Tuesday, January 15, 2008

It's only a word

"....facing challenges from falling CD sales and piracy."
Thus every BBC newscast this morning regarding the big EMI meeting.
"Piracy" is not the word they mean. Piracy is the selling of counterfeit goods. It happens to music but only the same way as it happens to everything. It faces every consumer-facing brand from Gucci to Coca Cola.
What EMI, and every other record company face more immediately, is copying, largely done by amateurs and not for profit.
Different thing.


  1. But DH, I thought there were zillions of fake CDs and DVDs pouring out of factories in China and infiltrating the supply?
    They are after all less complicated to produce than things by Gucci or Coca Cola and are easy to shift.
    Or was that just a story by the Mail or Express I swallowed?

  2. The point I was trying to make was that piracy has been there for 25 years. The current travails of the music business are more to do with p2p than piracy. It has long been the habit of lawyers to conflate the two in order to try and win and argument.

  3. Yes I see, and perhaps to do with the artist roster not being what it was as well. Companies sometimes just lose the plot, like British Leyland etc did and start feeding off themselves; and I guess this is what's happened to EMI and others?
    BBC News on line has now shifted to 'falling CD sales and internet downloads' as it's lead. Completely off topic, there is an interesting item about the CD/radio 'loudness wars' on Wikipedia (references elsewhere), and the effect on musical fidelity by the resultant waveform clipping.
    We should ask Mr Hands to explain it to us re. downloads.

  4. Anonymous6:53 pm

    No, Piracy is the act of robbery committed at sea. Counterfeiting is the kind of factory produced knock off that you refer to. Let's ignore the phrase piracy, given that it's not really a useful or legitimate term, just one they've adopted that has found a way into the public consciousness.

    Anyway, don't forget that in the 80s, home taping was killing music, a phrase that always made me laugh considering the first time I came across it it was on one of my father's James Last tapes which he would subject me to in the car.

    And their other chestnut - piracy is theft... except it isn't, it's copyright infringement.

    Like you say, this has been around for years, and the industry hasn't (quite) ground to a halt just yet.

  5. Good point, well made Mr Hepworth.

  6. Anonymous11:09 am

    And let's not forget that those who work every record company on the planet download from P2P sites and make their own compilation CDs too.

    Perhaps they're not the pirates EMI have been thinking of.