EMI Boss Opposes SOPA, Says Piracy is a Service Issue

The RIAA has been one of the most dedicated supporters of the PIPA and SOPA bills, but not all of the people they represent share their enthusiasm. EMI's VP of Urban Promotions Craig Davis made some very reasonable remarks on the controversial anti-piracy plans, stating that "the method they're using is incorrect." In addition, the VP says that he's no fan of DRM and that piracy is a service issue, not an issue of money.

dilemmaIn recent weeks millions of people have spoken out against the pending PIPA and SOPA anti-piracy bills, which have both been delayed as a result.

Today we can add a VP at one of the major RIAA labels to this list, which is quite unique and yet another game changer.

Speaking for himself, EMI’s VP of Urban Promotions Craig Davis said that the two pending anti-piracy bills are not the way to move forward.

“Personally, I feel that the method they’re using is incorrect. All it will do is cause headaches and issues for everyone,” Davis noted.

While the EMI VP opposes PIPA and SOPA, he does admit that piracy is a problem. However, Davis thinks that the problem can be better solved from within the music industry itself. In other words, the key to solving piracy isn’t legislation, but innovation.

“I do believe that a person should be compensated for their work. I feel that piracy is a big issue, and things like Spotify will assist in combating this problem,” he said.

Reiterating this point, the EMI VP refers to comments that were recently made by Gabe Newell. The Valve co-founder said that piracy is a service issue – once you give people what they want it will mostly disappear.

“Gabe Newell is correct, it’s a service issue not an issue of money. Sales have gone up from sales concerts and merchandise, it’s obvious that our fans still love music. We’re just not giving them their music in an easier way,” Davis noted.

Adding to the above, Davis also commented negatively on DRM in a separate question that he was asked on Reddit.

“Personally I’m not happy with the way DRM is right now. We need to re-evaluate technology to find a better way to give you music,” he wrote.

Davis’ take on the piracy problem stands in clear contrast with the policy of the RIAA, who tend to prefer the repressive approach over innovation. Defining piracy as a service issue, however, is in line with the things we, and many others with us, have been saying for years.

People are happy to pay as long as they get what they want.

This is also illustrated by the fact that people are willing to pay hundreds of millions of dollars for premium access to file-hosting sites, often to download content that’s not available at all legally, or only in inferior quality. In recent years the music industry has caught up quite a bit by removing DRM and launching services like Spotify. But the movie industry is lagging behind, especially outside the US.

Implementing harsh anti-piracy laws and disconnecting file-sharers from the Internet doesn’t change the mismatch between what the public wants and what the industry offers. Improving availability, quality and other service issues can probably make a much bigger impact.

It’s good to see that some people in the industry are well aware of this, but we doubt that the RIAA would make itself obsolete by agreeing.

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