This issue about copyrights and protection has so many layers and hooks into society’s fabric that it’s hard to pick on just one but I will certainly try.
It is legal for me to stream music in the form of a radio station. In fact, we do this already through eTracks. Here I can stream pretty much anything I want and pay a yearly license fee. Problem is, it’s 192kbps limited and MP3. It sounds good, but it’s not great and the quality of the sound certainly doesn’t pay homage to the musicians who made the music. What I’d love to do is stream full CD and high-res quality but there’s simply not enough bandwidth to do that.
So I came up with an idea – if the source of the radio station was local then you wouldn’t have bandwidth restrictions. So we place the entire library onto a small hard drive in its uncompressed format, encrypt the data so it cannot be copied, and package the HD in a radio product we sell to folks. Access to it is still the same – as a radio station – but now you get full bandwidth without compression – we could even do multiple stations from the same library – and what a cool product that would be. Maybe 20 stations that cover everything we’d like to listen to – all in uncompressed wonderfulness.
Can’t do it. Copyright laws prohibit this. Same music, same fees paid, same protection from copying and selling.
And that’s the problem of legislating against change and the natural order of things. For now it’s just an inconvenience but one that hurts the musicians as well as the high-end customer who wants to enjoy music without suffering the degradation of MP3.
Change is tough but building fences to protect a dying industry doesn’t work and slows down what will work.