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December 2, 2005
Fall of the House of Cards?
A reader pointed me to a Businessweek Online piece on Sony's spyware fiasco. This brief piece contains one new tidbit, but it's crucial. According to Lorraine Woellert's story the artists themselves are finally starting to get up in arms. About bleeping time.
In my more fanboy moments, I hang out with writers (books) and artists (sculptors, photographers, musicians). For the most part they've bought into the Cartel's propaganda. They're worried about "piracy" and someone "stealing" their work. I don't have many big-name creative friends, so most of the folk I talk to are sensitive to even a small loss of income when they make very little to start with. They tend to believe that DRM is a good thing and that it'll somehow help them get paid more or better.
What we now see is that the exact opposite is true. Musicians and their managers, according to Wollert, are starting to realize that DRM is preventing sales. Bad publicity is the kiss of death and it's really unclear whether any Sony artists are going to escape at least some level of contamination. That translates to lost sales, often dramatically lost (50% drop in one week - ugh).
If the creative corp finally get it through their heads that the Cartel's DRM strategies are only there to fatten executive wallets then we might actually see a kind of revolution from within. As Wendy noted a couple weeks back, the frog may well jump out of the pot.
I also have to hope that The Association of American Publishers will catch on to this. Although the current fiasco is over music disks, there's a very direct and very short line between the meme "don't use DRM to screw up fans' experience of artists' music" and the meme "don't use mistaken interpretations of copyright law to stifle readers' desire to find books."
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