Music industry growls at PC mag

The Music industry is accusing an IT magazine of encouraging copyright theft after it listed a number of alternative P2P services in the wake of Limewire going under.

PC Mag received an angry letter signed by a number of music industry executives which accused the publication of encouraging copyright infringement.

The story listed six P2P services and torrent trackers, along with the disclaimer that “all of these services should be used for legal downloads, of course.”

Despite the disclaimer the music industry executives were fuming.

“The harm done to the creative community when people are encouraged to steal our music is immeasurable. Disclaimer or no, when you offer a list of alternative P2P sites to LimeWire – and include more of the serial offenders — PC Magazine is slyly encouraging people to steal more music.”

The angry letter was penned to Vivek Shah, CEO of PC Mag publisher Ziff Davis and it was signed by the heads of such organisations as ASCAP, BMI, A2IM, HFA, AFTRA, RIAA, SESAC, the Songwriters Guild of America, NMPA, and SoundExchange.

The letter claimed that the article was “nothing more than a roadmap for continued music piracy”.

It is said that the vast majority of LimeWire’s users were interested in downloading music for free with the full knowledge that what they were doing was illegal.

PC Magazine is slyly encouraging people to steal more music and place at risk the tens of thousands of music industry jobs – including singers, songwriters, musicians and the technical professionals who put it all together. “

If that was not bad enough, the music industry was furious that the magazine covered a story about the LimeWire Pirate Edition when that appeared.

What got their goat was that a reporter downloaded it and tested it to see if it worked and provided a link.

“Our argument is buttressed by the fact that PC Magazine offered no alternatives that are 100 percent legal. In fact, legitimate download services, who have developed business models based on a respect for copyright and have entered into mutually beneficial arrangements with the music industry are undoubtedly outraged by your feeble attempt to undercut their ability to compete in the legal marketplace,” the letter moaned.

Then showing that the Music Industry had its finger on the pulse of the media would it added the dig

“We suspect you’d feel differently about this matter if, like the music industry, you’d had to let go more than half of the talented writers and journalists who create your magazine because of uncontrolled piracy of their work,”the letter said. Of course it failed to realise that the industry has been gutted by the rise of the Internet and is frantically having to make changes. Yes, there are a lot less reporters out there than there used to be.

“We hope you will consider retracting the article and stating your strong support of only legal methods of obtaining music,” the letter wrote.

PC Mag editor-in-chief Lance Ulanoff, replied that it was his magazine’s job to cover all aspects of technology, which includes the products, services and activities that some groups and individuals might deem objectionable.

Limewire alternatives were of interest to our readers. “We understand that some might use them to illegally download content. We cannot encourage that action, but also cannot stop it. Reporting on the existence of these services does neither,” he said.

Still if the music industry does start suing magazines for “condoning piracy” by reporting about P2P sites then it is going to be a fairly ugly day in court.