In November 1996 segments from Discoteque and Wake Up, Dead Man," two cuts from an upcoming U2 album, showed up on the Internet. The thirty-second cuts were believed to have been lifted by hackers from video cables during a recording session in a Dublin studio. 1 Thinking this was part of U2's publicity campaign, several radio stations downloaded the segments and began broadcasting them.
The Internet segments appeared at nearly the same time that bootleg CD copies of the upcoming U2 album were being sold in Ireland and Britain. As U.K. authorities tracked down the bootleggers, Island Records, U2's label, asked the stations to cease broadcasting the segments.
Shortly after the U2 bootlegging incident, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industries (IFPI) held a seminar in London on the role that interactive technologies, such as the Internet, are having on the spread of music piracy. The Internet involves the storage and distribution of digital codes, rather than physical products. A sound recording or computer program downloaded from the Internet is a nearly perfect digital copy.
The Internet has opened up a gate to virtually unlimited copyright piracy (see Figure 10.1). A person who uploads a computer program or a sound recording has made the product available to anyone connected to the Internet. Currently there are an estimated 45 million people connected to the Internet in ninety countries.
Many of the pirates are college students and teenagers, who are part of a movement that believes that the Net differs from the established commercial marketplace. In one respect they are right: the Internet is a unique marketplace. As anyone who is connected to the Internet knows,