When the landscape changes, people really should adapt. I have no idea how much legislation was requested by buggy whip manufacturers to keep their industry alive once the automobile was introduced. But an analagous situation seems to exist where the music industry is concerned.
Record companies (represented most notably by the Recording Industry Association of America) are lobbying for legislation to prop up their outmoded business model. One target for them is Apple.
With the iPod and iTunes providing a powerhouse one-two punch for music lovers to discover and buy little known artists, the record companies are losing their grip on an industry they consider their own. iTunes now offers music without the evil of DRM — and in many cases they have dropped prices below a dollar a song. The inflation-adjusted cost is relatively lower than listening to a song on a jukebox (a perfectly acceptable way of consuming music forty years ago).
The latest attempts by the RIAA to stifle music lovers’ consumption of music is a proposed music tax (also previously proposed by the Songwriters Association of Canada) that would be placed on broadband providers (hitting you whether you download music or not). Prior to that the industry was trying to get ISPs to enforce copyright for them by shutting down users who were using P2P applications — based on flimsy evidence of whether the users were actually using P2P to share copyrighted material or not.
Of course, if this is allowed, the movie and television industries will have a precedent from which to demand their own legislation.
I think the saddest part of all this is that the artists get burned either way (the record labels exploited them in the past and they’re not going to see much money from content distribution in the future). Live performances and value-added merchandise or services seem to be the way artists will make a living, with distribution channels merely providing a form of advertising for their “product”.