PC Mag Admonished By Music Biz For Encouraging Piracy

The CEO of publisher Ziff Davis has just had an ear bashing from not only the RIAA, but just about everyone in the music industry. It seems that the world's recorded music leaders were more than a little annoyed when PC Mag reported on alternatives to LimeWire, going on to call 'their' report on a TorrentFreak article "nothing more than a roadmap for continued music piracy." Confusingly, PC Mag didn't actually write it. IDG's PC World did.

Oh oh. Quite a few people in the music industry are voicing their displeasure today at Vivek Shah, CEO of PC Mag publisher Ziff Davis. Rather than being subjected to a short finger wagging by just the RIAA, according to Billboard poor Shah seemingly has the entire recorded music world on his back.

In a letter signed by 17 music groups featuring everyone from the RIAA to the Church Music Publishers Association, Shah is told in no uncertain terms that his employees have been very naughty indeed.

“We write to express our deep disappointment with your decision to publish Chloe Albanesius’ October 27 article, ‘LimeWire is Dead: What are the Alternatives?‘ as well as Sarah Jacobsson Purewal’s November 9, 2010 article ‘LimeWire is Quietly Resurrected: It’s Baaack!’,” begins the letter.

“Both articles are nothing more than a roadmap for continued music piracy. The disclaimer in the first, ‘PC Magazine does not condone the download of copyrighted or illegal material,’ rings hollow to say the least.”

The first article, which lists LimeWire alternatives, led those sending the letter to accuse PC Mag of “…slyly encouraging people to steal more music and place at risk the tens of thousands of music industry jobs – including singers, songwriters, musicians and the technical professionals who put it all together.”

However, it seems that the second article, LimeWire Is Quietly Resurrected: It’s Baaack!, caused the most trouble for PC Mag. The article reported entirely on an article published first here on TorrentFreak titled LimeWire Resurrected By Secret Dev Team.

However, while we chose not to link to the software out of concerns of being labelled a disciple of Lucifer, according to the music industry letter, PC Mag apparently had no such qualms.

“Even worse is offering a direct link to a ‘resurrected’ Limewire,” states the letter to Ziff Davis’ Vivek Shah, which goes on to quote the writer of the piece, Sarah Jacobsson Purewal.

“I went ahead and downloaded LimeWire Pirate Edition for *ahem* research purposes, and can report that it appears to be working very smoothly,” it reports Purewal as saying while going on to complain loudly that she included a link to the rogue LimeWire software.

However, there’s a bit of a problem. While PC Mag did indeed publish the first article, they weren’t the architects of the second – Sarah Jacobsson Purewal writes for IDG’s PC World.

Nevertheless, Ziff Davis and PC Mag get even more of a dressing down in the final paragraphs.

“We would hope that your sense of decency and the realization that even PC Magazine has a responsibility to the rule of law, would have informed your editorial decision in this matter,” the letter continues.

“We suspect you’d feel differently about this issue if, like the music industry, you’d had to let go more than half of the talented writers and journalists who create your magazine because of uncontrolled piracy of their work. Unfortunately, it is clear that the rule of law was an afterthought.”

IDG must be breathing a sigh of relief tonight at escaping the wrath of the industry, but maybe they’ll get their admonishment tomorrow.

In the meantime, we seem to have escaped the naughty chair for writing the original article which just goes to show – if you’re going to annoy the music industry, it’s best to do it via proxy.

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