The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry has released a list of ten “inconvenient truths” about music piracy. Before we get to how hilarious this list is, let’s make sure we’re all up to speed on the IFPI. Representing more than 1400 record companies in 75 countries, the IFPI’s stated goals are to “promote the value of recorded music,” to “safeguard the rights of record producers,” and to “expand the commercial uses of recorded music.” One of the IFPI’s actual activities is to provide the RIAA with statistics (e.g., “Music piracy caused over 300,000 unwanted pregnancies worldwide in the year 2006.”) Their website offers software that removes file-sharing software and copyrighted files from your computer, as well as tips for disabling pesky features in Kazaa, in case you happen to be downloading MP3s five years ago.
The IFPI’s list contains a series of semi-falsehoods, ranging from statements that cannot be proven ("Illegal file-sharers don’t care whether the copyright infringing work they distribute is from a major or independent label") to flat-out lies ("P2P networks are not hotbeds for discovering new music. It is popular music that is illegally file-shared most frequently"). The third "truth" reads, “Organised criminal gangs and even terrorist groups use the sale of counterfeit CDs to raise revenue and launder money.” Since you’ve probably been purchasing marijuana as well, it’s safe to assume that 9-11 is your fault twice. In the interests of fair and balanced journalism, I’ve decided to present...
Ten Inconvenient Truths About Music Buying:
1. A portion of the $15 spent on CDs is not donated to the United Negro College Fund. The IFPI are racists.
2. The “MP3s” sold by the iTunes music store are actually AAC files encoded at 128 kbps, less than half the bitrate of CD-quality audio. In fact, on many popular music-sharing websites, MP3s encoded at rates under 192 kbps aren’t even allowed to be uploaded.
3. In its quest to protect copyrights (and CD sales), the RIAA is not above suing children or maybe dead people for millions of dollars.
4. CDs purchased from Sony have been known to contain actual ghosts.
5. Songs purchased from the iTunes music store, including the sharable DRM-free ones, contain the full name and e-mail address of the buyer embedded within the file (see this TMT article).
6. Ringtones were responsible for the death of Terry Schiavo.
7. In reality, way more music is available through file-sharing networks than through legal digital music stores. While the iTunes music store still does not sell any music by The Beatles, a search of popular BitTorrent sites will return multiple versions of every Beatles album in full quality, as well as hundreds of bootlegs.
8. Retail music is sold in environmentally damaging packaging, which supports terrorism.
9. Albums almost always leak on the internet well before they are released in stores. For example, Beastie Boys’ The Mix-Up (due in stores June 26), Talib Kweli’s Ear Drum (July 24), and Architecture in Helsinki’s Places Like This (August 7) are all available through the internet tubes today
10. Purchasing John Mayer CDs may support John Mayer.
Disclaimer: Tiny Mix Tapes does not in endorse, condone, or encourage music piracy. This article represents only the opinions of Nat Towsen, which is a pseudonym for a man named Brent Monroe who lives in Edgewater, Maine, who was only playing devil's advocate and is very sorry.