All our discussions, ideas, questions, and grumblings could be all moot by next year depending on what the Supreme Court decides in the Grokster case. It has been entertaining discussing and debating the future of copyrights and basically deciding that we do not know, nor does anyone else. All the theories like musical socialism and ways the entertainment industry and p2p can coexist have come up with some good points but also contained some major flaws. Is there an equitable solution? Perhaps the Supreme Court can find one that no one else has been able to find or they could add on to the problem or even worse, create a completely new set of problems. Only time will tell.
Who really is at fault for this copyrights battle? Is it file sharers? Napster? The record industry and artists? I can’t really say but I do feel as though the record industry opened up Pandora’s box when they shutdown Napster. Perhaps those old people in charge did not fully understand how the internet worked and were not familiar with this new technology. (I still don’t think they understand today) Obviously they did not realize how easy it could to create a file sharing program and mass distribute that so that everyone could use it. If a nineteen year old could create Napster, imagine experts creating a more sophisticated program and that are exactly what has happened. Napster was a gold mine for them to take control of and use it to their advantage. Napster had valuable information of millions of users that the record industry could have used and profited from. Now they are not only fighting one business or corporation but millions of small businesses because a personal computer can serve as a creation center and distributor.
So what now? What possibly can the entertainment industry do to stop copyright infringement? I have some ideas but it is going to take some time to develop. I do not think there is one quick way to resolve this issue even with when the Supreme Court decision comes out.
First of all, they are going to have to realize that they will not be able to stop p2p sharing. No matter what they do, some form of theft will occur. So they will have to work with p2p and finds ways to manipulate p2p instead of eradicating it.
A deal could be struck with ISPs and entertainment companies to have a monitoring system. Something similar to what goes on at universities. But this seems highly unlikely.
I know we talked about this in class, and it would take time, but it could work if they were willing to persevere. The entertainment industry could strike a deal with the hardware companies to install software that will recognize and only play music or videos that comply with copyright laws. This could take 5, 10, or more years but they failed to see the long-term effects of shutting down Napster. Copyrights is going to be a long drawn out battle. And studies have showed that the music industry has not lost that much revenue since p2p has been out. In fact there are other reasons why the decline in profits has happened such as rising cd costs. Then the argument is well what about pre-existing hardware that plays copyrighted material. Well, 20 years from now, eventually, people will need to get the new technology to play the present music or dvd or video. No one really has a tape recorder or going back even further, A-track tapes. Beta is long gone. So if people really want to protect copyrighted material, then they are going to have to change the technology even if it takes a long time.
Online music is gaining momentum and could foreseeably take control of most of the music sales. Record companies could abandon cds altogether and go strictly online. Then they can encrypt the music that goes out. They could also do something similar to what Apple and iPod does that if you download from iPod, you cannot transfer that but only can play that song on your iPod. Record companies could venture with hardware companies so that the hardware will have to comply with the software. This is similar to my suggestion above about changing the technology.
These are some of my suggestion. In all honestly, I have no clue what I am talking about. This is such a complicated issue with so many variables. You think you found an answer but then all these questions and problems start to pop up. I want artists to be paid but I also do not want p2p to go away. Can’t we all just get along?