Teenagers – those great respecters of copyright

7 04 2008

It wouldn’t be a Monday without another digital media scare story from the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper: aside from its sister newspaper’s report that video-rich services such as YouTube and the BBC’s iPlayer are melting the internet, today’s shock horror ‘revelation ‘ is that 95% of U.K. teenagers are illegally copying music. Well fancy that.

The article shares findings from a survey commissioned by industry group British Music Rights, quoting the group’s chief executive and one-time popster Feargal Sharkey as the findings painting an ominous picture for the next generation of musicians.

Yet a significant number of those naughty teens polled are sticking to tried-and-tested means of copying, such as borrowing eachothers’ CDs or recording from a radio broadcast. Brits have been doing this for decades at it isn’t the underlying cause of lacklustre performance from the music industry. Has Mr Sharkey never heard of peer-based recommendation? It might, after all, introduce his music to a whole new generation.

Mr Sharkey clearly doesn’t buy the wise words of Glenn Merrill, poached by EMI from Google last week to stop the rot at one of the world’s largest labels: “file sharing is a good thing for artists and not necessarily bad,” said Merrill. “We should do a bunch of experiments to find out what the business model is.”



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