Against Monopoly

defending the right to innovate

Monopoly corrupts. Absolute monopoly corrupts absolutely.

Copyright Notice: We don't think much of copyright, so you can do what you want with the content on this blog. Of course we are hungry for publicity, so we would be pleased if you avoided plagiarism and gave us credit for what we have written. We encourage you not to impose copyright restrictions on your "derivative" works, but we won't try to stop you. For the legally or statist minded, you can consider yourself subject to a Creative Commons Attribution License.


Music vs. Print: A Comparative Case Study On The Impact Of The Internet On Business Cultures

Traditional print newspapers continue to post declines in revenues.

Jon Fine describes it as "further evidence that rising Web revenues do not cancel out falling print revenues."

Now compare this phenomenon with the similar decline of revenues in the music industry. What is happening in the news industry is circumstantial evidence that even if everyone where to use industry-sanctioned Internet downloads to get their music, overall revenues would continue to decline for the music business. I'd say that this further complicates the disputed claim that the decline in music revenues comes primarily from unauthorized downloading. It should also be pointed out that the same dynamic exists for the news industry - How many of us have read news that was e-mailed to us by a friend who copied and pasted the text of an article on their own? How many of us simply read the copied news off of a third-party blog without clicking on the link to the underlying news site? Should not this considered to be "pirated" news just as we term "pirated" music? As long as copyright exists, it certainly should protect print every bit as much as music, right? If such monopolies must exist on any level, it seems silly to discriminate between different kinds of creative works (i.e., giving music greater protections over print news).

And yet with all of these observations, look at the difference in how each industry has reacted. The music indusrty continued to try and sue everyone it can in order to enforce a status quo that no longer exists. The news industry has perhaps resigned itself to the fact that they will have to operate with less revenues for the foreseeable future. But they are at least slowly coming to grips with that future and are still struggling to find sensible solutions. Imagine the cultural impact if media corporations started suing Internet users for reading news off of "unauthorized" websites. And yet, there are many who still think that what the music industry is doing is somehow justified.


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