First world problems: Denmark denied

Alan Duff

I never thought I would have a “first world problem,” but last week it happened. While I was perusing iTunes, I decided to look for my favorite Denmark pop-music band — and unfortunately, I could not find them. Panicking, I quickly went to Amazon, where I encountered the same problem. 

My international pop music was not available anywhere, but I was hopeful that maybe they didn’t like selling digital music in the same way that Jimmy Page doesn’t. Then an idea struck me, and I switched my iTunes nationality to Denmark. Within seconds I was able to locate a cornucopia of wonderful Danish pop music.

Unfortunately, my iTunes account wasn’t Danish enough and so, once again I was denied music, this time because of my account’s nationality.

There’s something very wrong with that. In an age where I can learn about news all over the world, use Skype to call almost anywhere in the world for free and download a television show off iTunes the day after it has aired, this makes no sense.

Why should my nationality limit my ability to buy and download music from some part of the world in this age of ever-expanding globalization? Clearly iTunes has the music and the rights to sell the music. Why they have made it impossible for fans of international music to legally obtain the music makes no sense financially. By making music from other countries impossible to obtain, companies actually encourage piracy.

Looking into the current predicament, I realized there was no organization dedicated to this serious problem that afflicts so many citizens who desire the best of Danish-pop, J-pop or Brazilian-pop, some other miscellaneous-pop or maybe even some ethnic music — each to their own really. Clearly, some laws need changing.

Even more dismaying is that there isn’t an organization dedicated to providing international music consumerism to all corners of the world.

There are many good reasons for an “Ethnic and Pop Music Without Borders” organization to exist. Diversity is always a good reason, as is the ability to communicate ideas from around the world in another medium while allowing the musicians to profit for their efforts.

I’m all for protecting intellectual property of an individual, but as long as they receive payment, why should a country’s border limit their audience?

The world is becoming a more connected and globalized place. And the world economy and the Internet are bringing all countries and people closer together, whether or not countries want to admit it. Copyright laws need to reflect this change from an atomized world to an interconnected world.

By changing copyright laws to allow more international exchanges, citizens from around the world could better understand each other’s cultures, forms of entertainment and maybe even some of their rationale.

The downside to creating new copyright laws that allow for international trade would benefit no one except for large corporations that seek monopolistic rights to the distribution of intellectual property, for their profit and not the artists’.

Hopefully our Congress will be able to catch up and see that the world is changing faster than they’d like to imagine, and that new copyright laws are necessary if they want citizens to continue to support legitimate forms of consumerism instead of piracy. Until then, I’ll just be hitting the replay button on YouTube.