This ia brilliant video of Stephen Fry discussing technology and how it has affected culture. A recommended 12 minutes.
Despite a lot of opposition is looks like the current government are going to force the 3 strikes and your connection is cut off approach as an attempt to cut down piracy (more details at the NME). With ISPs reporting that the process is very difficult and costly to implement I can several scenarios playing out of a lot of incorrect cut offs, service pricesses increasing and/or service quality dropping as ISPs try to claw back the investment (and reduced revenue as they can’t earn from a cut off service).
Aside from what happens with ISPs I think the process is likely to stiffle media development, consider how the Arctic Monkey’s got going – a lot of buzz generated by allowing people to download live performances, and who easy that will be to mixup with illegal material. Those who are intent on sharing will find means to defeat the ISP checks – more sophisticated file hiding etc. The fact that technology will always run faster than legislation has been missed. What the industry needs to wake up to is to make it more attractive to people to pay for music. This doesn’t mean bigger and heavier prouncements about piracy, look at the anti taping campaigns of the 70s and 80s to see what that did, or didn’t do.
Fortunately a few artists have started to try and develop their approach such as the Nine Inch Nails. The record industry shoul look to develop the ‘long tail’ by supporting more smaller artists as the proportion of copyright theft drops as you move down the tail. So rather than pooring millions into a big ad campaign for one artist, whos ‘product’ is then panned by a fickle audience (to be a little more blunt – a poor quality product trying to cash in on a fad or fashion), costing lots and resulting in labels simply blaming piracy for dumb thinking.
We’ll see what happens in July 2011. I hope to be proven wrong, but I suspect it will all endup being a repeat of RIAA mess, and we’ll see court battles about being denied people’s inealiable right to surf the web etc.