10 Wake Forest Intell. Prop. L.J. 265
The advent of digital music did more than provide a new means for distributing, listening to, and stealing music. It also paved the way for new players to enter the music business, ushered in new consumptive trends, and ended the reign of the CD. Notwithstanding the variety of rights and economic interests implicated, discourse about digital music tends to focus on one issue, piracy, and one set of interests, those of Business. This institutionalizes pro-business frames, while minimizing competing interests and facts that undermine them.
This article asserts that the piracy story privileges Business at the expense of the artist. Indeed, the story marginalizes their interests and may even impede the development of a sustainable digital music mart that would lead to increased revenues. Accordingly, this article identifies areas in which the interests of musical artists are distinct from or at odds with those of Business (such as free distribution of music, DRM, and pricing of digital tracks) and emphasizes neglected information that helps produce a fuller picture of the issues involved in digital music. From this foundation, the article argues that artists should neither surrender to Business’s desires nor believe that it will protect them: Simply, Business is not a white knight duty-bound to protect artists, but sometimes a wolf in sheep’s clothing.