As the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and Joel Tenenbaum continue a legal battle in the court room, Tenenbaum’s legal team, consisting of Harvard law professor Charles Nesson and several students, have a new star witness.
That new witness is Radiohead manager Brian Message, who will testify on Tenenbaum’s behalf during the trial. Specifically, Message will discuss the idea that file sharing has the ability to help the music industry, and that there are both pros and cons to the new technology.
"He is leading a wonderful group of U.K. artists who are coming out in favor of the idea of non-commercial sharing among music fans," Nesson said in regards to Message. "It’s clear that one of the issues that’s at play in the case is this idea that there’s been tremendous damage done to the music business. While there may have been some damage done to the CD business, the music business is going to be saved by readjusting and developing these exciting new business models that are consistent with a digital environment."
One of Radiohead’s most recent record releases, In Rainbows, was available as freeware — pay as much as you want to — digital download, with more than 1.75 million copes sold of the release.
High profile bands have chosen sides in the battle against P2P and music sharing in general, with Radiohead a strong proponent of file sharing. Other bands and artists, including Metallica and Madonna, have heavily criticized file sharing, saying it steals money out of their pockets, and hurts smaller artists.
Despite the pleas of some musicians, it’s up to the record labels as to how they handle the issue of file sharing in the new digital age. Although there has been a growing number of digital download services, problems such as DRM and pricing still need to be worked out.