Women in Technology

Hear us Roar



Article:
  Piracy is Progressive Taxation, and Other Thoughts on the Evolution of Online Distribution
Subject:   Online distribution
Date:   2002-12-19 09:48:25
From:   anonymous2
I believe my adamant opposition to information theft comes from years of listening to its apologists.


I accept that the economics cited in the article might be correct and to the advantage of artists and content producers, but I also think it should be exclusively their right to decide whether to participate or not. Pirates remove their right of choice. Pirates then come up with nice-sounding rationalizations for doing so, hoping to pass off their self-interested behavior as something enlightened.


If the price is too high, do without; the "cult of entitlement" excuses get old really fast.

Full Threads Oldest First

Showing messages 1 through 7 of 7.

  • Online distribution
    2008-05-18 07:11:49  swing_developer [View]

    What you're forgetting is that the artist's *right* is not a natural right, it's one created by society for the purpose of benefiting society.


    To the extent that it does benefit society, then those *rights* represent good law. To the extent that those rights start to harm society, then those *rights* will be rescinded.


    The same is true of patent law. We the people through our laws grant inventors some *rights*, but they're not on par with the right to assembly, the right free speech the right to be free from unjust imprisonment. They're *rights* that are granted solely for the purpose of incentivizing a certain kind of activity.


    If an artist or other creator wants to retain perpetual and sole authority over his works, then the artist can keep them to his or her self. Beyond that, it becomes a matter of public policy who gets to use what in what fashion.


    The problem with your argument is that it was a form of assuming the consequent. You assume a conclusion to the argument and use that assumption as if itself were a valid argument. You assumed that artists get to impose restrictions on other people's behavior because the artist took the step of exposing the art to the larger society. But that's a conclusion, not an argument. It's just your point of view on the matter, and not a reason why your point of view is valid.

  • Online distribution
    2003-06-11 01:44:46  anonymous2 [View]

    As you say "the cult of entitlement excuses get old really fast", I agree. I am sick content producers thinking they are entitled to make money on their works forever.

    As you are sick of "Piracy Apologists", I am sick of "Copyright Entitlists"--that is, people who think the right to a perpetual monopoly is something that's been around since the beginning of time and is somehow an unalienable right like free speech.

    Copyright (in the US) is set out in the Constitution with the following paragraph:

    The Congress shall have Power ... To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries

    First, the key words here are "To Promote the progress of science and useful arts". It doesn't say "To promote the profit of authors".

    Second, it reads "By securing for LIMITED times". With copyright terms now at 99 years and set to only climb, when are we going to decide we've exceeded the framers intent? As it is now, someone alive today is not likely to have the chance to create a derivative work based on today's modern works before they die.

    If that doesn't seem important to you, consider that Disney got their big break by creating a derivative work of the Brothers Grimm in the form of the feature animated film: "Snow White". Wouldn't you agree that the world is a better place with Disney's Snow White in it?

    Society has been very good to Disney. We've made them into the media powerhouse that they are today--it's a true story of the American Dream. Disney ought to be required to pay it's debt to society back by putting these stories into the public domain before today's young authors grow old and die.

    This discussion is continually framed in the form of the author's rights as the seller versus the consumer's rights as the potential buyer. This is valid but it's not the whole story. There is a greater issue of control over modern culture.
  • Tim O'Reilly photo Online distribution
    2002-12-21 08:42:38  Tim O'Reilly | O'Reilly AuthorO'Reilly Blogger [View]

    As I've said in other contexts, I also believe strongly in the right of creators to choose the terms on which their work can be distributed. (See My Definition of Freedom Zero.) But I will point out that the RIAA and others don't speak for artists--they speak for themselves and their shareholders, and there are many artists who would benefit from more liberal policies.
    I'd love to see the RIAA polling their artists, using an "opt in" mechanism for file sharing. Then we'd be able to move towards a fair marketplace, rather than a controlled one.
    • Online distribution
      2003-04-28 04:47:19  jwenting [View]

      Only if combined with a vigorous policing effort to stamp out piracy (which I fear may be impossible).

      Most users (especially teens and early adults) are not going to pay $1 per track (to give a figure) downloaded from the official website if they can just fire up Kazaa or whatever P2P client and download the entire work of that artist for free.
      The respect for ownership has gone down that much, it's no longer a cost issue but principle.

      I've met people who were actually PROUD of not having any paid for music or software, but having it all pirated and leeched off the web.
      Looking at what that software was a lot of it were programs costing $5-$25 each, not applications costing thousands which they might not be able to afford on their income/allowance.

      Then there's the software engineers (individuals and companies) asking around for cracked versions of anti-piracy tools because they want to protect their own product (commercial...) from being pirated.
      IMO that's the ultimate irony as well as the ultimate example of the mindset of many people these days.
      • Tim O'Reilly photo Online distribution
        2003-04-28 07:26:36  Tim O'Reilly | O'Reilly AuthorO'Reilly Blogger [View]

        At this point, I agree that many people have been conditioned to think of music as free. But I think you overstate the case. In the early days of the Internet, everyone was conditioned to think of net access as free, but before long, they were all paying $20/month (or more) for it. In a similar way, once there is a market-priced service that people like, they will convert to the convenience of it.

        You've got to remember that there is no legitiamate alternative to Kazaa and its ilk. 99 cents a song -- which pretty much preserves the pricing of CDs -- is not the answer, especially if it's coupled with copy protection. This is a new medium. But I'll bet that there is a profitable price that will spur demand, with a lot more freedom to sample and try new music.

        I'll also point out that there are a lot of us who've suffered sales declines in the current downturn without the excuse of free redistribution of our product. What's more, George Riemann of Mac Wizards music has analyzed their sales figures and points out that the RIAA members have collectively produced significantly fewer releases in the past two years, and have actually pushed UP their revenue per SKU. So there's really something fishy about their claims that file sharing is the cause of their woes.

        I am almost certain that all of the hand wringing is a delaying tactic till they can get their house in order, understand this market, and make their own offerings competitive. If they had more courage and leadership, they could be breaking the back of illegal file sharing today, by beating it at its own game.
        • Online distribution
          2003-10-31 02:22:53  anonymous2 [View]

          i think there are two points that seem to be missed.one,thieves can't complain about pirates.being a musician i can tell you dozens of horror stories of bands that worked hard,got signed,had good sales,only to see not one cent in profit and to be told by their lawyer that they will never see a dime or even get the rights to their own songs back without a major lawsuit(and major upfront legal fees).if you think it's just dumb kids,remeber meatloaf had to sue for 17 years to get a lousy 7 mil for bat out of hell one,and that thing sold more product than tide!and there was no internet to cause "loss of sales".i get my music online(and freely offer my own)because i don't have a problem taking from thieves.the last album i purchased was the stones sticky fingers two years ago and it cost me MORE than when i bought it in 1985!There is no excuse for charging new prices for 30+ year old music and until the record corporations stop trying to extort new prices and treat the artists fairly(metallica gets $2.50 on a $22+cd?give me a break!i'll just keep downloading and support the artists i enjoy by going to their shows and buying straight from them. And i hope the big 5 go the way of the dinosaurs.one more thing,NO WAY am i paying a buck a song for old music.a dime to a quarter,maybe,but not as long as the riaa is going around suing 12 year olds and taking high school kids college funds.it's nothing but legalized extortion!give us money or we'll bust you.the only ones they'll bust is kids and the stupid.i've got my high speed going through enough proxies and firewalls all they'll find when they look for me is a server in hong kong.
        • Online distribution
          2003-06-18 22:09:04  anonymous2 [View]

          Isn't it ironic that we're talking about an industry where a majority of the time, the people who created the product, don't even end up owning the rights to make money with it, or do anything with it all? I know so many people who have had to buy their stuff back, so they can at least sell two dozen copies to faithful fans or whatever. The record company, after not adequately promoting it, would have just let it sit in a vault somewhere and die. So I mean, who's stealing from whom?
          You are right, this is only a threat to EXISTING companies. Those companies have been doing such a piss poor job. I think it went south when they never really came up with a decent replacement for the forty-five. One hit wonders were just what they were. You bought one hit, and that was it. To get someone to buy an entire album, you actually had to make a decent, or dare I say it, great one. And guess what? Those artists still have decent selling catalogues. Chances are they were nurtured along a little too. Elton made better albums over time, at least the first ten years anyway. Most of today's pop acts won't even produce a catalogue because the music won't stand the test of time. They got greedy when they knew they could force us to pay $14 for the single, or one good tune and nine crappy ones. Why does everyone think the NOW... MUSIC series does so well?

          They are blowin' it big time. They should analyze the service and do it better, faster. And don't give me this bull about teens not being able to afford it, or not respecting the music. When I was 18, I gladly forked over my portion of the cable bill every month because the "free" channels were just not gonna cut it for me or my roomates. And it was my waitressing money, not my parent's, paying for all my living expenses. Now I pay for satellite because basic cable doesn't cut it, and I want better service than what my crappy cable company seems to want to offer. The jury is out on the service quality of the satellite companies, but one can see my point. Which was also your point. The file sharing experience has much to be improved on.

          The current record companies have the means and the power to make such awesome downloading sights. They could provide access to so much of what they're already sitting on, and turn a profit on stuff that's already been recorded. They had to digitally remaster everything they've been willing to reissue on CD, why not make the entire motherload available?Why not make it a goal to make everything available, to design a sight that is convenient to use and affordable? Do it better.
          I mean, when I was fourteen, it didn't take me long to figure out that my own copy of EXIT STAGE LEFT or whatever was better than my friend's cassette recording off her stereo. I wanted my own copy, with the words and the art and all of it. That could all be incorporated into a web site. I think the record companies have lost sight of how to make things appealing. Everyone sees through the BS. People think they are being ripped off, and if you bought a CD in the last ten years hoping to have ten or twelve great tunes to listen to, or a great concept to check out, chances are, you were.

          Thanks for making some great points!