My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, Ottawa Citizen version, The Tyee version, homepage version) focuses on the contrast between artists such as Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails that are adopting new distribution models, and the recording industry, which continues to lobby for anti-circumvention legislation. In the weeks leading up to today's Speech from the Throne, CRIA and others lobby groups have urged the government to prioritize intellectual property protection.
While the data suggests that peer-to-peer file sharing is at best only a minor reason for the decline (more significant is competition from DVD and video game sales and the emergence of big box retailers such as Wal-Mart who have pushed down retail prices and decimated sales of older titles), events over the past month have provided the clearest indication yet that musicians and music sellers are charting a new course that is leaving the major record labels behind.
In the mid-1990s, the industry focused on retaining its core business model by emphasizing two strategies. First, it relied on copy-control technologies, supported by additional legal measures, to curtail unauthorized copying. Second, it lobbied for the establishment of a private copying levy on blank media to compensate for the copying that technology could not control.
Ten years later, that strategy is now in tatters.