在甜美音乐制作上,软件公司与音乐公司失谐

数字版权与音乐分销

英文原版地址

Software and music groups out of tune in making sweet music

By Tobias Buck and Emiko Terazono

FROM THE FINANCIAL TIMES

The noises coming from the music industry and the US software and entertainment groups are distinctly out of tune with each other, after the European Commission launched its formal investigation into the Apple iTunes antitrust case this week.

本周,欧盟委员会对苹果音乐下载网站反垄断一案开展正式调查,对此,音乐产业界,美国软件界和娱乐界反映迥然不同,传出不合谐的噪音。

EMI, Warner, Universal and Sony BMG were formally charged alongside Apple for breaking European competition rules. The European Union’s top antitrust regulator alleges the agreements between the companies that form the basis for the sale of songs through iTunes restrict competition and are illegal.

因违反欧洲竞争法规,百代,华纳,环球,索尼博德曼唱片公司与苹果一同被正式起诉。各唱片公司与苹果iTunes达成的协议-通过iTunes网站下载出售音乐,欧盟最高反垄断监管机构宣称这项协议限制竞争,是违法的。

“Consumers can only buy music from the iTunes online store in their country of residence. Consumers are thus restricted in their choice of where to buy music, and consequently what music is available, and at what price,” the Commission said.

消费者只能在本国居住地,从iTunes网站购买音乐。这样限定了消费者购买的地点,品种和价格。欧盟委员会说。

The problem, according to the regulator, is not the price differential itself, but the arrangement between Apple and the record companies that bar European consumers from shopping round for the best prices.

监管机构认为,不是价格差异的问题,苹果和唱片录制公司之间的协议安排,让欧洲消费者没有物美价廉的购买选择余地。

Downloading a song from an iTunes website in a Eurozone country costs 99 cents, while in the UK it costs 79p or €1.17. Danish iTunes users fork out 8 per cent more than in the Eurozone.

欧元区国家在iTunes下载一首歌要99美分,英国要79美分或者1.17英镑。丹麦的iTunes用户比欧元区用户多支付8%。

Apple yesterday pointed a fat finger at the record companies. It says it always wanted to operate a single, pan-European iTunes store accessible by anyone from any member state.

昨天苹果公司将责任推给唱片公司。苹果ITunes一直想打造全欧洲地区单一的iTunes音乐下载网,为欧盟成员国消费者提供音乐下载。

But it says: “We were advised by the music labels and publishers that there were certain legal limits to the rights they could grant us,” adding that it did not believe it violated EU law.

他说唱片公司和出版商告诉我们,他们授予我们的权限有某些法律限制。苹果补充说不相信此举违反了欧盟法律。

Record companies, meanwhile, argue that Apple ultimately decides the retail prices for downloads and that the restrictions that bar iTunes users from accessing a website outside the country of residence is due to the copyright arrangements.

唱片公司对此回应,最终是苹果确定下载歌曲的零售价。由于以国家为基础的版权安排,因此限制iTunes用户仅能在本国登陆帐户下载。

Copyright is currently awarded on a country-by-country basis and the collection societies – which collect royalties on behalf of song writers – are paid on a country-by-country basis.

目前版权授予是以国家为单位的,版税代收协会代表创作者收取版税也是以国家为单位的。

Apple needs to account for the royalties on a country-by-country basis. This would become almost impossible if – for example – a UK resident bought a track off iTunes in Germany, said Alice Enders at Enders Analysis, a media research firm. The difference in VAT also complicates matters for consumers wanting to cross borders to buy goods, she adds.

苹果公司需要以国家为基础计算版税。媒体调研公司的Alice Enders举例分析,如果一个英国人在德国从iTunes下载歌曲,那么就不可能向这个英国人收税,各国增值税的差别也使得事情变得复杂,消费者都想跨国购物。

But a spokesman for Neelie Kroes, the EU competition commissioner, says: “We don’t think that is relevant since in the vast majority of cases the majors hold the rights to their repertoire for the whole of the European economic area.”

但欧盟反垄断专员,发言人克罗斯说:我们认为这无关紧要,因为绝大多数情况是在整个欧洲经济区,主要唱片公司控制音乐曲目权力。

He made clear that the antitrust case was directed primarily against the big music groups, and not against Apple. Apple, though a recipient of the charges, was not the most significant target. “The main focus of our attention is the record companies,” he says. “Our current view is that this is an arrangement that is imposed on Apple by the major record companies.”

他明确表示反垄断主要针对大的音乐集团,而不是苹果公司。苹果作为版税收取者,不是最重要的目标,关注的主要焦点是唱片公司。他说目前我们认为各大主要唱片公司有意安排苹果收费。

Alena Kozakova, principle economist at Which?, the UK consumer group that lodged the complaint about the price differentials on iTunes says the issue falls at the boundary between competition law and intellectual property law. “It’s a very complicated case. But Brussels is saying ‘you can’t hide behind the intellectual property law’,” she says. Apple and the record companies have two months to defend themselves. But they will need strong arguments to change the Commission’s view, says Ms Kozakova, who used to work at the EU.

经济学原理何在?英国消费者组织投诉iTunes的价格差异,说问题在于竞争法和知识产权法的界限。案件非常复杂,但布鲁塞尔说了你不能躲在知识产权法后面’”,曾在欧盟工作过的Alena Kozakova说。苹果和唱片公司有两个月的时间辩护。他们需要拿出强有力的论据对抗欧盟委员会的观点。

Which? lodged its complaint to the EU in February 2005 and it has taken more than two years for Brussels to build up a case. The expected remedies may lead to Apple opening a pan-European iTunes store. But even if Brussels can force the companies into remedial action, this could take more than a year, says Ms Kozakova.

曾经哪一个?在20052月向欧盟投诉,并且历经2年多在布鲁塞尔备案。Kozakova女士说,即使布鲁塞尔能迫使唱片公司采取补救措施,这也要1年多的时间。如果这样,苹果可能会成立泛欧洲区的iTunes店。

Baffled industry executives trying hard to read between the lines When Eric Nicoli stood alongside Steve Jobs from Apple on a stage at EMI’s London offices this week – after a performance from Damon Albarn’s new band, the Good, the Bad and the Queen – some analysts and music executives were left wondering whether the new alliance was part of the EMI chief executive’s poison pill strategy, writes Emiko Terazono.

英国金融时报记者Emiko Terazono写道,戴蒙阿尔本的新乐队the Good, the Bad and the Queen”演出之后,遭受阻力的公司高管,百代公司董事长尼科利与苹果的首席执行员乔布斯这周在百代伦敦办公室碰头,试图合力想办法找出对策。但这给一些分析者和音乐界高管留下疑问,新的联盟否是百代首席高管的毒丸发展战略的一部分呢。(译者注:毒丸计划Poison Pill)是指以股权摊薄手段来反收购的策略,是过去20年中最受美国公司欢迎的反收购策略,最早起源于股东认股权证计划。)

EMI’s agreement to sell its catalogue free of copyright protection on Apple’s iTunes makes it the first large music company to drop digital rights management (DRM).

在与苹果的协议中,百代将有产权保护技术的音乐产品目录免费给苹果iTunes公司。百代由此成为第一个放弃数字版权保护技术的大型音乐公司。

DRM prevents piracy, however some consumers blame it for restricting the use of downloaded music on various devices.

数字版权保护技术防止盗版,但很多消费者抱怨这样的管理限制了音乐下载,不能下载到更多的音乐播放器上。

EMI’s arch-rival Warner has been strongly against dropping DRM.

Mr Jobs, chief executive of Apple, in an open letter earlier this year, called for record companies to offer DRM-free tracks.

百代的劲敌华纳曾经强烈反对放弃数字版权保护技术。今年年初,在一封公开信中,苹果首席执行官乔布斯先生号召各个唱片公司提供免除版权保护技术的唱片。

In response, Edgar Bronfman Jr, the head of Warner, called the idea “completely without logic or merit”.

对此,华纳音乐首席执行官小埃德加布朗夫曼声称毫无逻辑和价值

The merger of EMI and Warner Music has been mooted for years, although the most recent takeover talks were called off last year after the European Commission announced it was reviewing the music joint venture between Sony and Bertelsmann.

百代觊觎并购华纳已酝酿多年。最近一次谈判是在一年前欧盟委员会调查索尼与贝塔斯曼的音乐合资经营之后。

EMI has tried to be the aggressor by making a move on Warner but – after the UK group’s two profit warnings this year – the tables seem to have turned.

今年百代主动出击,欲推进并购华纳的计划,但英国组两项盈利警告使得此举落空。

“My immediate reaction was that it was a poison pill. They seem to be doing anything not to be taken over by Warner,” says one music industry official.一位音乐界官员说:凭直觉,我认为这是毒丸战略。他们似乎在尽力防止华纳的收购。

This is rejected by people close to EMI.

百代内情人否认此说法。

However, EMI’s decision to drop copyright protection does make an acquisition by Warner more difficult, says one music industry executive.

但百代放弃版权保护技术的决定使收购华纳更困难,一位音乐界管理人士说。

“You can’t have a merger between two companies where you have one company with a DRM-free strategy and the other which doesn’t,” says another.

一个公司有数字版权保护而另一个没有,怎么能合并在一起呢,另一为人士说。

Analysts were unsure yesterday what the agreement meant for EMI in terms of revenues. Alice Enders at Enders Analysis, the media research company, says as the consumer will be paying more for a high-quality DRM-free track, this should, theoretically, push up the wholesale price and hence the revenue for EMI.

分析家们不确定昨天达成的协议中,收入条款对百代意味着什么。媒体调研公司的Alice Enders在其分析中说,从理论上讲,若消费者为高质量没有数字版权保护技术的音乐支付更高,那么应该推高批发价格,从而提高百代收入。

However, it is unclear whether consumers would be attracted to a DRM-free track at a higher price even if it is billed as higher quality.

但消费者对高质量高价格的无数字版权保护技术的音乐是否感兴趣还不明朗。

The other recording “majors” are sceptical about EMI’s move and are more concerned about the long-term implications of removing copyright protection. “When people are stealing cars, you don’t start taking the locks to stop that,” remarks one.

其他主要唱片公司怀疑百代此举,更加关注取消版权保护技术的长期影响。

All the big record companies have been experimenting with DRM-free tracks, but research about future revenue implications and consumer behaviour have been inconclusive, says one music company executive.

所有大唱片公司开始试验出售没有产权保护技术的唱片,观测对未来收入的影响以及消费者行为的变化,但相关研究还没有定论,一唱片公司管理人士说。

While the EMI agreement may have seemed a good PR move for Apple, as it is facing complaints from European consumer groups, the other music companies are irate that the agreement lets Apple off the hook from sharing its own copyright protection system Fair Play.

对苹果来说百代的协议看起来是一个很好的公关举动,因为他面对欧洲消费者的抱怨而做出此举。而其他唱片公司很愤怒,因为这份协议使苹果脱离产权保护系统下的公平竞争。

Apple has been under pressure to share Fair Play, but the latest deal puts the pressure back on other record groups to follow EMI’s suit.

百代处在要求公平竞争压力之下,但最近的交易又把压力推回给步入百代后尘的唱片公司。

1 Comment »

  1. 1
    安楠 Says:

    没想到我的英文居然退步到如此程度,好不容易想出一个词来用,竟然不回拼写!!!!


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