point: People don’t upload videos of Prince in concert to YouTube to infringe on his copyright, or degrade his art; they upload videos to share an experience. Everyone knows that going to a concert is a hundred times better than watching one over the internet. The way I see it, Prince can only benefit from people uploading footage of his concerts.

Perhaps, Prince should go back to 1994 and read John Perry Barlow’s article published in Wired magazine (“The Economy of Ideas”). Who knows? He might change his tune.

For more details on the story visit: The BBC, Wired’s Epicenter blog, or just use your favourite search tool.

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One response

10 03 2008
Zhen

This is what happens when people don’t think before speaking (and its worse in the sound-bite age). Ten seconds of critical thinking would disprove the premise of his (implied) argument: if people can watch concerts on youtube for free, then fans won’t come to the show to rock out. I guess its almost a good thing that few people care what Prince thinks.

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