Winning the Battle, Losing the War

I guess the Record labels that sued a 32-year-old mother who had willfully infringed on their copyrights by downloading and sharing 24 songs on the Kazaa peer-to-peer network, may have won the battle. The courts have awarded them $1.92 million in damages. But what they have lost, is the war. The war for consumer sentiment. They have lost it by alienating consumers who feel the record industry charges prices that simply are too high.

Can consumers retaliate, especially since there isn't any semblance of a mass movement against the 'overcharging' labels? I think they can. Especially by acquiring music through means other than a legal buy of songs and albums. Is that possible? With the Internet ensuring that anything that's digital's copied and made available on a tangible device, it's possible to get hold of music without having to pay.

But beyond the question of legality lies the question of perception that dictates consumer sentiment. For the record labels nothing could be worse that being perceived as greedy corporates. The ensuing negative sentiment may not have immediate fallouts in terms of reduced sales. But over time, it will. Maybe consumers won't stay away from buying, today, but surely they will, tomorrow.


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