Music Matters – Combating Piracy In A Fair Way

by Emilio Pérez Miguel on March 25, 2010

MusicMatters
Name: Music Matters
URL: http://www.whymusicmatters.org

Weighing the pros and the cons of the Internet and the way it has modified how music is consumed always boils down to two arguments. On the plus side, artists nobody would hear about otherwise are brought recognition beyond their wildest dreams. On the down side, music is pirated left, right and center because the act of downloading an album (not to mention a mere song) seems innocuous.

When companies try to impose a solution, they invariably add fuel to the fire. The attempt to close the Pirate Bay had the opposite effect – the number of torrent trackers shot through the roof. It has always been the same all through history – something is prohibited, and people just do it three times more. Just think of the US in 1920, when the Dry Law was enforced.

The best course of action to me should be simply to remind people that what they are doing is wrong without sounding patronizing, and without doling an actual punishment. Because in 8 out of 10 cases these punishments end up affecting those who did go by the rules.

That is the approach that has been taken by the people responsible for Music Matters. What they do is provide you with a badge that you can paste on your site, notifying the people who visit it that every single piece found there is a legal one, and that no artist’s rights are being lessened because of you playing the songs.

That’s it. No threats, no annoying legal notices that take up an hour to load and that occupy half the screen. The presence of the badge means that the artist will be paid when you listen to the songs. That’s all there is. The system is transparent, and it places everything on the user’s integrity. Above all, it is a system that thrives on respect – the listener is respected, and the one thing he is asked in exchange is his respect for the artist. It doesn’t get much fairer than this.

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