Piracy is a problem for record companies. Whenever someone buys a pirate CD rather than the genuine article, the record company, and therefore the artist, do not receive the money they are entitled to.
And when someone copies a CD that they don't own, or downloads a track from a pirate website, then potentially a sale is lost. Not all copies or downloads would equate to lost sales, but clearly some do.
The solution to this is simple. Record companies should pursue the perpetrators – manufacturers, distributors and resellers of pirate CDs, and unlicensed download sites.
But they don't seem to want to do this. They want to pursue ordinary people instead – the music lovers who also make up the market for their genuine products.
It's a kind of insanity – punish the people who buy your products. Sounds like an idea from some kind of wacky parallel universe.
But now they have another target. And this is going to affect you whether or not you buy pirate CDs or download unlicensed tracks. In fact, it will affect you even if you don't like music at all!
According to this report, the BPI (British Phonographic Institute, equivalent to the US's RIAA) wants to prosecute the owners of markets where pirated material is sold.
There is some woolly thinking going on here. I suspect that whoever dreamt this up was thinking about car boot sales and flea markets where indeed pirated material is sold.
But it would also apply to charity shops where secondhand CDs and DVDs are sold. It would also apply to classified ads in newspapers and magazines – it's just another form of market. It would also apply to eBay!
So suddenly, owners of markets of every type have to police individual sellers to make sure they are not selling pirated material. One has to wonder how exactly they can be sure of that – counterfeit CDs are often indistinguishable from the real thing.
Instantly, the market for secondhand CDs and DVDs will be wiped out, because no market owner dares to take the risk that some individuals will be selling pirate copies.
And that is exactly what the record companies want. Not only do they want to attempt to deal with piracy by pursuing ordinary people rather than the real perpetrators, they want to stamp out the market for secondhand CDs and DVDs so everyone is forced to buy new!
But there is worse to come. Suddenly, market owners are responsible for what individual sellers offer. Why should that be restricted to CDs and DVDs?
If market owners are responsible for pirate CDs and DVDs, then clearly they must also be responsible for all other items on sale.
So that will definitely mean no electrical items, they could be a safety hazard. Charity shops already refuse electrical items, but now you will not be able to buy a secondhand TV, for example, anywhere.
And anything else that requires safety certification, which applies to pretty much everything that is sold new these days – none of it will be possible to sell secondhand. If market owners are to be made responsible, how could they possibly take the risk?
So basically this means that hardly anything can be sold in a market. Perhaps it means the end of markets.
And even if you never buy anything in markets, the resale value of anything you possess will plummet to zero because you won't have anywhere you could possibly sell it.
eBay, clearly, will have to close because their entire business model is based upon sellers being responsible for their items, and buyers understanding the principle of caveat emptor.
All because of some stupid ass at the BPI.
The corporates want to turn us all into mindless buying machines, handing over our money for any old tat they offer.
Sooner or later it will be time to take a stand.