30% of Indie Labels Have Given Up Trying to Fight Piracy

30% of Indie Labels Have Given Up Trying to Fight Piracy
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30% of Indie Labels Have Given Up Trying to Fight Piracy
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Elmastudio (CC by 2.0)

Indie labels know about piracy.  But at least 30% say they can’t deal with it anymore.

A new study published by the Future of Music Coalition (FMC) and the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) paints a bleak picture of the music industry’s fight against piracy.

A2IM and FMC asked independent record labels to respond a short survey over unauthorized music use.  They also asked labels to share their experience with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), a key component of US copyright law.  Here’s what they found.

  • 87% of independent music labels knew that people had actively infringed their works online.  However, 30% of indie labels just didn’t actively search for infringement of their works.

Why did these 30% didn’t actively search and try to stamp out infringing works?  A2IM and FMC’s next numbers may show a clearer picture to the losing fight against online piracy.

  • 65% that tried having infringing works removed said it took longer than 24 hours to have it removed.  They also said the works may not have been removed at all.
  • Going further, 68% reported a “whack-a-mole” problem.  That means an infringing work successfully taken down on one service soon reappeared (on the same service or another service).

Quite simply, independent record labels said that they don’t have adequate resources to combat active online piracy of their own works.  65% that didn’t actively search for their pirated works cited this very reason.  Furthermore, 30% of respondents completely gave up searching works.  Why?  They reported that previous enforcement efforts just haven’t worked.

Respondents to A2IM and FMC’s study gave three specifics reasons why enforcing their rights against pirates doesn’t work.

  1. They don’t have enough resources to pursue infringement of their own copyrighted works.
  2. They can’t find contact information to request a takedown.
  3. Most of the time, infringing websites simply ignore DMCA takedown notices and other complaints.

The A2IM and FMC found one very clear fact: a super-majority of companies have a strong awareness that people are actively pirating their content online.  In fact, 87% of respondents knew of unauthorized uses in any typical three month period.

29% of said companies find or learn about unauthorized piracy once or a few times a month.  26% learn about people actively infringing their works at least once a day or more often.  19% find out less than once per month.

The study ends with the group’s analysis of their findings.

“These results confirm that independent labels face significant practical challenges in using the notice and takedown system.  When they use the process, they may encounter frustrations…

“These results suggest that current implementation of the DMCA has fallen short of [its] goal…”

7 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    I’m generally not a fan of more government involvement… but with respect to copyright infringement, why does the burden of law enforcement fall upon it’s victims?

    • Anonymous

      This is not the physical world. It’s not like you can just point out someone with basic evidence. Even if you IP address, you can’t do anything because of dynamic IPs. It’s easy to make extra accounts. IP blocks won’t work because of VPNs and again, dynamic IPs. Content ID wont work either because the smallest change will generate a whole new hash.

      After of the matter is that it’s a waste of time to chase pirates.
      Most fall under “try before you buy” and others won’t pay anyways. DRM actually drives away customers, and I’ll put it out there that I’ve passed up a few games specifically because of DRM that’ll keep me from messing with the files. I play on PC for the mods!

      Even if you stop online file transfers, networks will form of people simple swapping through hard drives. Want to keep you music piracy free? then go back to vinyl. Data, by it’s very nature, spreads.

      • Jim

        making a perfect copy of a CD, as you could do as early as the 90s, when CDs cost $10-20 and blank CDs cost maybe 50 cents, told people that pricing was amiss.

        With vinyl or cassette, you have a somewhat difficult process to get to a mp3 or a wav or a flac.

        What some acts might want to do, and some probably do this now, is to release the album first on a format that can’t be duplicated easy. You can send out promo vinyl and cassettes. These days it’s plenty easy to download with a couple of clicks an album weeks before the release date. If it’s on vinyl, that will be more difficult to do.

        • George McDowell

          Who still has either a cassette player or a turntable? You can’t promote your music by pretending it’s still 1988. And so what if blank CDs were 50 cents back in the early 90s. That didn’t tell any of us that the pricing of music CDs was amiss. Some people just like to steal and a certain percentage of them will look for any excuse to justify their actions. It’s pathetic. Just admit you like to steal from artists or stop doing it.

  2. FarePlay

    There is no excuse for depriving anyone of the ability of making money from their work.

    Anyone who feels differently willing choose to be in denial.

    This is about people making a living. It’s a Job if your good enough.


    • Helda R

      I’m not interested in any creator’s financial well-being. Why would I care about that? Besides lots of content is created for reasons other than profit.

  3. Troglite

    So thirty percent of these businesses focus exclusively on paying customers. Is that supposed to be “shocking”?