Edited by Alain Strowel
Chapter 7: Sharing out online liability: sharing files, sharing risks and targeting ISPs
Robert Clark THE FILE-SHARING PHENOMENON The use of the Internet to distribute sound recordings now forms a significant proportion of music sales.1 The use of the Internet to facilitate music file transfers has spawned new ways of commercialising music, which benefits most sectors of the music copyright industries. The use of file-sharing technology to enable musicians to distribute music for promotional purposes shows that original musical compositions and sound recordings can be exchanged over a network using MP3 technology without infringing any rights. A startling demonstration of this is the success of the Arctic Monkeys. Early sound recordings and original compositions of the band were available for free download, creating a strong fan base and a reputation for ‘integrity’.2 The Gnarls Barkley single Crazy has been available as an illegal download since Autumn 2005 but proved so popular that, when it became available for legal download in March 2006, the track went to no. 1 in the charts on the basis of downloads alone.3 Even the back catalogues of major record companies have benefited from the availability of single tracks for legal download, though there is a negative impact in the sense that the buying public is less likely to The International Federation for the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) estimates that in 2005 some 420 million single tracks were downloaded, more than 20 times the figure for 2003. Estimates for 2006 total 795 million single track downloads. The market for music downloads to mobile phones (ring tones, full track downloads, etc...
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