How would you slow down the pirating of recordings?

The results from last week's Vote! indicate a clear distaste for watermarking as a means of preventing the pirating of recordings. But what do you suggest be done in its place?

How would you slow down the pirating of recordings?
Here's my idea:
63% (91 votes)
It's not really a problem.
31% (45 votes)
Don't know.
6% (9 votes)
Total votes: 145

Hoovenson Haw's picture

Carrot & stick. Cheap CDs + strict enforcement & prosecution = low piracy.

Woody Battle's picture

It is only worth the trouble and the risk to pirate music as long as the record companies continue to overcharge for thier product. Cut the price and you automatically cut the piracy.

Fred's picture

If CDs were $4.99 each instead of $17.99, I think they would sell at least 6–8 times as many, and the recording industry would end up making more money. They would additionally save by not having to spend the ridiculous sums of money they spend on trying to stop pirating, as they would severly discourage most people who pirate. (It would be more trouble to buy the blank disc and pirate than to buy the neat, complete package from a store.) They'd have more money and people would have more music. This paranoia is ridiculous and ultimately unproductive for everyone.

James's picture

Simply make the price so reasonable that pirating is not cost efficient.

Michael J.  Rodriguez's picture

It all seems to be a matter of simple economics. Somehow, the pirates are able to produce their copies at a reduced price. (Please don't scream royalties at me; royalties do not add $5, $6 to the price of a disc!) As is the case with all technology, the more you produce, the less your production costs. Producing a compact disc these days costs less, in comparative terms, than it did before the pirates were able to afford the technology, yet the price of most discs has not followed that curve. If the labels and distributors could streamline their operations so as to be competitive with the pirates, it would remove the price advantage pirates enjoy to great enough extent as to disinterest most people from purchasing a generally inferior product.

Teresa Goodwin's picture

Simple: Watermark ONLY the "popular" commercial recordings, as these are the only ones that are pirated anyway. Watermarking is optional and audiophile labels have already stated they will NOT watermark, so we can enjoy our "audiophile purist recordings," as these are the only ones that take advantage of the new formats and are COMPLETELY SAFE from pirates due to lack of interest! I can only hope that this will open the eyes of audiophiles everywhere and [encourage them to] quit supporting the major record labels, who have not had any decent recordings since the early '70s and support our audiophile labels, which not only have better artists and better performances, but sound the is sooooo real. I do not want to lose any more audiophile labels to stupid so-called audiophiles following the advertising dollars of the crummy major labels. I will not stand by and watch any more audiophile labels DIE. Wilson Audio, PopeMusic, and MoFi are gone. Why did you let them die? You should all be ashamed, very ashamed of yourselves.

Chris's picture

Drop the price of SACDs and DVD-As.

Stan Soo's picture

Lowering the cost of admission will invite more audience -- all sides will benefit.

Dr.  Lars Bo Henriksen's picture

Cut CD prices!

yurko's picture

The only solution is to reduce prices for prerecorded CDs.

JJF's picture

Lower the price of the original material.

Stephan v/d Zalm's picture

Hardly possible. It is always possible to just tap some wires after the signals have been converted to analog. Recording/saving these signals in digital format will cost you some quality, but I think not much.

Nicholas Fulford's picture

People like "owning" physical forms. Hence, provide added value to the jewel-boxed CD/DVD/SACD. This can include good lyric sheets, photos, and coupons for early access to tickets from touring bands. Yes, there are ways to encourage buying legit, and the record industry needs to examine them. This is a marketing issue, not a technology issue, and it has been around since the first consumer tape recorder.

AC's picture

How about the record companies charging a reasonable price for CDs? Believe me, if they did that, the piracy business will plummet. Since they (the record companies) are too stupid to do that, I will support my local pirates. In fact, more people should do that.

Mike Healey's picture

Inform the public about ways to identify pirated recordings. Don't mess up the sound. Papa don't like no mess. Use watermarking on the packaging (no longer offensive, since gatefold LPs aren't being produced like they used to), or find a jiffy way to encrypt information on the label side of a disc.

Graeme N's picture

There is no piracy problem, as the large profits of the record companies prove. Where piracy is a problem, it is in the form of fakes, an issue that is not addressed at all by the concepts of watermarking.

Chris V's picture

I think there are only two real choices: either live with it or make it impractical. I doubt that it's possible to defeat piracy with technology, especially since consumers have shown that they are willing to accept "compromises" in quality to get things free, and that hackers can unravel most any puzzle. The best you can hope to do is sell and distribute your material in such a way that there is little or no benefit to stealing it. It would require a business model very different from what's in use now. In the end, I still think pirates will defeat any protection scheme and some people will always want something for nothing.

Judge Dread, Pecos's picture

With each purchase, the buyer will have to sign a notarized LOYALTY OATH to be turned in by the retailer. This will make unlawful use a high moral issue!

George E.  Bennett's picture

If this is a problem, it could be slowed - if not stopped - by lowering the price of CDs to a reasonable level.

Anonymous's picture

reduce prices

Mangoman's picture

Lower prices for recordings.

kj's picture

Major price cuts!

Stephen Curling's picture

maybe thru theuse of the internet: every time a copy of a recording is made, that tells a database that a copy is made. after a number a copies, the database denies further copying. of course this requires net friendly hardware such as CD-Rs.

erich's picture

Sell the music fo 10x what it costs to manufacture, or about $5. Plenty of profit to pay the artists and who could argue with the cost?

HK Mendenhall's picture

ditto with willis

I.M.  Outthere's picture

Keel-haul the swabbies. Rake their cheatin' carcasses over an 8-track–covered hull.

Benjamin Goulart's picture

Universal HDCD, "Super" DVD, and DVD-A players and discs, as well as industry-wide discount rates for college students.

Curt Simon's picture

I used to get a big kick out of the artwork that accompanied albums. That fans appreciate more than just the music is not news. Mick Jagger certainly knows this—the early release of the new Stones album had a fancier sleeve than later ones. Give fans a chance to win an autographed photo of their favorite star, or allow fans to purchase some merchandise only when they send in a valid coupon included with the CD. This solution is not perfect—it adds to the cost—but it could at least partially offset the revenue losses due to pirating.

JQ's picture

There is no copy-protection scheme on current CDs and the only people I see starving are the artists, which is not due to piracy but to greedy record companies. Why, then, is it suddenly so important to ruin a potentially better-sounding format? Especially when CDs were supposed to be "perfect sound"? Why don't the record companies stop raping us and drop their prices to a competitive level where it is no longer so profitable to pirate? Are they so afraid that they will have to realize their high profits through volume and actually do some competitive work like every other company in almost every other industry? Here's a tip: If you need to cut costs, stop finessing bands to sign contracts with cocaine and stick to alcohol and women!

Jason Lind's picture

Find a way to make music cheaper. With books I don't go to the library or find someone who has a copy since books are cheap. Its just not the worth the hassle to me. I suspect if music could be made more affordably many peopel would assume the same stance and just buy it, rather than take the time and energy to pirate it.