One of the biggest issues of the century, if we're to believe the movie and music industry, is the "piracy problem". People who download stuff from the internets without paying for it. Peer to peer.
The big players will tell you that sharing online equals stealing, raping and looting and that the original artists will have less money for their work. But: Through starting big awareness campaigns about that matter they also put themselves in the center of attention, and when you look a little closer you might notice, that the artists actually earn not that much and the biggest chunk of the money goes to their companies.
Over the past, say, 10 years or so, more and more new methods of transmitting contents evolved. But instead of using them and evolving alongside with them the industry simply shut their eyes and ears and started crying out loud whenever someone else did it.
Take the "old" mp3.com, for example: That page started as a plattform that offered musicians the webspace to present their music online. The site became so successfull, that the owners at one point (1999?) decided to share their profits: Each month a Million US$ was payd to the artists on mp3.com, depending on the artists popularity on the page. For myself this meant my music payd some of my rent back then, others really earned serious money. Actually some ppl got much more money from mp3.com than some of the "big" Artists got from their record companies. What happened? Did the industry learn from it and change the way they treat their artists? Noooo, they bought mp3.com, closed it down and reopened it without the payout. Problem solved.
Of course mp3.com had nothing to do with piracy, but take it as an example how the big players work and think. Rather than changing the way they work because a new platform arrives that promises new possibilities they try to destroy those platforms.
And if they do this with legal sites it's no wonder they go even further when the issue is copying movies or music they "own" over peer to peer nets (EDonkey, BitTorrents - you name them).
Now, let me tell you: I basically do understand that they (and some of their artists) have a problem with this. I do understand, that they try to work against this. BUT: The way they choose to do it totally disqualifies them as people I want to do business with in the future. Criminalizing people all over the world isn't a very good way to earn the public's trust. If they had chosen to target the "pirate big players", people who offer the biggest collections of illegal shares, ok. But sueing the crap out of kids that downloaded a few songs? Nah. Putting political pressure on other countries with different copyright laws than the US (See the piratebay case)? Nope.
The methods they choose make it extremely easy to judge the companies as greedy bastards. Well, of course they allways were, but now they practically are advertizing what big arseholes they are. And somehow I have the feeling that this might become one of the biggest nails in their coffin, if they dont get smart really really fast...
It won't be the downfall of all music labels. Some actually DO learn, usually the smaller ones. Over time, I assume, matters will change a lot. People think and talk about a "culture flatrate", for example. A yearly fee that is used for royalties and such things that would make downloading music or movies legal. Sounds like a decent idea.