Reasoning on the role of the State in the multimedia industry

    Dear habra people, today I would like to discuss with you the problem of copyright in the multimedia industry. I say a problem, because I really think that there is a very big problem in this industry, and it’s not only piracy, in my opinion, the system itself has long been outdated and lost effectiveness.

    So, to understand how this system works today, you should turn to history.

    From the Anna Act to the Geneva Copyright Convention

    The concept of copyright arose relatively recently, in England in 1710, then very often publishers could print any works of their choice without any permission, thereby condemning the author and his family to a hungry existence (well, or at least from the activities of this benefit he did not receive).

    In order to promote culture to the masses, it was necessary to make sure that the author could earn his living by his activity. Thus, Anna’s statute was adopted , which recognized the author’s exclusive right to his literary works for 14 years, with the possibility of extension. Years passed, the concept of copyright spread throughout the civilized world, over time, in addition to literary works, graphic (1865) and musical (1897) works were added to it.

    The international convention of 1886 in Berne became very important for the development of copyright . It formulated the basic principles of copyright protection, which operate, with minor changes, to this day. The World Intellectual Property Organization ( WIPO ) appeared, and industrial technologies and inventive patents were included in the list.

    As mentioned above, copyright, the law is quite new and appeared as a result of the invention of the print press in the middle of the XV century. I would like to note that in spite of the fact that copyright is fictio iure derived from the right to private property - a fundamental rightit is not. That is, this right was created artificially for the sole purpose of increasing the culture of society as a whole. This spirit of the era of enlightenment has been preserved in modern international legal treaties.

    Multimedia industry

    If in the legal aspect, the general principles have been unchanged for three centuries, then economically in recent years the situation has undergone great changes. Since the beginning of the 20th century (in the case of literature much earlier), large publishing companies have usurped all means of distribution, creating an oligopoly in the market. If the author or artist wanted to be heard, he needed to play according to the rules of the publishers, giving them a large share of the proceeds from sales, since the author himself could not afford huge ( permanent) costs of circulation, promotion and distribution. But the situation has changed significantly with the entry into the digital era, now it would seem that these costs have decreased many times and many authors and musicians can afford to release their work without publishers, but it wasn’t so ... In the book and graphic sector, due to the huge for publishers, the situation is not so bad, although it may be better. But in the music sector there are only a few labels that hold about 80% of the entire music industry market. These labels are actively discouraging changes to the existing model in order to preserve most of this $ 20 billion market .

    Internet piracy has two reasons: The first is the reluctance to pay for what you can get for free. And the second one is the reluctance to spend your time and energy when you can not spend it (downloading something is quite simpler than going to the store for many kilometers and buying a disk that still needs to be converted to digital format for a player or media station). If the second one can be fought by improving the structure, for example, by means of online stores like itunes, then you can’t do anything with the first, it contradicts the structure as a whole.

    Knowing that no adequate legislator ever criminalizes copyright infringement, if there was no animus lucrandi (thirst for profit) in it, then the labels begin to unite in organizations like the RIAA and file civil suits against offenders, which in essence isneglect of the law and has no support in society.

    Possible Solution

    According to IFPI, the music market in Russia does not exceed $ 500 million (2005 data). A possible decision can be made at the state level, it is simply to abandon the labels, monopolizing most of the music distribution sector. I see it this way: it is necessary to create a state media library with “passport” access, so that anyone who has reached, say, 12-14 years old, can go in there and download any piece of music for free . Since access to the library will be available by a unique ID, it is possible to create unbiased statistics on access to content.

    Further, given that the music market is approximately $ 500 million (of which, according to IFPI, about 200 are legal and 300 are pirated), the State apparatus can allocate, say, $ 300-400 million and distribute them in accordance with the popularity of an author.

    Positive aspects

    From a legal point of view, the positive fact is that the author’s rights will no longer be violated. This decision does not contradict the international obligations of the Russian Federation.

    From an economic point of view, there are direct subsidies to authors, bypassing inefficient labels. There is a savings in the fight against piracy, as it is being eradicated as such (in the music industry).

    From a cultural point of view, the biggest benefits are that music becomes publicly available (regardless of wealth, you can access it, you only need the Internet, which can be provided by libraries). Thanks to direct subsidies, a greater number of authors appear (previously authors received 20-30% of revenue, now they receive all of it). Due to the disappearance of dependent music charts, the number of mediocre pops promoted by them decreases - the quality increases ...

    There is a basis for concluding such agreements between the state and other copyright holders of culture (writers, television channels, cinema studios).

    Negative sides

    Perhaps someone will consider that it is better to leave everything as it is, and wait for the natural transformation of the market. Since, the state could spend this money on other activities (health, education, army, subsidies and pensions ...). But here I can argue that according to IFPI, Russians spend about $ 200 million out of their own pockets on licensed music (the rest of the consumption is obtained in a pirated way), if the authors in the best case get 40-50 million of this amount, even when distributing 100 million, they don’t mentioning 200, the authors will benefit. And the unspent money of citizens will be spent on other needs, which, thanks to economic multipliers, will reduce the loss of funds for the economy.

    In addition, if such steps are not taken now, then after 5 years the labels will adapt to market conditions (they will sell music at low prices via the Internet) and will push anti-piracy laws in the Duma through pressure groups. In this case, we won’t get rid of them - the system will be more efficient than it is now, but less efficient and democratic than it could be. Culture will not be accessible to all walks of life, and authors will remain enslaved to labels.

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