We are now starting to see the effects of the Swedish IPRED-law, which states that copyright holders can go after individuals downloading protected content. Apparently, Swedish internet traffic has now dropped by nearly half. And since when is that a good thing? I thought traffic was valuable?
I believe that you can never be quite certain when you make predictions about the future, but in this case I think that the case is quite clear, and that we can now see the evidence emerging.
But first off, I want to be very clear that I am on the side of artists and other creators of value. I have strong opinions about this subject, but they are all about realism. Not about anarchism.
What the IPRED-law is doing is to protect an outdated business model for music, motion pictures, and other content. It’s implementation will remove incentives for product- and business model development like for example Spotify.
What’s worse, however, is that it directs valuable resources to evil forces, such as terrorists and criminals. Why? Well, a lot of people care about music and film. Much more people, in fact, than are criminals and terrorists. And thus there is a broad base for recruiting creatives to help keep music, film and other content free. If we go after file sharing individuals using the IPRED-law, there will be strong incentives to develop stealth file sharing software, and a large and powerful community engaging in it. We will quickly see increasingly sofisticated software of this type appearing and being deployed. With file sharing, we’ll be back to where we started, but criminals and terrorists will have brand new fast stealth tools which they would never have had the resources to develop themselves. And even if this if perhaps an exagerrated fear (there is after all already great stealth services out there, as well as bad guys using them), it clearly shows that this law will be completely useless very soon because of people learning to use these stealth services.
And what about open wireless networks? Will they all disappear now? That will not make brands trying to utilize IPRED very popular, and will actually damage the country’s progress towards connectedness. Read on.
Because another angle is the branding angle. And here it becomes very interesting when opening todays newspaper DN (unfortunately not linkable yet). In one article you can read about how people are boycotting the film- and music industries. Here are some examples of quotes from the public cited in the article:
“I’m completely going to boycott the music- and film industry now. Earlier, I’ve spent an average of 1000kr (ca $100) per month on cinema, DVDs, concerts and CDs. That will now end. All this will be cancelled”.
Or this one from a middle age person:
“I’ve never file shared in my life, but now I have to if only to show them that they can’t scare us. Let’s fight to protect our last rights. I have just downloaded file sharing software and figured out how it works. This will be fun”.
Or this interesting one:
“Let’s demand a seal for artists entirely without association with the major labels”. Now wouldn’t that be interesting.
Like I wrote the other day, we can already see smart companies, like Viasat for example, taking advantage of this, publicly promising NEVER to have anything to do with the IPRED-law, and thereby end up in the same future oriented category as for example Spotify.
If I were a copyright holder today I would think once, twice, and three times before even thinking about using this law. It may very well cost you your brand.
This blog is written by Walter Naeslund and has been around since 2007. The blog is about the journey of starting an advertising agency and a sneak peek behind the scenes of what goes on at the Honesty HQ in SoFo, Södermalm. It is also a blog about communication & technology. The blog has gathered almost a thousand posts over the years with several longer and shorter breaks. Welcome and enjoy.