Every month I pay Easynews.com a subscription fee. In return they provide me with access to millions upon billions of bytes of data, posted to UseNet (the original inter-connected-network) – which, when de-coded properly, represents everything from text conversations on scientology and how-to build lego machine guns, to binary file attachments containing MP3 music and MP4 video files (and a fair amount of Frankie Vaughan pics too).
I’ve used AND PAID FOR access to this server for years. I don’t particularly care for the fact that I have no idea who Easynews are, but they don’t appear to have sold my credit card details to anyone thus far and they do provide a service which delivers on its promises; A fast, reliable connection to the content I want, when I want it.
That content, 99.9% of the time, is material which simply wouldn’t be “out there” were it not for people, who share my tastes in music, sharing their collection with me so that I might share mine with them.
It should come as no surprise to those of you who know me, that I do not download modern chart music form the top 40 – far from it and I rather suspect, the day the charts comprise a heady mix of Frank Zappa bootlegs and rare Prince TV appearance video clips, will be the day hell freezes over.
My taste in movies is slightly more traditional, in that I have no time for blockbuster monster movies, action heroes or comic book fantasy – but I do occasionally wait for such titles to be shown on pay-per-view movie channels, where I can view them as intended; with my family, in High Definition, with great sound, in a comfortable seat, eating popcorn – but without having to sit at an uncomfortable angle to peep over some fat smelly boy’s head.
On the whole, though, I prefer watching independent cinema with movies that have powerful story lines told by strong character actors – not, in other words, the kind of movies that get widespread theatrical release or a particularly large marketing budget and certainly not the kind of thing Rupert Murdoch’s Sky TV are interested in showing on any of their movie channels.
Where am I to go to access the movies and music I want, if the legitimate channels of distribution don’t see a profit in making them available to me? The answer my friend is peer to peer – and there is nothing some half arsed scheme, designed to frighten me into thinking that my ISP is watching everything I do, can do to stop me.
If we are to presume the UK ISPs can track every single file I download, to such a degree of accuracy that they can tell the difference between a track which is copyrighted material and one which is covered by creative commons licensing, then are we to assume they can also tell me where I send the cheque to the artist I am listening to, and that he or she will get paid directly?
Since this seems to be the biggest concern of BPI, I look forward to this feature of their proposed legitimate download service being rolled out – although I won’t be holding my breath, since I suggest that, in fact, their concerns are rather more to do with the deficit between the projected revenues their greedy little salivations envisaged through their out-dated distribution models and the actual figures they look likely to skim from the artists who actually created the music in the first place, post “the peer to peer generation”.