by Tamera H. Bennett
When will the music industry develop a "Got Milk?" style campaign to educate consumers on illegal downloads?
I presented that question at the International Esq, / Variety sponsored Media and Entertainment Law Series panel discussion in Beverly Hills on November 19, 2009.
I was somewhat surprised that the majority of my co-panelists, both from the tech industry and music industry, felt that anti-piracy education was ineffective in deterring music piracy.
After talking with panelists and attendees following the event, I believe the real distinction is between education and enforcement. The RIAA's actions in suing end-users was an unsuccessful campaign in stopping piracy. The RIAA claims it was successful as an education tool because "Awareness of the illegality of downloading without permission surged from 35 - 72 percent" during the end-user lawsuit campaign. Most in the industry, and consumers of music, would probably argue that enforcement is an not an effective method of education.
I guess I look at things at the most basic level. I understand education will not stop music piracy. Yet, it is a valuable tool in the tool box that should not be overlooked.
Both the software industry and the movie industry have embraced anti-piracy [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUCyvw4w_yk]education. The Software Information Industry Association (SIIA) has re-worked and "spoofed" their own 1980's video on anti-piracy with the new 2009 "Don't Copy That 2." For the last few years, the Motion Picture Association of America in conjunction with Students In Free Enterprise has sponsored a national college campaign for submissions of anti-piracy videos.
As I stated above, education is not the solution to stopping illegal downloads -- it is part of the tool box. There is a certain level of music piracy that will always exisit as a "cost of doing business." The industry is on the right path of meeting consumers' demads for music that is portable between devices and easy to access. Consumers want an experience and connection with their favorite music and recording artists. Labels and artists are beginning to deliver that much demanded "digital" consumer experience. Deliverying the consumer experience is the most powerful tool in the tool box.