Regarding piracy

Most people in the world today have their own small share of media piracy. Some just snatched a song very occassionally, while others are keep downloading, and downloading and downloading constantly…

RIAA and MPAA is trying to protect their client’s interests by educating the public about copyright law, and (especially RIAA) by throwing some lawsuits. Many people online are trying to justify their piracy habits by saying that RIAA/MPAA and their clients already have lots of money and a bit of piracy won’t hurt them. Even if this might be true, it is besides the point. Stealing is stealing and the copyright law has a reason to exist, as it exists in most countries.

My only problem with the whole thing is that how society clashes with finances. What I mean by that is this: I know many people here in the Bay Area who never pirate. But they have a tripple-figure salary per year. People in Greece make $15,000-20,000, but they still have the exact same need to listen to music. They are modern people and society has created a way of life where people listen to popular music, watch TV, buy DVDs. For most of these people, piracy is probably their only way out of this artificially-created “need”.

This is where RIAA needs to slow down a bit: from one side they advertise everywhere about new records and they have created a way of life where stars/actors/movies/songs are part of our everyday life, and on the other side they prosecute people who developed this need based on their advertisements but don’t pay up.

Make no mistake: RIAA is in the clear here. They have every right to prosecute people who steal their property, it’s just that things aren’t as black and white as the law would like them to be. This is very much like advertising how cool recreational drugs are, but prosecute poor people if they steal some of these drugs because they don’t have the money to buy them from the dealer. Entertainment is like a drug anyway, my analogy is not far off at all (stimulates the brain and you can get hooked to specific music).

I think my friend Vince has the right idea about things: he owns no television set, and he listens to free music (licensed under a Creative Commons license). Regarding popular copyrighted music, he just listens to FM radio (he never buys music CDs). He occassionally goes to the cinema, but it’s not the norm.

People might eventually need to “rewire” themselves regarding entertainment and find fun on freely available material instead of risking a lawsuit. “Having fun” is just a point of view anyway.

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KCorax wrote on September 1st, 2006 at 2:50 AM PST:

Some insight from an FFII conference:
RIAA’s lawsuits, are primarily based on the DMCA. As an act it disallows you to circumvent DRM protection schemes, even though you are entitled to make copies for personal use.

This is equivalent to being in a grass field that is split by a fence. You are allowed to be at both sides of the fence but you are not allowed to jump over it.

Those who had to buy the same music tracks first as a download and then in a CD, that they can listen to in their car know what I’m talking about.


vince wrote on September 1st, 2006 at 3:02 AM PST:

In all fairness, it did take a while to get used to living without TV. To compensate I listen to NPR, read a lot (The WSJ, Economist, plus tons of online news) and if I ever really need/want to watch something on TV I either go to a friend’s place or watch it at a bar or cafe. That makes the experience of watching TV more social IMHO than just watching it yourself or with only people you know. It forces me to get back out into society and place nice with others.

Regarding the music, I discovered long ago that the record labels are intent on making us listen to songs that fall into a narrow category. Then, so we don’t linger, those bands disappear and are replaced (so they don’t get too powerful like say Madonna, U2 etc). Plus, the topics of these songs are also dreadfully narrow compared to stuff that was created in the 60’s and 70’s (”Paperback Writer” anyone?)

In other countries you’ll see youth singing the same songs as their parents do. It brings the family closer together. But in the US it’s very rare. Songs and radio stations are targeted very specifically and generations are kept separate. I’m still trying to decipher and completely understand the role of record labels, radio stations, and the RIAA here.

Before this comment gets too long, let me just say that tons of the music I found have made it into my permanent iTunes collection. The bands and songs rival and surpass much of what is considered mainstream. If these bands could provide an easy DRM-free way to purchase their songs I would do it in a heartbeat. Sadly, many still rush to sign with labels and release CD’s rather than try selling their own songs themselves. Maybe in time…


Edwin wrote on September 1st, 2006 at 3:24 AM PST:

In the case of major labels and their artists, yer not exactly hurting the artist when you download an album instead of buying it; link. There is more to music than just the major labels/artists, they’re rich enuf as-is.

I buy way more music (CD’s, vinyl, demo’s) than that I download tho, and part of what I download is to determine whether or not to buy the record anyways. But never ever from major labels/artists, partly cuz none of it fits with my musical taste (which is more underground/diy/non-mainstream in nature) and cuz I prefer supporting the artists and diy labels/distro’s (often run by a handful of people if that) more directly. And also cuz artwork/packaging/etc are nice as well (no downloaded album will ever come close to that same album on LP (or CD) with full artwork etc, JPEG’s are no substitute).

Then again, since I live in the Netherlands, downloading music is still legal here anyways.


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on September 1st, 2006 at 4:25 AM PST:

We have over 350 purchased CDs at home and yet my iPod Mini (4 GB) is only 30% full (I only put in it the songs I really like). I very rarely use my iPod Mini or turn on our HiFi system. I mostly listen to online radio music from di.fm (Eurodance channel, 96 kbps).

JBQ has an account with Sirius for Satellite Radio and he occassionally buys music CDs (not as much as he used to since he got the Satellite Radio). Sometimes he also listens to free music too, can’t remember the URL though atm. It’s an indie label where you can download their music for free, legally.


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on September 1st, 2006 at 4:54 AM PST:

Weird Al has posted in his official mySpace page his new hit single, sarcastically named “Don’t Download This Song“, and it’s freely and legally available for download (I assume for promotional reasons, until his album comes out). The lyrics are fantastic.


vince wrote on September 1st, 2006 at 4:56 AM PST:

Well, if anyone is interested, here is a post that shows where I get most of my free music.

If I do buy music I get it from audiolunchbox.com, though I’m sure other good drm-free download sites exist.


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on September 1st, 2006 at 6:08 AM PST:

Ok, after a bit of searching online, here are the best web sites about FREE music:

http://magnatune.com/
This is the one JBQ listens to (that I couldn’t remember earlier). Please read their “we are not evil” article. They are giving away the 128 kbps mp3 versions of all their signed artist songs, and they are selling high quality OGG, FLAC, mp3 or AAC instead.

http://www.jamendo.com/
Lots of free music. Web 2.0 interface. Unfortunately all its downloads are via P2P, which means that there will be some songs that you won’t be able to download just because no one is sharing at the time.

http://ccmixter.org
Mixes, some nice stuff there.

http://www.diesel-u-music.com/
Every week they have competitions from free music groups.

http://www.sectionz.com/
More free music.


MaxEd wrote on September 1st, 2006 at 6:10 AM PST:

I don’t give a damn about record labels and since most artist I listen to are already dead I think I will donwload all music I want and NOT pay for it.


Slava Pestov wrote on September 1st, 2006 at 7:46 AM PST:

Many people online are trying to justify their piracy habits by saying that RIAA/MPAA and their clients already have lots of money and a bit of piracy won’t hurt them. Even if this might be true, it is besides the point. Stealing is stealing and the copyright law has a reason to exist, as it exists in most countries.

Or perhaps people simply don’t care enough to obey the law? I know downloading music is illegal, but I do it anyway.


mikesum32 wrote on September 1st, 2006 at 11:05 AM PST:

>Stealing is stealing and the copyright law has a reason to >exist

Stealing and copyright infringement are two seperate things.

Don’t be tricked into thinking they are the same.


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on September 1st, 2006 at 11:10 AM PST:

They sound the same to me.


Christoffer wrote on September 1st, 2006 at 11:31 AM PST:

Mikesum32 is right.

Piracy is not stealing since stealing requires a physical removal of an object. That is how the law defines it, IMHO.


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on September 1st, 2006 at 11:37 AM PST:

So if a collegue has an idea in our business environment and then I pitch it as mine, isn’t that stealing? An idea is not an object, and yet it IS stealing.


Horizon-riche wrote on September 1st, 2006 at 12:33 PM PST:

Music CD are supposed to be a medium that help reach your audience , its a tool of promotion , like billboard , newspaper , radio. Now that medium happen to be highly profitable because people accept to pay an extremely high sum of money for it.

You don’t pay for radio , unless its a specialized channel or service , you don’t pay to watch billboard , you don’t pay the full price to acquire the newspaper and for the cost to print it. They don’t complain when people share newspapers either.

DVD are even worst you pay to get a movie and you get tons of unwanted preview/trailers that don’t lower the price of the DVD.

I suggest that the real problem originate where there is no distinction between one individual rights and a corporation rights. One individual might steal many people lets say 10 – 100 and companies , before getting caught , corporation will steal millions of individuals and have impact on billions of individuals and will not get prosecuted because they are more innocent and able to defend them self then one individual can. I would change that so that corporation are guilty and have to prove there innocence.

The real question is not asked , why are people not buying the music they use ? Because they feel they already have been ripped off by other product they bought that where not cheap to acquire on the contrary it had an impact on there purchasing power.

If on-line music was priced 5 cent -25 cents per song , people might be inclined to acquire it legally , instead of downloading it illegally. On can buy 20 songs for a dollar at 5 cents per song. People don’t download because they like to be pirate , they are pirate because what they want is not available at a price they can truly afford.


l3v1 wrote on September 1st, 2006 at 12:35 PM PST:

No, it’s still not stealing, but most people think it is, simply because how the word’s meaning has slowly morphed its meaning in coloquiality. A music is just the same as an idea, it just has a somewhat different form. It was his idea, if on paper, on a disk, singing or talking, you take it you infringe on his copyright.


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