Charting the Trajectories of Music Piracy

Ngan Thoai Trinh
Communications, Concordia University
September, 2006
 

Abstract

This study focuses on how the expanding market for pirated music in Vietnam has
led to transnational flows of texts and genres, and to changes in how the state, music
companies, pirates, and consumers deal with one another. Using theories put forth by Roger Wallis and Krister Malm (1984) and Shujen Wang and Jonathan Zhu (2003), the
goal of my research is to identify major technological, economic, and organizational shifts taking place within the distribution and consumption of compact discs (CDs) in Ho Chi Minh City. This work suggests that Vietnam operates outside of our traditional
understanding of the music industry or cultural flows. Unauthorized music products are
helping to create a demand for all types of music in Vietnam and this begs us to question whether piracy is as negative for this country as previously thought. This thesis argues that the piracy in HCMC is a rare case of defiance and triumph over major global corporations. This study explores the magnitude of international copyright conventions, intellectual property rights enforcement, the structure of the domestic industry and the
high profitability and affordability of piracy. Using a qualitative case studies approach,
this examination looks at the different political, legal and regulatory frameworks that
control the trajectories of music piracy in Ho Chi Minh City.
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