Browsing on guardian.co.uk the other night I saw this item and it has pushed me to post what I hope doesn’t sound like a rant. It’s a personal experience/frustration that I have, but given it concerns intellectual property I feel it deserves an airing on the CAS blog!
Recently I was trying to download some MP3s, (just to be clear that is download and PAY for some MP3s). Being a loyal customer of Amazon, I decided to use their MP3 download service and spent a couple of hours “cherry-picking” the tracks I wanted and adding them to my shopping basket. Then I clicked PAY and the basket was empty! On further investigation I find that the reason for this is that Amazon.co.uk is in the UK and I was trying to purchase in Italy. The geography is a restriction to sale. So, I can purchase an audio CD and have it delivered, but I can’t purchase the MP3 version. Why? I don’t see how this is an effective measure against piracy… This isn’t just an Amazon policy by the way, other online MP3 sellers in the UK and the US wouldn’t offer this cross-borders purchase either. In an age where the music industry is reportedly on its knees one would have thought that companies would be assuming the risk and encouraging business.
The lead link (again from guardian.co.uk) is a frustration in a similar vein. Of course copyright needs to be enforced — but at the same time aren’t risks a part of any new business model? Should not the music industry be helping the consumer as much as they can to ease us into the new business model of buying MP3s online? Or is this another case of legal teams having too much say in business development?