September 13, 2003
The Music Wars

TechTV taped The Music Wars yesterday afternoon in SF with Ted Cohen of EMI, Jeremy Welt of Maverick Records and John Perry Barlow of EFF starting things off. After some discussion, a musician on each side of the issue was added (Chuck D - pro file sharing and Ira Dean of Trick Pony - anti file sharing). Things were nice, but contentious. Nobody threw chairs, but they joked about it. Their positions were far apart, but everyone there could agree that musicians need to get paid, and the Internet has disrupted the music industry to such an extent, that the resulting problems are difficult and complex.

The unfortunate thing about TV discussions like this is that people get 30 seconds to lay out complex issues, and then they start throwing sound bites. We will never get to a reasoned, deeper solution, and good discussion with this kind of banter. But if people who know nothing tune in and start with this, and then look further, it can be useful.

I watched the show from the audience, which included people like Brian Zisk and his wife, several local kids/families getting sued by the RIAA, music press, and others interested in these issues like John Barry. They had told us before hand that we would be asked questions, so we were supposed to be ready, but the Q&A never materialized, as we ran out of time.

Others interviewed:
Jesse & Andy Jordan -- -- he was one of the four students who built google like search engines that catalogued his schools files on their internal network, and had the RIAA sue him. He settled for $12,000, his savings account.

Dan Ballard -- "Jane Doe" Attorney, who made the very good point that the subpoena process under the DMCA is not right: basically, anyone can send a subpoena, without the court reviewing it (judges or clerks), to an ISP to get someone's personal information. Normally, in other cases not involving the DMCA, subpoena's like this happen with judicial review, because a lawsuit has been filed. But in this case, all your information gets turned over, but there's no lawsuit. He thinks they should be forced to file a lawsuit first, and then have the court approve appropriate subpoenas, in order to protect people's privacy and make sure that it is a legitimate request, i.e. not a request from a stalker, pedophile, etc.

Music Software:
Sean Ryan --Real Networks, listen.com,
Derek Broes - Brilliant Digital Entertainment, and Altnet
Michael Weiss -- Morpheus

Bill Evans, the founder of boycott-riaa sat next to me and was one of two audience comment/questions they took.

I asked a couple of times during breaks to ask a question, but the controversy was so great on the panel, that they never really got to real audience questions. There was just too much to cover in the one and a half hours. Watch it today at 6 p.m. and Monday 9/15 at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. Eastern.

Update 9/14/03: Denise Howell has some notes on the Music Wars special.

Notable: Hilary Rosen (on why the recording industry has never taken advantage of P2P file sharing networks; just left as head of the RIAA): "Well first of all, they've never asked."

I'd say 63 million file sharers (the current number of Americans estimated to be using) is a compelling request! What parallel universe is she living in?

Charlie Daniels: "I have thought for a long time that the record industry had to catch up. We're always behind in technology. We're always behind in technology, and then as far behind as we are, the people who make the laws of the land are even further behind."

Posted by Mary Hodder at September 13, 2003 11:37 AM
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