The emergence of the internet at the primary platform for digital media distribution has changed the balance of power between content providers and content consumers. The old P2P wars in which the RIAA waged war on the file sharing programs such as Napster seem almost antiquated in a new reality in which illicit digital media redistribution no longer depends on a centralized hub. When people can Watch Entire Movies on YouTube, Hear Music on Pandora, watch TV Shows on Rapidshare and tune in to what used to be exclusively Cable Shows on Hulu-- it's obvious that the balance of power between the distributors and consumers of digital media has been dramatically altered.

The challenge for content providers has been to use the internet without being used by the internet, but that may no longer be possible. Because the internet has too many distribution channels and any digital media can be redistributed along it in far too many ways. RIAA execs may actually miss the old days when their only problem was a peer to peer program created by a wise ass kid in his dorm. In today's world where affiliate revenues are used to monetize file sharing, piracy online has a profit motive, and that makes it far more insidious.

And content creators may have to accept a reality in which piracy acts as a promotional tool for their content. But content distributors have no such easy solution.