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News Release
July 23, 2003
CONTACT: David Fish
(202) 289-8928

Digital Free-Riders Harm Music Consumers
Enforcement Efforts Necessary to Reduce Piracy, Adkinson Says

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The music industry’s recent decision to take legal action against unauthorized distributors of music files on the Internet is justified and necessary, given their major role in the current epidemic of Internet piracy, according to Progress & Freedom Foundation Senior Policy Counsel William F. Adkinson, Jr. He argues that, in addition to breaking the law, these so-called ‘file-sharers’ are harming fellow music consumers.

“’File-sharers’ ultimately free-ride on the paying music customers, to the detriment of all music consumers,” Adkinson writes in an article posted on TechCentralStation. “By reaping the benefits while refusing to ante up themselves, free-riders reduce the resources that will be devoted to producing content.

“There will be fewer artists promoted, fewer film projects pursued, fewer new games designed, fewer books published,” he continues. “Creative effort and investment follow the paying customers; not free riders.”

Adkinson sees hope in the introduction of new (legal) online distribution models. “Those who pirate content can no longer blame the music companies for not offering attractive alternatives,” he writes. Music lovers should know copyright law is designed “to protect everyone – artists, producers, and especially consumers – from the pernicious effects of free-riding.” In Adkinson’s view, copyright is essential to “protect incentives to create the high-quality digital media products of the future” that consumers desire most. Enforcement efforts are essential, he says, because “without effective enforcement copyright law will be an empty shell on the Internet, and everyone – especially consumers – will lose.”

The Progress & Freedom Foundation is a market-oriented think tank that studies the impact of the digital revolution and its implications for public policy. It is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1993.



The Progress & Freedom Foundation