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Creative Industries Face Disaster

The internet has given us, along with many wonderful things, the ability to steal great quantities of material that used to have to be paid for.

The creative industries face a 'disaster' unless young people are taught that stealing music and books from the web is wrong, greater educational resources need to be devoted to teaching students the value of copyright. Amazon is also contributing to a widespread view among young people that books and music have no value, through heavy discounting. We seem to have sleepwalked into a situation where everything people ever wished for is free to take.

As a former amateur musician, who performed Bob Dylan folk numbers, I believe it is important that music is paid for. No-one should forget the dedication of professional people who have spent their lifetime practising in institutions to do something they absolutely love. In justice, they must really be compensated for what they do. 

An architecture student once, played me a song from his laptop, saying: “You don’t pay for it! You just take it!” I pointed out that the musicians made music for a living, and by doing that he was stealing as clearly as if he picked their pockets. I said that if people just helped themselves to my work without bothering to pay I’d soon be living on the streets, and that when he qualified as an architect he would certainly expect people to pay for his work.

Every child must have the chance to make music as well as to listen to it,” he said. “But we owe this to those who make music: we need to teach our children that music sounds even better when it’s paid for. Authors incomes have declined along with musicians, and the bottom 50% earn less than £10,500 a year, a recent survey has found.

Amazon has done one good thing, which is to make books available to everyone. But they’ve done it at terrible cost to authors by selling books so cheaply. It gives the impression that books don’t cost very much to create.


10 June 2015

His Dark Materials