Music Business

Welcome To Our World: The Spread of Content Piracy

piracyThe value of a copyright is at the core of most discussions about compensation and fairness in the music industry.  But how we, as a society, value copyright is effected by the use and value of intellectual property far beyond notes on a page or in a recording.

By Bryan Mooney, a music industry professional living and working in NY

The music industry has already become familiar with the lack of value tied to copyright.

Search YouTube for a reasonably well-known tune and you'll likely find more UGC (user generated content) than anything else, whether that be lyric videos, cats being scared by cucumbers, or just a poorly screen-grabbed image of the album cover while the song plays in the background.

Copyright.svgAll of this content is being monetized, both through ad revenue, and now, through subscriptions. That is to say that Youtube is profiting from piracy.

Likely, none of this information is new or surprising to you. That's why I was intrigued this weekend to read a Mashable article titled 'How Udemy is Profiting From Piracy.' The basic gist is that an online course was clearly pirated and being made available through Udemy, which of course, offered options to report infringement and file for a DMCA takedown. Standard. The article goes on to frustratedly detail interactions with both Udemy and the required takedown process.

While the article even acknowledges that the practice of piracy on such platforms is nothing new, Mashable writes "I had never seen a business actually profiting from piracy."

THAT is what's critically important. We've all become so accustomed to the widespread availability of pirated music/film content that most just shake their head and tell artists to make money elsewhere. That's the world of art.

It's only when other industries fall victim to piracy that it feels sinister and fingers are pointed at the middlemen profiting.

I'll be here waiting for the other shoe to drop, so that we can finally have the proper conversation on copyright that the music industry has been calling for.

You can find the original Medium article here.

Share on: