Saturday, June 03, 2006

Oh Please

PARIS, June 1 — Rising consumer popularity is turning, a music downloading service based in Moscow, into a global Internet success story, except for one important detail: The site may well be illegal.
Except that, of course, it isn't. As a different source puts it:
According to Russia's 1993 copyright law, however, collecting societies are permitted to act on behalf of rights holders who have not authorized them to do so. Collecting societies have thus been set up to gather royalties for foreign copyright holders without their authorization. Infringement cases have also affected foreign-produced software, films and books.
Now, I'll concede this is a pretty bad law, and it should clearly be changed. But just as clearly, it is the law as it stands. So how, by the many arms of Vishnu, could a reporter possibly justify writing that it might be illegal?

Probably the same way I justify saying the second quote came from a different source than the first: In fact, both quotes come from the same story, so the reporter should have known what the hell he was talking about. But I wanted to mislead you, just like this reporter obviously wanted to mislead you.

The only assertion that is illegal comes from the music industry, who don't actually decide such matters - contrary to their own inflated sense of importance. Rather, copyright is decided by national law, and in this case Russian law says this thing is legal. If the reporter were honest, the real headline would be:
"Recording Industry full of arrogant pricks who think they make Russian law. Putin sez: Bring it."

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