France has a new anti-piracy law (“Hadopi” — not to be confused with “Hutaree”) that disconnects pirates from the Internet after three strikes. A recent study showed that French Internet users are doing less of the kinds of piracy covered by the law (P2P file sharing) and instead are streaming and using download services like Rapidshare.
That’s no surprise, but here’s the interesting part:
The survey also finds that 70 percent of all Internet users surveyed don’t engage in any type of online infringement. Far more users hit legal video sites like YouTube and DailyMotion (48 percent), or go to legal streaming music sites like Deezer (43 percent), or legal download sites like iTunes (22 percent) than engage in any infringing activities.
It’s self-reported, but I think it’s more-or-less true. Most people don’t steal music, even though it’s relatively easy to do. But we’re constantly bombarded by music industry propaganda claiming otherwise, which is used to justify all sorts of draconian proposals. For example, the original Hadopi law would allow disconnects based on three accusations of piracy. The law that finally passed at least requires judicial review.
There they go again. Just like the French to fuck things up for the rest of us.
All joking aside, there is plenty of free shit on the web. You don’t need to steal anything.
People stole music when they couldn’t buy it online in a usable format. Same with video. Sometimes the free market doesn’t work in the ways that the free market proponents prefer, but there it is…
Given the amount of time it takes and the threats of malware, etc., why would I want to devote my precious time and PC health just so I can watch Alvin & The Chipmunks 2: The Squeakquel for free?
I get all the porn I need for free from the internet. what more could a girl ask for?
So they think they’re too good to borrow English words, but they’ll still name things after Pokemon?
Ehhh… the treaty still being worked on by the U.S. and others (ACTA or some other weird acronym) is the real stalking horse. It’s a nasty piece of work and will further destroy what copyrights were originally intended to do along with broadening the types of searches exposed to at the border.
Just Some Fuckhead
I still think of pirates as the swashbuckling seafaring types with big hats and swishy accoutrements. I think it’s a mistake to confuse music trading with real piracy. How long until we lose “raping” and “pillaging” to the word liberals?
I think the record industry is fighting last year’s war. And they lost.
Going through my personal history, I remember dropping sum total of ~$3500 on compact discs, sold at that time for $12-25 a piece. Most of these purchases were made during my high school years. In college, I discovered Napster. Accumulated a lot of music, especially trending stuff (like the Gourds’ cover of “Gin and Juice”) but very little of lasting value. Went through a period of non-connectivity (It was great). Reconnected to an internet with services like iTunes (didn’t like that one) and eMusic (did like). What I couldn’t find in eMusic, I borrowed and ripped from the excellent public library system. More of a gray area but not explicitly illegal.
Now, I hardly accumulate any music, but I keep a low-level eMusic subscription going so that I can grab new things that I like.
I hope someone sees my point.
Maybe someone else can explain why this won’t work, but I’ve always wondered, why doesn’t the music industry just mess with the process? A couple of times I’ve downloaded something, I’ve gotten a bad file. It was not a file that doesn’t work for some technical reason, just something that, from what I can tell, was intentionally corrupted by screeching sounds or something similar. It was annoying, but then I just downloaded the same song from another source. Everything was fine.
But if I had tried this a couple of times and not had any luck, I might have given up on trying to get that particular song. If I had this happen to me several times, I might have been less likely to try to steal music.
Why doesn’t the industry just hire a bunch of tech savvy people who will send out files that don’t have viruses but are filled with loud noises and animal sounds or something similar? It’s might be hard for ten guys to keep up with others who are trying to put files that weren’t tampered with out there, but they could have enough success so that for most people, who are probably downloading a few songs a week, it will become sufficiently irritating that they will stop.
@Peter J: I get your point. Though, even if you buy into the “stealing” point of view, it still doesn’t happen a lot.
Sounds like the greatest threat to piracy is hulu
Someone needs to put that on a t-shirt.
Great thing about being a sysadmin; Full read access to 250 users’ iTunes folders.
The only infringing I do on public networks is soccer highlights. I can’t get Sky or BBC live and the shows are worthless once I look at Soccernet’s box scores. I used to snag a lot of games as well, but ESPN360 pretty much does for me these days.
The Moar You Know
@Brian J: They tried this. Turns out users, and “pirates”, are far too smart to be taken in by such shenanigans for too long.
You would need thousands – no way are the record companies going to pay for that. And they would still be beaten – those who are really into piracy go to trusted sites, and those trusted sites don’t allow people to upload non-reviewed, bad files.
Thank God I live in America where we behave sensibly about intellectual property right violations.
Wait, did I get that right?
Skreemr.com is a good (and as far as I know, legal) way to find free music on the Web. It also unearths some interesting music blogs.
I’m not gonna share my favorite pr0n links tho.
they’ve done that. but listeners delete those files as soon as they notice the problem, which takes them out of circulation.
@LarsThorwald: because movies are usually out on the net months before they’re out on DVD.
you don’t always have time to go to the movies, and many tmes you don’t want to wait 4 to 6 months for the DVD.
it’s also cool for catching up on episodes of a tee vee show. Again, the season is usually packaged into a DVD at the end of the season, but if ya forgot to record and the show isn’t available on Hulu or onDemand, and if you don’t want to wait 7 months until the DVD comes out, ya download.
yeah, but in the name of all internet traditions, you’ve got to admire a bloggish-vlog rebuttal that is in classical French poetry. Vinvin Smash!
NB: to the original run-through on HADOPI.
@The Moar You Know:
I figured it was something like that.
You know, IMHO, Apple is the worst with this crap. They have so many proprietary protections it was virtually impossible for my son to move his songs from his old ipod to his new one.
“we don’t know why this isn’t working for you.” I’m not the most tech savvy person but even I know when the shit is telling you “you don’t have rights to this” That’s a problem.
ETA: And yes, I know it was most likely user error.
Hulu’s no good if you don’t like watching TV on your PC.
that’s why i just torrented the first 6 Lost episodes from this season. we paid Netflix to watch the first 5 seasons, but couldn’t get caught up in time for this season’s start. but the new eps which have already shown aren’t available on-demand. they don’t run in repeats. they aren’t for sale anywhere except iTunes (again – i don’t watch TV on my PC). so, i grabbed em off bitTorrent.
i would’ve happily paid a buck or two per episode to watch them on our Roku box, or via on-demand. but that wasn’t an option.
so, fuck you and your idiotic business model, ABC.
I gotta say, I have a bit of compassion for those who refuse to not play by the rules. If someone was to take away my internet connectability, I’d be completely lost without it. Life just would not be the same, at all.
@Mike Kay: I wish I could remember who wrote a righteous rant (could have been our blog host, but now I am thinking it was Bill Simmons) about the fact the TV industry does stupid things like releasing the fifth season of Lost on DVD two weeks after the sixth season premieres so nobody is able to catch up on things they missed before the new episodes start. It is pretty much an invitation to find the episodes on the Internet somewhere.
I’ll bet the percentage of infringers was a lot higher before iTunes and whatnot. I have no issue buying a song I want for $1. But I didn’t have any interest in buying the song I wanted plus a dozen I didn’t for $15 or whatever on a CD.
That’s okay; I just pirate more to make up for their dead weight.
@Little Dreamer: I’m not sure why there’s so much sympathy for stealing from people whose work can be digitized.
I have no sympathy for industry groups, but I bet the tune would be a little different if all of the work commenters here did for a job could be compressed, digitized, and given away for free.
Just because you want to be “paid” for your “work”, I don’t understand why that means that other people don’t have a right to your labor for free.
Get fired once a torrent can do your job, and let’s see how the whining about piracy begins.
I’m a college kid with a family member who works in the music business, and, based off of my experiences, I’d like to respectfully disagree with the two main assertions made here: 1. That people don’t steal music and, less explicitly, 2. That the music biz is merely flooding us all with “propaganda” and that the consequences of piracy have been minor. I’ll just say that scores of kids I know illegally download music on a frequent basis, and that scores of people my family member knows have been laid-off in the past 13 or so years due to the deleterious effects of piracy on labels’ finances. Now I don’t doubt that piracy is hardly the only answer for the industry’s downturn – new media often means that the old media’s market share shrinks, simply from people no longer spending quite as much time using the old mediums as they used to – but I don’t think a self-reported poll regarding illegal activity should be treated as proof positive that the Big Bad Corporations are only pretending to be hemorrhaging money.
Well, I do have to admit, I used to cuss out Bob Seger on a daily basis for holding out his discography from the Rhapsody library, but, I didn’t decide to go looking for ways to get it for free.
@MattR: Yeah, theft is pretty much the only answer when it comes to not being able to see a television show in the most convenient way.
AIDS orphans in Africa and landmine victims in Afghanistan weep for how hard life can be for some people.
@demkat620: Apple never wanted the DRM in there. That was all from the labels. If you’ve noticed, over time, Apple has steadily convinced them to loosen up and they finally got to DRM-free with music. But they only have one protection scheme which is used for music, movies, apps, etc.
Did you look at this article?
About iTunes Store authorization and deauthorization
It’s hard because we have no prior experience with this kind of stuff. Once you know what to do, it’s actually pretty straightforward. The deauthorize all setting is in case the computers you want to deauthorize are no longer functioning.
As for moving the songs from one ipod to another, the system is set up so that you keep all of your music on one computer and the iPod gets paired with the computer. One computer can pair with multiple iPods. The proper way to manage it is just keep your media content on one computer, plug in the new iPod, sync it, and you’re done. The authorize/deauthorize only kicks in when you move from one computer to another, not one iPod to another.
If the music is scattered all over the place, or if the iPod is being used as the primary storage device (rather than the computer), then things get pretty screwed up.
Anyone here ever use Boxee? I was thinking of getting that.
@Seebach: you wanna shut down youtube?
cuz it’s full of copyrighted music videos, music, and movies. Yes movies, entire full length feature films can be found on Youtube and Google video.
@demkat620: While I share your hatred of DRM, Apple stopped using it. All the iTunes Store music is DRM free now.
@Mike Kay: I could live without it. I’m sure people who lack moral fortitude and self-control such as yourself would probably be driven to suicide if your entitlement complex was not satiated on a daily basis.
Not all bands are Metallica Lars Ulrich pricks. Some are small ones that need financial support.
@Little Dreamer: Yeah, fuck Bob Seger for thinking he has a right to say what is done with his music. He only wrote and performed it. God, I hope he dies in a fire.
peach flavored shampoo
The mother of all shaudefraud (or whatever that German word is)
@demkat620: did you try senuti?
See, I told you, user error.
Thanks all. We figured it out. Mostly him of course. Its scary how tech savvy and 11 yo can be.
French are so demoralized by their Communist Health Care system they can barely get to the keyboard which is impossible to use while not drunk anyways.
Wait not so fast there…
While I do think the industry exaggerates, there’s a demographic component: the kinds of people who download are the same group of people who used to do the most buying — college age kids and mid 20s, the time in life when people are most passionately into music.
Perhaps the people who say they’re not interested in “stealing” are also the same people who weren’t going to buy in the first place.
Who’s gonna provide the venn diagram on this one?
Tangent: we’ve got a problem that is defined at one end by unrealistic Music Industry types who think we can digitally lock everything up and at the other end by new-worlders who unrealistically believe everything should be free.
I now have a new name: I’m a seventy percenter!
Actually, if it comes to a gray area, those numbers would flip, and the small number would include folks like Grandma, who handles viewing grandkid pics but wouldn’t know a torrent if it bit her.
Back in the day, I’d run across a pirated copy of a piece of software, just to see if it was worth the ginornous price tag. That was when they didn’t have working demos like now; you were supposed to “trust” WordPerfect and such.
And being a coder, friend of coders, and a writer, and friends of writers and musicians and other artsy types, I’m fussy about copyright.
Even though the ways it is protected is more likely to annoy law abiders than slow down pirates. “Gee, isn’t that always the way?” she said while reaching for a tissue because you can’t freakin’ get decongestants that work anymore.
Does this Hadopi law apply to Usenet? Last I checked, the rivers of binaries still flowed freely.
@Seebach: Do you have any responses in this thread that are actually on point? Every argument I see from you is a strawman of some sort. In my case, I never said anything about downloading being OK, just explained why people might do it. (EDIT: Or more to the point, I questioned the wisdom of an industry business practice – a practice that would be stupid regardless of the piracy issue)
‘f course, a lot of my work could be pirated with the clever use of photocopiers.
@Brian J: I haven’t tried the hardware yet, but the software isn’t bad. You might want to just download the software on your computer to run it through its paces. The whole Hulu/Boxee battle makes me leery of dumping money into the hardware expecting that it’ll work in the future.
@different church-lady: Once you’ve had an argument with the Internet people who argue that everything should be free and that an author or artist has no right to their work at all, your position on this will change to be more like different church-lady and mine. I didn’t used to be such a jackbooted thug.
However, if you insist that you do have a right to this stuff, please post your job in this thread, so I can work on destroying your source of livelihood.
That sounds like it’d be in high demand among Republicans who listen to Liimbaugh or secretly crave the “alternate” lifestyle.
Here’s the thing that the record companies and movie distributors don’t seem to understand: most people don’t want to spend hours on the internet searching for a song or movie download that may or may not work when they finally find it. Most people would rather pay their 99 cents to iTunes and get the song quickly and easily.
Sure, there are people like my brother who really enjoy scouring the internet so they can find a movie in current release that some guy in Russia recorded from inside the theater using his cell phone, but most of us would rather wait for the DVD with reliable sound and video.
@MattR: I’m sorry then. I spend 80% of my day arguing with people who think piracy is a moral right. I get fucking defensive when I see my go-to blog start to sound like a sympathizer.
@peach flavored shampoo:
Well, of course they couldn’t, crazy wingtards don’t become professors of constitutional law in liberal colleges, those positions belong to the DFH crowd.
They should invite some of our Arizona state legislators, I’m sure they’d be happy to accommodate.
What battle is that?
I remember reading something about Boxee in GQ. I don’t mean to sound self-involved here, but I’ll be going to law school in the fall. I imagine most of my time will be taken up with school, but I’d still like to watch television, although perhaps not enough to pay for cable. If I am remembering it correctly, Boxee isn’t that expensive and can search the entire Internet for shows you like.
In case you hadn’t noticed, I said I never took steps to find his music for free.
I no longer have Rhapsody (can’t afford it currently, hope to again one day but not in my plans for the near future right now) but, I paid about $19.00 a month for the right to listen to and download their products, so it’s not like I was pirating anything.
Who pissed in your Cheerios, or was that snark and I completely missed it?
@Martin: Then explain why they require DRM on audio books even if the author/publisher doesn’t. Apple likes DRM much more then their apologists will admit.
@Seebach: you know who else “could live without it” — that’s right, Hitler!
It’s not just the TV industry. With family in the UK, I’ve bumped up against annoying restrictions in digital media. Was given an iTunes gift certificate from a family member in the UK. However, it’s not usable here in the USA. Nope. Has to be used via iTunes in the UK. Talk about cumbersome. The gift certificate still sits unused.
So much for digital media being convenient. Same thing happens with “zones” for DVDs. Can’t watch the ones from the UK without fixing the zone problem in the player.
@Seebach: don’t tell me you’re an IP attorney? Say it isn’t so!
@Little Dreamer: If I may try to coin a new phrase, I think we may have hit Seebach’s “Greenwald button”
@Seebach: I can understand that. My pet peeve is those who conflate BitTorrent with piracy. I have downloaded a ton of live music but it is all legal and done with the approval of the bands.
@Violet: I know many people who bought no-name brand DVD players because they dont have any of the zone restrictions.
if you ever want to become a total pro-IP pro-copyright zealot, all you need to do is to read Eban Moglen’s “let them busk for quarters” epistle published in the Nation a couple years back.
@MattR: and @Violet. Multi-region DVD players. Brilliant. Best money I spent even while being unemployed. And since when is Toshiba a no-name brand?
@Mike Kay: Or if you DVR it legally and the recording gets fucked up. Oh, cable, how I love to hate you.
But just how much has Greenwald’s PAC pirated?
It has potential, but let’s see what the other entries are, shall we?
@Mnemosyne: I bought Left 4 Dead 2 when it came out and still haven’t played it. In spite of the fact that I purchased the retail DVD version, every time I try to install the game, it goes to download all the files from Steam–over dialup.
The punchline to this is that while I was trying to get it to work, I was trawling Google to see if I could find any helpful suggestions–and it turns out that the pirates have already cracked the damn game and can play it from torrents just fine. Makes a great argument for buying the game, eh?
I’m a square. I pay for most of my music. I get it from Lala.com though, which is cheap. Although, since it was recently purchased by Apple, it might not even exist after a little while. Lala is cool because you get to listen to whatever you want 1 time before deciding to purchase. You can also purchase an entire record that you can only listen to digitally for like a dollar. I do that a lot. If I like the whole thing I’ll turn around and get the full mp3 download. This is a great resource for record-centric listeners, i.e. me and 12 of my friends.
My first thought on seeing that name is that it sounded like what happens if Ryu from Street Fighter throws a fireball into a Native American.
Anyway, if Hadopi is an acronym for “Haute autourite pour la Diffusion des Oevres et la Protection des Droits sur Internet” shouldn’t it actually be Hadopdi? Stupid government acronyms…
@Little Dreamer: How about if we modify it to “G spot”?
@Mnemosyne: I don’t know if it will take off, but I think Mark Cuban has the right idea with his business model – release something to the theaters, on demand and on DVD all at the same time.
(Unrelated Edit – I just want to add that I love the fact that vinyl is gonna outlast CD’s as the way music is sold on a physical medium. )
@Mike Kay: Nope. Just a fan.
I don’t believe law is a “real job” because it only deals in “ideas”. There’s no such thing as intellectual property. Only physical things can be property. Ergo, lawyers and people who work in ideas don’t deserve to be paid. They should get a side job if they want to support their law hobby.
Seriously, try arguing with fuckheads like that for a week or two, and feel the jackboots slide on easily.
It’s not stealing if the supposed “victim” is left with everything he or she had at the start.
@Seebach: How do you feel about someone who “pirates” digital versions of music they bought on vinyl?
80% of your day? Dude, you need to get a life, or go get laid or something.
@MattR: No, I understand some artists do want to give away their work for free, for publicity or just for the love of sharing their talent. And it is their moral right to do so.
However, when an artist says “you can’t do this with my work”, and the so-called fans say “We have more of a right to your art than you do”, that’s when I feel the French law doesn’t go far enough. The real penalty for 3 strikes piracy should be immediate job termination, and the condition that the only jobs you can get in that field will be free work for life.
So, for instance, if you were a web designer, you are required to work as a web designer for free. Maybe you can work at McDonald’s on the side if you want money for “rent”, or “clothes” or “food” or such decadent pleasures. Or, you can go into a field you hate or that pays less.
THE BIG RECORD COMPANIES SUCK!!!!
Now that that’s out of the way, in what other area would a 30% theft rate be considered a good thing?
I would be interested to see the demographics of that 30%. Maybe they’re all grouped around the same age and we can just wait for them to die off and then we can have intelligent discussions about intellectual property online.
Pigs & Spiders
As edmund dantes pointed out in @5, the real danger around the corner here is ACTA. This executive treaty, which Obama seems ready to sign, would be a huge step in the wrong direction. It would bring some seriously draconian IP laws to the international stage, and forget about judicial review. I have a long rant about ACTA here.
“It’s not stealing if the supposed “victim” is left with everything he or she had at the start.”
So, if a woman is drugged and raped…it isn’t a crime as long as she has no memory of it and the nonconsensual intercourse didn’t physically damage her?
Where’s my Rohypnol?
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Philips Arena, Atlanta, GA
Wed, Aug 11, 2010 07:30 PM
5 – 6
Price Level 1
Lower Level of Arena
Regular Priced Ticket
US $129.00 x 2
US $14.25 x 2
@Violet: Have you tried changing your country to the UK in iTunes to use the gift certificate? You do this in the “view account” window. I haven’t tried to do this though; you may need to have a credit card from a UK bank.
@stuckinred: While there are problems with all sorts of conditional stuff, and used goods, and whatever, I always just think that if you paid for the work, you can still listen to it. If I left my CD at home, and I want to hear a song at work, I can pull up you tube to hear it. Contrary to popular belief, the job isn’t to be a tremendous fucking asshole, but just make sure artists get paid. Fuck region encoding, too, as that’s usually the labels’ machinations. Pay the artist, enjoy their work. Or check it out from a library or other legal avenue, where at least a money transaction took place once.
@robertdsc: UseNet is the Somalia of cyberspace. Nobody’s ever going to be able to shut it down completely because of the way it works. But, at the same time, you have about a 50/50 chance of downloading a virus that will eat your hard drive as you do to download 2012. And no recourse because nobody’s in charge.
The music industry, as it works currently, still has no idea what it’s going to do about the looming threat of mp3s – no matter that MP3s have been around and available for over ten years. Well – I think that’s painting with a bit of a broad brush, but if you define “the music industry” as “the remaining major labels & the RIAA”, then I think there’s a case to be made. The rapid expansion of technology should be making the experience of shopping for music much easier and more pleasant. I think this is slowly becoming the case, but not to the credit of major labels.
My favorite website of the past year, Lala.com, changed this around in a way I love. You can listen to any album for free, but only once. I’m so glad that we’re finally out of the age of blind buying of albums. I think that particular hurdle was why so many people started pirating music. This is not to excuse what they’re doing – playing music is something I’m trying to make a living at – but simply to note that the ineffficiencies of the market produced that result.
I assume you are referring to “70 percent of all Internet users surveyed don’t engage in any type of online infringement.” when you say 30% theft. Edit: I meant to point out that not all infringing activities could be considered theft. See Seebach at 77 for an example.
Also, in what other area do people steal stuff then potentially go and buy it legitimately later? I’m pretty sure I haven’t done that with a lawnmower or a television.
@Violet: Regional encoding is important to support the artists, Violet. You should know that. How would you like it if anybody could sell what you do anywhere in the world for the same price? What if you didn’t WANT people in Singapore getting the same copy of what you do as the people in Santiago? Sounds to me like you want movie producers to be eating out of garbage bins outside the chinese take away. How dare you. I bet you steal food from prams, too.
@sherifffruitfly: I will remind you that before the commercial IP model, the primary way artists got paid was through patronage. Maybe we can go back to when the Catholic church funded all of our art. Maybe more child pornography and less Lost than you’d care for, but hey, you could get it for free!
There is a massive difference between “Work you did in the past” and “Work you are being paid to do.” I work in a field where the output of my work is digital files. I am not paid because of my old work; I am paid because of the new work I can create to fill demand. A web designer is not being paid for their old work; he is being paid for the new work he is creating on demand. In other words, if not being paid for something you made a year ago means working for free, web designers are already working for free, and always have been.
“Your work” for everyone else is “the activity”. No one has ever said that people shouldn’t be paid for the activity. For some reason, in very specific fields people have twisted “your work” to mean “the output of your activity.” If a singer worked on the business model of a web designer, they would get paid each time they performed a song or created a new song. Oh wait, that’s what they do – for live performances. Which is where smaller bands make virtually all their money anyway. CDs are a loss leader in most cases.
@sherifffruitfly: Exactly, which is why banks should be allowed to empty your bank account which is not a real thing anyway and if your employer decides not to pay you, you still have what you started with so too bad.
Pigs & Spiders
Fixed that for you. Demographically speaking, I think that makes a lot more sense.
Umm, I deliver newspapers, what exactly does my habit of pirating music (if I had one) have to do with my job?
Are you sure you are thinking this out clearly?
Job related activity that you cited, such as a web designer, shouldn’t be made to work for free, they should be made to pony up the expense to pay for the content or remove it and face civil penalties, that’s all and nothing more.
@Andrey: so when Yo Yo Ma performs, you think Murdoch doesn’t owe him any fee for selling copies of the performance?
@Jon O.: I do also want to point out that the market does have its problems, and yes, things do need to change to help consumers make educated purchases. But I think most sane people can agree on stuff like that. And some people do pirate music and then go along and purchase it, which I still find problematic…
You don’t go to a car dealership, steal a car, test drive it, and decide if you really like it, you’ll go back and pay, and if not… eh, you weren’t going to buy it anyway. The right way is for the company to offer test drives.
But then you also have scum like sherriffruitfly here. I’m pretty sure he can do the rest of my job for me.
This is similar to the problem I run into.
As a Canadian expat living in New York I’m blocked from watching shows in Canada because I don’t have a Canadian i.p. address. I can’t even use the Canadian version of iTunes unless I supply them with a credit card, from a Canadian bank, with the Canadian address (which I don’t have anymore).
The only way to watch is by bitTorrent. I don’t like doing it, but there isn’t any other way.
If these shows come out on DVD I always buy them because I want to support local talent. But when one is dealing with a small TV market even that isn’t always the case. Many good shows never make it to DVD.
The problem and solution are the same as with music; the best way to stop piracy is to create legitimate methods of accessing the content.
@rootless-e: What does Murdoch have to do with a violinist? Is this a reference I’m not getting?
@MBunge: He said it’s not stealing. Rape is not defined in terms of what it takes away. Theft is. Rape is not theft, theft is not rape.
Seebach: As someone who once made his paltry living in the biz I can’t say how refreshing it is to find someone else who shares my thoughts on this topic. Most of the internet entitled easily forget that less far less than 1% of working musicians and record makers have major label deals, most are self published or on small indy labels who treat their artists equitably. I always ask guy like mistermix here, what about all the P2P downloads from artists who fit the latter? If you take “The Evil Record Label” away from the discussion, would it suddenly become a taboo practice amongst the violators? I’d argue it wouldn’t, they’d find some other justification to take everything.
Being underpaid is a fact of life that 99% of working musicians must live with (the reason I’ve had a day job for years now that has now morphed into a ‘career’). I still find it amazing that any music fan would defend the practice of stealing music, or criticize an artist’s decision as to how he market’s his work. That it’s okay to take this stuff because the record label is allegedly ripping off the artist, like they’re doing the artist a favor buying downloading their work from a P2P site. If Radiohead wants to give it away, cool. If Bob Seger wants to deny Rhapsody access to his stuff, cool. If Led Zep want album purchases only that’s cool too. If a consumer doesn’t like that, they have the option that’s been mentioned here already: Don’t buy it. Don’t steal it either.
@Brian J: Boxee had integrated Hulu into their service and then Hulu blocked any connections coming through Boxee. It wasn’t terribly clear what Hulu lost by having users reach them this way, but the assumption was that since Boxee was aiming to be a media center PC gateway, that Hulu was taking issue with the TV being the primary viewing platform rather than the PC.
Boxee eventually got Hulu back in the lineup by adding a channel that goes through Hulu web rather than more directly. Difference? None. But there’s still some weird shit attitudes out there about how the content should be allowed to flow.
@Tony Alva: I worked in a “worker controlled” record store years, and I mean years, ago and we had a sign that said “we cannot guarantee you will LIKE the music you buy here”!
@Andrey: Murdoch has a media company that makes money selling copies of stuff other people make – or selling adverts around plays of copies. If Yo Yo Ma (who is a cellist, BTW) works and creates a performance, you seem to argue that Fox should be able to tape it and sell views/listens without paying anything to Mr. Ma. The idea, I guess, is that only big powerful corporations should own property and everyone else should be grateful for whatever wages they get.
@Little Dreamer: Piracy is basically a way of saying, “I don’t think you should be paid for this work.” This song is worthless to me. I apparently want it, really, really badly, but not so much to actually think you deserve anything for it.
So the Dante’s Inferno turnabout punishment would be a world where newspaper delivery is considered worthless. I’m not exactly sure why you think you should be “paid” for doing it. It’s fine if you want to do it as a hobby, but I just want that newspaper. I think I’ll take it. I’m not suggesting it as a serious proposal for France, though.
Look, I’m not disagreeing with you, but I really wanted to hear his music. Did I get to? No, because I’m not the type to steal stuff – but, I was paying for a service where I could get just about any other artist’s works in my library and I really wanted to hear a certain song – so I cussed daily that I couldn’t do so.
No real harm done, I just went into a daily “FY Bob Seger” rant for several months.
I guess if I contract with you to develop a web site and then use it without paying, that’s ok, since you still have whatever you had at the start of the contract.
@me: Really, you talk to the people that make these decisions inside Apple? I do.
Apple isn’t going to do this case-by-case unless the volume is there. The more variations people like demkat need to go through (and there are already too many) the more problems it creates. If the audiobooks guys all come to consensus, Apple will change it, but lets face it – that’s a pretty small market. For content that have other channels (music unlike iPhone apps) Fairplay only makes things harder for Apple. They’d just as soon dump it in those cases if they can get everyone on board. For things like the app store, it’s easier (and more profitable) for Apple to keep it, and they will.
OT, but for those who are concerned (and rightfully so, as am I) about the announced off-shore drilling plan, I provide this alternative take on it via an email Benen got from a Hill staffer:
I’m still not happy about this, but this rings very true and is certainly the Obama m.o. as far as pretty much every other issue we’ve seen him take on. And though I’m a bit of a tree hugger, I can see the point of this strategy and even applaud it, albeit with few “bravos” or “huzzahs.”
Edited to add link: http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2010_03/023133.php
It already is considered worthless – and for the record, people steal newspapers quite often (so often in fact that I have a flyer that I place in papers that go to customers who have recently reported possible theft of papers, notifying the thief that it’s against the law and subject to a sizable fine).
I still get paid for that delivery though, because the newspaper management can’t prove I didn’t place that paper there and I get paid by piece rate.
@Andrey: The reason you don’t get paid for your older digital files is that whatever your job is, isn’t a real job. Manufacturing is a real job. Medicine is a real job. You’re just jerking off and expecting to get paid for it.
Files, you see, aren’t like cars, or tables. You can’t “own” them. So you have no right to expect to be paid for this idea manipulation of yours. If you want to do it as a hobby, then fine. But you probably should get a real job if you expect money.
Okay, Audrey: let’s concede music, and pretend that being paid for a concert is sufficient pay. Let’s go to television, or movies. Other pirated products you can’t just “perform”. Where does the money come from to pay the actors, screenwriters, directors, etc if the movie is just given away for free? Maybe the Hurt Locker should go on tour?
Not just a “web designer’s” model, every other occupation in the free world. This point is my problem with the whole definition of “theft” in the digital age. Artists aren’t paid for their work, they are paid for their ownership of that particular way of sequencing bits.
For example, I’d take a busboy’s job – if I could bus a table ONCE and get tips from everyone that sits there for 36 years.
Screw the copyright-fetishists. I may not be a constitutional lawyer like Herr Greenwald, but I *am* a lawyer. Our Founding Fathers would be completely aghast that Art. I, Sec. 8, Cl. 8 of the Constitution had gone from “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” to corporate-butt rape perversion that is the Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 (aka The Mickey Mouse Protection Act.)
We’ve gone from a copyright term that lasted 28 years under the first Copyright Act of 1790 (when many of the Founders were still, actually, alive) to the Sonny Bono’s Widow Wants to Stay Rich Act of 1998 granted copyrights over a century. (Sonny Bono wanted copyrights to last “forever” with Jack “MPAA” Valenti offering up a “compromise” of forever less one day)
Notably, patents still only last 20 years. I guess it more important to incentivize the creation of more bubblegum teeny bopper vampire porn than the cure for cancer.
I’d also like to note that I think sales of MP3s has the potential to be one of the best events in modern music. No production cost, so you don’t have to pony up $1-$4 for every CD you hope to sell. Nationwide distribution is no sweat. People can take it with them. You can sell download cards at a live show, so you’re not stuck purely online. Artists can also get on services like iTunes, Amazon, and Lala independently, and get a royalty rate on downloads 3-5 times what they could expect for record sales through a traditional deal. Record labels and artists also have the option of including mp3 download cards with vinyl, making my personal favorite form of physical media (and the only one i see a function for in 20 years) untethered to my livingroom.
@Tony Alva: The issue that I have with is that the industry wants to have it both ways – they want to deny me ownership rights to the CD which would allow me to make an MP3 for use on my iPod and at the same time they want me to repurchase (relicense) music I already have a license to but in a different format. The movie/tv industry are worse here.
If the format is important, then it’s a purchase, not a license and I should be allowed to move the content. If the content is important, then it’s a license, not a purchase and I should have access to whatever format I want.
They can’t have it both ways.
@Little Dreamer: You’re still being music-centric. TV shows and movies and novels are also being pirated.
A novelist is only due to be paid for the writing once? From whom? Where does the money to pay the author come from? Are we using a patronage system again?
Or maybe the author just needs to go “on tour” so people can watch him write and buy tickets. Damn, that would make the job a lot harder for J.D. Salinger and Thomas Pynchon.
Sorry for the poor diction in my previous comment, working from an iPhone on a train…
And even then, there is plenty of software out there that makes managing multiple music libraries and moving files around. Just cuz you can’t do it in iTunes doesn’t mean you can’t do it.
Wouldn’t the corollary actually be that instead of paying a journalists for their writing, you just take it and read it? Newspaper delivery isn’t exactly equivalent to music. If you decide to go out on your own power and get your own newspaper, you’re not stealing from a newspaper delivery boy. You’re just doing his work for him.
@goblue72: Not all of us “copyright fetishists” are pro-corporate either. 20 years sounds fine to me. Mickey Mouse should go public domain.
But there are artists living right now, who could use support right now. They’re being pirated right now. I don’t know why they don’t get included in this discussion.
Do I just get to shoplift from Home Depot because the CEO is a prick? Or do any of the employees get to have any rights or any say? The world isn’t just you vs. The Man.
For some reason, screwing the corporation means screwing the little guy is also okay now.
@Darkmoth: Exactly. Why pay the ingrates anyways? They are lazy, parasitical, uncomforming, bums. Let them get out on the streets with a hat and a willingness to bow and beg. Fuck it. I’m sick of “artists” expecting to be paid. Also think about how banks are limited by rules that require them to give you money for some string of bits identifying your bank account! Screw that.
@Seebach: Or maybe being a Hollywood actor will just have to become a less lucrative profession. Maybe Jim Carrey doesn’t get to become a gazillionaire just by farting on camera. As the margins decline, the price paid out to labor (actors, directors, etc.) will decline.
Markets find their price. And artificially constricted markets which grant state-sponsored monopolies to select individuals (or corporations) find supra-competitive prices that only a monopolist can capture.
So cry me a river.
It only makes sense if this is what he wanted to do anyway. Yes, it’s better than what the Republicans were asking for…..but at what point is Obama going to determine that the public has seen enough lack of cooperation from the GOP that he can go safely go ahead and (temporarily, at least) stick exclusively to the Dem agenda (whatever that is)?
@goblue72: You know what else is unjust? Unions! Fuck that. Let’s let the market find the value. And physician licensing? Bullshit. Let the market decide the value of medical school training. Also.
@Seebach: You want to ignore what people are saying, that’s your prerogative. If you think that “you shouldn’t get paid now for something you did a year ago” is the same as “you shouldn’t get paid in the future for creating something”, I won’t be able to change your mind. If you genuinely believe that people against ridiculously long and strict copyright terms don’t differentiate between “making something new” and “making something once and getting paid forever”, you’re entitled to hold that belief. If you don’t differentiate between “Copyright is not an inherent right and we should limit this government-granted monopoly to a small number of years” and “No artist should ever be paid for their work”, go ahead and enjoy that perspective.
@Seebach: Actually, Piracy is about finding content in the package you desire at a price you can afford.
Rule #1 when it comes to this sort of thing. Nobody. I repeat, Nobody. Pays for content. I don’t, you don’t. Nobody does. We pay for the packaging the content comes in. We pay for the access, we pay for the convenience. But for the content itself, we don’t pay.
If you see a newspaper at a lunch counter, you don’t immediately throw it away because you didn’t pay for it. You read magazines at the doctors office. You’ll get a lend of a friend’s DVD. You’ll rent the hot new game at Blockbuster. All these things are ways we experience content, perfectly legal, socially acceptable ways, by the way, without paying the publisher/creator for it.
Half of piracy exists because the content isn’t easily accessible in a desired package at a compelling price. Full stop. (The other half of piracy, are a bunch of hoarders whose hobby is piracy in the first place. They’re not your customers. They’re not really customers or even consumers of anything. They’re lucky to actually use 1/10th of what they download)
We’re starting to see more and more services to provide the content people want in packages that are acceptable to them. Last.fm in the US and Spotify in Europe and iTunes all over do the job for music. Hulu in the US does the job for TV. Netflix with their Instant View feature does the job for movies. As these things become more common, and more acceptable to the citizen, you’ll see usage of them go up and piracy rates go down.
Which in the end doesn’t matter all THAT much because people are still consuming content while paying far far less than what content creators think it should be worth. In the end, it’s all “piracy”.
Content..or a better word for it..Culture, in our society believe it or not is something that everybody feels that in one way or another they are entitled to. This is the overwhelming majority view.
I’ve never objected to paying for content; I have no beef with the idea that creative types should be able to buy food and clothes and get their pianos tuned once in a while.
My beef has always been with the distribution infrastructure. I should only have to pay once, and once I pay, I should be able to seamlessly move content to or from any device I own.
@Seebach: Yeah, I think we’re mostly in agreement here. I’ll confess that I did some downloading in my college years, but at this point “test drives”, as you say, are becoming more available. I think, to more clearly word what I was getting at above, that music piracy largely exploded as an unreasonable solution to a reasonable problem – namely, that of “blind” purchases, inflated music costs, and a desire for a la carte song purchases.
How do we get that genie back in the bottle? I have no idea, but with the way this has been handled, I think the business model that requires musicians to go through a major label for financial stability is coming to an end. I would cheer that on, to be certain – if I knew what was coming to replace it.
Heh. The bank example isn’t really the same though. the account has no intrinsic value. The upper value of the song-bits is damn near indefinite.
And sure, it’s a neat counterexample to pretend artists should get paid nothing. Clearly that’s foolish. But it ignores the fact that their work must have an upper limit on value.
You guys should talk to someone in a band. Not the “The Rolling Stones” type ban, but the kind of band that tours and maybe gets their songs on commercials and “One Tree Hill.” They could give a shit about piracy.
While it may be a different story in TV and film, the vast majority of bands have never made shit from selling CDs. They make money by touring, selling merchandise and licensing their song to ad agencies and TV/Movie productions. Income from the sale of CDs is beer money, if that.
Take a look at this story about a band with radio play’s “royalty statement”. Or take a look at Steve Albini’s famous rant about how the music industry rapes its talent with dishonest accounting.
There’s an honest argument to be made about the destructive effects of Internet piracy, but it’s not an argument to be made about music. CDs have become a promotional item advertising a product, not the product itself.
The actual working musicians I know like piracy. It allows people to listen to them in places where they are going to play, people who probably wouldn’t go out and buy an album out of curiosity. They like that more than they do the pittance they’d get from their record companies for a CD sale, because those pirates will go out and pay to see a band they like play live. Those shows are how actual working musicians get paid.
@Martin: Looking at how Apple treats developers who write apps for the iPhone the idea that they will willingly give up control over anything seems unlikely. After all, they only dropped DRM on music after the entirely DRM free Amazon music store launched.
@Seebach: With a 20 year copyright, there would be a heck of a lot more product in the public domain. The leeches that are corporations like Disney or the leeches that are the families and estates of authors/singers/etc. would find that they actually had to go out and make stuff (or get a job) than live off returns generated by a state-granted monopoly. They’d find it necessary to find a new, likely lower, price for whatever new products they generated. With lower prices, the incentive to pirate would decline. Likewise, companies like Disney or EMI would become less profitable – imagine a Disney where the bulk of the library was in the public domain – which in turn would significantly loosen their stranglehold on the entertainment industry.
And yes, performance artists might be forced to rely primarily on their own proceeds from live performances – just as they survived for millienia prior to the creation of recorded sound, moving pictures, etc. There’s no natural law that says Metallica and Madonna have to be rich a-holes.
These things are NOT disconnected from each other.
That’s what distribution companies are for. I don’t have any knowledge of how that business works, but I’m sure they have schemes to figure out how to get payment for those works through promotional appearances and such (an author doesn’t have to write a book in front of an audience, the distribution company just has to promote appearances and have a vehicle to resell the original work).
Look at Disney, they are still selling movies that were made 50 years ago, they’ve got it figured out. They have to control when the product is sold so that the demand rebuilds (childrens classics good business model, parents want their children to see Fantasia or Alice in Wonderland since it inspired the parents as children). Alice in Wonderland is a good example, set to be released now at the same time that it’s coming out in a feature film directed by Tim Burton, and starring his girlpal Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen.
That’s kind of the point — when the companies make it harder to use their product legally than it is to download it for free on the intertubes, people are going to download. If you make it quick and easy for people to buy the product legally at a reasonable price, that’s what people will do.
E-books are what’s driving me nuts right now. Really, you people expect me to pay the hardcover list price for an eBook when I could buy that same hardcover for 30 or 40 percent off at B&N or Amazon? Are you fucking insane?
Publishers and record companies have forgotten the value of having a back catalog — basically, people will pay $5 for a CD and if they like what they hear, they will buy more. If you charge $12 for that CD, not only do they not buy it, they don’t buy any of the other CDs (books) by that artist, so you actually lose sales that you could have had if your pricing scheme wasn’t so effed up.
Well, I certainly remember him during the campaign say that he believed we should be producing more oil domestically. And, really, the only way to do that is through more off-shore drilling.
I’m a utopian dreamer when it comes to oil and its by-products. Which is why I have to say that the more pragmatic realist in me says that this is probably the best we can do for now (since we DO need to produce more domestic oil as we try to break our dependence on it altogether) and if it produces the political benefits the Hill staffer mentions, it is a step in pushing forward the Dem agenda. You know, wins for Dems, however they come, are good for the Dem agenda.
@Will: What you have outlined is pretty much my experience as a music consumer. Most of the new music I get is via bittorrent. I’m not about to pay $10 for a CD from a “band of the moment” that there’s a good chance I won’t be listening to a year from now. But it does get me listening to an album I would have otherwise had a less than 5% chance of listening to otherwise. And if I like their music, I then keep an eye out for the next time they perform in town.
Course, I don’t listen to corporate arena pop/rock, so what do I know.
@Karmakin: I’m so sorry you feel that “content” is inherently worthless. It’s a shame, because “content” actually did take time and money to create.
@Jon O.: I don’t think that the genie does go back in the bottle. Piracy will be a fact of life until the internet fails. However, right now, I’d just be satisfied for people who say things like “content has no value” to be treated with contempt.
I guess the investment in content creation is the only capitalist investment that doesn’t deserve repayment. I guess the ideal is in the past, when the idle upper classes and aristocracy were the only ones who got to dabble in art.
It’s already here. And from what I’ve seen, it’s an improvement on what has gone before.
You have fewer blockbuster multi-millionaire bands. Instead, you’ve got a lot more musicians making a living playing music. No one gets rich, but it is quite possible to produce professional quality CDs at a home studio, put those up on the Internet and get shows.
From there, it’s much easier than it once was to build the type of career that doesn’t make you rich, but does allow you to make the equivalent of a middle management salary as a working musician. One of the main reasons it’s a lot easier because you don’t have an entire industry that exists to divert profits from the musician to that industry’s executives.
What precisely do you believe motivates ad agencies and TV/Movie producers to PAY license fees?
@Little Dreamer: Yes, Disney has it figured out. They paid for an army of lobbyist to buy off Congress and get the copyright extended for them another 20 years, as the copyright for long since dead Uncle Walt was set to expire in 1998.
There’s nothing magical about earning supra-competitve returns when granted a state-sponsored monopoly. Which is what a copyright lasting over a 100 years is.
“Was given an iTunes gift certificate from a family member in the UK. However, it’s not usable here in the USA. Nope. Has to be used via iTunes in the UK. Talk about cumbersome. The gift certificate still sits unused.”
Seems obvious to me. They are encouraging you to visit them. :-)
Remarkably generous of you. they work to make something that you want, but won’t pay for. You steal it and then “keep an eye out”. I’m sure they’d be grateful.
Well, have fun fighting that war. I’m going to have to pass. It’s not that I don’t agree with you, there’s just so little time and I really can’t spend the energy getting on that bandwagon – so I’m there for you in spirit, but, you’re gonna have to fight that one on your own (without me), sorry!
Copyright laws are what they are, I don’t write them and I’m not about to waste my day getting emotional about them. That’s YOUR war, not mine!
I must hang out with a bad crowd! I don’t think I know a single person who has paid for music in the last 5 years. Most of them are musicians too! Many of them make a good living at it too. Album sales are how record labels and major acts make money. For small bands, its ticket sales, merchandising, licensing, etc.
I don’t think piracy is morally right, but on a scale of moral wrongs, I’d trust a pirate over a salesman any day.
software publishers are much more vulnerable to piracy than musicians or TV shows. a musician can still play live shows, a TV network can still broadcast and sell ads/subscriptions. the only other way for software publishers to make money is to sell support – and well-written software doesn’t need all that much support. software companies have been dealing with piracy for as long as there’s been computers.
but, there are no Sony or Warner Music Groups in the software world. there are no middlemen whose business depends on controlling the flow of product from producer to consumer. and therefore there isn’t much in the way of lobbying for laws which protect software companies from piracy – at least nothing like what music, movie and TV companies get.
Yep. The last thing I torrented was a Smallville episode (stfu, hubby likes it) I’d legally DVRed. Somehow the sound was off so no one’s voice matched up. I couldn’t get it at the CW website. I could buy it for $2 at iTunes, but I don’t have an iTunes account and I’d already paid for the fucking thing considering what they charge me for cable and the DVR. So I torrented the damn thing and got it in glorious, commercial-free hi-def.
@Seebach: Actually I think content (AKA culture) has basically infinite value. It’s priceless.
Try reading what I read.
Maybe it was TL;DR.
In short, we pay for the package, not the content itself, as evidence with all the perfectly legal, free socially acceptable ways to experience content without you yourself paying for it.
For what it’s worth, I’m in favor of a zero-tolerance copyright lasting about 2.5 years and then it goes into the public domain. That seems like a good compromise to me.
@cleek: Which is interesting, since so much of software these days is freeware/shareware, or at least has a free/shareware component.
@goblue72: I agree that people living off of work they did more than 20 years ago are pretty much leeches, more so if they’re just the rights owners.
But just because Metallica and Madonna are rich a-holes doesn’t mean you get to screw them so hard that a musician who can’t quit his job because he’ll lose his health insurance, and who wants to sell some CDs to help finance a tour and get his band known gets to be fucked over as well.
That really makes you an asshole. You want to enjoy creative people’s talents, and yet you denigrate the act of creation. If music is so worthless, stop listening to it.
Sounds like they should allow for some kind of conversion so they don’t lose a potential new customer.
As someone who on occasion avails herself of the generosity of the Internet, I’d like to mention two things. 1) I’ve discovered a lot of artists via file-sharing that I might never have heard of, and 2) subsequently turned around and purchased CDs/concert tickets/etc. from said artists (as well as more established artists I like). Since this never would have happened without the initial “theft” of their work, I think the artists do derive some value from having their content at large on the Internet, whether it was intended to be so or not.
Of course, services like Pandora and Hulu are having an effect on my behavior; now I can be exposed to new things without having to pay for them upfront. Then I can choose whether it’s worth buying or not.
Except that the outcome has been the exact opposite in music, which is still the overwhelmingly most pirated art. Piracy has actually greatly benefited the average musician, as it has reduced the power and importance of the distribution industry.
Venues that a decade or two ago would have booked only acts signed to a “name” label can now get shows through their MySpace page. As technology improvements have made home studios and publishing competitive, the only difference in product between the average dude and Time Warner is the corporate marketing department, and the ability to give away free music on the Internet blunts even that.
So, in the one case we have on record where piracy has legitimately financially devastated an industry, the average working artist has actually benefited financially and artistically. That certainly blunts the “you are stealing from your idols” argument against piracy.
The end of a major corporate industry is not the same thing as the end of an artistic endeavor. As we’re seeing with music, it’s quite possible for the industry’s death to actually invigorate the artform.
@Karmakin: This is an excellent point. I’ll admit to being the occassional user of ye olde bit torrent – primarily for (a) indie music – which, quite, frankly, most indie band members I’ve known have no problem with – they just want people to listen to their music and go to their shows, and (b) recent movies/TV shows b/c there is no way in hell me and my girl are regularly going to shell out $20+ regularly at the local cineplex for what half the time is a “meh” product.
However, with the growth of OnDemand, I’ve definitely found myself just watching recent TV shows/series on OnDemand or buying a 24hour “rental” of a recent movie. At this point, my main use of Teh Bittorrent is for series shown on HBO or Showtime – and if those morons would actually sell their episodes On Demand for, say, a buck for a half-hour or two bucks for an hour ep (based on the $4-$5 a pop the movies on demand usually go for), then I’d pay for that too.
Problem is, the monopolists want to keep their supra-competitve gains. So they will use their resources to get the wheels of the state to go after those who challenge their monopoly. Its what monopolists do.
Corporations will never be able to freely pirate material. They have too much money and are too visible. Any argument that equates piracy by individuals with infringement by companies ignores the way the world actually works.
“the looming threat of mp3s ”
Are you referring to the fact that all mp3s sound like crap?
@Karmakin: I did read what you read. Usually, in all other debates I’ve had, the “nobody pays for content” partisans do say content is without value. My assumption, my mistake.
Although, if nobody pays for “content”, I don’t understand why I can get a 50-pack of blank DVDs for $20, but buying a DVD of the Godfather costs $15. Is the plastic case and printed paper really worth $14.60?
Of course it deserves repayment. The question is how much. The fact that copyright expires at all is society’s recognition that the content or IP isn’t fully owned by the creator. There’s a sort of eminent domain at work, society’s right to that content.
Look, once you make copyright expire at 30 years, or whatever, you are simply assigning an arbitrary maximum payment to creators. Key word being “arbitrary”. It’s like that old joke where the punchline is “We’ve already established what you are, now we’re just haggling over price”. We know society ultimately owns all creative works, we’re just haggling over when these works are confiscated.
And yet you have people arguing in this very thread that those bands should not have the right to license their song once they create it. Anyone should be able to come along and use the song in any way they please without compensating the band. After all, they make most of their money by touring, so why would they be upset to turn on the TV and find out that their song is being used in a commercial without any payment to them?
That’s where the absolutists get weird, and those are the people that Seebach is (rightly) pissed off about.
Very true, and I think this accounts for much of the rise of subscription-based gaming. Most of the big money is being spent developing MMOs.
Yeah, I’ve got a multi-region DVD player, but it’s stupid to have to do it in the first place.
Apparently this doesn’t work. Plenty of posts online with people frustrated by the same thing. Apple is stupid for doing it this way.
This is the main issue. I could use a UK proxy for the IP and maybe get it to work, but the whole thing is stupidly complicated, so I haven’t bothered.
@Martin: I think Seebach said it best. If you’ve purchased it, enjoy it. Rip it to iTunes. I don’t think it’s that complicated a moral discussion. I won’t argue or defend historical label fuck ups and over reaches, but what I beleive Seebach and I are addressing here is wantonly stealing music with no intention of ever paying for it. There are plenty of ways to hear music before purchasing. It’s hard to believe the legitimate methods of purchasing music online could be made more simple IMHO. AND although, it’s certainly debatable, I don’t see .99 per tune as that unreasonable really.
@Will: Bingo. If the end of the corporate monopoly over content ends with the result that for every overpaid Madonna (and her ever more overpaid record label), we instead gain a hundred modestly paid Morning Benders or Dum Dum Girls, then we’d all be a lot better off. And better entertained.
Did you read what I wrote. The musicians I know – i.e. touring bands from the N.Y./D.C. areas – fucking love it.
Small bands have never made money from CDs. They make money from touring and T-shirts, and the label bills them for the cost of promotion and manufacturing and recording the CDs. If you read those links, you’d know that labels cook the accounting so that all but the biggest bands never make back their advance.
Today, bands can record a CD on their own dime. If a kid downloads that CD because he saw a poster for a coming show, likes it and goes to a show alone or with a friend, that band has made more out of that CD than they ever would have by straight out selling it.
Working musicians love piracy. They weren’t planning on making money from CDs anyway, so it’s just promotional content that does get them money by widening the group of people who have listened to their music and are willing to see them live or buy a T-shirt.
@Will: I hear this a lot, but it’s always lacking in specifics. Will be more convinced when you:
1) Tell me how many musicians you are personally acquainted with, and if they share these exact same thoughts on piracy.
2) Tell me the proper response if a band posted on their website “Please don’t pirate our music.”
@Jon O. Well said…
@Darkmoth: In response to your final question. I think that most anti-piracy zealots would concede that “never” is not an acceptable answer. But I am not so sure that those who are pro-piracy concede that “immediately” is not acceptable either.
@Will: It’s not piracy if the musicians don’t object.
@Darkmoth: Actually, you have it completely wrong. Under the U.S. Constitution, the starting point is that there was no inherent right of ownership in the types of work product that we now call “intellectual property”. The only thing the author/singer/painter/etc. “owned” was his or her own labor.
Art I. Sec. 8, Cl. 8 of the US Constitution granted the power to Congress to grant, for limited times, a right of exclusivity in those products (the books the songs the paintings, etc) to their producers (the authors, the singers, the painters, etc.). It was, in essence, a temporary state-grant monopoly – a concept which would have been how it was understood by the Founding Fathers.
Thus, when copyrights expire, the public is not “taking” something from the copyright grantee. You can’t “get something taken that really wasn’t yours to begin with. You, the copyright “owner”, were just renting it for a period of time.
So here’s my question for the “shorten copyright” people on this thread: are you saying that copyright should be shortened to 20 years or 2 years after the creator’s death, or that all copyright should expire within 20 years or 2 years of the work being released/published?
Because if you’re saying the latter, you’re basically leaving people open to being robbed by corporations who can swoop in and use their work without compensation as soon as the copyright expires. Warner Bros. Records could pick up someone’s CD, republish it themselves, and take all of the money without having to pay a dime to the people who actually created it.
I know people have this libertarian fantasy in their heads where the only two possible actors are The People and The Government and any kind of regulation means that The Government is preventing The People from doing what they want, but the reality is that corporations will be the ones exploiting a lack of copyright protection and getting rich from it.
@Darkmoth: So then, can I at least get an agreement that there are actual pirates, people who do go out of their way to steal people’s work, never pay for it, and absolutely take pride in that fact?
Corporate scumbuggery always seems to overshadow the righteous rage people should have, both as consumers and creators, against the people who are literally nothing more than parasites.
Just because Mickey Mouse should have been public domain in 1970, does that make it impossible to just say “Yeah, stealing is wrong. That sucks. We really need to fight the corporations and their stupid mistakes that allow this to happen.”
Of course maybe I’m just too stupid to understand why Don Trump’s moral claim to real-estate his daddy left him or someone’s moral claim to a dividend payment from stock share ownership are clearly more valid than the rights of a musician or author who actually had to work at it.
@Seebach: Nope. It’s the access to the movie. It’s the convenience of being able to watch it whenever you want, and having a high quality copy of it.
My point is, if you wanted to watch The Godfather, you could get a lend of it from your friend, or you could get it out of the library (my local library has like 3 copies and I live in the hicks), or you could wait and watch it on TV or whatever.
And even though in all cases, someone has paid for it at some point, you haven’t. The actual difference between getting a dusty copy out of the library and watching it, and downloading a copy watching it and deleting it is basically zero.
My personal culture is video games and movies. Generally I rent most movies I’m casually interested in, rent pretty much every video game, maybe buy one or two new a year. I’ll buy used games and movies on sale. A lot. I can usually go to Blockbuster or Movie Gallery and get a sale on buy two movies get two free.
I don’t pirate. But my own personal culture economic activity really makes those markets very little. I’m in the lower income bracket, if I made more I’d buy more used.
But if those options, if I couldn’t rent movies/games, I WOULD pirate more. It’s simple as that. Going without the content isn’t an option.
Oh. And there’s one more interesting tadbit here. What about content that literally you can’t access. Even if you wanted to pay for it, you can’t. Frankly, in that case I see piracy as an unmitigated good.
1) I am friends with members of three working bands – two in Brooklyn, one in D.C. They’re part of the indie rock scenes, although members of two of the bands have sold music to licensing companies for use in TV/commercial/film work.
Not going to name them, as this isn’t their conversation, but their sentiments aren’t unusual. Do a little Googling or look at interviews at sites like Pitchfork. What they are saying is just the conventional wisdom in their world.
2) Not sure there is one. The horse is out of the gate in their culture.
The culture that surround those forms of music – i.e. rock/hip hop club touring – has embraced downloading fully and completely. There are enough hardcore music heads who look at their clubs’ schedules, download what’s coming, talk to their friends and go out to see the shows they like to make the free availability of their music pay off much better than the old “hope the label manages to get copies of the CD in the local record store before the show” style of promotion.
People who have been hanging around musicians long enough know that the old system sucked for bands. The industry sopped up tons of money, didn’t fulfill any of their promises for any act smaller than Madonna and then charged out the ass for the privilege of being on their label.
Internet piracy is actually a better financial deal for a band – free promotion in exchange for nothing – than the old industry style – get an advance that’s less than the cost billed for producing and advertising an album and end up owing money to a studio that didn’t do jack shit to promote your work.
@Seebach: I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention, but our country just passed a healthcare reform law that will allow mr. indierock musician to quit his job and buy health insurance.
And most indie musicians I’ve met recognize that but for the internet (and the file sharing that goes with it), they wouldn’t have a fanbase and wouldn’t be able to make a living touring.
Well-said. I think what we’re missing in the debate is some sort of theory as to how to evaluate the space between “immediately” and “never”. I certainly don’t have one.
I’d actually like to see an artist sue for infinite copyright, just so we could clarify the legal issues involved.
@Will: I have to agree and disagree. Small musical acts loved piracy 5-10 years ago.. If those acts wanted to get their name out, they still needed to have a physical CD which required a record label and/or significant cash. Most ended up signing with labels who erned the vast majority of profits on CDs so the band saw little. This is all what you previously said, and it explains why a band would not object to piracy that would detract from record sales but would add to touring numbers.’
But small bands are becoming more and more self sufficient; able to produce and distribute their “albums” online in mp3 format without needing a physical medium (as well as a decreased need for the promotion that labels provide). For these bands, piracy has a much more direct (and negative) impact on their bottom line since they were actually receiving money when people were legally purchasing the music.
Chad N Freude
I got here a bit late, but this article from today’s LA Times is very much on topic: Spain’s piracy epidemic has studios considering no longer selling DVDs there.
Quote:”I don’t think downloading movies for private use harms anybody,” said Juan, a 41-year-old engineer from Madrid who declined to provide his last name. He said he downloads five or six movies a month, including recently all six “Star Wars” movies. “It’s like exchanging a book with friends.”
Absolutely. Fucking-A. And if caught, they should be punished.
I may rail against the implications of the law, but I do respect the law.
Yes. It is.
Thanks for the correction. Really. But doesn’t that just put the “pro-copyright” position in a bigger bind? You can’t even argue that the artist owns the thing being licensed!
@Will: Your experience pretty much mirrors my own. Back when in my slightly younger, actively practicing attorney days, I used to provide legal services to indie musicians reviewing their record contracts and licensing deals. In exchange, I’d get comped at their shows (which was really more like a “gentleman’s bet” kind of arrangement, as a $5-$10 cover wouldn’t have exactly broke my wallet)
Those guys didn’t mind piracy at all – to them, it just brought them more fans. They made their money off live shows, T-shirt sales, CD sales at their shows, etc. Most had day jobs, but that’s the way it worked – if they were good enough, they’d get popular enough to go on tours and make a modest living.
@Darkmoth: Alright, you are then different from the people who post the soldiers raising the Iwo Jima flag stating “Keep the torrents flowing”. Because while it may sound like a straw man, those scumbags are out there, and I can tell you they personally titter with glee when an honest person talks about how problematic copyright law is.
@Will: I’ve read both those articles and am well versed in the mechanics of the old label way. The thing is the big label model is already long dead. Not much we can do about those who were cheated out of their publishing by the big labels, but all of that is changing now, rapidly. Small indy “labels” (more like music act management firms) are fastly becoming the rule and the equity split is much better. Things are balancing out a bit. Some acts will choose to give away tracks as promo devices, and that’s cool. It’s their right. Yes, performances have traditionally been where acts make more of their money because they’ve been ripped off on the recorded music portion of their deal. Again, it’s a lousy justification argument that says because CBS records cheated a band out of royalties on their CD’s, that stealing mp3 files is okay. How about Pete Townshend? He still owns much of his publishing/masters and is licensing it to TV and advertizing agencies much to the chagrin of many Who fans, but he’ll tell it’s his to do whatever the fuck he wants with it. And he’s right whether that be selling ice cream, or putting the tapes in a foot locker.
Okay, since we’ve gotten into the copyright discussion, I’m going to claim ignorance (I’ve never spent much time on this issue at all) but, I have a family member who produces a product that was once patented by the original inventor. The patent ran out and apparently said family member was just sitting there gnawing his fingernails waiting for the day the patent expired so he could pick it up if the original inventor let it lapse (obviously the inventor did let it lapse) – why is it acceptable to do that for patents and not for copyright?
If I’m pushing this discussion too far out in left field, I apologize, but I’m just trying to understand why one is okay and the other isn’t?
@Darkmoth: @rootless-e: If an artist sued for infinite copyright, they’d lose. They wouldn’t even survive a motion for summary judgment, on both statutory and constitutional grounds. They’d be like the crazy libertarians who sue that they don’t have to pay income taxes.
I don’t pirate music anymore (I totally did back in the 90s though).
But someone sent me 10 dollars credit for some site called Mp3Panda.com. So after a conversation with this person where they convinced me that it was not some kind of scam or a Kazaa/Limewire bullshit scheme, I set up an account and started downloading shit. I didn’t get any viruses, and I didn’t have to download software or anything. I just buy and download music. It is pretty sweet. The music is well organized, there is an enormous library, and the files are good quality.
The thing I am wondering is this: Songs are range from 5 cents to 20 cents. Albums are never more than a dollar. What in the fuck. Is this some little Russian kid selling pirated .mp3s from Volgograd?
Can anyone enlighten me as to the origins of mp3panda and the dozens of sites like it (mp3fusion, mp3fiesta)? Who are these people and why is their shit so cheap? Why do I love them so much?
the shareware/freeware component thing is just a marketing gimmick to hook people into upgrading.
everybody has a ‘free’ version which either annoys you with ads or is missing the one feature everyone wants. it’s a way to get your non-free stuff in front of people who want free software, and hope they get hooked. my company does it too. it works, a bit.
but really, our biggest challenge isn’t pirates, it’s freeware. there are dozens of free alternative to almost commercial app out there. the big exception is games, which, unlike utility / enterprise / productivity apps, can’t really be duplicated – so much of what makes a game these days is stuff like story and character – and it’s still uncool to make copies of other people’s stories. plus, games have a short shelf-life, so nobody would want to play your free Dragon Age: Origins knock-off by the time you finally got around to releasing it, three years after the original.
@Little Dreamer: I am no expert on this topic, but my understanding is that copyright works in a similar way. Once the the copyright elapses the art is in the public domain. The thing is that lobbyists have managed to keep getting the length of copyrights extended so that they now last for 75 years past the author’s death (IIRC).
@goblue72: Since copyright and patent law both come from that same clause of the Constitution, do you believe that those who invent something have no claims to ownership over it? (edit: nevermind. you pretty much answered this with your comment a couple below this)
Which reminds me that a federal court overturned/rejected patents on a couple of human genes at some point earlier this week. The ability to patent genes just seems creepy to me, regardless of the legalities involved.
Fair enough. Those same guys are trying to hack my World of Warcraft account.
@Darkmoth: I was probably being too summary in my attempt to outline the theory behind copyright law in the United States (which legal theory is actually historically different from copyright law in place in Europe when the Founder wrote the Constitution – who took an approach to copyright that was much more progressive, or even radical, than Europe)
Renting is probably the wrong way to describe it, as its not a tenancy which is being created. Rather, its ownership for a fixed duration, rather than ownership for an indefinite duration. With copyrights and patents, you get own your work product, but that ownership right is granted for only a limited period of time. In contrast, under things we could own under common law – like, for example, land – had a right of ownership for perpetuity.
@Will: Yeah, name one who wasn’t an established act under the old regime who will atest to that. As for invogorating the art form, what have you heard in the last 15 years that will be around in the next 20? It’s in the crapper and the worthwhile acts are suffering. That is a fact.
Creators aren’t being robbed by corporations today? That’s news. Whether it’s musicians or writers with crappy contracts or big coperations with armies of lawyers that steal ideas that other have created, it’s happening right now.
And yes, Warner Bros. Records could republish someone’s CD, but then another company could also do that, for less, and then another company could give it away.
BTW, another problem here, for those that want the death + 70 year copyright laws. How are these going to be enforced? Should the government check all digital communications? What kind of society would you want so that you can make sure that someone isn’t copying the latest Britney Spears album?
though he might be Chinese.
the music co’s would never allow their merch to be sold at that price.
I have no doubt that there is a hard ceiling on how big much money people can make on the new model. It sounds like you are talking about small labels that are trying reinvent the early days of the music industry. The new model has shaken things up enough that they’re able to get pretty big and slick, but the very things that gave them room to grow is now holding them back.
I’m not an anti-copyright fascist. There’s a ton of gray area, and I’m more than comfortable with there being different rules for individuals and businesses, in regards to licensing royalties. But the current legal framework is too restrictive and unenforceable, which has a lot to do with the way that copyright holders can buy support from the legislatures which define copyright.
Damn. Well, when my ten dollar credit runs out (500 songs later) I will go back to iTunes. I knew when I first saw the prices that that shit was wrong as hell.
But it was so good, I didn’t wanna be right.
@Mnemosyne: But if the copyright expires, why would anybody pay money to a record company for the CD when they could just download it off the internet? You’d have a small number of people who prefer to have the physical medium, but it seems they’d be just as likely to buy it from the artist himself at his website or whatever.
@Mnemosyne: Charlie Stross had an interesting post on the subject of e-book pricing, DRM, and the idiocy thereof in response to a column in the NY Times on e-books. He’s been doing a series on the ins and outs of the publishing business, so it all makes for interesting reading.
There’s more music being produced and distributed today than ever before in our lifetimes. There are thousands of scenes and styles flourishing.
Will most of this be forgotten in a few years? Yep. Music has a shelf-life and timeless music is a rarity.
But anyone who says that music as a whole is suffering today really needs to go listen to some new music. The industry is dying, but the art is flourishing. People who would never have been able to sell their music two decades ago are touring Europe, thanks to being able to put their songs on MySpace and Pandora.
Isn’t it possible that some people just want the exposure? Hear a song, listen to the lyrics, google them, find out who the artist was and the name of the song (of course, not all song lyrics are online, but I would hope someone wanting the exposure would make the lyrics and other info available to find) and viola! – the person interested in the artist can find information on how to purchase a copy?
Stranger things have happened (like Republicans rejecting their own proposals because a Democratic president is pushing them). ;)
It’s certainly not a kid. These operations are well-financed and professional. It’s probably a company, and the cynic in me says it’s probably their version of the mafia. They are essentially charging you for bandwidth, with a huge markup. They aren’t charging you for the song in any realistic sense.
Outside Russia, it would be considered pure theft. But since countries get to define their own laws, I don’t believe it’s illegal there.
@Darkmoth: Right. So, banning their internet access sounds like a fair deal to me, in theory. Of course, it’s all how it’s enforced, and it’s kind of creepy.
But “oh no the internet hacker scumbags won’t have access to the internet anymore” argument doesn’t get any sympathy from me. I think it’s hilarious.
That’s nice, but, honestly, while I enjoyed Pandora for a while 5 years ago, I was stuck listening to music I didn’t know while waiting for the songs I had queued to come up – I want to listen to what I want to listen to NOW, and that’s why I chose Rhapsody instead.
Pandora is great if someone wants to be exposed to a bunch of music they’ve never heard (and there’s a lot of good new music to be exposed to) but I’m more the kind who wants my choices to play when I want to hear them instead of waiting in line for them.
@MattR: The owner of a copyright or patent has no inherent Constitutional right of ownership over their work as a piece of property. All the Constitution provides is that Congress has the power to make laws which grant such ownership rights and then only for a limited time. As I may have mentioned above, its basically the constitution giving Congress the ability to grant monopolies that expire.
I think its interesting that we don’t get into these sorts of fights over patents – which have historically had short durations and today are only for 20 years. Yet its arguable that patents incentivize the creation of more socially useful goods – the cure for cancer and whatnot. Its corporate America’s continual lobbying of Congress to grant ever longer copyright periods (now over a 100 years) that has in part created this sense among the general public that copyrights are these things which people (and corporations) should get to own forever.
Little Dreamer, yes. Pandora is not so good if you are not trying to discover something new. I love Pandora for giving me something new that fits my taste. Shockingly enough, Zune has a similar feature in their software called the “Smart DJ”. I have discovered some really fantastic music that way (shocking, considering the nerds at Microsoft that are likely still listening to Spin Doctors).
Should people who gets arrest for speeding no longer be allowed to use roads? Should people who rob a grocery store no longer be allowed to buy food? If someone robs a gas station, should he be allowed to buy gas? etc.
@Little Dreamer: If they do just want the exposure, I don’t morally consider the free downloading piracy. It’s band-supported, so I don’t care what the law thinks.
Just pay the artist. If the artist doesn’t want payment for the song, enjoy it. If the artist doesn’t want payment for the song, but would like donations, donate. If the artist asks if you could pay 99 cents for each song, pay.
If people would just do the conscientious thing, consumers, artists, and lawyers could work together to get a workable business model away from the corporate monopolies.
But no, instead we get to hear internet diatribes about how it’s not fair having to pay for music, which plays right into the RIAA’s hands. You couldn’t create a better ally for them.
J. Michael Neal
My iTunes problem stems from my divorce. She left, and took the account with her. Now I have a ton of songs that I paid for that I can’t play any longer. It’s not even like she has most of them, because we have very different tastes. The folks at Apple said that was my tough luck; there’s no way to transfer them from an old account to a new one.
So, there they sit, unplayed.
The closest I’ve done to pirating is selling off CDs that I’ve ripped on to my computer. That’s as much about not having the space to store hundreds of them that have done nothing but sit in a box for years collecting dust.
Also, for anyone who has not had the pleasure to be in an all-information-should-be-free forum fight, here’s a summary:
I’d be OK with a criminal charge, nothing like a felony, but something with enough deterrent force to make you shell out 99 cents instead of pirating. Whatever happens to you when you shoplift, something like that.
I think the tough part is more catching people than punishing them. I suspect that’s why the RIAA tried so hard to make “examples” of people – they were looking to instill a broad fear of downloading in people who actually have a low likelihood of being caught.
@J. Michael Neal: Which is why the iPad is so totally awesome and handing the keys to the bookstore over the Apple will totally be awesome as well!
The thing about buying physical media is that a CD you bought is one you own, and it is yours forever. But since people had to “have it now”, they get DRM-riddled stuff that they no longer even own. Apple owns it. Amazon owns it. You just get to use it. Great job, consumers and pirates.
So because corporations are already ripping people off illegally, we should legalize it so artists would have absolutely no recourse when it happens?
An advertising agency could download that song off the internet, too, and use it in an advertising campaign without compensating the artists. I’m assuming you’re also okay with that, too, because you can’t license something you don’t have a copyright to.
The whole point of copyright is to prevent other people from making money off of your work without compensating you. It seems perfectly logical to me for copyright to end at the artist’s death — after all, the heir(s) didn’t have anything to do with the creation — but there’s something very wrong with the idea that people should be allowed to use your work for their own profit-making ventures without having to compensate you in any way. And that’s what you’re advocating.
Try Grooveshark. To the best of my knowledge, and some googling around, it is completely legal.
people who molest kids are no longer allowed near schools (except for Catholic priests!).
actually, good job Bill Clinton. he’s the guy who signed the abominable DMCA into law.
@J. Michael Neal: that sounds like an excellent country song.
goodbye to Willie
and Ray Hubbard too
now she’s left me
has done left me blue
well I’ve got a ton of tunes
about lonesome and sadness
and dreams that you lose
but the account
was in her name
and shes gone away
so I’m weeping in silence
the whole doggone day
I’m sorry. I think I’ve been living in Austin too long.
@cleek: Oh, I agree. And I’m sure the corporations would have had something else up their sleeves even without piracy as a justification. But the fact that everybody has to suffer now because somebody had to have a free Metallica album but didn’t want to pay for it sucks.
Mnemosyne, the difference being that what I wrote about is happening during the copyright period. And has happened for ages.
Sure, internet and computer makes it easier for people to copy music, but it also makes it a lot easier for a writer or a musician to sell their work directly.
BTW, any ideas on how you would want to enforce these copyright laws?
Cleek, while child molesters aren’t allowed near schools, they are still allowed near kids.
Part of the problem is that this extraordinary protection only applies to IP holders. Look at the dude who cut the Hope diamond. Shouldn’t he get paid everytime the diamond changes hands? What about the auto worker who built a 1966 Mustang. Should he get paid everytime the value of the car increases?
Most people have to charge for their labor including it’s expected future value. IP holders do not. This lets them bypass price mechanisms that would apply in normal transactions.
Artist and songwriter Janis Ian wrote what I consider the definitive piece on downloading.
“The Internet, and downloading, are here to stay… Anyone who thinks otherwise should prepare themselves to end up on the slagheap of history.” (Janis Ian during a live European radio interview, 9-1-98)
THE INTERNET DEBACLE – AN ALTERNATIVE VIEW
FALLOUT – a follow up to The Internet Debacle
Ha, I knew that was where that link was going.
@Darkmoth: that’s true. IP is the only form of ownership that has a moral basis. While the owner of real-estate or stocks or bonds gets a capital gain purely from the work of others, the original owner of IP had to do some work.
@rootless-e: Very well done, and extra funny since I was just watching some Ray Wylie Hubbard on youtube.
now would be a good time to link to Everything Is Free Now:
Everything is free now
That’s what they say
Everything I ever done
Gonna give it away.
Someone hit the big score
They figured it out
They were gonna do it anyway
Even if doesn’t pay.
I can get a tip jar
Gas up the car
Try to make a little change
Down at the bar.
Or I can get a straight job
I’ve done it before
Never minded working hard
It’s who I’m working for.
Every day I wake up
Humming a song
But I don’t need to run around
I just stay home.
Sing a little love song
My love and myself
If there’s something that you want to hear
You can sing it yourself.
I’m in agreement with you. I’ve never pirated a single thing. I am the kind to pay for what I want.
Get back to me when a landlord can rent the same apartment to 50 million tenants.
@Darkmoth: But that raises a question about what a song’s true value is worth. Would paying $500 for a record of the Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction” in the 1960s have made sense?
It seems more logical to charge $0.99 for each sale, and then a really, really popular song (assuming popularity = quality) makes more money, encouraging further music like that song.
It’s the fact that digital content has no scarcity – it breaks all laws and rules of economics. If cars and houses could be summoned from the ether as well, engineers and carpenters would go out of work. Of course, then everything material would no longer be scarce, and economics would no longer exist.
Thanks, I’ll check it out. That also means research the legality, I’m not the kind to just use something because someone else said they thought it was legal. I’ve heard the horror stories of people being made to pay huge sums of money and face jail time over such easily dismissed notions – but I do appreciate being given the opportunity to check it out. ;)
@Mnemosyne: I tend to prefer copyrights that expire upon death, but I see where the shorter copyright camp is coming from. And this happens all the time. How many Jazz standards, etc. do you hear on commercials? And people hardly get in an uproar about them. Strong, long copyrights also let corporations take advantage of living artists. A lot of younger artists get kind of bewildered by the miasma that is copyright law, and so companies will, if not ina technical legal sense, then at least in a moral sense steal copyrights from artists. The guy who made the famous LOVE sculpture in Philadelphia got screwed over like that. So now companies abuse the artist and keep other people from using the IP for their own enjoyment/uses.
But it seems from what you’ve said here that your solution to ending the problem of people being ripped off during their copyright period is to get rid of copyright altogether so it will be perfectly legal for corporations to use other peoples’ work without having to pay them for it. That’s what I’m not going along with.
It’s interesting that the examples you came up with are unique physical objects that can be bought and sold on their own, and not, you know, intellectual property, which is what we’ve been discussing. Sometimes pieces of intellectual property become valuable as unique physical objects, as with a first edition of a book. But that’s not the IP that’s being valued there — it’s the actual physical object.
You think that a corporation should be allowed to take someone’s book, create their own profit-making venture out of it (like a movie), and not have to pay any kind of compensation to the author because, apparently, a manuscript is an object exactly like a car that rolls off an assembly line and has no uniqueness whatsoever.
The really funny part is that there is IP involved with the making a car — it’s the design that’s IP, not the car itself. So your argument is that any car manufacturer should be allowed to use the design of any of its competitors with no compensation because a Honda is a Ford is a Yugo.
@Darkmoth: I don’t get it. I “own” some land and, according to you, I can keep anyone else from living on it and deserve to sell it for a huge price if I can. But I write a song and if CBS wants to record it and sell copies for millions, I don’t have any claim? Why is that?
@cleek: great song. Think I’ll make some copies of it.
That’s absolutely the problem. Our economic models aren’t geared to handle it effectively, so we punt with arbitrary ownership periods.
There’s no uproar because the people who make the commercials licensed the song from the copyright holders or they used a song that is in the public domain.
Performances of songs are also copyrightable and if you hear a jazz standard in a commercial, the musicians who played on it were compensated by the company that made the commercial, and they get a little cut every time the commercial airs. Not only that, but if someone hears that version of that standard and wants to use it for their own commercial/TV show/movie, they license it and the musicians get paid again.
And yet your preferred solution to the problem of artists being ripped off is to remove the protection of copyright so it’s perfectly legal for companies to rip artists off.
It’s so bizarre to see people make the argument that because companies rip artists off illegally, we should make it perfectly legal for companies to do it by getting rid of copyright because it will somehow protect the artists from being ripped off.
I’ve never advocated getting rid of copyright laws altogether. I’m for a substantial reduction though.
But whether you own the copyright for death+75 or 20 years, how are the laws going to be enforced? Digital content in a digital world. Unless the government or corporations get to see everything you do online, I’m not sure it can be done.
It’s obviously a lot easier to control that company X isn’t doing a movie version of book Y without paying the copyright holder.
It’s not even a hypothetical. Check out this art theft blog:
People post their art on the internet for free. Then, some company swoops in, creates a T-shirt out of the design, and sells it to make money.
The original creators almost never win in court. And their only real recourse is IP law.
I’ll give you that the car example was a stretch. But the cut of the hope diamond? Come on, how is that not a product of the jeweler’s creativity and skill? You seem to be implying that abstract intellectual work is inherently hundreds of times more valuable than tangible intellectual work.
In the political realm: Biden and Obama are making noises indicating that they are ready to commit the government to all-out war against file-sharers. Let’s call it Digital Prohibition.
The hypothetical Administration which launches such a war is not going to retain the 66% support of the under-30 voters that Obama got in 2008. The Administration is being maneuvered into attacking one part of its base — the young “digital natives” — by a second part of its base, the entertainment industry.
At the recent SxSW festival in Austin, Clay Shirky said that in his recent college classes he has had to explain to students what the original Napster was. Think about that — the origins of file sharing are now beyond the adolescent memories of most college freshmen.
You and me both, LD. in fact, when I was doing the research I ran up against the problem of being able to definitely prove it’s legality. Do i trust the site creators? Some commenter on Ars Technica/slashdot?
If you find anything damning, I’d be interested to know.
Honestly, people illegally downloading individual songs or movies for their own personal use is extremely small potatoes, and I think we waste a huge amount of resources trying to go after those people. The RIAA has been stupid about this since audio cassettes first came on the market, and they haven’t managed to wise up since.
It’s the people who illegally download those things and then turn around and sell them to other people for a profit that I have a problem with. It’s one thing to make a copy of a DVD so you can play it on an airplane without risking losing the original. It’s a completely different thing to make 1000 copies of a DVD and sell them on a street corner for $5 apiece. Declaring that we have to get rid of copyright so little Johnny can e-mail an MP3 to his friend is throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
As far as the government goes, I think it’s completely legitimate for governments to monitor internet commerce just like they do any other commerce. If money is not exchanging hands, I’m not sure it’s the government’s business.
@Darkmoth: In all other cases of market failure, the government usually steps in to address the problem. Now, they’re going for an artificial scarcity model.
The other option would be the art tax, where a % of every purchase or a % of your income is seized by the government and placed in a giant fund that is distributed to artists based on some criteria or another. Statement of quality from a panel of artist peers? Popular vote? Fealty to government objectives?
Or we could go the Poe and Van Gogh route, where the artist toils in obscurity, dies in a ditch, and then goes on to be famous and revered when it’s too late to matter.
For the record, my father has been a jazz musician all his life – upwards of 60 albums. Some bad contract-writing in his 30’s screwed him out of the royalties of many of them.
I’m a software designer and programmer. Every workday for the past 20 years or so, all I have done is create IP. I do not believe in piracy, nor am I sympathetic to the concept. I do think the issues of IP are thornier than just “how long should copyright last?”
@Mnemosyne: No, you’re misunderstanding me I think. When a company owns a copyright it is ripping off the artist and the artist can’t do anything about it. He can’t shop the work around to other companies, he can’t put out his own versions of it, and no one else is allowed to do anything with the IP. If he tries any of the above the company will take him to court and he will be slammed with fees. He is truely and utterly fucked.
If the copyright expired at least the artist would have recourse to try and make money on his own.
I’m admittedly no copyright law expert, but that is how it makes sense to me.
@Mnemosyne: The people who sell content that is not their own I agree with. And prosecuting downloaders is stupid, and a battle that’s hard to win. Plus, attacking kids and grandmothers makes you look bag.
The real target needs to be the people who upload the stuff to be downloaded for free. If an artist uploads his own stuff, no problem. If you’re the one who takes someone else’s work, scans it in, and posts it online for hundreds or thousands of people to steal, your ass should be in trouble.
Because the Hope Diamond is not valuable because it has a particularly beautiful cut. It’s valuable because it’s a rare object with an interesting history.
Again, it’s the difference between the value of an object and the value of an idea. Objects have inherent value because they are material and merely duplicating them does not devalue the original object. The fact that there are a million prints of the image in the Mona Lisa does not change the fact that the original painting by Leonardo da Vinci has inherent value as an irreplaceable object.
When a book is copyrighted, the actual physical manuscript is not what carries the copyright, because it’s what’s contained within the pages that is valuable, not the actual material object of print on paper. That’s why ideas receive extraordinary protection.
@Seebach: That’s iffy, a lot of P2P services automatically scan your memory and make any media files available for download. You’re not actively putting the files on the internet, but you should be held responsible in court if someone downloads that file? And what if you have media that is in the public domain? Is it your responsibility to keep copyrighted work seperate, or the downloaders responsibilty to discern what is and isn’t legal to download?
Another example: You have bought a CD, ripped it, and it is now available through the P2P network of your choice. Someone else who has bought the CD, but for some reason or another cannot rip it but needs a digital copy downloads your file. Are either of you breaking the law? Will the RIAA try to sue you anyway?
Yes, good luck with the plan to eliminate the human bias towards sharing. :-) We can start by teaching small children not to share their toys and move on from there.
Again from Clay Shirky at SxSW, he proposes that humans are wired to share information. Quote from the GigaOM report:
I can safely say I don’t like your last option =).
Other than that I got nothin’. It’s part of why I argue the issue, trying to come to my own defensible theory.
These days, it’s actually pretty rare for a company to own an artist’s copyright outright, and a lot of artists from the bad old days have been able to recover their IP from the record companies.
There is such a thing as a “work for hire,” where basically the company pays a salary for you to create IP for them, and you have no legal right to it because you were paid up front. I work with artists who draw original drawings all day, but they don’t own any of them because they’re paid a salary by the company to create them for a project. Anything they create on their own while not at work belongs to them and they hold the copyright, but the art they create at work on company time is company property and the company holds the copyright.
There have been a lot of legal shenanigans where companies are able to outlawyer people but, again, that’s not the fault of copyright law.
@furioso ateo: This is why the entire model needs to be reworked so that the roles and responsibilities of all the parties are more clearly delineated and there is some sort of legal enforceablity (even if at a civil rather than criminal level)
Another quote, from Molly Wood of Cnet:
There’s a palpable sense of betrayal among the techies. Me, I’m debating when the Obama sticker gets ripped off the car, and I’m contemplating sitting out the 2010 cycle completely.
“How’s that hopey changey thing workin’ out for ya?” indeed…
@furioso ateo: I get your point, and see where the grey area comes in, but there are also people who are flagrantly bragging about how good they are at being pirates, and who paint targets on their foreheads. I see no reason why the law should hold back on their account.
I mean is “Pirate Bay” a pirate website, or a conscientious music lover who might have an unfortunately overactive P2P service running? “I know it when I see it” isn’t a very good standard, but most people can tell the difference between war3zkingz0r666 and Sally Jenkins, age 6. Even if the RIAA can’t.
@Ken J.: dude, “not sharing” is a silly term for “demanding to get paid for work”.
A small point that may be causing some confusion: a copyright holder can sell his/her copyright to someone else. Customarily, if you sell a screenplay to a production company, the transaction includes them purchasing the copyright from you. You still retain certain rights as the author (such as original characters that you created, etc.) but you sell the IP of the actual work and the new owner holds the copyright.
In publishing, the author retains the copyright of the work and the publishing company pays for the publishing rights. It’s pretty rare for an author to sell their copyright to a publisher.
And I’m in total agreement. But the French “Hadopi” law and ACTA isn’t just about for profit piracy. It’s a lot about not for profit piracy. And that you can only stop with a society that can monitor everything you do online, not just commerce.
And that would be a too high price to pay just to make sure that those who are breaking copyright laws are punished.
From: THE INTERNET DEBACLE – AN ALTERNATIVE VIEW
“There’s a palpable sense of betrayal among the techies. Me, I’m debating when the Obama sticker gets ripped off the car, and I’m contemplating sitting out the 2010 cycle completely.”
Nobody forces you to use content covered by copyright. Make your own stuff and sing it to yourself.
@Seebach: The problem is that the issue boils down to what are the two possible realitites that can exist. Either we have the current MO, where pirating is prolific, and websites get taken to court but there’s too many of those for the legal system to handle. The record industry may not make the neccesary changes to survive, but even if it doesn’t it’s probably safe to say that the music culture of the world will remain strong and vibrant.
Or, we get ACTA, which seems as draconian a response to me on an IP rights level as the Patriot Act was for civil rights.
I’d rather live in a world where the pirates won that one where the RIAA did.
@Peter J: Amen.
@Ken J.: You normally “share” things that don’t belong to you with millions of strangers you don’t know on the internet?
Really? It’s not just popping in a CD when friends or over, or showing them a music video illegally pirated on you tube? Maybe sending an mp3 attachment with an email?
People’s natural sharing inclination is to start massive pirating aggregation sites under leet-speak pseudonyms, brag about how awesome a pirate you are, and sell advertisements on your giant “Pirate Bay” mega-website? This is a natural instinct?
@furioso ateo: In those stark terms, yes, I would prefer the “pirate’s world” over the internet spying world. But I still intend to engage with people for whom this is not a moral issue. I can’t even get some people to accept that stealing everything isn’t okay. As if music and TV is a right when some people in the world go without clean water. That is disgusting to me, and I will continue to say so, even if I have to agree with pirates on a purely anti-totalitarian level.
Google Images says that they found 66,600,000 images of bears. Most of these images are copyrighted, but Google still makes copies of them and stores them on their servers. Google then links to the original, which makes it a lot easier for me to find them, download them, and then use them without paying the copyright holder. Just because someone, willfully, put their image of a bear online, doesn’t mean that it loses its copyright.
(Also, I guess that’s another proof that Colbert is right about bears being evil.)
And from: FALLOUT – a follow up to The Internet Debacle
There are, as I see it, three operative issues that explain the entertainment
industry’s heavy-handed response to the concept of downloading music from the Internet:
The music industry is no different from any other huge corporation, be it Mobil
Oil or the Catholic church. When faced with a new technology or a new product that will
revolutionize their business, their response is predictable:
a. Destroy it. And if they cannot,
b. Control it. And if they cannot,
c. Control the consumer who wishes to use it, and the legislators and
laws that are supposed to protect that consumer.
This is not unique to the entertainment industry. This mind-set is part of the
fabric of our daily lives. Movie companies sued consumers and hardware manufacturers
over VCR manufacturing and blank video sales, with Jack Valenti (Motion Picture
Association of America chairman) testifying to Congress that “the VCR is to the movie
industry what the Boston Strangler is to a woman alone at night”
– and yet, video sales
now account for more industry profit than movies themselves!
@Peter J: Do you have trouble telling the difference between a small casual marijuana smoker and a Columbian drug kingpin?
How about a teacher who showed Titanic to a junior high school class, and the Catholic Church and its child rapist cover-up ring?
Might there be a small difference in scale between a google image search and a Chinese mafia-funded movie bootlegging ring?
Maybe a slight one? At all? No?
@Seebach: I’m certainly not advocating that stealing everything is OK, and my own personal view on copyrights as that they should last the life of the creator, and no longer.
I find your disgust for people who feel strongly about their rights vis-a-vis culture somewhat curious. This reminds me of the “starving children in China” reprimand mothers use on children who won’t eat their peas. It was an intellectually dissatisfying reason then, and it is one today.
I’m not dismissing other people’s misfortunes, but do you tell people who complain about being burglarized that they are disgusting for worrying about such things when there are people dying of hunger in other countries?
Of course there’s a difference in scale: in terms of copyright infringement, the Google image search is orders of magnitude bigger than any movie bootlegging ring. Any movie bootlegging ring dealing in physical copies is small potatoes.
Maybe you hadn’t noticed that Google is in the legal crosshairs of numerous Big Copyright Holders.
@furioso ateo: I just find it amazing that we can have socialized free music in America and not socialized medicine. Where are all of these pirates when it comes to the ballot box? Where’s the wealth redistribution in terms of a 90% income tax on those making over $1 million a year? Guaranteed income for all Americans? Foreign aid? Or is the American desire to share only present when it comes to getting “Heroes” for free? What a mediocre goal.
@Ken J.: Size wise yes. How about on a moral scale, since you think a kindergartner sharing toys is morally equivalent to running the Pirate Bay?
@Seebach: Actually, most of the people I know that fit the pirate/techie mold tend to be libertarian, so I doubt most of them would vote for you Naz-Communist-Anti-Christ utopia.
EDIT: They’re not really interested in “fairness” or “sharing”, they just want to get theirs, and fuck anyone else.
Seebach, did Google ask everyone with a picture of a bear for permission? Did people get to opt-in if they wanted their bear to be indexed, or copied, resized and uploaded to Google’s servers? Also, you can do a search for torrents on Google too, they find 4.7 million of them, obviously all of them aren’t legal.
Thing is with Pirate Bay, they don’t store any illegal content, and they don’t participate in the actually distribution of the files from the torrentfile.
But yeah, they distribute the torrentfiles, containing the information to download things that may or may not be illegal to share. But nothing in that file is illegal and I could use google to find the same kind of information.
Fun fact, google is indexing Pirate Bay (3 million hits). But then unlike Pirate Bay, they also index sites that offer rapidshare links etc.
So, if I was looking for some illegal file, I would probably find a lot more examples of it, if I searched for it on google than if I searched for it on Pirate Bay.
@furioso ateo: EXACTLY! Thank you!
The pirate is a fucking “I want it now” scumbag, and not some kind of rebel against evil corporate totalitarianism. No moral grey area.
So if we can all agree there’s no “information has a right to be free” moral crusade going on here, we can actually go about addressing the complicated issues like non-scumbags.
@Peter J: I’m not sure your point. If you’re trying to trick me into saying Google shouldn’t link to pirates files, I’ll say it now: Google shouldn’t link to pirated files. If they had no moral qualms about cooperating with China, I don’t think this should be a problem.
And I’m sure you’re going to throw up an excuse about “How ever will they tell the difference between Grandma Millie’s cookie website with an illegal bear picture and a site advertising all American Idol episodes for free, with a series of links linking to all sorts of servers.”
If you can’t figure out the difference, then I’m not sure how you got to this blog, and not, say, MapQuest.
@Seebach: The pirate may be an asshole, but he can also be right about evil corporate totalitarianism. There’s plenty of non-pirates (at least myself) that still think there’s gotta be a better solution to the copyright issue than either the current MO, or the ACTA RIAA wet dream.
So, if you can’t get what you want at a price you are willing and able to pay right the fuck now, instead of waiting and saving you will happily and without any pangs of conscience steal it.
Seebach, no, my point was that Pirate Bay doesn’t store any copyrighted content and that they don’t distribute it either.
I’m not sure what you mean with “a site advertising all American Idol episodes for free, with a series of links linking to all sorts of servers.”?
@furioso ateo: We’re all in agreement there. But a little social opprobrium never hurts. Look at how controversial saying “I had an abortion” is, and that’s even legal.
If you are a habitual pirate, and you take pride in that, you are scum. And you should be treated like scum. Once everyone can just agree to that basic fact and stop covering for the leeches, it gives us a stronger case against the ACTA RIAA shit.
But Peter J here and his ilk want to try and muddy the waters with bullshit “Do we need to prosecute 6 year olds? Do you want to make Google illegal? Or should we ignore the problem, cuz it’s just like kids sharing toys” games.
Seebach, I’m the one muddying the water?
I’ve never said I wanted to make Google illegal, but as already pointed out here by others, there are those that are after Google.
Nor did I say that we should ignore the problem. But laws like ACTA and Hadopi isn’t the solution. Nor is monitoring what everyone is doing online.
The solution here is to adapt to the new reality. New forms of distribution, new ways to pay.
@Peter J: Wow, no shit. What we all basically agreed around comment 100.
Then, we were discussing who should face legal penalties. Someone suggested those selling bootlegs. I agreed, and I also said high profile pirates who brag about how big of a haxxor they are are also a good, easy target.
Then you come in with the comment that going after those uploaders is like telling kids not to share their toys, and we’ll all need to teach our children not to share.
Because the pirates’ problem is just that they care too much about other people.
Christ, just getting people to say “stealing is wrong” is like pulling teeth. Nobody’s against reforming the industry and creating new ways for people to buy stuff.
Actually that wasn’t my comment.
On the other hand, I wouldn’t call copying information stealing, that’s not the correct term. Much like if someone copies another person’s design of a chair. If I stole the only master tape of an artists new album, then that would be stealing, or if I stole a designer’s chair.
And considering how important the Internet is today, and how even more important it is going to get, I’m against a law that would shut people out. Even the worst uploaders.
Since you brought up Pirate Bay, would they be among those? That’s why I brought up Google.
The industry shouldn’t just be reformed, a lot of it should be given to Grover so that he has something to drown in his bathtub. It shouldn’t be needed. (Me mentioning Grover doesn’t mean that I’m a fan of him or Jane. Just a joke. Much like the fact that I’m mentioning Jane in the same sentance.)
@Peter J: Depends on how you define “industry”. If you mean the RIAA, and the record labels, they won’t be missed. If you define the industry as Joe Musician and his trying to maybe make a living being a musician, then the industry is important, and needs reforming.
With industry I meant the former. I guess there will form other structures that fill the things that artists still will need.
But I don’t see a future where a major record label owns a number of artists and their work, the power is shifting.
i’ve had people tell me they were using pirated versions of my software, and only ended up buying because defeating my anti-piracy measures on new versions eventually grew too onerous for them.