|http://www.sina.com.cn 2004/07/29 10:34 《Speak 2 Me》|
On The Warpath 向文件分享软件宣战
The music industry takes aim at file-sharing.音乐产业瞄准文件分享
Megan Dickinson is a lot like most other 15-year-olds: she likes music and she likes computers. So when she got her hands on file-sharing software, it wasn’t long before she’d compiled a personal library of over 1,000 songs on her hard drive.
Unlike most other 15-year-olds, however, Megan is being sued. Record companies tracked her down through her Internet service provider, and say she has to pay a $750 fine for each song she downloaded. At the end of the day, total damages, including legal fees, could be close to a million dollars.
After years of losing sales to digital piracy, the record companies are fighting back. Not only are they going after the creators of file sharing software, but they’re also putting the squeeze on individuals who’ve downloaded songs from the Internet without permission. While the number of lawsuits is still tiny, and users outside the US aren’t yet being targeted, the threat of a million dollar fine is causing music fans to think twice before downloading the latest song.
The record companies are also trying to sabotage the file sharing services they can’t shut down. Download the latest Britney Spears song and there’s a good chance that you’ll just end up with three minutes of noise. These “decoy” files are put up by the record companies to make it harder to find the authentic versions. The idea is that, if finding songs becomes too time-consuming, people might be willing to go back to the record stores to pay for the music.
But critics say the record companies are risking a backlash as music fans take offense at the heavy-handed treatment. Rather than treat downloaders as criminals, they say, record companies need to treat them as potential customers. Otherwise, the pirates will just come up with ever more clever ways of getting around the law.