Sharman lawsuit rages on

Just read this over on the reg. It looks like Sharman & the music industry (ARIA or the Australian Recording Industry Association in this case) have finally agreed what information from the Feb 2004 data seizures can be used in court. I know this is a complex issue and file-sharing networks don’t necessarily have to be used for illegal purposes but ask yourself the following question:
Besides illegal copies of music and software what else do you look for on P2P filesharing networks?.

Personally I think P2P technology is fantastic. The self-organising and self-healing nature of many of these networks is a percursor for the next generation of internet architecture & design. As autonomics becomes an important field of IT research in the future P2P networks such as Free Net and Bit-Torrent will be recognised as a true paradigm-shift, to use that corny and overused phrase. Also the capabilities of a network such as OceanStore are phenomenal. There’s a real pioneering spirit there and it’s wonderful to be a small part of it. It’s also unfair for the music industry to blame technologists when they’re clearly trying to protect their market in the face of cheap/free technology for recording and distribution. Perhaps, they’ve forgotten that it was a series of technological evolutions and revolutions that led to the creation of the industry in the first place. Thank you Edison, Dolby, Philips Electronics et al. Technological change is an inevitable and those that don’t move with it become industrial dinosaurs whose SEC filings are dug up by corporate paleontologists in the future as they try to piece together “What ever happened to that company industry?” So how will the industry evolve? I’m not sure but here’s some plausible statements:

  • Media distribution and playback technologies will be all-digital within the next 10 years
  • DRM cryptographers and cryptologists will keep pace with eachother, leading to a stalemate situation where ever more draconian DRM initiatives are met with ever more sophisticated mechanisms for by- passing them
  • The availability of a free and relatively unmonitored distribution channel (the internet) will ensure that illegal media distribution does not die out. Normally law-abiding citizens will simply ‘opt out’ of legitimate media distribution schemes.
  • Many emerging artists will directly sell media over the internet for very low prices, cutting out the industry middleman
  • Major artists who’ve already made enough money will embrace internet distribution as a way to gain greater artistic freedom
  • Media costs will tumble as a result. A combination of trade agreements (European Community and Worldwide) and a cheap distribution channel, will standardise media costs so music, films etc. are available for the same basic price throughout the world
  • Firesharing networks will continue to be popular and will resist attempts to shut them down. Americans will come to view secure and anonymous information distribution technologies as they currently do guns control. Laws that curtail the availability and use of those technologies will be viewed as undemocratic and an impediment to free speech.
  • The AOL/Time Warner merger will finally start to make sense as such a conglomerate could recoup distribution costs through it’s ownership of both the media rights and the distribution channel
  • Apple’s flat rate iTunes service will be the model for music distribution services for years to come
  • Internet and Mobile Network Service Provider billing systems will become much more sophisticated to allow for differentiated service charges and itemised content billing.
  • A beleaguered media industry will successfully lobby governments for other mechanisms for revenue generation, probably leading to direct media taxation based on media bandwidth usage
  • In the future everybody will be a published artist

Feel free to comment…