Great Quote from G. Andrew Duthie on Chris Sells Blog


    Like Card, I earn much of my living on intellectual property, and I don’t buy 90% of the arguments in favor of internet “music sharing”. In my view, it’s theft. If you want to do it anyway, at least be honest about it, rather than trying to tart it up as justice for the “rapacious” record companies.


    Posted by G. Andrew Duthie , Tuesday, September 16, 2003



I have had the exact same conversation with a few of my friends… and even some of my family…

I don’t care if you download MP3s (or movies for that matter) without paying, go ahead… do what you want… but don’t pretend it is any different than grabbing the disc off the shelf at the local music store and shoving it down your pants… You are stealing, and just because it is acceptable to many people doesn’t make it any less of a theft.

Yeah, I’ve heard the arguments… blah, blah, big music companies are rich, charging too much, blah, blah… it is just 1s and 0s, so it isn’t really stealing… etc.

If they are ripping you off (or ripping off the artists), then go listen to some independent local band (many of which give at least some of their music away on the web for free… really free, not stolen free)… and then pay that local band the $10 bucks to buy a CD-R from the stack next to the stage… at least you’ll know where most of that $ is going.

Oh, and despite my opinion on this…. it doesn’t make the RIAA any less of a bunch of losers :) though they generate great humour.

(Listening To: Sympathy for the Devil [The Rolling Stones / Forty Licks Disc 1])

Comments (16)

  1. Rich says:

    Absolutely, Positively, Three-hundred Percent Correct!

    As you mention, if you don’t like what the record companies are ‘doing’, don’t buy from them!

  2. Daniel O'Connell says:

    [quote]

    I don’t care if you download MP3s (or movies for that matter) without paying, go ahead… do what you want… but don’t pretend it is any different than grabbing the disc off the shelf at the local music store and shoving it down your pants… You are stealing, and just because it is acceptable to many people doesn’t make it any less of a theft.

    [/quote]

    Its worse than that, your stealing and not even getting the case, liner notes, or any of the other art involved in the disc, or even the audio in full (I don’t suspect there are alot of lossless audio files spreading around out there).

    Beyond that, I find it vastly difficult to accept music file(or a movie file for that matter) as a posession, even if I had an mp3 I didn’t have the album for, every time I listen to it I’m would be sitting there thinking, "Damnit, I want this album…". That would just ruin the music.

    Ah well, I may be one of the minority on that.

  3. Sam Gentile says:

    Amen. Duncan, I have never seen it more well put. I agree totally.

  4. First, thanks for the kind words.

    Second, I completely agree that calling "music sharing" theft should *not* be viewed as a defense of any of the RIAA’s tactics.

    Here’s the thing…I *do* think the record companies provide a useful service to artists, in that they provide the upfront costs for recording and producing albums, funding tours, etc. This is similar (though not quite the same) to publishers providing authors with advances to help support themselves while they are writing. The important part to remember here is that in both cases, the corporation is taking on the risk that their investment may not be earned back. In fact, both for record companies and publishers, this happens with some frequency. As such, the money-making projects or acts, in addition to making a profit for the record company (or publisher) and profits for the band (or author), must subsidize the money-losing projects or acts. This is something I think few people consider when they are thinking about the costs of CDs and books.

    The notion that the fact that blank CDs cost X and music CDs cost X + $10 means that the record companies are overcharging is incredibly simplistic and just plain wrong. It’s also the same "logic" that brings people to claim that we are overcharged by the drug companies.

    Finally, before I go on too long (too late), the part that concerns me most about all this is that I am convinced that if it was as easy to copy books as it is with CDs, I would probably have to stop writing professionally, as it would no longer be economically feasible (it’s already questionable on that front, but still mostly worthwhile) for me to do so. I’m sure there are plenty of people who wouldn’t notice the lack of my books, and maybe even some who’d say "good riddance", but I’m sure I’m not the only author who would come to that conclusion. How many books would not get written if it was as easy to steal a book as it is with a CD?

    PS – All of the above is not to say that one can’t have a reasoned discussion of where we should be drawing the lines on intellectual property. There may be a case to be made for limiting copyright from its current broad interpretation. But that’s another discussion entirely. :-)

  5. Ray Jezek says:

    You have to realize however that this is not illegal in some countries. For instance in Canada they are already taxed (and the money goes to the record companies) for blank media to recoup the costs to the record company. So they are not necesarily stealing anything since the law protects the consumer in this way.

    While in general I would say your all correct and most poeple flat our use P2P to steal, I still don’t think it’s always so cut and dry. I have often wondered if it would be illegal for me to make a copy of a song that is on a disk i checked out of the library? This seems equivalant to using one of the 20-30 photo-copiers that are present in my public library to copy an article out of a magazine, or a few pages out of a book. My instinct tells me it’s wrong but you can begin to see why these things become fuzzy for people in a culture where we grew up copying tv shows (or whole seasons for that matter), songs off the radio, pages from books, etc… Maybe none of those things are right either, but never before has anyone been sued or arrested for these types of uses.

  6. Paul says:

    It used to be legal the US as well. Like Radio here – we all pay a small tarif on blank media and music cd’s/albums/etc. so Radio can play free. You can record of the radio for your own personal use, and that’s considered fair use – what I don’t understand is why the record compaies are against a similar tarrif and a easing up on fair use?

  7. Ray writes:

    "You have to realize however that this is not illegal in some countries. For instance in Canada they are already taxed (and the money goes to the record companies) for blank media to recoup the costs to the record company. So they are not necesarily stealing anything since the law protects the consumer in this way."

    Huh? What does this have to do with copyright law? The presence or absence of a charge for blank media that is passed to the record companies has *nothing* to do with copyright law. Additionally, that argument ignores the fact that many people never burn their downloaded songs to CD-R, and so the media charge is irrelevant in those cases.

    "I have often wondered if it would be illegal for me to make a copy of a song that is on a disk i checked out of the library? This seems equivalant to using one of the 20-30 photo-copiers that are present in my public library to copy an article out of a magazine, or a few pages out of a book."

    I don’t know what the law is regarding music CDs in terms of fair use, but the legal concept of fair use covers your discussion of photocopying articles and/or limited portions of books. My understanding (IANAL) is that you can legally create copies of music you have purchased (or I suppose I should say, purchased rights to since, like software, you don’t really *own* the music itself), but not music that have not purchased, which presumably would include that borrowed from the library.

    "Maybe none of those things are right either, but never before has anyone been sued or arrested for these types of uses."

    First, I’m not sure on what basis you make this assertion…are you certain of this, or are you just stating your opinion? Second, the clear difference is technology. It’s simply too cumbersome for someone to copy the contents of entire magazines or books to make it worth their time versus purchasing the books or magazines, or just borrowing them from the library. It is the ease with which digital music can be copied that makes theft such a major problem.

  8. Ray Jezek says:

    Andrew – It has EVERYTHING to do with copyright law since it *IS* copyright law (in Canada at least):

    "On March 19, 1998, Part VIII of the (Canadian) Copyright Act dealing with private copying came into force. Until that time, copying any sound recording for almost any purpose infringed copyright, although, in practice, the prohibition was largely unenforceable. The amendment to the Act legalized copying of sound recordings of musical works onto audio recording media for the private use of the person who makes the copy (referred to as "private copying"). In addition, the amendment made provision for the imposition of a levy on blank audio recording media to compensate authors, performers and makers who own copyright in eligible sound recordings being copied for private use."

    (quote from http://techcentralstation.com/081803C.html)

    IN regards to the basis for my last statement, that is derrived from what little i know about the Betamax case (http://www.museum.tv/archives/etv/B/htmlB/betamaxcase/betamaxcase.htm) where the court said it’s ok to tape broadcast media. Which is different than a CD i know… but I am only pointing to the fact that we *can* legally record other copyrightten material legally.

    Now im no expert on these things and feel you are mostly correct. I’m just trying to address a few issue that I have with blanket statements people make about everyone being a criminal. For instance i actually do believe that the 12 year old girl and her mom really thought they we’re paying $30 a month for Kazaa service which gave them access to all these songs. I know a lot of people who barely knwo how to turn a computer on let alone understand how they even connect to what they see on their screen.

  9. Ray Jezek says:

    I want to reiterate also, I do think its right to download music you don’t own. I even think the 12 year old girl was wrong in doing it and I don’t think ignorance is an excuse. But I can see how people can get confused about some of these issues or even argue for them… not that I agree with any of them. I actually find the debate fascinating and educational in terms of copyrights and fair use, etc…

  10. "The amendment to the Act legalized copying of sound recordings of musical works onto audio recording media for the private use of the person who makes the copy (referred to as "private copying")."

    Even if this were the law in the US (which I don’t believe is the case, but I can’t state with certainty), that would *still* make much of the activity on Kazaa et. al. illegal, since these are *not* people who are making copies of "musical works onto audio recording media for the private use of the person who makes the copy". These are people who are ripping CDs to their hard drives and sharing them with others and/or downloading music that someone else has ripped to a hard drive. These are activities that wouldn’t seem to be covered by the scenario of the Canadian Copyright Act fact sheet that you quote.

    And as you point out, the ignorance of the 12-year old and her mom isn’t an excuse for violating the law. Apparently the RIAA made their choices based on volume of copyrighted material being shared, and they had a lot of it. It was, IMO, a fairly tone-deaf move on the RIAA’s part to target folks who would be likely to receive public sympathy, but I don’t think they can be faulted on the law.

  11. Ray Jezek says:

    "I do think its right to download music you don’t own"

    DUH… i meant to say WRONG… not right..

    lol

  12. steven says:

    aw crud. can’t keep all these comment systems straight.

    http://steven.vorefamily.net/2003/09/19.html#a1683

  13. Rob Zelt says:

    I can’t help but wonder if a bunch of musicians and recording execs ever sat around debating the issues of software piracy. Really it’s not like this issue is something new. Digital theft has long been an issue, it’s just sexy now because music is involved. Maybe we’re approaching the era of open source song writing.