Internet and the digitalization: evolution of the music listening practices. Which relation(s) with creation? Which statute(s) for the music?
In the night of May 11th of 2006, the French Senate adopted in first reading the bill on the Royalties and the Related Rights in the Information Society (DADVSI), a project which itself was voted by the French National Assembly on March 21st of the same year. This text wants to incorporate Directive 2001/29/CE, voted on May 22nd of 2001 by the European Parliament, into French Law. The Directive aims to harmonize a number of aspects relating to the management of royalties within the Member States of the Union. This very same directive corresponds with the treaties initiated by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 1996. These various texts have a main objective to make the commercial exchanges of intellectual works in the era of digitalization safe, by proposing a framework that allows reinforcing the prerogatives of the rights holders, on the level of the diffusion, of the valorization and even on the level of the uses which are made of their creation in their numerical form. Here, we will be exclusively interested in the music industry and the current difficulties music industry actors meet. These difficulties mainly concern the illegal exchange of protected musical works, via the peer-to-peer networks. I aim to clarify the deep shift that exists between, on the one hand, the harmonization attempts of the legislative framework at the European level and, on the other hand, the reality of the consumer practices embedded in everyday life. These difficult harmonization attempts at the European institutional level, were at the same time (and with a record speed) carried out by the users. For instance MP3 file-sharing via the Internet resembles the process of vulgarizing, the last stage of an adaptation process which, according to the French researchers Mallein and Toussaint (1994), can be divided into four phases: discovery, training, adoption and vulgarization. It appears that these new uses, initiated by the consumers themselves, are actively changing and reconfiguring the music market, by valorizing this type of creation and by expressing the intention and desire to maintain this type of creation. This raises at least two questions, which I will try to answer. First of all, the question will be whether this attempt at legislative standardization at the European level does not suffer from several time lags caused by another process of standardization, namely the uses of the ICTs by consumers. Secondly, wouldn’t it be better that the industrialists’ lobbyists, with the majors taking the lead, took these societal changes into account, in stead of trying to convince the authorities to generate a series of laws?