Whack-A-Mole: Not as Much Fun as it Sounds

Hey, kids! Would you like to play a friendly game of carnival style whack-a-mole? No? Neither would the music industry! And, yet, here we are today, still waiting for those sneaky rascals to pop up out from their infernal holes.

Wait, what? Hold on, allow me to explain; this will all make sense in a few minutes. Actually, it may not for a few people, so just sit back and try to understand what’s going on.

Turn your attention toward the piracy site MP3 Skull. Aggressively pursued by the RIAA, the Recording Industry Association of America, the major labels’ squadron of lawyer/biker thugs, a deal was made to burn the site to the ground disgracefully scatter the ashes in exchange for $22 million back in February of this year. Flash forward to September/October, MP3 Skull is now seeing 4.1 MILLION users per month with projected figures on the rise. How? Didn’t the RIAA kill this site completely?

They did – well, technically. The URL of the site in question ended with “.com,” and the termination of the site should have ended the site completely. The reason why it didn’t is because the new edition of MP3 Skull – which is newly equipped with a YouTube converter – now ends in “.onl,” a less ironic yet largely tricky loophole for the RIAA. If the RIAA is seeking to terminate MP3 Skull entirely, it appears as though they will have to chase them through every possible URL.

For the music industry, piracy is obviously a massive issue. However, when it comes to dealing with it in the modern age with all of its digital complications, it is very much a game of whack-a-mole. As soon as you take out one piracy site, another pops up, sometimes two. And even though you have that giant hammer that makes you feel like more of a man, they aren’t scared of you.

Do I sympathize with the frustration of the RIAA and all those who lose money due to piracy? Absolutely. Personally, I consider paying for music to be a sign of respect and believe it to be a moral obligation. However, I do see the perspective of the MP3 Skull crowd.

For some people and genrespiracy is not a moral issue or even inherently negative or damaging. Underground DJs like to mix and match pirated tracks as their own artworks which they offer for free download. Emerging genres like Vaporwave prefer to bypass copyright law so that they use existing songs and musics as templates to build from. Though not widely accepted, there is a growing cultural belief that music should be completely free and accessible by all.

As this relates to the future of the music industry, the case of MP3 Skull is to be expected. Until the copyright laws are amended or scrapped and redone, we’re going to see the crushing and rebirth of piracy sites. Even if the RIAA is able to crush MP3 Skull’s every last URL, the site still has a litany of bones to choose from. This is a cycle and it’s doomed to repeat itself. Regardless of which side you’re on when it comes to the issue of piracy, we can all agree that something has to change. So pick a side and start fighting for better legislation; the copyright laws won’t change if we just sit still!

If you’d like to see the article that prompted this post, you can click here.

Once again, this has been the view from 214.



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