The music industry has taken numerous steps to avoid music sharing online.
Events have taken a turn for the worst in the last couple of weeks
with a number of attacks on the medium by the record industry and
artists including Madonna resulting in an online attack on the
singer’s official site. In one development the US industry body the
RIAA has started sending automatic instant messages over some of the
leading song sharing sites giving warnings to people who are
providing copyrighted songs online that they are breaking the law.
Madonna went one stage further however placing files on sites which
appeared to be previews of her new album but in fact once downloaded
turned out to be what appeared to be Madonna’s voice using an
expletive to effectively ask people what they thought they were doing
by unlawfully downloading the track.
The stunt was met by a group of hackers seeking retribution.
Madonna’s official website was hacked and replaced with links to
pirated versions of the full album together with a response to
Madonna’s original question using similarly colourful language.
Amongst other things the case shows us that caution is needed on the
internet even in seeking to protect your rights. For brand owners in
particular proper consideration needs to be given to how they act
online given that, as we saw around the world yesterday, there are
still significant numbers of people who feel justified in using
unlawful means to protest against commercial exploitation.