Words by c.z.robertson

The greatest library ever built

2004-09-20 20:11:07 GMT/BST

Last Monday MusicAlly put on P2P and PR - The Perfect Anti-Piracy Pitch, a talk about P2P file-sharing and the music industry, and in particular how to approach this as a PR issue. The question being considered was, given that file-sharing is a bad thing, how can the music industry tackle it with PR?

Tim Duffy's presentation was essentially an application of basic PR principles to the problem, and the panel discussion didn't challenge the basic assumption that file-sharing is a bad thing (which I was glad of, incidentally -- I've heard all those arguments before).

It got me thinking, though, as someone who's quite in favour of file-sharing and who thinks copyright in its current form is detrimental to our society, how would I use PR techniques to encourage file-sharing? A few thoughts then:

Tim Duffy's first point was that complex, abstract ideas are exceedingly difficult to communicate. Simplicity is key. Abstract arguments about the morality of copyright violation or complex descriptions of the legal status of file-sharing would fall on deaf ears.

By the same principle it's fairly clear that the arguments that we geeks tend to make about the original purpose of copyright law or about whether file-sharing falls under fair-use exemptions are similarly incomprehensible to anyone other than geeks. If we want to reach beyond our own community we're going to need a different kind of message.

My suggestion, then, for a simple, easily-understood message to promote file-sharing is this: P2P networks are creating the greatest library ever built. Support this library. Share.

Other suggestions welcome.

... killing in the name of ...

splinter - http://www.killerbees.org.uk

2004-09-27 17:18:44 GMT/BST

"Everytime you decide not to share a file a baby is viciously murdered with hammers"

"Ghandi was a file sharer"

"The RIAA sells legitimate DVDs to raise funds for organisations that beat up orphans"

"I will kill you more often if you don't"

"Your mother wouldn't like it"

"20 out of 10 people prefer the taste of files that have been shared"

"Statistically speaking; 23:2 32% 823/213 12388"