Sounds like the terrifying headline of some dark future for all music lovers, but it's actually all true, right now! It is the reality of New Zealand's BRN>BRNT campaign.
The current campaign slogan of the RIAA in New Zealand has no vowels, which is to say it's designed to be um, cool. If you haven't realized, BRN>BRNT translates to "Burn and Get Burnt" - get it? RIAA's focus group wanted some hip moniker for a philosophy deemed necessary to instill in that out-of-control "15 to 24 age group" (and apparently vowel-challenged) brats (or should I say BRTZ)?
Many NZ music cds now have a red sticker right on the front clearly stating the $10,000 penalty for copying the CD. Some of New Zealand's most well known artists are the poster boys and girls lending a personal touch to the campaign's sub-slogan "Its A Crime Against Our Music".
OK, so the $10,000 is the maximum single penalty but there's the potential for $150,000 in aggregate penalties and up to 3 months imprisonment. I don't know of anyone who has been prosecuted under these terms yet let alone handed down such a penalty but still.....
How does $32.92 for Britney Spears' "Oops I Did It Again" sound? An album title the RIAA might benefit from profoundly meditating on should introspection ever begin to govern their myopic paranoia.
Americans have it easy...$9.99 is the maximum you'd expect to pay @ say, Tower. Maybe $18 on a new release.
So, in the current climate of piracy paranoia, you can be fined $10,000 for "burning" a CD in New Zealand while simultaneously a new CD will cost you $30 to $35!! Oh well, that's NZ dollars, not US dollars and with the $NZ worth only half $US, it's about the same right? Wrong. If you are receiving a wage or salary in NZ, you are earning $NZ, not $US. A Loaf of bread costs about the same in NZ as it does in the USA, in the respective currencies, and wages are not that different either, if not actually far lower in NZ.
Yes, well maybe the multinational recording labels are just trying to get back what they lose in the foreign exchange rate (half). But that doesn't figure, because even the local, completely home grown and produced New Zealand music on say Sony Music NZ or EMI NZ etc is also $35! Why they insist on making music less affordable in NZ than the USA is anyone's guess. Maybe New Zealander's are easier to push around. Apparently so, if the recent multi state price fixing settlement with the five major record lables is any indication (and which received little coverage in the media)...
New Zealand, beautiful as it is, (and overflowing with artistic talent!) has always dabbled in all kinds of socio-economic experiments, given it's cohesive society, small population etc (basic mathematics). It can make for a somewhat useful laboratory for other nations and coorporations to observe an ddraw conclusions from. I mean that quite literally, in all sorts of areas, not just music piracy. I challenge anyone to find a more draconian circumstance in the music publishing industry today. There are other approaches...