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Research Reveals Interesting Trend in Music Pirating Dilemma

A recent research study by the MCPS-PRS Alliance revealed that, even when music is available to download at no charge via an official website, the majority of fans still choose to download the music from an illegal website. This research project has confirmed what many music companies have suspected – pirating of music is a growing trend that is here to stay regardless of any efforts to put a stop to it.

The MCPS-PRS Alliance (Mechanical Copyright Protection Society and Performing Right Society) is a non-profit collecting society in the UK that oversees payment of royalties to composers, songwriters and publishers. Researchers representing the MCPS-PRS Alliance and online media measurement company, Big Champagne, based their study on the October 2007 release of Radiohead’s album “In Rainbows”. The band made the decision to release their album as a download via their website, allowing fans to decide what they would pay for the download, with downloading it free of charge being an option. The response was good, with many fans paying what would normally be expected for an album from a group such as Radiohead. But research revealed that, although fans could obtain the download at no cost from the official Radiohead website, the majority did not choose to do so, preferring to go their usual route of downloading from illegal websites.

The suggestion has been made that, instead of trying to go against the flow, the music industry should face the fact that illegal file-sharing websites are here to stay and rather “embrace” these illegal websites. How this should be done and what benefits there would be to the music industry is unclear, but the results of the research are available for record companies to analyze and will no doubt give them greater insight into just how extensive illegal downloading has become. It is also believed that the findings of the research could add momentum to music rights-holders’ attempts at licensing digital services that are currently out of reach, quoting as an example last year’s agreement between the MCPS-PRS Alliance and YouTube which licensed over 10 million pieces of music, thereby recognizing the creators of the music.

Recently, major British internet service providers (ISPs) confirmed a deal with the music industry that will see the introduction of legal file-sharing, while at the same time educating internet users with regard to illegal downloads, as part of a strategy to crack down on piracy. Certainly as the world-wide web becomes part of everyday life for countless people across the globe, it will continue to present challenges that need to be addressed as and when these come up. One thing that everyone seems to agree on is that the internet has had a profound influence on the modern world – whether that influence is good or bad remains a contentious issue.

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