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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Madonna claims Internet and copyright fraud is akin to terrorism

Madonna speaks out about copyright fraud
Madonna responded to leaked demos with early releases
By Andrew Reilly

If there is one thing that Madonna is extremely good at, it is generating publicity for herself. Ever since she burst into the mainstream pop market in the mid-1980s, Madonna has never been far away from the news for any of her actions. She has never been shy of taking imaginative steps or deliberately shocking people to ensure that all eyes are focused on her, which means that it is inevitable that some people will take all of her comments and activities with a pinch of salt.

The singer is preparing herself to launch a new album in 2015 but after a number of incomplete demos from her new album were leaked online, Madonna has decided to unleash some of the new songs from her album early. With the songs available to buy online from the iTunes stores, Madonna classed it as an early Christmas presents from her to her fans. It didn’t take too long for social media to point out that a real Christmas present from Madonna to her fans doesn’t result in the fans shelling out money to receive the gift.

There has also been a level of criticism aimed at Madonna for the language and tone she has used in discussing the theft of her music. Madonna stated the leak was a “form of terrorism” and “artistic rape”, both terms that were guaranteed to get Madonna into the media. These are evocative and emotional terms, and not everyone agrees that they should be used in conjunction with the theft of music, even allowing for the fact that this is someone’s livelihood at stake.

There is no doubt that while internet crime and copyright fraud are serious crimes, and should be punished heavily, there is no getting away from the fact that the vast majority of people will not consider them to be serious crimes, certainly not on a par with the activities that Madonna likened them to.

2014 has seen many celebrities suffer

However, there is no getting away from the fact that 2014 has been a major year with respect to privacy of celebrities and online crime such as hacking. There is still considerable fallout from the mass hacking and release of celebrity pictures and this has created a higher level of awareness about this style of crime. Many famous celebrities found themselves exposed to the entire world, which may have looked similar to the way that Madonna exposed herself to the world in the 1990s but of course, Madonna was in control of that situation. In the modern era, the celebrity is not in control of what people get to see or hear, and this is the issue that Madonna has the biggest problem with.

When you are an artist caring for your reputation and back catalogue, control is hugely important, and this is just as true for new material as it is for old material. Madonna may not be the star that she was in her prime, but she is clearly still a major draw with a loyal fan-base who will buy anything she decides to release. The leaking of material will cost Madonna money, but she will think that it damages her integrity and level of control, which is something that may have a bigger negative impact on the singer in the longer term.

Madonna’s new album is not expected to be released until March 2015 but in December, six songs from the forthcoming Rebel Heart release were placed on iTunes. She quickly found herself at the top spot in the iTunes charts in 36 countries, something which she described as a miracle, but something which most music observers and expects would have described as being expected.

With so much demand and expectation around these high profile albums, it is no surprise that leaks are occurring. Even the 2013 album released by Kanye West, one of the most eagerly anticipated albums of recent times, was shrouded in secrecy but somehow, tracks started appearing before the launch date. Many major artists have started releasing albums with no build-up, but only the biggest names in the industry can get away with this style of marketing. When there is a level of demand, there will always be people willing to carry out activities like internet crime or copyright crime, and the trick is for artists and labels to remain one step ahead of the criminals.

About the author: Andrew Reilly is a freelance writer with a focus on news stories and consumer interest articles. He has been writing professionally for 8 years but has been writing for as long as he can care to remember. When Andrew isn't sat behind a laptop or researching a story, he will be found watching a gig or a game of football.

Image: Scottie McPherson, "Madonna Confessions Tour at Wembley Arena Aug. 3", CC BY 2.0