Intellectual property is divided into two categories: industrial property and copyright. Industrial property includes inventions, trademarks, industrial designs, and geographical indications of sources whereas copyright includes literary and artistic works such as novels, poems and plays, films, musical works, artistic works and architectural designs (WIPO: What is Intellectual Property?). As time goes by and new technologies develop, notions of copyright and intellectual property are disregarded because, now more than ever, consumers have the tools they need to acquire the songs and albums they want without having to pay a penny for it. This is a serious problem because “global corporations invest in the extremely costly business of finding talent, and developing, producing, recording, promoting and distributing musical recordings” (Gauntlett and Horsley, 204). In this day and age, consumers have digital technology at their disposal and this can be used to create perfect copies of original tracks and albums in minutes. Peer-to-peer or P2P services like Napster and Kazaa are causing great distress for the music industry. They are causing their revenues to drop consistently. In an article titled “Who Else is Laughing at the Music Industry” by Don Reisinger, Warner Music Group experienced a net loss of $27 million during the quarter that ended on March 31, 2007 and another $17 million during the quarter that ended on June 30, 2007. This has made the company and its competitors realize that they need to start finding innovative ways of reaching their consumers or else these numbers will continue to be recorded, if not increase.

Intellectual property is most certainly not dead. Companies are finding newer ways of beating technology by ``permitting legitimate personal use (playing on computers and ripping to mp3) while restricting the ability to redistribute the resulting mp3s over the Internet`` (Gauntlett and Horsley, 211). But this will only get the consumers more agitated as the consumers too have rights such as the fair use of information and resources for reference purposes, etc. In an article titled “Who are the pirates? The Politics of Piracy, Poverty, and Greed in a Globalized Music Market”, Jack Bishop said that greed, the lust for power, price gouging, and price fixing has earned the industry an unfavourable reputation (Bishop 2004). Thus different countries that cannot afford to purchase CDs at the prices being put by the companies are downloading music, thus causing huge losses for these companies. The online availability of music is not always a bad thing because, for some local artists, this is their only way of getting the global audience’s attention. An example of this is Esmee Denters who, through her postings on Youtube, managed to attract the attention of Justin Timberlake, thus earning her a spot in his tour as an opening act. Another point is that consumers do not want to have to pay for an entire CD in order to hear one song so they prefer to acquire just that one particular song and do not mind paying for it too. Hence, the big record companies need to find ways to compromise both the interests of the artists and the record companies and its consumers. For that, it is crucial that the industry knows who its consumers are.

In the article titled “Who Else is Laughing at the Music Industry”, Don Reisinger stated that Warner Music Group did not know its customers and hence started seeing great losses. Instead of teaming up with sites that are encouraging the legal downloading of music, it criticized it. An example of this is Apple’s iTunes software program that encourages music enthusiasts to legally download and customize a library for themselves by only paying for the songs that they are interested in. Research concluded that most people do not mind paying $5-10 for an album if only the record companies lower their expenses and bring the prices down to these numbers. Now that Warner has seen the light, it is depending on Apple’s expertise and is encouraging the software program.
I do believe that artists should get paid for their work but not at the expense of high prices for CDs being charged to the consumers. Just recently, The Daily reported that record companies are earning a higher profit margin despite the fact that their revenues are declining because they have reduced their expenses (The Daily 2007). Earlier, their biggest expenses used to be marketing the CD or artist. With the reduced expenses, companies can now earn bigger profits by charging their customers less. This, in turn, will increase the number of CD sales and pay the artist a good salary for their efforts. There are many other ways artists can get paid too. They can go on tours and promote their CD. Even through the sale of merchandise that has their name or face on it, artists can earn huge dollars, thus compensating them handsomely for their efforts.



All Rights Reserved. All Images belong to their respective authors. CCT260 Final Assignment.