While Virgin Media & Universal Music hash out their new subscription service, a model which I thoroughly support, I still have to stop and laugh about the new partnership’s adamant goal to reduce the role of online piracy. According to HypeBot:
“the two companies will also be “working together to protect Universal Music’s intellectual property and drive a material reduction in the unauthorized distribution of its repertoire”. This will involve implementing a range of strategies to “educate file sharers about online piracy” and “raise awareness of legal alternatives.”
While they are not threatening to punish the offenders of their policies, I believe that their outright condemnation of file-sharing will actually reduce the attractiveness of their music package. Major labels must realize that since the dawn of Napster, music consumers have had unlimited access to free music with ease. Fast forward to the present, and file-sharing is bigger than ever. Not only that, but file-sharing “pirates” are one step ahead of the labels.
Enter BitBlinder, a new open-source project which serves to cloak torrents, hide browsing and bypass filters. How will Virgin Media and Universal reduce the unauthorized distribution now? I don’t think they ever will. File-sharing must be embraced and utilized in order to gain traction with some of the biggest music consumers (or pirates) of today. Will it ever happen or will the majors become the Big Brother of the digital age?