Pat Pilcher: RIANZ responds to Dotcom piracy plan

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Kim Dotcom at a launch event for his new website. Photo / NZ Herald
Kim Dotcom at a launch event for his new website. Photo / NZ Herald

Not so long ago I wrote about the 5 points tweeted by Kim Dotcom that he believed would help end piracy.

Now it appears that RIANZ (the recording industry association of New Zealand) also want to respond. They state that:

"The music industry has delivered on all five points suggested by Dotcom"

And they've respond to each of Kim DotCom's 5 points with the following:

1- Create great stuff
"Great" is obviously subjective but with legal digital services offering tens of millions of music tracks there's surely something for everyone out there.

2- Make it easy to buy
New Zealanders have access to 20 legal digital music services, not only for buying but for on-demand and curated playback. The world leading brands in each category i-tunes, Spotify and Pandora are open for business in New Zealand. These are available 24/7 and very easy to use. The website nztop40.co.nz provides multiple links to the most popular international and local tracks and albums every week.

3- Same day worldwide release
The overwhelming majority of newly released music is available simultaneously worldwide. In fact due to time zone differences New Zealand is often the first country in the world to have access to new superstar releases.

4- Fair price
Music has never been cheaper to buy or access. Some on-demand services even have a totally free option. Tracks from albums are can be purchased individually, often for under $2. Premium on-demand services are as little as $3 per week.

5- Works on any device
Tracks and albums purchased from legal digital download services are DRM - free and all are usable across multiple devices using Android and iOS operating systems - i.e. the overwhelming majority of devices in the marketplace. Likewise on-demand services all have apps for multiple platforms and devices.


"Your piece gave a forum to Dotcom's views for ending piracy. You called it simple and elegant and ask how likely or possible it would be to implement. With regards to the music industry, I think we have shown above that it is already being done.

Despite this music piracy continues unabated in New Zealand at one of the highest per capita rates in the western world. It has also grown every year since 2006 which is when iTunes opened for business in New Zealand.

Unfortunately it seems the only way to beat piracy is to take legal action against those who deliberately choose to deny songwriters and recording artists their basic human right to make a living from their creativity.

In the interests of balance and fairness, we would like to request that you take these points into consideration and report our response for the benefit of your readers."


Well there it is, RIANZ's response in full. I can't argue with much that they've said, as they've pretty much complied with most of Kim's 5 points.

This said, I would like to know several things. They make some pretty bold claims around the levels of piracy in New Zealand, but how are they measuring it? I'd agree that music industry revenues have dipped, but does this equate to piracy?

I suspect that there may be more to this than initially meets the casual observer. For instance, it could be argued that this is due to people paying less for music because the music industry has delivered on point

Funnily enough, in the original story, ending piracy was only discussed in the context of Hollywood, DVDs/Blu-Rays, TV shows and movies. Music was never mentioned. These points aside, it is always going to be a good thing having RIANZ step up and respond as doing so only stands to improve the quality of debate around this vexing issue.

So what do you think? Are RIANZ's claims correct? Has the music industry delivered to Kim's 5 points? Most importantly, has piracy in NZ gone up as RIANZ claim, or has the move to legit music services really begun in earnest? Is taking legal action the real remedy to ending piracy as RIANZ claim?

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