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

Jaime B.'s picture

Lower the prices . . . for God's sake! We're not talking rocket science here. Attorneys are the real problem. Get rid of them all and 99.9% of society's problems and complications will vanish overnight.

B.  Kenney's picture

Do nothing, add nothing to the data chain except that which pertains to the music. "Watermarking" a digital stream can and will be broken somewhere somehow and the crack will end up as freeware software. Way back in the early 80's a company offered a unique media, a floppy disk with a laser hole randomly punched in each release program floppy. The joke around the industry was how long it would take for someone to "crack the code" and publish a cracked version of that software (dbaseII). It took two weeks from the release of the program to find and download a cracked copy.

RJS, Santa Rosa, CA's picture

The record companies whining about pirating is a joke. After a history of stealing, cheating, lying, and copying ideas from singers, songwriters, and musicians, recording companies can put their claims where the sun don't shine. The larger problem is that there are only five record companies.

Anonymous's picture

Bring down the price of cd's.

Al's picture

I don't believe that it is possible to prevent pirating. What I would suggest is that the record companies make the quality of their product so good that pirates would not be able to duplicate it, or could not take the time to duplicate. What is so offensive about watermarking is that it not only won't work, but it reduces the sound quality for those who honestly buy and are seeking the highest quality of reproduction.

Ken Kirkpatrick's picture

Lower the prices. It will work like a charm!

John's picture

The major record companys are making money hand over foot ($18/cd). I think more people end up buying the music (or other cds buy the same artist) they really like.

Rutger's picture

they absolutely don't need a copy protection system. they make their money anyway. if you make good music and produce good recordings without audible artifacts, i'll buy it anyway. if it's something I don't really much care for i don't buy it (or i copy it). why else would you put all this effort in making something a standard if it plain sucks compared to LP's?

Dave W.'s picture

Dishonest people will pirate regardless of what is done to prevent pirating. The majority of us are ready to pay a fair price but have to suffer the anti-pirating BS record companies impose on us. Performers and recording engineers are entitled to a decent living. We do not mind supporting them; their work is a gift. Get the prices down to reasonable levels, like five times the cost of production, and sales will rebound.

Chris Veneman's picture

You're never going to prevent piracy. But obviously, if you reduce the price of CDs there would be alot less incentive for the pirateers and the people looking for free music.

Harold B.  Roberts's picture

Keep the price of LPs and CD low enough to make pirating not worthwhile.

Steve,'s picture

It'll be so embarrassing for these pro-watermark, anti-Napster companies when they wrap their ant-like brains around the fact that they can no longer compete because they were too busy suing to update their business plans and distribution channels. Sony, Microsoft, and AOL Time Warner are each developing Internet distribution channels, and full lines of consumer friendly products like TiVo, PlayStation, and X-Box, which will (eventually if not sooner) save locally or write to removable media like memory sticks and CDs. If you had that in your living room, would you still drive to the store, just to pay a lot more for something with a watermark? Neither would I.

Les Ismore's picture

Don't charge so much in the 1st place.

Sergio Ruz's picture

Why not lower the prices of CDs? As far as I'm concerned, piracy exists because there are places in the world where people just can't afford a CD listed at full price. Time will tell the story: Watermarking music won't really stop piracy.

Mark Hedl's picture

I work in the corporate, high tech software industry. All of the corporations I've worked for or with in my line of work have a similar problem to that of the record companies - piracy. There are basically two ways that any company can attack the problem and the options appear to be similar in the music industry. The first option is the one everybody hates, namely to BUILD usage restrictions directly into the applications you are selling. The second option is to LEGALLY bind your customers to certain usage boundaries and trust that they won't break the law. This has been a problem in the software industry far longer than in the music industry and it's interesting to note what's happened over time. Early on, many companies chose to build restrictions directly into their applications. They worked well enough in most cases. But the restrictions either had a negative impact on the application's performance, or caused undue frustrations by locking out important users who had logged in beyond the usage threshold. In either outcome, the corporations who had attempted such direct methods of usage restriction ultimately began to lose business to organizations with more trusting natures. To me, there really isn't much difference between what happened in the software industry and what's happening in the music industry today. Introducing unwanted sonic artifacts to an artist's performance is just as bad as what we went through in the software industry years ago. The only difference is a critical one: Those important customers who took their business elsewhere represented hundreds of thousands of dollars of lost revenues each and software companies were willing to do anything to get that revenue back (even change their approach to security). We as individual consumers in a mass market represent much smaller revenue sources. What's worse, those of us with equipment capable of distinguishing a watermarked vs non-watermarked recording are an even smaller group! The only way I see around the obvious battle is to swarm to smaller, private labels who care more about the music. Take enough business away, maybe the big guys will change their tune.

Hardlok's picture

I propose a 10-pronged approach: 1) Long-term cordial consumer education, especially for children and teenagers; 2) Stepped-up campaigns to identify and reward loyal, honest buyers/fans to continue honesty/spread honesty among friends; 3) Halving or drastic lowering of album prices across the board, making piracy not worthwhile (increasing sales and recouping profits through higher volume); 4) Making collectible, original packaging that consumers will hanker after; 5) Charging very low rates for downloads (which are lower quality than CDs and do not incur packaging or shipping or middleman costs), not pro-rated prices; 6) Increasing distribution channels that allow users to test at leisure, and buy on a per track/per compilation basis (via CD-R or download) instead of a fixed album of songs; 7) Not irking honest buyers by limiting their right to duplicate for personal use; 8) Use watermarking only on parts of media not containing music; e.g., lead-in, inter-track spaces, and then only to activate friendly messages about incentives to entice violaters to buy originals; 9) Giving buyers more value by fully utilizing entire 700MB of each disc (with free sample tracks from other albums) instead of just 45 min.; and 10) Stop irking people by claiming damages against pirates based on unrealistic estimates and ridiculous calculations!

tony esporma's picture

Simple, sell the stuff cheap. Sell it so that you make it in volume. If it sold for less money than the time value that it took the average person to copy it, then it wouldn't make sense to pirate it.

Andrew Johnson's picture

Make the CDs, DVDs, SACDs so reasonably priced it's not worth the time, effort, blank media price, etc. to make the copy. Record companies might cut down on their profit per disc, but the lack of piracy could balance it out with greater sales volume. It may be naive and full of holes, but that's my idea.

Anonymous's picture

reduce cd prices now

tug hill's picture

Lower the current prices back to reasonable levels...!!!

Bill Hojnowski's picture

I'm torn between saying that "it is not really a problem" and "here is my idea." I think ultimately it isn't a problem. Computer software is the easiest medium to copy and software execs are still flying $40 million jets and driving Ferraris. Ultimately, the people who are not going to buy the product are not going to buy it, no matter how good a protection scheme might be. People inclined to pirate music will buy it if it provides them value. Things you can't pirate are color booklets about the artist, fan club memberships, discounts on additional purchases, cool CD art, entry into a drawing for a chance to meet to artist, etc.

Claudio Rodil's picture

Drop the prices of original recordings by 30 or 40%. Improve quality of packaging and artwork. By the way, at least for me, it

Phill Woods's picture

In reading your article on watermarking I was struck by the fact that executives are in a rush to stop "losing sales to piracy." In fact, I believe that the executives are NOT looking to stop unlawful copying of company property,they are IN FACT more interested in preserving their own income. They do not give a rat's ass about the economic welfare of the companies that employ them, they are ONLY interested in their income: How much is it, and how do I get more? They have pulled the wool over investors' eyes, and most investors like it. Management teams are TOO expensive for what they offer ANY company. They do not add wealth, they only take.

Keith Myers's picture

Reduce CD prices so people are tempted to pirate or buy recordings.

kkk's picture

lowering the prices!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rob Damm's picture

Piracy is an imaginary problem in the first place To claim that there are "lost sales" due to piracy is just old-fashioned fuzzy logic. No one can predict who would have actually bought the genuine CDs. In fact, it is really illogical to assume that someone who paid a few dollars for a bootleg, or got it for free from the Net, would have ever considered paying $20 for it in a store. I have loads of stuff dowloaded from Napster that I never would have even considered purchasing. If I couldn't have gotten it for free, I just would have lived without it. I have a really simple solution: lower the insane prices of CDs. If a CD costs 5 or 6 dollars, the impetus to buy a bootleg, or even bother with downloading an album, would be a lot weaker. There are things that I wouldn't pay $20 for, but would pay $6 for. The recording industry ignores the fact that most people think that way. The companies seem to assume that people need a given album, and if it's not available for free or cheap, will pay ANYTHING for it. More faulty logic. I'm going down on record as a supporter of "piracy" in all its forms.

Doob's picture

The greedy SOB's need to lower the prices.

Eric's picture

Make prices standard on all recordings. For the first year they are out, $12.99. Second year, $9.99, and then $9.99 or lower after that. The price is what is making it reasonable for people to pirate. If the price is low enough, it will occur much less frequently.

Dave Wood's picture

Easy, bring the price down

Hector A.  de leon's picture

I don't think its a problem yet, but one way to slow down pirating is to reduce the costs of recordings. This way it wont be worth the time to pirate.