Aug 19, 2017 Last Updated 2:11 PM, Jun 12, 2017

PIRATES of the PACIFIC

Millions of dollars lost as toothless watchdogs left helpless to stop illegal downloading of music

THERE’S a war raging unabated in the region, and indeed on the global stage, a war that’s just as much a result of the flipside of proliferating communications technology as it is the seemingly mindless looting and plunder of intellectual property of any kind, of music in particular.

It’s the war against music piracy. It’s a war against theft. And it’s a war the good guys are just not winning, even if the law is on their side.

And the bad guys? Well, it could be anybody, really. He could be a colourful character with a colour printer and a PC, a yuppie with an attitude and a USB or, perhaps, a college student with nothing to kill but time. Or they could be Bluetoothsavvy kids wielding smart phones, colourfully-packaged little gadgets their parents gave them at Christmas. Basically, it appears, if you’ve got the gadgetry, the music of the world is fair game - it’s yours for the taking.

Piracy has so ravaged the regional market, one estimate puts the purchase of legal music at just one per cent. According to James Moore, who manages Solomon Islands singer Jahboy, 99 per cent of music in the region is pirated.

“There are many torrent sites which people download from and forums on Facebook and What’sApp. This is the same for the Solomons. If someone really wants a song, they will find a way to download it,” Moore says.

He adds the biggest form of piracy in the Solomons would be through Bluetoothing on mobile phones and sharing music from a computer via a memory card which is then put back into mobiles. Moore says the enforcement agency in the Solomons cannot do much with the limited resources given by the government. “The onus is on the artists themselves to protect their own music. It is a huge challenge here and everywhere else in the world.

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by Ioane Burese

 

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