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Podcasts & Revolution

27-Oct-05 12:19 am EDT Leave a comment Go to comments
Recently, I discovered yet another popular, (relatively) new Internet technology: podcasting.  I’d really paid no attention to this, among the more novel, faddy-sounding & seeming.  After all, "Internet radio" has been with us for years in the form of Shoutcast, Real Audio & other high-compression streaming audio protocols.  But the subscription element of this innovation is certainly convenient.  And there are some real cool programs out there, doubtlessly stealing time away from competing programs on radio….
 
Well one such program by CNet’s News.com staff is called "CNet Buzz", (podcast subscription feed here) which is aimed at technology folks (like me) and today touched on a subject frequently addressed here: the saga of the music industry and its jihad against its listening public.  In particular, the show’s guest – a fellow named Cory Doctorow (noted author, and member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation), summarized the biggest flaw in the recording industry’s ongoing campaign:
"I just don’t think there’s a future at all in calling your customers ‘crooks’, or describe the way they want to consume information as theft. …Even if [they] believe [this], I dont’ know why [they’d] say it out loud!"
During the interview, Doctorow adds an as-yet unconfirmed statistic (rather infromally); proposing that 1 in 50 lawsuits on the US courts’ dockets are devoted in some fashion to the recording industry’s litigation against individuals, in defense of intellectual property (IP) rights.  He characterizes this as an injustice:
"…[Such litigation is] a denial-of-service attack on theAmerican legal system."
Beyond the raw common-sense behind such reasoning, it would indeed be interesting to canvass producers of content at this point to see if there’s any merit to thinking they might now be losing market share not only because of piracy, but have exacerbated the already treacherous situation further through alienating consumers completely.  How long will it be before a kind of "Robin Hood"-style gestalt overtakes the average person’s appreciation of property rights and eliminates any hope of avoiding the very revolution in the delivery of entertainment they’d hoped to avoid.
 
Are we now bearing witness to that revolution part-way through?
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Terry Glavin

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