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Internet music business, law evolving

Mar 12,2007
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. ― Sharing music over the Internet should be encouraged because the evolution of technology demands new ways of generating profit, said David Herlihy of Northeastern University.
In a recent talk at Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, the professor of music industry and copyright law said efforts to stop people from sharing music files over the Internet are futile.
“Music seems to be free, whether it should be free or not,” he said. “When I want to get a file, I hit a button on my computer and it works. It’s supposedly wrong and unethical, but it’s a core function of the computer.”
He said technology has changed the way music is delivered and consumed.
“Once upon a time you had to get into a car and go to a place and get a thing and bring that thing home,” Mr. Herlihy said. “Music was embodied in these material objects, but that has been utterly transformed.” He said music makers today don’t need to manufacture products, nor worry about overproduction costs or not meeting delivery deadlines. “You don’t have the constraints of time or space,” he said.
Because of these changes, copyright laws must change too, he said.
“The idea of trying to control what people can do with files that are now liberated from containers is a long-held tradition. But in the long term it’s going to be a bankrupt tradition,” he said.
The system should change so that copyright is not about controlling the exclusive right to distribute, but about tracking and compensating artists for their work, Mr. Herlihy said.
Having been a band member for a major record label for more than 10 years, Mr. Herlihy is also supportive of changing technology from an artist’s viewpoint.
“Rather than trying to regulate people who love this music, let them share. Part of the problem was making people care about my band. People now have that enthusiasm,” he said. Instead of stopping people from sharing music files over the Internet, they should be encouraged, and efforts should be made to make that activity generate cash flow.
Mr. Herlihy suggested a new business model ― creation of a tax on media devices to create a revenue pool to compensate artists.


By Wohn Dong-hee Staff Writer [wohn@joongang.co.kr]



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