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sliding moral scale


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#1 Platinum Joinee West

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 10:11 am

hello.

I am interested to know, why do a sizeable amount of people think music and film piracy is ok?

We are taught from a young age that theft is wrong, but it seems to be implied that it is less wrong if it is against a large, "evil" corporation, which employs thousands of individuals, who we would never dream of mugging for the CD or DVD in their bag.

I have never understood why people will happily and openly talk about piracy down the pub, when it is still theft. It's covered by one of the commandments if you're that way inclined. It directly and negatively affects people.

so, yes, anyone have any insight for me, or shall I continue to be confused?
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#2 PJ Stevie G

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 10:26 am

With music, I see it as a try-before-you-buy. I'll download an album and if I like it, I'll buy it. If I don't, I'll delete it. This element of it has been recognised recently with the public release of Spotify, but for things it doesn't have, I tend to use the aforementioned technique.

I like to at least be given a full taste of something before deciding whether to pay over the odds for it or not.

Films, though, I don't tend to download. Notable exception being Wristcutters, which I couldn't find anywhere for ages, so downloaded it.
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#3 Mr Phil

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 10:28 am

I think what most people don't understand is how much of the industry (music industry in particular) still think that all copying damages their profits.  They don't.  eg Tim's Mix CD at K4 resulted directly in my buying at least 4 albums.  Yes, there were songs by 16 other acts that got nothing from my copy, but that was money I probably wouldn't have spent otherwise, and I now have heard of those other 16 acts, and would definitely be more likely to buy their stuff in the future.

A little bit of sneaky copying is good for the industry.

Buying a dodgy copy from some mate down the road isn't.




[Edit: Wrong K]

Edited by Mr Phil, 03 May 2009 - 10:29 am.

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#4 Captain K

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 10:33 am

This'll be interesting, and probably subtly different for each of us. For me when it comes to computer software I'm quite relaxed at the idea of "piracy" because I've been involved with the community of computer geeks since my Sinclair Spectrum and BBC micro days and have contributed a fair few bits of hackery and code along the years. I just kinda feel that much of what's out there is made up of lessons learned by people who gave their input for the joy of it, and simply clubbing together other people's freely-given ideas in a not very creative way doesn't justify a third party making a lot of money from it. And for consistency on that point: if I really am impressed by a piece of software, I'll buy it, even if it's some kind of shareware and I don't legally have to make the donation.

As for music, I think a big problem is how corporate things have become. When they try to charge you for the same piece of music in a form you can have in your home stereo, your car, and your portable device, just because they require different shaped pieces of plastic, something is wrong. Paying once for the right to it seems fairer to me.
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#5 PJ Stevie G

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 10:35 am

Interesting study recently: A recent study at BI Norwegian School of Management showed that those who download illegal music for "free" bought 10 times as much legal music as those who never download music illegally.

Not exactly a foolproof study or statement, given that it doesn't really look at physical sales, but it does show that the whole illegal music downloading picture isn't as clear as it seems.
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#6 Angel Moon

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 11:02 am

I don't believe in movie piracy. EVER.

However music it more okay to me. Like some of the others mentioned, if I download music and I like it, I will buy it. Usually if I am getting music off the internet its from artists i've never heard of, or its songs from artists that I liked their one song and thought hmm I wonder if any of their other work is good. I can't see the logic in shelling out the money to buy a cd if I only know one song on it. So i'll look them up and get more of their work. If I like it, i'll buy it, if not I delete it. I do have a bunch of music of bands who don't have albums out, at which point I donate money to the band somehow via their websites. Also I've looked up songs and bought a few cds from bands mentioned in our "what song/album are you listening to right now?" cd. I've downloaded them first, to listen to and went... hey they are good, and purchased a cd.

With a book you can flip through it and read the back to see if you'll like it. A cd, all you get is song titles. There are some songs that are awesome and have boring titles and some that are bad horrible songs with good titles. This way you can listen to the song before you get it. For example, Pink's "Stupid Girls", first time I heard it on the radio, it made me laugh. Then I looked the song up and discovered there is a part in the middle (that was cut out by the radio edit) where there is the sound of a woman making herself barf, and then someone saying "nice one" and then they talk about how many calories they've had (which was seriously low like 400) that day, and call themselves fat. Yeah not into that part. So I didn't get it, deleted the song. I wouldn't have known it had that without downloading it.

my two cents for whatever they are worth.


EDIT: to add that I have NEVER downloaded an entire album of an artist/band/group. I usually just check out a few songs.

Edited by moon_dancer, 03 May 2009 - 11:53 am.


#7 GJ Del (The Train Man)

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 11:07 am

View PostSilver Stalker Stevie G, on 3 May 2009, 11:35 AM, said:

Interesting study recently: A recent study at BI Norwegian School of Management showed that those who download illegal music for "free" bought 10 times as much legal music as those who never download music illegally.

Not exactly a foolproof study or statement, given that it doesn't really look at physical sales, but it does show that the whole illegal music downloading picture isn't as clear as it seems.

That's very interesting. I buy very little music these days but I can see the logic in the study. The main reason I don't buy much is because I have to spend my cash on more important things, but if I did, I'd want to find out what the good music is. In ye olde days, I did that by listening to John Peel but now, I'm old and like to be in bed at 10.30 (if I'm not working).
If you're a big fan of music, then you want to discover as much new stuff that excites you and interests you as you can.
Having said all that, and as you earlier mentioned, I think Spotify and last.fm may well change this.
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#8 Mr Phil

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 11:10 am

View Postmoon_dancer, on 3 May 2009, 12:02 PM, said:

With a book you can flip through it and read the back to see if you'll like it. A cd, all you get is song titles.
I like this analogy.
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#9 Poohbah (Gsq)

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 11:28 am

"The record business is ****ed, it’s kinda funny
It’ll separate a boy from a man
You can buy every copy of your record with your money
But you’d be your only fan"
-Butch Walker, A Song for the Metalheads

I think I go along with people are saying about music.  OK so you can initially download it and get out of paying £10 (or whatever) for a CD.  But if you like it and you become a fan, then in general you're going to want to support the band/person.  Therefore you're going to buy old/new CDs (and probably that one you downloaded too, it seems), you might get some merch, you'll go see them if you can get to a gig.  I always *want* to buy stuff off my favourite bands.  That's probably helped by the fact they're not rich'n'famous so a few dollars will actually make a difference to them.... although Butch must be fairly loaded (for starters, he wrote that song that's on the CocaCola ads nowadays, I hope he got a few bucks for that) so that line of thinking doesn't work so much for him.

Having said that, I don't download music.  I got a few songs back in the early early Napster days (in fact, until I got this new computer, my music folder was still entitled "Napster songs" - aww) but just because it was fun and new, really.  I wouldn't even know where to get them from nowadays!  And I tend to be convinced that I'm going to be that person who gets nabbed and made an example of and sent to jail for piracy when I've downloaded like 2 things, whilst someone else gets away with downloading 200 things.

And I don't download films either.  If I want something quite obscure, I'd get it off Amazon Marketplace for a few quid.  And because I only tend to buy stuff I want, then I'm happy to pay for it.

But I totally see what you mean about the morality of it Zena.... you'd hardly walk into HMV and just pick up a few CDs and DVDs, slip them in your bag and walk out again, telling yourself it's fine because if you really like them, you'll buy more of their stuff later!

Edited by Silver Poohbah, 03 May 2009 - 11:29 am.

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#10 Au Joinee Rory

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 11:32 am

View PostGJ Zena Bing, on 3 May 2009, 11:11 AM, said:

I am interested to know, why do a sizeable amount of people think music and film piracy is ok?

I doubt anyone thinks piracy is ok. Many people are ok with copyright infringement though. I think calling it piracy when we have a prominent and dangerous real piracy problem right now is in pretty bad taste and I wish people would stop doing it.

View PostGJ Zena Bing, on 3 May 2009, 11:11 AM, said:

it is still theft.

No it's not. Theft necessarily deprives someone of something. Copyright infringement can do that, but it doesn't have to. It's hard to argue that downloading something for free that you would never have bought is actually causing harm.

I'm generally opposed to downloading music and movies that can easily be bought, but I'm even more opposed to the underhanded ways that people try to vilify it by twisting language.

#11 Captain K

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 11:44 am

View PostJoinee Rory, on 3 May 2009, 12:32 PM, said:

I doubt anyone thinks piracy is ok. Many people are ok with copyright infringement though. I think calling it piracy when we have a prominent and dangerous real piracy problem right now is in pretty bad taste and I wish people would stop doing it.
Interesting point about definitions of piracy: aside from Rory's point about the real suffering going on in and off Somalia, there's also a difference between somebody copying a CD, and people making copies in bulk to sell. The latter is what I think of as piracy, and is clearly a whole 'nother level of wrong.
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#12 GJ Del (The Train Man)

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 11:47 am

View PostJoinee Rory, on 3 May 2009, 12:32 PM, said:

It's hard to argue that downloading something for free that you would never have bought is actually causing harm.
Eh? If you'd *never* had bought it why would you download it? I think most people download something they might have bought or were already thinking of buying.
If you download music for free, keep it and don't then buy the physical product, you are denying the artist, songwriter, record label etc money that they should get.

[EDIT] I should add that, although I haven't illegally downloaded music, I do have CDs copied from originals (i.e. someone bought it and then made a copy for me). I will therefore freely admit that I am just as guilty.

Edited by Mister Del, 03 May 2009 - 12:01 pm.

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#13 Distant Joinee Mandoran

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 11:55 am

View PostSilver Stalker Stevie G, on 3 May 2009, 12:35 PM, said:

Interesting study recently: A recent study at BI Norwegian School of Management showed that those who download illegal music for "free" bought 10 times as much legal music as those who never download music illegally.

Not exactly a foolproof study or statement, given that it doesn't really look at physical sales, but it does show that the whole illegal music downloading picture isn't as clear as it seems.
This study has been widely used as further evidence that piracy is good for the music industry, but as you say, it has several shortcomings. It really shows that people who know how to pirate music also know how to download and pay - it doesn't have much to say about the total market, and it is way too early to draw any conclusions. The industry can point to indisputable decline in sales. It will be interesting to see whether new models work, and whether artists can do everything on their own, or whether things will start to creak and break down.

The other thing about the study (and the argument) that makes me suspicious, is that it bears no resemblance to how anyone I know behaves. The people I know who pay for music downloads believe that one should pay, and those who pirate to build up a collection generally never pay.

There are plenty of grey zones - I pay, but if I buy something that limits my ability to use it, I will compensate for this. I will download TV programs and delete them just like I used to videotape and record over. And I will download rare or impossible to find things - there is an argument that this prevents them becoming obsolete or vanishing, though presumably that wouldn't hold up in copyright court.

The biggest grey zone is whether increased free exposure leads to increased purchasing. If I was bombarded with more music (anyone have a Spotify invite?) I probably would buy more, but if I bombarded myself with pirated music, would I? Try before you buy is great, but what about all those who try before they pirate?

But I have no idea why so many people seem to think they are entitled to the work of others for free. I think a lot of the answer is here:
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#14 Platinum Joinee West

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 12:14 pm

View PostJoinee Rory, on 3 May 2009, 10:32 AM, said:

I think calling it piracy when we have a prominent and dangerous real piracy problem right now is in pretty bad taste and I wish people would stop doing it.

I don't understand the problem with a word meaning more than one thing. Yes there is a difference between copyright infringement and piracy, and the sort of piracy going on in Somalia, but piracy is still the word used. Different kind of piracy. But to me, this is no more sensible than saying theft should not be used to describe stealing a penny sweet from a corner shop as it is disrespectful to victims shot in an armed robbery. It's nonsense, it's just different types and severities and one is no more bad taste than the other.

Quote

It's hard to argue that downloading something for free that you would never have bought is actually causing harm.

er, what?

A lot of things that are stolen and stolen because the person would never buy them, mostly because they couldn't afford them. And as Del points out, if a sizeable number of people do it, it IS causing harm.



I also like Stevie G's book analogy. Very much. It has raised some interesting points (as has this whole discussion really) can see how that could be a good thing for the music industry.
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#15 PJ Stevie G

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 12:16 pm

View PostGJ Zena Bing, on 3 May 2009, 01:14 PM, said:

I also like Stevie G's book analogy. Very much. It has raised some interesting points (as has this whole discussion really) can see how that could be a good thing for the music industry.

Yes, erm, I am wise. Totally my comment. Not moon_dancer's whatsoever. Nothing to see here.  :P

Edited by Silver Stalker Stevie G, 03 May 2009 - 12:20 pm.

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#16 Distant Joinee Mandoran

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 12:33 pm

View PostJoinee Rory, on 3 May 2009, 01:32 PM, said:

I doubt anyone thinks piracy is ok. Many people are ok with copyright infringement though. I think calling it piracy when we have a prominent and dangerous real piracy problem right now is in pretty bad taste and I wish people would stop doing it.

No it's not. Theft necessarily deprives someone of something. Copyright infringement can do that, but it doesn't have to. It's hard to argue that downloading something for free that you would never have bought is actually causing harm.

I'm generally opposed to downloading music and movies that can easily be bought, but I'm even more opposed to the underhanded ways that people try to vilify it by twisting language.

I think that you are the one twisting language here, really. Piracy for the reasons Zena mentioned and the specious argument that copyright infringement as being discussed here, regardless of whether it is piracy according to scale, is not depriving someone of something. When people appropriate another's work without permission they are stealing, regardless of the amount of profit they make or deny the owner, something which is crystal clear to anyone who has had it done to them.

Vilification doesn't enter into it, it is a question of clear communications, which your word play does nothing to further. Demonizing a perfectly correct use of the word pirate is pointless, and then why not continue and harass people who get a kick out of Pirate Facebook or the like? More productive heated debate would be the conditions in Somalia that bred their brand of modern piracy.

View PostCaptain K, on 3 May 2009, 01:44 PM, said:

Interesting point about definitions of piracy: aside from Rory's point about the real suffering going on in and off Somalia, there's also a difference between somebody copying a CD, and people making copies in bulk to sell. The latter is what I think of as piracy, and is clearly a whole 'nother level of wrong.
Individual copyright infringement\piracy\downloading and bulk piracy reselling may be another level, but they are both abusing the original owner\artist?
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#17 Angel Moon

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 12:53 pm

View PostSilver Stalker Stevie G, on 3 May 2009, 05:16 AM, said:

Yes, erm, I am wise. Totally my comment. Not moon_dancer's whatsoever. Nothing to see here.  :P


hahahahahahahahahaha  :lol: That actually made me laugh out loud.

#18 Sailor Joinee Crawshaw

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 02:03 pm

View Postmoon_dancer, on 3 May 2009, 12:02 PM, said:

With a book you can flip through it and read the back to see if you'll like it. A cd, all you get is song titles.


Wasn't this why music shops (like HMV and Virgin Megastore) had the music stations where you could ask a shop assistant to pop on a copy of the CD you were interested in buying on for you so that you could sample it and see if you liked the songs?

Ill admit that I have downloaded films from Bit torrent and other such places (i.e. The Pirate Bay) but only for a software copy of a DVD that I already own. I.e. I have a collection of over 300 dvds at my dads house, mainly ones I bought while trying to pass time at work and unfortunately they have become a bit to heavy to be dragging around everywhere with myself when I move around the country and as such I have downloaded copies (I would have copied them myself but I only know how to copy to another disk of about 4.7Gb a film- not shrink it to the standard 700Mb most downloads are of) my favorite films that I have and keep them on one compact hard drive. This is probably classed as Piracy in the eyes of copyright laws but as far as I know its a grey area when you have copies of what ever you already have as you can class them as having a back up
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#19 GJ Michelle P

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 02:12 pm

I don't agree with this at all:

Quote

With a book you can flip through it and read the back to see if you'll like it. A cd, all you get is song titles.

In record shops and entertainment sections of Target, Walmart, Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, etc, there are 'listening stations' where you just scan the bar code and can listen to the songs (or parts thereof).  Online at sites at Amazon and Barnes & Noble you can preview songs and albums before you buy.

I don't know about iTunes because I don't buy from them, but every legal place I look to buy music has the 'try before you buy' option.

#20 Sailor Joinee Crawshaw

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 02:14 pm

View PostGJ Michelle P, on 3 May 2009, 03:12 PM, said:

I don't agree with this at all:


In record shops and entertainment sections of Target, Walmart, Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, etc, there are 'listening stations' where you just scan the bar code and can listen to the songs (or parts thereof).  Online at sites at Amazon and Barnes & Noble you can preview songs and albums before you buy.

I don't know about iTunes because I don't buy from them, but every legal place I look to buy music has the 'try before you buy' option.

Aye- iTunes will give you a 20 second preview of any song your looking to buy (if they have it that is)
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#21 PJ Stevie G

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 02:51 pm

View PostGJ Michelle P, on 3 May 2009, 03:12 PM, said:

I don't agree with this at all:


In record shops and entertainment sections of Target, Walmart, Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, etc, there are 'listening stations' where you just scan the bar code and can listen to the songs (or parts thereof).  Online at sites at Amazon and Barnes & Noble you can preview songs and albums before you buy.

I don't know about iTunes because I don't buy from them, but every legal place I look to buy music has the 'try before you buy' option.

30 second previews on amazon and iTunes are not worthwhile. It tells you hardly anything about the song other than what the record companies think are the most sellable 30 seconds. I want to know that the album I buy is worth it and not just a total of 6 minutes of semi-good and 36 minutes of rubbish.

We don't really have that scanning stuff so widespread around here, so it's not a factor to me, especially as go to record shops, the smaller ones of which don't have the resources. If they were around though, I would use them.

Edited by Silver Stalker Stevie G, 03 May 2009 - 02:51 pm.

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#22 Lethal Biddle

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 03:23 pm

RE film, I have in the past, downloaded many, many hundreds of movies & episodes of series to watch. Partly because I'm impatient & I want to watch them as soon as they're out, which is when they hit America, not England. Partly because I refuse to pay for something unless I'm convinced I'll like it, so I watch first & then buy later. My DVD collection is 500+ strong & I don't think piracy has effected that negatively, it's made me more accurate as to what projects, studios or companies I support based on much more personal appeal than any marketing or such, but if anything only served to fuel my enthusiasm for the industry more & drive me to spend further. I've also never paid for a pirate copy of anything (directly, the internet being what it is) or distributed anything, it's for my own personal benefit.
Also, not necessarily relevant, but I pay my TV license, even though I don't own a TV. Everything is obtained & watched through my PC (which has no TV tuner). My paying of my license is my nod of the head to regular broadcasting & while it's not entirely the right thing at all, I view my downloads as my own self constructed TV programming which I obtain from wherever I please because there is no appropriate prepackaged selection. But I do pay eventually, to someone, one way or another.
Also, there's the question of where you draw the line with piracy. As a toddler & all through my childhood we would record TV onto videos & keep them for years to re-watch. We would occasionally have others record them for us too. How is taking that copy from a television broadcaster far different from taking another copy from Joe Bloggs who I've chatted to on the internet a few times?

RE music, my argument is flawed there. I owned hundreds of copied cassettes back before mp3s & I probably still would if it hadn't appeared. I could never afford to buy all the music I want, my appetite & tastes for it FAR outstripping my means. Mp3s are perfect for me, I buy CD's, then I rip them immediately & either resell the CD (which is now otherwise utterly useless & pointless to me) or I chuck it. I would say that pirate mp3's tend to be good too, while most "official downloads" tend to be either shitty quality or riddled with copy protection that buggers up my playback, so #!$& them, if I can easily take for myself what 'the powers that be' either don't care to or fail spectacularly to provide then I will. That's not much of a moral argument, but it's how I feel. I also hugely disapprove of the costs involved in music & the way that that money is distributed. If music were FREELY available legitimately online and of CONSISTENTLY GOOD QUALITY & lined the most deserving pockets then I'd be far more supportive of the industry & devoted to it being all above board. But, as things stand, doing things that way just isn't as good. So I'm a bit naughty occasionally.

Edited by GJ Biddle (ga), 03 May 2009 - 03:26 pm.

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#23 Joinee Riggas

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 04:30 pm

I've had a skip through and I don't think anyone's said this yet*, so here's my 2p'th:

As far as I am concerned, piracy is a response to DRM and overpricing.  I know that's not true for everyone, because piracy came first (incidentally, direct question for Zena, have you ever copied a mates tape? Because that's essentially the same thing), but I only started downloading things illegally when I found I couldn't play the songs I had paid for on both of my mp3 players from different manufacturers or keep them forever.  Now, DRM seems to be going away again, and I barely download anything illegally anymore.  I still think the prices are a little higher than they ought to be, but they haven't actually gone up since they were introduced so, in real terms, they've gone down.  The only exceptions are Battlestar Galactica episodes and my reasoning there is that there is no moral difference between downloading it from some guy in America and watching it on my mates flatscreen - I'm not going to pay for it either way and if I download it, I get to see it earlier.  I'm only likely to bother downloading things I'm a big fan of, and I will buy the DVD as soon as it comes out.

My opinion on downloads is that if you make them cheep enough, people will pay for them from choice.  What I'm paying for is security and the knowledge that I'm not also downloading something untoward.  If people are choosing to pirate, it's a signal to the record companies that they are still over charging.  I have little sympathy for them, times are changing, pandora's box is open, they need to evolve to keep up with their market or they will die out.  Plenty of other people have gone into why downloading probably doesn't do as much harm as they would have you believe, it's certainly true that I have bought an awful lot more music as a result of an initial cheeky download than I perhaps would have without it.

There will always be a minority who abuse the system, but the majority of downloaders are actually fans of the bands they are downloading and wish to support them.  The losers in this are the big old established bands, where there is a feeling that they are already successful and don't need the financial support and it's them who are making the fuss - again, they need to keep up with technology. Putting an electronic file on a server costs virtually nothing, it's not like a CD.  If they do that and charge, I dunno, 5p a track, they might be surprised how much interest they get.  People who only know of the big hits would go and download all album tracks and b-sides and they may even get a whole new generation of fans.

*Edited to add: "apart from Biddle, who has, broadly speaking and with a tad more anger, said most of the same stuff as me in the post directly above".  It basically comes down to the fact that the industry treats its customers like a cash cow and people have got a little hacked off by it.

Edited by Joinee Riggas, 03 May 2009 - 04:33 pm.


#24 Platinum Joinee West

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 04:51 pm

View PostJoinee Riggas, on 3 May 2009, 03:30 PM, said:

(incidentally, direct question for Zena, have you ever copied a mates tape? Because that's essentially the same thing)


yes, but I'm of an age where you'll have to replace tape with CD ;)
I'd like to point out my initial post is incredibly hypocritical by the way, as before the age of about 20 I broke an awful lot of laws. As far as I know though, the only laws I've broken in the last 4 years have been accidental. Also as an interesting side note, I have very little interest in music and own about 9 albums. That's it.
So I'm probably not in the best position to understand the point of view of angry ripped-off fan!
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#25 Distant Joinee Mandoran

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 05:24 pm

While I agree with a great deal of what Riggas said, there are two major points that the 'Industry has been screwing everyone for too long and need to adapt' argument needs to address:

1: My experience is that the very young now expect music to be free because they can get it for free and they by and large never buy music. Maybe this will change as prices drop and their income changes, but I'd like to see real evidence that 'the majority are fans and want to support them'. I suspect that this is changing, and that the emerging majority expect a free ride and will only pay when they feel like it. Most discussion online about paid content of any type starts from an everything should be free stance, which  goes back to Zena's original question, and which I also find baffling, but maybe that is how people increasingly are - expecting something for nothing.

Two; even if they are overcharging, since when does that mean then you can just take their product? Other forms of complaint used to be considered suitable.

Edited by Distant Joinee Mandoran, 03 May 2009 - 05:25 pm.

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#26 Mr Phil

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 05:42 pm

I should add that I only download music either when it is provided free, when it is only available as an MP3 (in which case I'll pay if I really want it), or when I'm scouting around for new music to discover new things, which is usually stuff by people I've never heard of, so I'm out to discover new things, and usually I'll play it to other people and maybe stick it on a mix CD so more people hear of them (so it's a word of mouth thing).  If I like it enough, I'll buy the *whole* album.

I don't think it's right to download whole albums for free when you're not supposed to.  If you like it that much you should pay for it.  Unless maybe you're writing a review about the album, and you're going to listen to it a couple of times and then delete it.  But even then that just wouldn't look good if you were caught doing it.  It would be rather better if bands put up new albums on embedded players to listen to (much like Coldplay did) for a few weeks when first released.

And no, 30 second previews on Amazon do not give any sense of a song, let alone an album.
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#27 GJ Michelle P

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 06:17 pm

View PostMr Phil, on 3 May 2009, 12:42 PM, said:

And no, 30 second previews on Amazon do not give any sense of a song, let alone an album.

They've always worked for me.

#28 Gaz

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 06:38 pm

EDIT: Sorry for the epic - I should probalby say up front that I've edited a textbook on media copyright and so have read a fair bit about it!

I happily download tv shows from the states because I can't be arsed to wait for them to air over here and/or don't want to pay Sky for the honour of watching one or two shows. I don't think this is an issue at all because I delete them once watched and don't pass them on, and this is no different than me watching something I recorded from TV. If the TV studios don't like it, they should sort out global rights and sales sooner.

Music, I think I am a mixture of what many people have said above. I buy stuff legally if it is a fair price (see below), I download stuff I don't know about and try before I buy, then delete if I don't like it and buy it if I do. I do this partly because music is overpriced, partly because I don't find many radio stations I like so this is by and large the only way I *could* hear music in full before I bought it (well, until Spotify came along), and partly because DRM is a nonsensical restriction: arguably illegal given it has no auto-destruct to make the content free after copyright has expired and also restricts copying that has been allowed for years with regard to fair use (this can particularly affect the disabled, who may need bigger print, audio versions of text etc. - though this applies slightly less to music and more to software/visual material), imposed almost entirely for the benefit of music companies given how little money actually goes to artists, and should be fought against simply because of what it is.

Moreover, digital music is obscenely overpriced. In the old days of tape to tape there was a valid argument that you were depriving companies of money because they'd invest in making tapes/records that then wouldn't sell. Yet these days, a CD single and a download could be the same price despite the download costing literally nothing to create - and every copy will be just as perfect as the original. So why no comparable discount? The final shove is that the music companies would happily shaft every single one of their customers if they thought they could. Why did they push DRM-sodden subscription music services for years in the face of zero public interest and repeated failures such as Napster? Because it's a never-ending revenue stream and they'd really love you to pay them forever and never own a thing. Why do the same tracks cost less on Amazon than on iTunes? Because the music companies want iTunes to be less powerful via weaker sales so they can negotiate harder and set their own prices and force "bundling" (that is, selling you something you don't want along with something you do at a higher price than if you just bought the bit you wanted separately, while telling you you got a bargain and getting to boast about the big sales of a piggyback product that would otherwise fail) - and those prices would be a lot higher, and applied to Amazon too as soon as they thought they could get away with that. Did you know, for example, that at one point Edgar Bronfman, head of Warner Music, wanted to charge $5 a download for songs that would delete themselves after a month, and thought that was fair? Or that Disney wanted to sell DVDs that you could watch 5 times before they auto-deleted unless you bought more viewings? Yes, the music and movie studios LOVE you, the customer, and have your best interests at heart. Not.

As for movies, I do occasionally download things that I probably wouldn't see in the cinema, and I'd argue that the studios have lost nothing because if I didn't download it, I simply wouldn't be bothered enough to pay for it in ANY form and just wait for it to come on tv. If I stumble across something I like, though, I may subsequently get it on e.g. Blu-Ray. So that's increasing sales, not crippling them. And here, media co.s will happily set different rules for different people too - in Asia, studios release R4 dvds pretty much as soon as a film is in the cinema to buy for peanuts, legit. This is a VHS/download-quality copy in a cheap cardboard sleeve. Research shows these help stop piracy in these regions as they're as cheap as pirate copies but better quality, and also actually encourage cinema visits when people try a movie and then like it so go to see the full big screen experience. Why don't we have those elsewhere in the world? Because the studios know people are used to paying 6 quid for a cinema ticket then waiting 6 months and another 12 quid for a DVD, and like the status quo. This makes them more money short term, and rather switch to a less profitable but sustainable long-term business model they'd rather just make "knock-off Nigel" adverts, sue grandmothers and kids, and try and imply it's a criminal offence when copyright infringement is a civil offence.

And if you can't be bothered to read the above, this pretty much sums it up: if there was a law that required you to punch yourself in the face, you'd ignore it or get round it until the pressure from the inherent unfairness of it meant it was changed for the better. The music and film industry wants you to punch yourself in the face, and they need to change. All their business models are literally from the 19th century when mass-produced recorded media was first sold in any form. They're very slowly getting there, but they're not there yet.

Also: THIS


Edited by Gaz, 03 May 2009 - 06:58 pm.

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#29 Joinee Wilkins

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Posted 04 May 2009 - 12:11 am

Posted Image

I will have more to say on this later, but it will more than likely be based around the saying 'Vive La Revolution!'...

Edited by Joinee Wilkins, 04 May 2009 - 12:13 am.

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#30 Angel Moon

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Posted 04 May 2009 - 12:41 am

View PostSailor Joinee Crawshaw, on 3 May 2009, 07:03 AM, said:

Wasn't this why music shops (like HMV and Virgin Megastore) had the music stations where you could ask a shop assistant to pop on a copy of the CD you were interested in buying on for you so that you could sample it and see if you liked the songs?


View PostGJ Michelle P, on 3 May 2009, 07:12 AM, said:

I don't agree with this at all:


In record shops and entertainment sections of Target, Walmart, Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, etc, there are 'listening stations' where you just scan the bar code and can listen to the songs (or parts thereof).  Online at sites at Amazon and Barnes & Noble you can preview songs and albums before you buy.

I don't know about iTunes because I don't buy from them, but every legal place I look to buy music has the 'try before you buy' option.


That may be true. However, As I live in po-dunk America small "town", the closest barnes and noble - 2 hours away, best buy - 30 minutes and no music listen thingy, walmart 30 minutes and no music listen thingy, target - 30 minutes and no music listen thingy. Where I live the nearest fast food is - wait for it - wait for it - 30 minutes away. and these are each way.

I don't know about iTunes, I don't use them.

Frequently the 30 second previews aren't enough to tell you about a song. See my previous example on the Pink song "Stupid Girls".

#31 Joinee Wilkins

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Posted 04 May 2009 - 05:22 am

Ok, I had a whole heap of points to write here, but on reading through the thread at last, I have come to the conclusion that Gaz and Elliott have pretty much summed it up.

I will agree with them on the film front that I download series due to being impatient to wait for their release on Aussie telly and also because I cannot guarantee to be in on a certain evening every week. This I do not look at as piracy, because I am merely downloading something that people have viewed for free anyway. There is then the question of certain comedy shows such as Nighty Night, or Gavin & Stacey, which do not get shown over here and due to the regional barrier with dvd's cannot be bought elsewhere and shipped in (although saying that, my new dvd player does seem to deal with this now) I have introduced a whole load of people to Spaced over here who would not have had the chance to watch it otherwise. Am I stealing money from Simon Pegg's pocket, or am I just passing on a show that without doubt should be watched by everybody? If they enjoy it and have the means to buy it and keep it on a format they can watch it on, then good on them. Many of them have done this. Beyond Spaced and Russell Brand's Ponderland I do not share the video side of downloading so much (Ponderland is on over here now, so I don't even really bother sharing that). It is purely for my own satisfaction and gives me a chance to catch a load of British tv/documentaries/stand-up that otherwise I wouldn't get the chance to. I recently downloaded Arj Barker Live. I have since bought a ticket to his show.

Which leads me quite nicely onto the point of music. I download music shamelessly. I like the fact that the music companies are apparently suffering. I like the fact that music is returning back to the live shows again. There is a mixed response that I get from people who are up and coming as an artist or band. One is that it is destroying their chance to make it big because they cannot gain the cash to push on further. Others claim that because they either give their music away for free or appreciate people sharing it, they play to packed venues most nights. I saw a band few months back (free gig). They played to a heaving crown of people that all knew their songs. They had released one ep, out of which there was 2,000 pressings that they paid for themselves. The rest were free giveaways on Myspace and people filesharing. I bought the ep when it got a re-pressing. The first cd I have bought in god know how long. They have since signed to a label due to the coverage and the fanbase that they have built. Now they have chosen to do it that way. Many artists don't and each to their own. personally I don't give a toss either way. I like the fact that bands are going back to what it surely used to be about. Getting out there and doing gigs in pubs and venues. Relying on word of mouth and the fans as opposed to 'the next Glasvegas/White Lies/whatever the next big thing is at the moment!" advertising of some big company. I've given enough money to Record Company pockets. I honestly feel I deserve something back, and they offer nothing but new ways to stitch us up. And I don't think the artist (if he is a real artist who plays for the love of the music, not the love of the fame and fortune it entails) will be too upset by a larger audience listening to his/her music due to file-sharing. If they are good enough and determined, they will get paid back for their effort, and we shall be considered the Robin Hoods of the music industry.

I have quite an eclectic taste, and like others, there are many of my current favorites that I would not have given a second glance to if it relied on me gambling my time and money listening to it before purchace (30 seconds preview is simply NOT enough to base a judgement on. End of) or buying with the risk of it being a dud. These bands would not have touched my ears and therefore the ears of a few of my friends had I not just downloaded it for free to test the water. I may get round to buying the cd when i have a place I can actually store them (a practical issue which I think is also a fair point), or I may not. I probably won't with a fair few of them and it bothers me not in the slightest. And it seems like more of the acts playing out there are happy for this to happen in order to help take off the shackles that record companies have had on the whole scene for so long. From my eye, and maybe this is me justifying it to myself, this is all part of the revolution (vive la....). Out with the old blood so that the grander evolution can begin and we can get music out of the hands of people who care not for the artist or the customers, just their wallets, and back in the hands of those that create and nurture it.

end of pointless rambling.

Edited by Joinee Wilkins, 04 May 2009 - 05:29 am.

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#32 drain slug

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Posted 04 May 2009 - 09:57 am

ok ill concentrate on music with this, i listen to mostly rock metal punk whatever, and i read kerrang and in kerrang all but one band has said 'we're not in it for the money we just want to make music for our fans' and the one band that have said they want to make money from music is avenged sevenfold, but they make plenty of money from ads, merch, gigs etc.

now as for films, well im sighned up to lovefilm, for those who dont know about it u pay a fee, make a list of films they send u them one at a time, u send it back and they send the next one, no limit on how many u can have a month, BUT to post it and then have the next one to you takes several days, thats several days where i dont get any films, so as i can have as many films as i can in a month, well why shouldnt i want to watch it on the internet whilst i wait for a real dvd in the post?

#33 Chairman 'Jamin

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Posted 04 May 2009 - 01:00 pm

Quote

You wouldn't steal a car
You wouldn't steal a handbag
you wouldn't steal a film

You obviously know nothing about telling some people what they wouldn't do...
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#34 Platinum Joinee West

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Posted 04 May 2009 - 01:02 pm

View PostChairman'Jamin, on 4 May 2009, 12:00 PM, said:

You obviously know nothing about telling some people what they wouldn't do...

I know, I hate that advert so much.

Because many many many people would and do steal those things on a daily basis!
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#35 RJ Cooley

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Posted 04 May 2009 - 03:13 pm





Frasid I cant be bothered to get into the argument with a text based medium. But those two links are fun.
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#36 Au Joinee Rory

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Posted 05 May 2009 - 05:53 pm

View PostMister Del, on 3 May 2009, 12:47 PM, said:

Eh? If you'd *never* had bought it why would you download it? I think most people download something they might have bought or were already thinking of buying.
If you download music for free, keep it and don't then buy the physical product, you are denying the artist, songwriter, record label etc money that they should get.

Consider the opposite proposition, that the only things that anyone ever downloads without permission are things that they would have paid for if downloading wasn't an option. I don't think anyone here is sufficiently out of touch to think that this is the case. It must then be true that some downloads were made by people who would not have bought the product if buying was the only option. These downloads, while some producers will (rightly or wrongly) be annoyed by them, patently do not cause any material harm to the producer.

I'm not claiming here that this necessarily makes it ok. All I'm saying is that if you're going to say it's never okay, you need to first acknowledge that there are situations in which it causes no harm.

View PostGJ Zena Bing, on 3 May 2009, 01:14 PM, said:

I don't understand the problem with a word meaning more than one thing. Yes there is a difference between copyright infringement and piracy, and the sort of piracy going on in Somalia, but piracy is still the word used. Different kind of piracy. But to me, this is no more sensible than saying theft should not be used to describe stealing a penny sweet from a corner shop as it is disrespectful to victims shot in an armed robbery. It's nonsense, it's just different types and severities and one is no more bad taste than the other.

Your theft example is a matter of degree though, not of kind. Downloading copyrighted material and stealing ships are different types of crime. A better example would be if shopkeepers got together and promoted the use of the word 'rape' to mean stealing a penny sweet.

I'm a big fan of words being used for all sorts of weird and wonderful things, but I object in this specific case because it is not an innocent evolution of language; it's a deliberate twisting. The modern usage of the word 'piracy' to mean bootlegging appears to be a deliberate attempt by the affected industries to turn opinion against their perceived enemies by associating them with a far more serious crime.

Bootlegging is multiple-meaning too, but not in the same cynical way. This is a minor point, certainly, but I'm an enthusiast of language and will tend to pick up on these things even when they're a small part of the discussion. Feel free to keep using the word 'piracy' if you want—obviously everyone knows what you mean in context—I just wanted to mention that point.

Clear communication is more important, as Joinee Mandoran points out, so I want to make it clear that calling it piracy is fine from that perspective, but calling it stealing is likely to confuse people's thinking (see my argument about that below).

View PostGJ Zena Bing, on 3 May 2009, 01:14 PM, said:

And as Del points out, if a sizeable number of people do it, it IS causing harm.

If a sizeable number of people refrain from buying things it causes harm. That may be (and in some cases certainly is) related to bootlegging, but it doesn't have to be. Some bootlegging doesn't represent lost sales. Some does. And some even results in more sales.

Until we have reliable numbers demonstrating the breakdown between these effect it's impossible to make a utilitarian argument. That is, we can't say, "It's bad because it causes harm," until we know a lot more about the effects. You're still free to make idealistic arguments, but utilitarian ones are out of the question without data.

View PostDistant Joinee Mandoran, on 3 May 2009, 01:33 PM, said:

When people appropriate another's work without permission they are stealing, regardless of the amount of profit they make or deny the owner, something which is crystal clear to anyone who has had it done to them.

I don't think it's useful to call it stealing. Again, without making any proclamation about the morality of copyright infringement, it is simply incorrect to equate it to stealing. Yes, it's comparable. Certainly. Both involve the appropriation of another's property without permission. No doubt they both evoke the same (or similar) emotional reaction from the victim. It's pretty easy to think of them in the same terms, and to assign them the same moral status.

I'm not arguing that any of that is not the case. What I am arguing is that you can make a better evaluation of the behaviour when you ackowledge how it differs from stealing. And that difference is that the person whose copyright is infringed is left with exactly what they had before.

If you're selling a loaf of bread for €1.00 and I steal it, the net result is that I have a loaf of bread and you have nothing. You can't go on to sell that loaf to someone else, or to eat it yourself. It's not complicated in any way. I have taken what is yours, and I have harmed you.

If you're selling a song for €1.00 and I download it without paying for it, the result is that I have a copy of the song and you also have a copy of the song. The upshot of this is complicated. I might go on to sell or give more copies of that song to people who would have bought it from you, thereby depriving you of lots of money. It might just be that I would have bought the song under other circumstances so I've deprived you of €1.00. It could be that I never would have bought the song, so your circumstances are unchanged, but I've benefited—which many people will claim is wrong but others will claim is ok. It may be that I wouldn't have bought the song, but now that I've heard it a few times I love it and want to buy your whole album, and a T-shirt, and tickets to your show. Now we're both in a better position that we were before. And I might even be influencial enough that tens or hundreds of other people hear about you through me and you make far more money, and many people are better off than before.

I'm going to anticipate a counter argument here, which is that all of these outcomes are possible if you replace dowloading your song with stealing your CD. The difference is this: If 100,000 people who were not going to buy your song download it, you have a good chance that some of them will become fans and go on to buy other things from you or recommend you to others. You haven't lost any sales, or anything physical that you could have sold, and you've gained from it. If 100,000 people steal your CD, there are probably a few sales you'll lose through the CD not being available when someone wants to buy it, and you have to pay to produce 100,000 CDs (at about 30p each) for which you get back no money.

Clearly there's an important difference between stealing and infringing copyright. It's a diference big enough to make room for moral arguments that differentiate between the two behaviours. Maybe you'll cosider the differences and conclude that copyright infringement is still always wrong (or at least that it's wrong in exactly the same circumstances in which stealing is wrong). Maybe other people will consider the differences and conclude that there's a very big distinction, and that infringement is ok in a lot of situations where stealing would not be.

The point is that this sort of consideration is impossible if you jump in right at the start and proclaim that they're the same thing. They're not the same, and any discussion of this sort needs to acknowledge that fact if it's to make any progress at all.

#37 Distant Joinee Mandoran

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Posted 05 May 2009 - 06:32 pm

View PostJoinee Rory, on 5 May 2009, 07:53 PM, said:

Until we have reliable numbers demonstrating the breakdown between these effect it's impossible to make a utilitarian argument. That is, we can't say, "It's bad because it causes harm," until we know a lot more about the effects. You're still free to make idealistic arguments, but utilitarian ones are out of the question without data.
I would argue that the same is at least as true as claim that it does not cause harm, or even more provocatively, that it results in good, which is often trumpeted. You may well agree, since your remark doesn't rule that out at all.

Quote

I don't think it's useful to call it stealing. Again, without making any proclamation about the morality of copyright infringement, it is simply incorrect to equate it to stealing. Yes, it's comparable. Certainly. Both involve the appropriation of another's property without permission. No doubt they both evoke the same (or similar) emotional reaction from the victim. It's pretty easy to think of them in the same terms, and to assign them the same moral status.

I'm not arguing that any of that is not the case. What I am arguing is that you can make a better evaluation of the behaviour when you ackowledge how it differs from stealing. And that difference is that the person whose copyright is infringed is left with exactly what they had before.

If you're selling a loaf of bread for €1.00 and I steal it, the net result is that I have a loaf of bread and you have nothing. You can't go on to sell that loaf to someone else, or to eat it yourself. It's not complicated in any way. I have taken what is yours, and I have harmed you.

If you're selling a song for €1.00 and I download it without paying for it, the result is that I have a copy of the song and you also have a copy of the song. The upshot of this is complicated. I might go on to sell or give more copies of that song to people who would have bought it from you, thereby depriving you of lots of money. It might just be that I would have bought the song under other circumstances so I've deprived you of €1.00. It could be that I never would have bought the song, so your circumstances are unchanged, but I've benefited—which many people will claim is wrong but others will claim is ok. It may be that I wouldn't have bought the song, but now that I've heard it a few times I love it and want to buy your whole album, and a T-shirt, and tickets to your show. Now we're both in a better position that we were before. And I might even be influencial enough that tens or hundreds of other people hear about you through me and you make far more money, and many people are better off than before.

I'm going to anticipate a counter argument here, which is that all of these outcomes are possible if you replace dowloading your song with stealing your CD. The difference is this: If 100,000 people who were not going to buy your song download it, you have a good chance that some of them will become fans and go on to buy other things from you or recommend you to others. You haven't lost any sales, or anything physical that you could have sold, and you've gained from it. If 100,000 people steal your CD, there are probably a few sales you'll lose through the CD not being available when someone wants to buy it, and you have to pay to produce 100,000 CDs (at about 30p each) for which you get back no money.

Clearly there's an important difference between stealing and infringing copyright. It's a diference big enough to make room for moral arguments that differentiate between the two behaviours. Maybe you'll cosider the differences and conclude that copyright infringement is still always wrong (or at least that it's wrong in exactly the same circumstances in which stealing is wrong). Maybe other people will consider the differences and conclude that there's a very big distinction, and that infringement is ok in a lot of situations where stealing would not be.

The point is that this sort of consideration is impossible if you jump in right at the start and proclaim that they're the same thing. They're not the same, and any discussion of this sort needs to acknowledge that fact if it's to make any progress at all.
All very interesting and valid points. But to my mind in some respects a little too nuanced.

If something I write is appropriated\stolen, then I can be left in a situation where what I have left is of no practical use if I write for a living. Someone else can profit from it, my rights to it can for all practical purposes be lost, I can lose all sorts of potential earning, I can be worse off than I when I started depending again on the influence of the thief or other circumstances. It is easy to imagine circumstances in which my creation/intellectual property can be rendered worthless or even worse (say after failing to win a case of plagiarism).

One can construct circumstances where there is no real distinction between theft\ifringement defy distinction. How it may differ from stealing may well be a very useful investigation, but it can just as easily not differ at all, and that cannot be less relevant. Maybe in the future one will have to have extremely nuanced regulation dependent on a large number of variables, but this possibility in itself argues that one should seek a simpler solution.

Again, I would argue that much boils down to first addressing the gist of Zena's original question - and that is why do people think themselves _entitled_ to take, for free, that which indisputably is not theirs? This is not only a basic question, it is an attitude that has not had general currency before.
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#38 SJ heulwen

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Posted 05 May 2009 - 06:50 pm



#39 Gaz

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Posted 05 May 2009 - 10:31 pm

View PostDistant Joinee Mandoran, on 5 May 2009, 07:32 PM, said:

Again, I would argue that much boils down to first addressing the gist of Zena's original question - and that is why do people think themselves _entitled_ to take, for free, that which indisputably is not theirs? This is not only a basic question, it is an attitude that has not had general currency before.

In many cases because the price that the item is on sale for is unacceptable, perhaps enhanced by an awareness of where the money goes in some cases and a dislike of who gets the lion's share.

Business model after business model has shown that the majority of people will happily pay if the price is right - even when free material of equal quality is also available. iTunes does a roaring trade in media of all forms. Shareware is a standard business model for software. Heck, there are even people giving up their day jobs selling games for 99 cents on the iPhone app store. 99 cents is peanuts - it is in fact barely enough to buy actual peanuts. But people can make a living on it and do. If piracy really was so bad that everything that could be made free was being taken and no one was willing to pay, this could not be the case.

In the face of this success you have companies clinging on to business models tethered to the non-digital age and trying to bully consumers into making it fit for them. For example, a CD album may cost £10.  In that is the cost of the artist, the workers at the pressing plant, the physical disk, the printing of the sleeve and so on. The biggest cut though will go to the record company. For a digital download costing £8, the artist cut is likely the same, but almost all the other expenses are removed - duplication is effectively free and instantaneous - there are no facilities to pay for, no printing, no physical media, and this remains true forever. If I want to buy a song released 10 years ago on CD I have to hope I can find a copy or (if not) hope the record company invests in a new pressing. With digital, the record company can sell me exactly what I want whenever I want it at zero investment for them - they prepare the song once, and that's it. Yet the discount from physical to digital is nowhere near in line with the lowering of costs. Or to put it another way, the profit margin has shot up, the artist does not benefit further and the consumer takes the hit.

With regard to artists being left high and dry - well alternatives have been proposed such as an "art tax", where we all contribute to the wages of performers. But of course this serves no benefit to the incumbent media companies, so they lobby against it.

I would therefore argue that people sometimes decide to take for free because many of the alternatives at present are unreasonable. The fact so many people do so should suggest that it is not a loss of morals that is the root cause, but that the present scenario needs to change.
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#40 Joinee Bonathan

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Posted 05 May 2009 - 10:33 pm

No it's stealing as far as I'm concerned.
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#41 Gaz

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Posted 05 May 2009 - 10:51 pm

No, it *isn't* stealing. It's copyright infringement, which is legally different.

If I have X and you take X, that is theft because you have taken X and denied it to me.

If I have X and you copy X, I still have X. No theft has occurred. No one is missing their property. For it to be theft you must prove beyond all doubt that if you could not have copied X you would have stolen/bought it. This is legally impossible to do.

Therefore it is not stealing.
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#42 Seagraven

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 01:15 am

How about if you download an album or film (in a ninja-stylee), and then send, say, £5 direct to the artist? That would be more than they would usually receive from a single album sale, and you would simply be cutting out the middle man, similar to buying a CD that smaller bands often have at their own gigs. Would people consider that as bad?

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#43 Joinee Riggas

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 05:24 am

On the subject of whether it is doing harm at all and whether the new sales generated balance out the ones that are missed:

How many times do the downloaders amongst us 'intend' to pay for something/buy some memorabilia and how often to we actually follow through?  I for one, although I pay for some stuff, certainly only buy around 30% of what I intended to buy. Road to hell and all that...

Also, it is patently obvious that parts of the industry are loosing out, because the big producers are reporting severely reduced profits.  My point is, that piracy* does result in less money going into the pockets of the big companies, the question is, does that actually harm the musicians in the long term?

Not if they have a bit of nous about them.  There is still plenty of money to be made touring and, as I suggested earlier, from downloads that are charged at a sufficiently low rate.  What the technology that has enabled piracy has given bands is the power to control their own careers without being reliant on big business.  They no longer need the network of promoters and CD factories, they can just skip that bit.  The big companies can still survive, but they need to adapt dramatically, instead of piling on DRM and making things worse for themselves, they need to embrace the change in the industry and work with it (eg by using their own substantial copyright ownership to establish their own servers selling cheap as chips music, or by going back to the gig promotion that was the start of everything)

*if introducing the term 'piracy' was an attempt to make the crime seem worse than it is, I think it has failed.  Pirates in popular culture aren't cut throat villains but 'honest rogues'.

#44 Distant Joinee Mandoran

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 06:21 am

View PostGaz, on 6 May 2009, 12:31 AM, said:

I would therefore argue that people sometimes decide to take for free because many of the alternatives at present are unreasonable. The fact so many people do so should suggest that it is not a loss of morals that is the root cause, but that the present scenario needs to change.
This does not defend the widespread attitude that ALL types of content should be free/copiable/takeable. People now have this attitude to anything on the Internet. The example I gave about writing for example. But people widely believe it is OK to take and use text, photos, software, films, music, any kind of content.

View PostGaz, on 6 May 2009, 12:51 AM, said:

No, it *isn't* stealing. It's copyright infringement, which is legally different.

If I have X and you take X, that is theft because you have taken X and denied it to me.

If I have X and you copy X, I still have X. No theft has occurred. No one is missing their property. For it to be theft you must prove beyond all doubt that if you could not have copied X you would have stolen/bought it. This is legally impossible to do.

Therefore it is not stealing.
Again, it is very easy to create examples where loss and damages occur, depending on what is taken and how it is used. Don't think just music. Theft is an act of taking. You can call it many things, but if you leave with something that isn't yours, and damaged the original, I don't see why you can't call it theft, but even if you insist, can you argue that such behavior is not a crime?
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#45 Distant Joinee Mandoran

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 06:47 am

Oh and one more thing about terminology, taking and damage.

'Identity theft'. Absurd term right? You don't lose your "identity" so what has been taken, and what harm can be done?

Edited by Distant Joinee Mandoran, 06 May 2009 - 06:48 am.

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#46 Gaz

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 07:55 am

View PostDistant Joinee Mandoran, on 6 May 2009, 07:21 AM, said:

This does not defend the widespread attitude that ALL types of content should be free/copiable/takeable. People now have this attitude to anything on the Internet. The example I gave about writing for example. But people widely believe it is OK to take and use text, photos, software, films, music, any kind of content.
I'm not sure that such an attitude actually exists. Most people I know are fully aware that if they do copy something it is at best a grey area of the law, but there aren't many people (owners of the Pirate Bay aside) who see it as their right to do so. I maintain that - if the price is right - the vast majority of people will happily pay either per purchase or subscription (depending on the media) or via viewing of advertising material. If more content providers were less short-sighted and willing to embrace new models of artist renumeration and sales, piracy could be reduced almost overnight. The fact so few are speaks volumes about what their *true* priority is - maintaining an outdated commerce system that does not serve the artist or the consumer particularly well but grants them a large profit and a great deal of control of the market.

As for using material such as photos etc, some of that is down to the ubiquity of the internet. When you have a source that is beamed into millions of places, it is not difficult to see why people may think material such as a nice picture on a website is copyright free. Again, though, people will pay at the right price. For example, I have a little app on my iPhone that is just a slideshow of landscape pictures by an up and coming American photographer. The app cost 59p, but has been downloaded thousands of times by people globally as a showcase for this artist's work. He's making money and gaining exposure because he has been clever about how his work is distributed and has not e.g. tried to charge £5 per download of individual pictures.

View PostDistant Joinee Mandoran, on 6 May 2009, 07:21 AM, said:

Again, it is very easy to create examples where loss and damages occur, depending on what is taken and how it is used. Don't think just music. Theft is an act of taking. You can call it many things, but if you leave with something that isn't yours, and damaged the original, I don't see why you can't call it theft, but even if you insist, can you argue that such behavior is not a crime?
But you do not damage the original and nothing is taken away from anyone. Theft is where something is taken and not returned. This is patently not what happens with copyright infringement. The only loss is a hypothetical one - the loss of the original content provider in the form of a lost sale, and that works on the hugely flawed and utterly untrue 1:1 rule - that every pirate copy = one lost sale. On the contrary, as has been repeatedly said, pirate copies can actually lead to INCREASED sales and greater exposure (and hence further future sales) for the artist/supplier.

Is piracy a crime? It depends on what you do. This is a list of what (in the UK) counts as criminal piracy:

*making copies for the purpose of selling or hiring them to others
*importing infringing copies (except for personal use)
*offering for sale or hire, publicly displaying or otherwise distributing infringing copies in the course of a business
*distributing a large enough number of copies to have a noticeable effect on the business of the copyright owner
*making or possessing equipment for the purposes of making infringing copies in the course of a business
*publicly performing a work in knowledge that the performance is unauthorised
*communicating copies or infringing the right to "make available" copies to the public (either in the course of a business, or to an extent that has a noticeable effect on the business of the copyright owner)
*manufacturing commercially, importing for non-personal use, possessing in the course of a business, or distributing to an extent that has a noticeable effect on the business of the copyright holder, a device primarily designed for circumventing a technological copyright protection measure

You'll note that what is NOT on the list is owning/creating a copy of a pirated material for personal use. It may still be technically illegal, but even UK copyright law (technically some of the strictest in the world as it does not even implicitly include fair use clauses) does not class owning pirate material for personal use as a criminal act, merely as a civil matter. Criminal elements only come into it if you try and profit from piracy - but the anti-piracy lobby would like to see personal users just as criminalised as genuine criminal bootleggers because it suits them to do so - they hope that such measures will scare people into not using pirate copies and that the 1:1 rule will magically become true and their sales will shoot up. Any reasonable person can see that this will not happen though. So the question for content providers and artists becomes: is it better to have lots of smaller sales with greater exposure and easy distribution/use, or fewer higher profit sales that make life difficult for genuine customers with DRM and legal heavy handedness in the vain hope you can scare more people into buying things the way you want them to?

Here's another example that may help answer that: Nintendo DS games are absurdly easy to obtain over the internet, and can be downloaded to little flash cards so you can have multiple games - all as good as the original - on one card, with no modification to the DS needed. This is by some considerable margin better than the original distribution system of one card = one game, and potentially you could never need to buy a game again. It is also, of course, entirely illegal. Yet DS sales and DS game sales are still flourishing. Why? Because the semi-blind eye turned to the ease of piracy on the system means that a more flexible way of getting and trying/using games has become available. People then tend to try more games, in turn they buy more games, and more people buy DSs. Overall sales of hardware and software increase, even though some games may be quite widely pirated. Nintendo know this truth only too well, which is why they make token gestures towards anti-piracy measures but don't actually do a great deal against individuals - their anti-piracy focus is (rightly) on large-scale criminal bootleggers. Compare this with the PSP from Sony. Technically superior in virtually every way, and incredibly difficult to run pirate software on. Sony, as an old-school content provider, also pursue infringers more stringently both on their own and as part of groups such as the RIAA (the guys who go round suing grannies for millions because they found a copied CD of Sinatra tracks in their house). By the theories of the staunch anti-piracy brigade, the PSP should be the bigger success with much larger software attach rates (i.e. no. of games sold per system) as people cannot run pirate games so would have to buy what they want or go without. Yet sales are comparatively poor, and some game companies have stopped developing for the system entirely because it is simply too expensive with too little return. The 1:1 rule fails miserably - people do go without.

Ultimately I don't think anyone other than an anarchist could ever argue that piracy is absolutely, 100% legal and acceptable, because it obviously isn't. But it is also not anything like the criminal act that anti-piracy groups would have us believe either, and they have an ulterior motive for promoting their position. And when you even regularly have artists themselves coming out and saying they don't really care about piracy, you know that it's the system that's wrong, not the people who buck it.
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#47 Gaz

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 08:04 am

View PostDistant Joinee Mandoran, on 6 May 2009, 07:47 AM, said:

Oh and one more thing about terminology, taking and damage.

'Identity theft'. Absurd term right? You don't lose your "identity" so what has been taken, and what harm can be done?

If somebody took your identity and just pretended to be you around their house, would that be doing any damage or harm to you or anyone else? No. But that's what would most directly equate to someone downloading a movie for their own personal use. Identity theft for purposes of committing fraud is comparable with criminal bootlegging, which as I've said above *is* a criminal activity because it is profiting from copyright infringement. That is a criminal act, even if the initial act of copyright infringement itself is only a civil matter.

Or to put it another way: should someone who beats up a pillow in a fit of rage rather than a person they're annoyed with be tried for attempted murder? They've still been violent, and they still had a victim in mind - the victim is of course unharmed, but by the logic of piracy = theft apparently that doesn't matter and it's all about the doing... ;)
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#48 Au Joinee Rory

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 08:48 am

My reason for distinguishing copyright infringement from theft was not to say that copyright infringement is always harmless to the producer, just that it can be. The truth, which I imagine is very uncomfortable for producers, is that the person infringing is the person in the best position to judge whether or not harm has been caused. They know better than anyone else how likely they would have been to buy the material, whether they intend to pass it on, whether they're using it as a way to evaluate a potential purchase, etc.

I think this is very important when talking about why people think it's okay to do it.

I think it's okay in the specific circumstances in which I've done it, because I know how much harm it has done (none to most producers, but potentially a negligible amount to some in the form of lost sales to me personally) and how much benefit it has provided (hundreds of Euro in extra profits from me and my friends for some producers).

Similarly, I think it's very much not okay in many cases that I've seen where people simply refuse to pay for any music or movies at all. Unless they have some plausible claim that they would never listen to music or watch movies if they couldn't get them for free then I think it's reasonably clear that they're in the wrong.

#49 Silver Joinee Johnd

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 11:45 am

I reckon that main reason that the now readily-available concept of electronic books hasn't really kicked off is that the publishing industries are scared the book data files would end up like music files: all over the internet and shared for free. Which is a valid concern. Imagine for a moment that you're happy to use your electronic reader like Amazon's or whoever's, and you can go to a torrent site or onto emule etc. and be able to download for free pretty much any and every book you want. Would you be able to resist? I don't think I would.


I definitely think the anti-copyright/piracy campaigns should be trying to ban CDs for good, since this is how most people get their free music. If each person in a friends group buys a CD and they lend it to everyone in their friends group, everyone ends up with all the music of all their friends. That's just the accepted way of doing things now is it not? Everyone I know has far more music from copying friends' CDs (or file transfers over computer networks, music files that originated on CDs) than they downloaded from the Internet.

For ages now bands have made far more money from touring and merchandising than the music itself, so I don't think many bands themselves are being hurt by this, apart from perhaps some talentless but trendy 'artists' hyped up by their record labels. This is how I have a clear conscience.

Also, I'm confident that in a few years compilation CDs will cease to exist. Through a mixture of faster file sharing and things like Spotify, everyone will be in a situation that they will own or have immediate free access to every music track they've ever wanted. But no matter how many songs you own, nothing compares to a good live gig, so decent bands will always be able to do well.

Edited by YMAJ Mr Armitage, 06 May 2009 - 11:59 am.


#50 GJ Del (The Train Man)

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 11:54 am

The legal definition of theft is 'to appropriate something which belongs to another, with the intention of permanently depriving them of it'
So, if you download something for free, which, if you downloaded it for a cost legally would have meant the creator of that item receiving a payment, are you not then depriving them of their payment, i.e. stealing their money?
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