Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Oh Sure, NOW Hilary Rosen Gets It....

The entire Internet community is abuzz this week over Hilary Rosen's column in Arianna Huffington's new liberal Super Blog, The Huffington Post located here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ . Arianna has attracted a who's who of great writers and opinion makers. You will want to make the Post a favorite on your reading list.

Ahhh, but the buzz is about the seeming about face Hilary Rosen has made in the arena of digital music downloads. You can read her post here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/theblog/archive/2005/05/steve-jobs-let-.html

Hilary, in case you somehow forgot, is the person most responsible for the complete disaster we have in the world of digital music downloads today. As the CEO of the RIAA, she fought every advance in digital music with a combination of ferocity, ignorance and zeal rarely seen in the corporate world. She literally tried to completely dismantle the entire Internet and had judges sided with her, there would be no Internet today.

When she failed at that approach, she began individually suing every possible provider of digital music, legal or not.

She single handedly destroyed the original Napster, the one organization that could have saved the music industry and brought them into the digital world. She turned down a two billion dollar offer from Napster to create payment methodologies for the industry that would have also protected the consumer and the vast music libraries then available.

She and the RIAA sued colleges and universities, on-line access companies, file trading firms and eventually individual consumers. Ignoring the most incredible string of court losses in the history of the American legal system, she was determined to simply wear out the underfunded opposition with a barrage of lawsuits filed in multiple jurisdictions and under wild and varying laws.

The list of companies she bankrupted reads like a who's who of technological greatness. Her opponents were geniuses, but she had the money and a spirit of ruthlessness to drive them to the ground.

While filing thousands of lawsuits, she simultaneously lobbied congress to get increasingly strict and burdensome laws, fines, royalties and restrictions in place to prevent anyone from ever successfully distributing digital music. While occasionally defeated in Congress, Hilary and her Hollywood owned legislators managed to pass the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

She set up a royalty system so complex even the organization she left in place to administrate it can't figure out who gets paid.

But the key fact is that Hilary set up a digital rights system that assured almost anyone can prevent distribution of any given song: the labels, the artists, the songwriters, even the janitor. Everyone gets a cut and anyone can stop the process dead in it's tracks.

As a result, much of the world's music libraries are tied up and unavailable anywhere EXCEPT on the illegal, free file trading networks that Hilary wanted to stop.

In short, it was Hilary who created a monster, but ultimately failed to stop the free trading of music.

Ahhh, but now you should read Hilary's take on the problem. It seems it's all Steve Job's fault!!

Hilary writes, "....but when, oh when, will Steve Jobs let me buy music from somewhere other than the Apple iTunes store and put it on my iPod?"

Totally blind to her own contribution to the digital music disaster, she continues, "I spent 17 years in the music business the last several of which were all about pushing and prodding the painful development of legitimate on-line music. Now, the music fan is on the cusp of riches in their options - free of the viruses of the pirate sites."

What Hilary actually left was a digital wasteland without licensing standards, without digital standards, and without a method to achieve either. But she did leave a robust group of "pirate sites" operating with increasing strength and vigor.

the WIZARD, fkap sheds no tears for Hilary. So she can't get the tunes she wants on her iPod? She has no one to blame but herself.