A senior British politician Lord Triesman, has told the BBC that the Government may contemplate legislating to crack down on file sharing.
Crucially he said that there was need for cooperation between the creative industries and ISPs and said
“If we can’t get voluntary arrangements we will legislate”
Of course ISPs are more interested in talking to the music industry than ever before, but not out of some new found altruism. Whereas file sharing was a crucial early adopter driver for broadband, it is now mainstream and the ISPs no longer want those pesky file sharing kids soaking up all the bandwidth that could be better used by potentially high spending families etc.
But cooperation with ISPs is only one part of the equation. It is clear that file sharing is not going away and music sales are continuing to decline sharply. Something needs to change if either of those two trends are going to be addressed. Though there are other factors additionally impact declining music spend, file sharing plays a key role, and crucially, is one that meaningful action can be taken against.
Yet the biggest threat to the music industry posed by file sharing, isnít the damage that is being done now, but the potentially irrevocable damage that it is doing to young peopleís perception of what music means as a commodity. A generation is growing up learning to spend large amounts of money on console games and DVDs but little or nothing on music due to its widespread free availability online. As these kids get older and their spending power increases, the current decline in sales could look like a blip compared to the gaping hole their changed spending habits would leave. *dusts off an old tag line* If something isnít done to pull those young file sharers into the legitimate fold then the music industry will find itself sitting upon a demographic time bomb.
So although Lord Triesman said that the government had no interest in
“hounding 14-year-olds who shared music”,
they canít be ignored.