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LSE media studies lecturers call for end to copyright enforcement

Power to the Freetards!

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The music business should provide "user-friendly, hassle-free solutions to enable users to download music legally at a reasonable price" says a new report from a media studies department at London's LSE.

The authors call for an end to copyright enforcement measures, and of a market system for sound recordings in music. Instead, a tax should be introduced, and divided up amongst rightsholders. The authors say that enforcing copyright chills innovation in P2P software, which is much more important for society.

Rather than seeking compensation for creators, the music industry should "take the lead in building upon the potential of online participatory culture and to encourage consumers and citizens to participate in this culture," say authors Bart Camaerts and Binchung Meng, who are both Media Studies lecturers.

"Debate should focus on the appropriate distribution of levy proceedings and on who benefits from file-sharing rather than its perils," they write.

No attempt is made to quantify the economic costs or benefits of any of the approaches discussed. The report also claims file-sharing has increased - but alas the footnote cites as evidence "a posting of Ernesto to TorrentFreak" and no comparative data is offered to support the point - leaving us none the wiser.

The UK has over 70 legal music services, more than any other country, but the authors don't mention the fact - or give their opinion on whether services such as iTunes, Amazon or Spotify are "hassle free" or "reasonably priced" enough for their their taste.

Media studies lecturer Camaerts

Co-author Dr Camaerts - he's not a Medical Doctor - is a senior lecturer in Media Studies who lists as his areas of expertise "trans-nationalisation" and "social change and resistance".

He's also the author of several peer-reviewed essays, including "The hegemonic copyright-regime vs. the sharing copyright users of music?" for Media, Culture & Society journal, "Disruptive sharing in a digital age: rejecting neoliberalism?" and "Jamming the political: beyond counter-hegemonic practices" both for Continuum: Journal of media and cultural studies. He is also the author of "Critiques on the participatory potentials of Web 2.0".®

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