Slashdot highlights the rebel nature of The Pirate Bay, a torrent distributor. Indeed their web page posting legal threats and replies regarding the DMCA was entertaining. After reading a few letters, I started thinking of how this energy could be directed and focused.
Sometimes indirect approaches work. When I was having trouble collecting money from an eBay sale, I researched the person who owed me money, found out he was a pastor of a church, and have asked his co-pastors, and his secretary to help me motivate him to settle debts. I haven’t yet seen the money, but “the check’s in the mail…”
Pirate Bay clearly has a lot of energy, and will get a lot of news coverage. This public awareness can be useful. What if they partnered with some business-savvy new college grads and wrote a business case study (5-10 pages long) showing how the record companies were taking inordinate amount of profits from artists and documented another business model for the artists.
Then send a copy of each threatening letter, along with the business study, to every artist who’s material is referenced in a threatening letter. It will make the original artists think, and they may realize there are better ways to distribute their work or make money from their work.
This won’t fix all the problems. I’m not sure how to handle the situation of Microsoft and Apple insisting that OS source code torrents be removed. But for the singers and other public performers, this could dry up the source of people in the middle screaming “violation”. I have pursued protection of some material I wrote, so I understand from the artists’ point of view. I honestly want to compensate them for their added-value into my life. But I sure don’t like the intermediaries’ tactics and goals.