Unshackled EMI man says fight against file sharing is useless

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Unshackled EMI man says fight against file sharing is useless

As an employee of global music giant EMI Per Erik Johansen felt the need to toe the company line when it came to the prickly subject of file sharing and illegal downloads.

At one time during his tenure as an EMI director, he was the target of a major backlash against the company which was at the forefront of an ill-fated attempt to infect retail music CDs with draconian copy protection.

When, in 2004, five thousand people lobbied EMI to remove the annoying DRM from CDs they had purchased in good faith, and were not able to back up in accordance with fair usage laws, Johansen was quoted as saying, "I have neither the desire nor the ability to give out discs without copy protection," insisting that, of the 400,000 hobbled CDs sold, only 28 people had complained.

Now freed from the corporate shackles, Johansen is far more pragmatic about the way the music industry should be working.

Speaking to Swedish mag Dagbladet he says he now believes that files sharing does not amount to theft and thinks that the ongoing fight against piracy is useless.

"There is a reason why we have copyright, and I agree", he says. "But the main thing is that a whole generation already violates copyright, and the only thing we can do now is find better solutions."

And he feels that generating income from live performances and tapping into other revenue streams is essntial to the future of the music industry.

"I am extremely optimistic. There has been a revolution, and in the wake of this, it is very chaotic. Today there is an entrepreneurial spirit that is both healthy and exciting. We do not know how the industry will look in a year or two, but I am convinced that the future looks promising."

As the former EMI company man now runs his own record label, he is in a great position to change the workings of the machine from within. But it's his attitude to a changing world that is most refreshing, an attitude from which the like of the RIAA could learn a valuable lesson:

"No one has ever won a battle when fighting against new technology," he said, and we are inclined to agree.

theinquirer.net (c) 2010 Incisive Media
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