O'Donnell’s Online Music Retailer Steals the Initiative

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Top music retailer O'Donnell's now offers cut price music to help in curbing piracy and pre-empting consumer demand as the IFPI toughen its regulations against illegal downloads.

Despite the incredible growth in download sales it would be wrong to write-off physical formats just yet.

O'Donnell's UK -- http://www.o-donnells.com -- now offer cheap music CDs and DVDs online, pre-empting increased consumer demand as music industry watchdogs IFPI go on the offensive to curb piracy (source: http://www.ifpi.org/site-content/antipiracy/piracy-report-current.html).

By selling cheap CDs and DVDs, O'Donnell's hope to encourage the trend away from illegal peer-to-peer downloading and music CD piracy by making CD and DVD acquisition almost a steal – rather than theft.

Business owner Tracey O'Donnell has been immersed in the music industry for many years and wonders, "Why risk prosecution, heavy fines and equipment seizure when legitimate, cheap CDs and DVDs are available for as little as 4 for £20? Whichever way you cut it, it's illegal and damaging to the music and film industries. It's plain theft. And the feeble argument that they're too expensive is simply no longer justifiable."

But she does admit the recent Dell initiative with now whistle-clean Napster to facilitate music downloads and sharing in educational establishments will likely impact CD sales, yet illustrates the current trend towards cheaper legitimate online music (source: http://news.com.com/Dell+Napster+ink+higher-ed+deal/2100-1047_3-5776354.htm).

However, even with the quantity of songs legally downloaded from the Internet in the UK during 2005 topping an unprecedented 10 million (source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/music/4671283.stm), BPI chairman Peter Jamieson commented: "Despite the incredible growth in download sales it would be wrong to write-off physical formats just yet."

Especially if the price is right. Which is where O'Donnell's calls the tune.

Along with music CDs from diverse genres, O'Donnell's also offer cheap DVDs and books with similar multi-purchase discounts and cross-medium selection: any 4 items from any category - CDs, DVDs, books – for just £20. "We turned up the heat to remain competitive," Tracey O'Donnell explains, "not only to counter market forces but to offer illegal download consumers a legitimate and cheap music and film resource, especially as the BPI is now taking a tough stance against music theft."

Illegal downloading of online music CDs and DVD films is now more perilous than ever. The increasing wave of arrests and seizures like those recently in the Netherlands and 12 other countries (source: http://news.com.com/Suspected+file+swappers+arrested+in+global+raid/2100-1027_3-5770035.html) illustrates that governments the world over are empowering the music and film industry with legislation to counter illegal file downloading and sharing, and have the will, intelligence and resources to act.

Not only are individuals culpable. On 27 June, 2005 the US Supreme Court ruled that peer-to-peer (P2P) companies such as Grokster could be liable for copyright piracy on their networks (source: http://news.com.com/Supreme+Court+rules+against+file+swapping/2100-1030_3-5764135.html).

"We hold that one who distributes a device with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright, as shown by clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement, is liable for the resulting acts of infringement," Justice David Souter wrote in the majority opinion.

The final Star Wars film "Episode III - Revenge of the Sith" was released illegally on the Web six hours before the film's official cinematic debut, with tens of thousands of copies being downloaded via the likes of BitTorrent, Kazaa and LimeWire (source: http://www.itnews.com.au/newsstory.aspx?CIaNID=18891) but it wasn't long before the FBI seized control of BitTorrent's central server (source: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/05/26/feds_close_elite/) and permanently shut down the site. http://www.elitetorrents.org now bears the seals of the FBI.

US prosecutors are bringing not only domestic miscreants to account. Professional British file sharers are being called to justice by the US movie industry, who are demanding a multi-million dollar settlement (source: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/05/06/mpaa_bittorrent_brit_summons/). However, US law does not stretch to the UK and unless the defendants enter the US, they remain immune -– until UK legislation is enacted.

In the UK, similar legislation exists. The British Phonographic Industry's recent June, 2005 sting resulted in 90 people targeted for illegal music file sharing, with average fines of £2,600 imposed and a stark lesson of £4,500 for one music downloader. (Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/gloucestershire/4116710.stm).

Quite apart from the risk of prosecution through copyright piracy and product theft, there exists a more insidious and far more immediate threat: systems infection. Millions of computer users have inadequate or no protection against malware, trojan horses, worms, viruses or spyware designed to infect, disrupt or destroy data or steal personal information. As virus developers use more sophisticated techniques to circumvent or disable firewalls, the risk of infection becomes greater, and P2P networks present an ideal spawning ground.

Part of the allure of illegal online music and DVD downloading is the promise of instant gratification; the reality is different. P2P networks are notoriously slow and downloading a film, even at broadband speeds, may take many hours or days to complete. Then there is the question of fidelity -- quality of sound and vision -- invariably poor via pirated, cheap copies ripped from DVD, videocam or converted to MP3, resulting in frustration and disappointment.

Instead of waiting for poor quality digital albums or films to finish downloading, visit O'Donnell's -- http://www.o-donnells.com -- and buy quality, cheap DVDs and CDs.

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