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Universal just doesn’t get it!

20 November 2006 No Comment

I just read that Universal Music is suing MySpace.com over copyright violation, saying that MySpace encourages its users to illegally distribute copyrighted materials. Universal is arguing that:

“Our music and videos play a key role in building the communities that have created hundreds of millions of dollars of value for the owners of MySpace,” the company said in a statement. “Our goal is not to inhibit the creation of these communities, but to ensure that our rights and those of our artists are recognized.”

Yes, and MySpace, through its “copyright violation” has played a key role in creating hundreds of millions of dollars of value for the owners of Universal. Call me crazy, but how does Universal not realize that MySpace is a massive marketing engine that is promoting their music.

People post songs on their profiles and their friends can listen to those songs when they visit. This is called “sampling” and it promotes Universal’s music. Sampling of this sort is going to be one of the most significant ways that digital content will become popular in the next 5-10 years. People share music and music becomes popular because of it. When music becomes popular, musicians sell more music, concert tickets, t-shirts, etc.

The record companies have got to take off their blinders and realize that they need to help promote this, not fight it. These types of lawsuits and lobbying hurt technological innovation and damage our culture.

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