TechCrunch (well, actully Reuters) reports that 80’s pop-star Prince (formerly known as The Artists Formerly Known as Prince) plans to sue a number of top websites, such as YouTube, for copyrights infringement.
Note this quote from Reuters:
“But it is believed to be rare for an individual artist of Prince’s stature to take on popular Web sites, while some up-and-coming performers actually encourage online file sharing to create a fan base and buzz around a record.”
It’s no wonder that up-and-coming performers encourage file sharing – they need to promote themselves in order to create an audience for their material.
Even no-longer up-and-coming artists promote their new material through file sharing.
However, if your fountain of creativity now has plumbing problems, and your new material isn’t any good (and you have to resort to tricks to promote it), then your best strategy is certainly to protect your income from the old material – which makes Prince’s move very logical (as it does Metallica’s prominent position in the ranks of file-sharing critics).
What we must ask ourselves though, is whether any of this makes sense for society as a whole. Preventing file sharing on copyrights grounds nowadays serves to secure more wealth to the already wealthy yesterday’s pop-star, while making it harder for new stars to emerge. It certainly does not “promote the progress of science and useful arts“.