A Voice of Reason in the Piracy Debate?

The IFPI’s Chairman and CEO Jay Berman used his opening address to this year’s Midem http://www.ifpi.org/ to debunk the “key myths” surrounding the music industry and piracy.

The IFPI has traditionally struck a far more positive note than it’s American sister organisation the RIAA, treading a middle ground between defending music rights and embracing the potential of new technologies, and this speech stuck true to form. He even put in a couple of name checks to Jupiter 😉

Jay Berman’s approach contrasts sharply with that of Hilary Rosen, emphasising that tackling online piracy must be coupled with developing legitimate services. If only Mr Berman’s words were backed up in Europe with the actions of the labels he represents…

However, I was less impressed with Mr Berman’s shift of emphasis towards online piracy as the key pariah of the music industry. The IFPI has done a huge amount of work to tackle physical CD piracy and to measure its impact on sales and really should know better than to try lay the blame for declining music sales squarely at the door of kids burning CDs in their bedrooms. Sure they have an impact, and an increasingly significant one, but it is exactly the types of mass production CD factories that Mr Berman mentions that are the biggest single, quantifiable threat to traditional music sales.

All in all, though, a positive speech from Mr Berman that recognises both the threat and the potential of the Internet.

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