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But what about morse code?

March 6th, 2002 · No Comments · Uncategorized

In the latest issue of the excellent Economics Reporting Review, Dean Baker addresses an article in the New York Times about the recording industry’s suit against Napster. In it, he sums up the whole thing about as concisely as I’ve seen:

(T)he argument of the (music) industry (is) that it will not be able to survive if people are able to freely transfer music over the Internet. It is worth noting that there is no public interest in having the recording industry survive — just as there is no public interest in the survival of telegraph industry after the invention of the telephone and the Internet.

There is a need for a mechanism to support recording artists (most currently receive very little support through copyright based income). But if their work can be distributed effectively without the recording industry’s involvement, this is not a basis for public concern. The only loss would be to the shareholders and higher paid employees in the recording industry.

He’s a delightful master of understatement, ain’t he? He gently skewers bad and sloppy economic reporting every week, and it’s worth the visit.

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