A new report by USC’s Annenberg Innovation (AI) that attempts to link advertising networks like Google and Yahoo to piracy, has continued the trend of pushing an outdated and misleading agenda on the public, by suggesting that the entertainment industry is on the brink of extinction thanks to piracy alone.
AI’s report takes issue with Adsense and other networks’ adverts that appear on file sharing sites, hoping that with its report it can name and shame companies that advertise through these schemes to halt their business with them and thereby cut off financial support for the file sharing websites.
Google has suggested that the report is mistaken and that ultimately, just because Google code appears on a site, it doesn’t mean that Google supports piracy.
Director of AI, Jonathan Taplin, has also been using this opportunity to champion his own opinions on the matter of piracy and the current state of the economy as it becomes more digitally focused. Using the LA Times as a platform, he described how a singer friend of his that was able to live off of record royalties for many years, but that in the early 2000s when medical bills for his throat cancer began building up, he was forced to hit the road again – apparently, because of piracy.
While of course cancer is a horrible affliction to have, it’s quite difficult to feel too much sympathy for someone that didn’t have to work for years because of something they did in the past. If anything it’s an indictment of the health care system that forced his friend into needing large sums of money for his treatment.
However if you want to point the finger at piracy, the blame should be placed on the shoulders of the music industry. It is only now beginning to catch up, with services like Spotify and similar, that offer an experience that is actually as user friendly, accessible and cost effective as piracy has been in the past, if not more so. If these had been around in the early 2000s, nobody would have bothered with Limewire and similar. These piracy services filled a gap in the market, they didn’t create something new.
Mr Taplin also fails to realize or reference at all, the fact that sites like The Pirate Bay and similar, host a huge amount of original content. People use these websites for legitimate business and promotion. If they are taken down or bankrupted, thereby making it so that musicians and artists have to promote themselves in ways they might otherwise not want to, say going out on the road when they’re ill, wouldn’t that be the same as what happened to his friend?