Who Really Cares About Illegal Downloading?
Whether its today's anti-tobacco Truth campaign or the AIDS health campaign in the 80's, educational campaigns have often been the most effective tool in creating long-term changes in individual & societal perceptions and behavior. And while litigation has been the favored strategy to fight piracy by the recording industry, educations has always been an important part of their rhetoric.
The industry seems to be finally putting their words into action with "an unprecedented alliance of musicians, songwriters, music organizations, and record companies" to launch an awareness campaign against "the wholesale theft of music." The cornerstone of the campaign will be a series of TV and radio ads featuring nearly 90 major recording artists and songwriters explaining "Who Really Cares About Illegal Downloading?"
Unfortunately, my bet is that the campaign will fall well short, due in a large part to any real education. It's more reminiscent of the old "Just say no!" campaign: don't question, just stop! Sure the Reagan campaign had some short term effect on drug use among the youth (depending on which study you consulted), but it certainly had no long-term effects on the perceptions or magnitude of drug use.
Before asking who cares about illegal downloading, consumers need to be educated as to exactly what downloading is illegal and what is not. Is all downloading illegal? And if not, when do I know that I'm within the law? Unless we begin to clearly answer these questions for consumers and educate them on their legitimate rights, the most likely response to the ads will be, "But there's nothing illegal with my downloads!"
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