The music industry has been saying the same thing for several years now: peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing networks are exponentially distributing pirated music across the world through the Internet, and this constitutes a copyright infringement. In English, this means that the fact that I downloaded a Tori Amos track through Kazaa yesterday and am listening to it right now makes me a criminal. So far, so good. Quite true as well.
But the real problem is not that people do not want to pay for music. Often I sample new music off the Internet before buying the CDs. Chances are that if I like most of the album, I’m going to buy it. On the surface this is what radio stations do when they play music. The difference, however, is that it has become insanely easy for me to acquire almost-as-good-as-original quality mp3s of any track that I want to listen to, and even if I don’t pay a dime, no one is there to catch me.
The principle of accountability has vanished. When one sees that there are two