Recording Industry Association of America President and CEO Hilary Rosen recently testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on international and domestic intellectual property theft. The subject of music piracy has been top on Rosen’s agenda since the advent of Napster in late 1999, and the emergence of post-Napster progeny since the RIAA successfully shut down the peer-to-peer music exchange in July last year.
Targeting her testimony to the foreign relations audience she was addressing, Rosen said, “In Russia, China, and Brazil alone-the world’s three leading pirate marketplaces-the music industry loses more than $1 billion per year.”
Rosen added to this by pointing to data from the IFPI. “IFPI, the international association representing the recording industry worldwide, currently estimates that the sale of pirate recordings exceeds $4.2 billion. This number does not include losses due to Internet piracy. Global sales of recorded music last year exceeded $37 billion. It should be clear that addressing this large and growing problem has fundamental importance to the U.S. economy and to our overall competitiveness.”
Since the RIAA shut down Napster last year, myriad other piracy sites and services have sprung up including Morpheus, Kazaa, and Grokster. Rosen has argued that the emergence of widespread public piracy facilitated by these sites is severely damaging the record business. “Piracy is not a private offense. It hurts everyone by diminishing the incentive to invest in the creation of music. It should not therefore be viewed as a crime only against authors, performers, composers, musicians, record companies, distributors, wholesalers and retailers, but against each of us,” Rosen said.