Musical Bootlegs -
Do they harm the music industry
or do they bring more musical diversity
to the world; or both?
Illegal copies of music present a very clear cut case, it is illegal and results in a loss of revenue for the music industry. However not all bootlegs are of this nature, there are many made that are mixes or synergies of two or more different tracks. For a brief interpretation of the law I quote Shro0m "Derivative works of copyrighted material are still illegal unless they fall under fair use or parody... so um ... mixing two or more different tracks is illegal without the consent of the copyright holder."
I have been listening to Prodigy Vs. Enya – Smack my bitch up the Orinoco flow and it sounds excellent. The resulting sound is a lot more diverse than Prodigy and much more vibrant than Enya. Is this really wrong? BBC Radio 1 doesn’t seem to think so, since they often play interesting new bootleg mixes. However, do the record companies share this liberal opinion, probably not!
In my own (admittedly ranting and unqualified) opinion ‘New’ bootlegs are not going to turn any record company financially on its head, much the opposite. If a particularly good 'illegal' mix comes out, sales of the original are sure to increase. I also believe that a this form of expression increases musical diversity and inspiration which cannot be a bad thing.
Is bootlegging wrong? Well it depends on how it is done!