Download An Album, Go To Prison?, pub-2427795083793513, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0

Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles are pursuing a 6-month prison term for a Los Angeles man who pleaded guilty in December to one misdemeanor count of uploading pre-release Guns N’ Roses tracks, according to court documents.

Read the full article here.

I’ve been following these articles about digital rights management (or as I prefer to call it, digital restriction management) and “illegal downloading” and all the other garbage that the music industry is regurgitating in an effort to maintain their cartel. The article linked above takes the cake.

While the guy that leaked the Chinese Democracy album does deserve some form of punishment, I think 6 months in prison is an over the top bully tactic for both the government and the recording industry, especially considering the “crime” he committed is considered a misdemeanor. It seems to me that a fine of a couple hundred dollars is a bit more reasonable than prison time. Hell, you’d be better off going to Best Buy and stealing it from there. The punishment for getting caught would be much less severe and you wouldn’t have the stigma of having been in prison on your record.

Times are changing and the music cartel doesn’t want to evolve. What scares them most is that with digital distribution, music consumers can pick and choose the songs they want as opposed to being force fed the filler music you find on most releases. I’ve found that the people I know that purchase music on iTunes, Napster, Rhapsody, etc. actually spend more money because since they’re picking only the songs they want, they’re buying more songs. The phrase “you can’t see the forest for the trees” rings true here.

The bottom line is that the Internet has changed the way the music industry operates, whether they like it or not and it would be in their best interest to find a way to use some form of digital distribution to their advantage.