In the wake of the recent Limewire shutdown, many torrent fans are left wondering, what's next?
To address this question, PC Mag put together a list of alternative P2P services similar to Limeware, only to receive an angry response from leaders in the music industry.
Within the P2P list, PC Mag mentions that the P2P services and torrent trackers listed "should be used for legal downloads, of course," which record execs found insufficient and counterproductive to their battle against pirating.
They found the article so offensive, multiple heavy hitters in the music industry wrote and signed an angry letter, which they addressed to the owner and publisher of PC Mag.
The letter started off with a snarky bang, when music industry executives wrote "Let's be honest. The vast majority of LimeWire's users were interested in one thing and one thing only: downloading our music for free with the full knowledge that what they were doing was illegal."
They go on to accuse PC Mag of promoting theft, "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..."
Finally, they scold PC Mag for offering no truly legal options in its list, "Our argument is buttressed by the fact that PC Magazine offered no alternatives that are 100% 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."
In response to this letter, PC Mag offered a half-assed apology when Editor Lance Ulanoff stated, "We are sorry that you are disappointed with our October 27th article."
He went on to describe that "PCMag's job is to cover all aspects of technology, which includes the products, services and activities that some groups and individuals might deem objectionable."
Ulanoff admits that yes, readers may use these P2P services illegally, but he maintains "We cannot encourage [illegal downloading], but also cannot stop it. Reporting on the existence of these services does neither."
There is no word on whether this was a satisfactory response in the eyes of the music industry executives.
Although music industry executives do have a valid point when it comes to fighting illegal pirating, they have no right to ask PC Mag not to cover this or similar topics in the future.
This type of plea falls into the same category as discouraging people from writing about thieves because it may promote thievery, or not to write about sex ed because it might encourage kids to have sex. C'mon people!
In a world where people want to know, it's important to release information to educate and let each person make their own informed decision. So, although the letter may be an unfair plea, it did bring new attention to the problem of illegal downloading.
(Via Billboard Magazine)