Music in 2015 - Totally Secure, Really (like... completely) Scarce and So Very Very Valuable (again)
Warning: this is fiction. For now.
June 1, 2015
The herculean efforts of the world's most eminent legitimate music rights- and intellectual property owners, represented by the RIAFPIAAMP (the all-encompassing global content producers' organization led by former U.S. President George 'Hard Work' Bush whose favorite battle cries "We have a right to get paid a lot more, dammit" and "Copyright-is-worth-dying-for" are now found even on free coffee-mugs and roadside bulletin boards) and the organization's numerous allies from law enforcement, the military and leading anti-terrorist experts around the world have finally been victorious: Music is now 100% scarce again, and the threat of hardened juvenile criminals and the so-called Digital Natives freeloading via the Internet without restraint has been eradicated.
The War on Sharing was costly, indeed: tens of billions of $s, Euros, Yens and Rupees were spend and some unfortunate collateral damage had to be absorbed as well, but finally the battle has been won by the rightful leaders of the global music industry corporations - music is, once again, totally and permanently secured and under the rights holders' exclusive and unflinching control. Copyright is sacred again - hallelujah.
No device can play any music whatsoever unless it has been authorized by the Central Music Device Approval Authority in London. All music recording devices are forbidden, period, and special permits are required to even mention their existence. Robotic device-control-squats patrol the subways, clubs, bars and schools around the globe, looking for RFID pings from any device that could be used to engage in stealing. Unless a device is properly authorized to deploy music, a user attempting to do so will get a recorded and looped message alerting him to the fact that the device is illegal and that he needs to cease his activities immediately.
Repeat offenders that do not follow the warnings may suffer severe burns on their fingertips, courtesy of the new BurnThoseThieves hard- and software that is now embedded in all audio devices, thereby making these criminals easily identifiable to the global MP7 (Music Protection Prevention Prohibition Purposeful Peer Panic Production) task force that has been set up since the Criminal Music Consumption Act (CMCA) was passed in 2011. Hospitals everywhere are fully collaborating.
No ISP, telecom or wireless operator can move even a single 0 or 1 of any registered piece of music (and soon, film or TV show, photo, logo, txt file, pdf or any other of the 387 indexed file formats) through the network unless it is listed on the 'approved for network distribution' list. All telecoms around the world must get written approval for any data transfer that could be perceived to contain intellectual property; apart from voice (and even that is monitored as well - see below).
This slows things down things just a tiny bit but one can still get a 12k stream on the paid-for and authorized on-demand music providers pretty much any day; this is hugely popular in penal colonies, on arctic cruise-ships and at genetic food research labs all over Siberia and New Mexico. Finally, ISPs can keep their noses & pipes clean and concentrate on running their networks without worrying that copyright crimes will be committed through them - a great relief to everyone!
Consumer-to-consumer bluetooth file transfers using cell phones and other mobile devices were disabled years ago, when the RIAFPIAAMP sued Samsung, Nokia, Motorola and Apple for 250 Billion dollars - and won. This was directly after the UMMFFRECUR (the United Music Managers for Forced and Really Equitable Content Use Remuneration) and the CPFELC (Content Publishers for Eternal Life of Copyright) teamed up with the RIAFPIAAMP to force BT, France Telekom, Verizon, China Mobile, T-Mobile and Vodafone into shutting down their networks until they could finally clean out the music pirates, for sure. 18 months without wireless services sure taught everyone a lesson!
Apart from Bluetooth transfers which are just not legal, period, wireless file transfers of any kind must now be approved by the CWCTA, the Central Wireless Content Transfer Authority in Guetersloh, Germany, but most consumers don't even dare to apply for a permit since they would be certain to have their names entered into their MicroGooHoo NetworkID file system which prevents undesirable individuals from entering places where any attainable content could be found, such as clubs, bars, music stores, airports, libraries and schools.
Automatic 1strike+out(TM) network disconnection is build into all computers,digital Radios, TVs and mobile devices, worldwide. Playing any piece of music that is longer than 1.2 seconds and that is not properly approved results in immediate disconnection from the Internet. The software was developed by the German Army and it's doing a fabulous job here. Anyone that has been disconnected must apply for 'reinstatement of connectivity' to the Internet Re-Connection Investigation and Approval Authority in Dublin, Ireland, led by a subsidiary of a well-known music management and artist branding company that has been able to patent the serious-infringer-detection technology back in 2008.
Anyone that is caught capturing and uploading an image or a video of an artist that is represented by the RIAFPIAAMP or their sister organization, the World Content Ownership and Administration Committee (WCOAC) will face immediate remote destruction of all memory contained on his or her equipment. In order for this to work flawlessly, all memory chips and hard-drives are now wirelessly connected to the Central Content Security Database in Langley, Virginia and Nice, France. Repeat offenders will be barred from buying any digital equipment, whatsoever (including coffee makers, watches, washing machines or toasters) and anyone lending such equipment will be considered guilty of contributory infringement.
Since 2011, all private phone calls are monitored by United Phone Call Screening Systems (UPCSS) in Mumbai, India, on behalf of the WCSC, the World Content Security Council (based in Geneva, Switzerland) since the rapid increases of unauthorized public performances of music on mobile phones has led to losses of billions of dollars to the rightful owners and wardens of the master recordings and compositions. People calling each other to listen to music has been officially declared THEFT in the 2012 Singapore Total Rights Forever Treaty (STRFT). The system is working so very very smoothly that only those pre-approved and fully licensed users that have adequate legal representation in at least the 100 WCSC signatory countries can actually listen to music via digital devices at this time -everyone else's attempts at enjoying music without proper permission has been thwarted so that the monetary value of music can be maintained, and even elevated, again.
Thankfully, a new format, the UeberCD, has been launched by AppSonips a year ago and that's pretty much the safest and cleanest way you can get music now - pay before you listen, while you listen, and after you listen - the way it should be! Everybody has to buy UeberCD players and sound carriers in the UeberCD format, and there is only one authorized place in each country that can produce them. Each player unit and each UeberCD is equipped with a wifi / wimax / GSM chip as well as with RFIDs, making it easy to find out how many times people are playing the music, where, and when, and helping honest people stay honest, and not exceed the permissible maximum of daily plays.
All UeberCDs that leave the country where they were produced automatically lock-up and stop working, and the self-destruct. In most cases, the authorities are alerted, leading to many arrests of hardened criminals all over the world.
Music making is restricted as well, and subject to a 'official creator license', since many people disguising as musicians had taken to secretly listening to the artists and songs that they liked a lot, using old analog equipment of the late 90s, and were thereby influenced by ideas and inspirations that they had absolutely no rights to, whatsoever.
Now, with the new government 'License to Rock' Version 2.98 it is finally possible to produce new music without constantly flirting with accidental or inadvertent copyright infringement: musicians and composers must subject to a strict clearing procedure by the Creators Approval Committee before they are allowed to use one of the many RIAFPIAAMP's Creative Bunkers where they can go about their work in total isolation for a minimum of 15 months before they can surface again. Now that's what we call clean!
All in all, this is a great world to live in: clean, orderly and all-paid-for, all the time - welcome to Music 2015.
Some of this story is influenced by a recent read of Cory Doctorow's book 'Overclocked'