Free ride

Some weeks ago I had pleasure of listening to a short talk by Robert Levine in person. As I did not agree with his thoughts and views I was intrigued to find out more, hence paying for and listening to his book Free Ride.

Initial thought is that this is an old man complaining and whining about an industry gone wrong where he tries to make a living. And yes, this book is a massive compilation of studies and talks, combined with personal views on how piracy and copyright infringements kills the media industry.

Personally I am not against Copyright, I am really pro it, and I have spent more money on music and videos over the past few years than I’ve done for many many years, probably not since my teenage years.

What I do not agree with is the argument that one should regulate the world to fit an existing business model rather than change the business model to fit the evolution of society. If the music industry and/or the film industry at an early stage developed a common platform for finding and buying content we would not have seen the birth of The Pirate Bay (TPB). I have friends in the film industry using TPB find small independent or national films that cannot be found elsewhere. But everything is available on TPB, regardless of studio, distributor or label. That is convenience and that is what the average consumer want.

Personally I cannot be bothered with the pirate sites anymore as the quality is poor, the downloads slow and you cannot guarantee the results – I’d rather pay for the content but then again often the publishers gets in the way. Some books I want from Audible for example, is not available to purchase from Sweden because of some weird rights. Do they really expect me to register a new account with some other service in Europe just to get that single title? No way!

Sorry, this became more of a personal view of the matter than a review of the book. If this matter is close to your heart, you really need to read it, even if you do not agree it is always good to know how “the other side” thinks.

At the end Robert start to discuss a few possible solutions but only in the area of music and films. He especially investigate the blanket fees for music/films quite common in Europe. I would have appreciated a few solutions and new ideas on how to take the news industry to the 21 century and not just stack the problems on top of each other. Lets focus on that in the next book Robert, OK?

This is the talk Mr Levine held in Almedalen Sweden in early July (starts 7:30 min in).