Illegal downloading

General discussion

Moderators: MayorOfLongview, FredProgGH, Sam Gamgee, Bnielsen

User avatar
Alatar
Semi-Pro
Semi-Pro
Posts: 372
Joined: Fri Feb 21, 2003 11:28 am
Location: Australia
Contact:

Illegal downloading

Post by Alatar » Wed May 23, 2007 9:51 am

I'm not really into the whole downloading thing (being an archaic Gen X'er on dialup who got a mobile phone but never used it), but I thought that the following observation from Pendragon was interesting:

http://www.pendragon.mu/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1627

I admit that my morals are a little fuzzy when it comes to illegal downloads. I have in the past downloaded a number of tracks that I was pretty sure weren't legit. I ended up buying albums by a number of the people I liked the sound of, and don't listen to these downloads any more. I also look at stuff on youtube which I am sure is up there without permission. I think of this as a substitute for hearing songs on a radio, as aside from royalties it impacts on the artist in the same way, and I also buy a large number of CDs every year. I can understand that some would see this thinking as a slippery slope.

Either way I can't see anybody being able to morally justify downloading a 10 CD collection of Pendragon. That's just straight out theft. I wonder if that attitude and my past actions make me a hypocrite.
----
Five wizards came from the West. One sought knowledge, one power, one conversed with the animals and the other two got into blues

FredProgGH
Hammerhead
Hammerhead
Posts: 1857
Joined: Tue Dec 10, 2002 3:35 am
Location: The short bus

Post by FredProgGH » Wed May 23, 2007 11:20 am

Probably, but we're only human and a certain hypocrisy goes with the territory. As artists we have pretty staunch views on the whole idea of infringement of Intellectual Property and yet I've done it. I try and limit myself to "archival" material that is unavailable in any legitimate form. But on occasion I have succumbed to a simple "I want that" because it's just so easy to do.

One big thing in the equation is that I no longer think downloading *generally* results in a lost sale- these people had no intention of ever buying the thing they download anyway so you lost no money- or they actually go "Hey, I like this" and they DO buy it so you have actually made money. But then you get the odd cretin out there like someone who would D/L an entire catalog.
"The baloney is yodeling" -- [i]Jon Arbuckle[/i]

Joe-×
Amateur
Amateur
Posts: 66
Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2006 8:00 pm
Location: Columbus, OH
Contact:

Post by Joe-× » Wed May 23, 2007 6:14 pm

I'm a heavy duty downloader. I've currently got 31 full length albums (6 are doubly evil since they are bootlegs) on my hard drive that I haven't listened to yet. Some of them will never be listened to. I generally clean house every week or so.

As a rule, I download only progressive metal, power metal, and neo-prog. Sometimes I'll download pop or generic commercial rock, mostly CCM type stuff.

To be perfectly honest, these genres are all filled with completely derivative and boring bands who regurgitate the same albums over and over. I don't have the money to take risks on music in genres where 90% of the releases are completely forgettable. The music vendors who sell me stuff won't take back music just because it's crappy, so I view my downloading as protecting my rights as a consumer.

Since the shelves that surround me are filled with 3200+ CDs, I have a hard time imagining how any artists have been "harmed" by my downloading. Pendragon is particularly unharmed by my downloading.

I got my first Pendragon CD as a gift from a buddy who described as unlistenable swill. My first impression was that the music was nice enough when done by better bands in the 70's and the vocalist was whiny and annoying. But I liked the songs, which is the ultimate measure for me. I've got 9 of their CDs and 1 DVD. I did download and preview Believe before purchasing it.

I'm a radical libertarian who doesn't believe in the concept of "intellectual property", so I found most of Nick's points to be misguided. I think he's blaming his lack of sales on the wrong problems. His target market is aging and dying; nasal Pink Floyd clones have only a limited appeal; and one has to hope there are only so many devoted Clive Nolan wankers on the planet at any point in time.

Anyway, I'm sure all the downloaders will give back their stolen Pendragon music the minute Nick sets a good example and returns his stolen guitar tones to David Gilmour and Andy Latimer. :lol:

User avatar
Elric
Amateur
Amateur
Posts: 164
Joined: Mon May 23, 2005 4:14 pm
Location: Rossville, GA

Post by Elric » Wed May 23, 2007 7:44 pm

Just a short comment here......

I don't like to DL. If the music is out of print and I cannot get a copy, I might sway a bit, but if it is available, I support the artist and their work. Always been like that and always will....

Besides, I am a liner note freak. I have 3000+ CDs all of em real deal.

I don't really take issue with those that do DL, just those that mass produce it and do not support the artist.
Brent

Be kind to my mistakes, because I am not.....Kate Bush

User avatar
yeshead 777
Hammerhead
Hammerhead
Posts: 1163
Joined: Wed May 18, 2005 10:54 pm
Location: Red Bank

Post by yeshead 777 » Wed May 23, 2007 7:59 pm

Very sensitive subject for sure-I used to download alot back in the morpheus,etc. days. Now I don't have the time or energy, and personally have changed my view on it where I probably wouldn't do it anyway. Lord knows I spend way too much on music, and I've got to stay away from itunes!!!!!, but when you meet and get to know indie artists like GH and(for the most part)CGT, and realize how much they depend on every buck to make a living it kinda changes you're perspective.I guess its hypocritical-but I don't care much if you download Kelly Clarkson or Kellie Pickler, but I really care if you download GH,CGT, or even PT or DT.I'm a PROG snob I guess.
Art can "make people feel what's true rather than telling them".[Dan Haseltine,Jars of Clay].

FredProgGH
Hammerhead
Hammerhead
Posts: 1857
Joined: Tue Dec 10, 2002 3:35 am
Location: The short bus

Post by FredProgGH » Wed May 23, 2007 8:12 pm

Joe-× wrote:
I'm a radical libertarian who doesn't believe in the concept of "intellectual property",
You're a radical Libertarian that doesn't believe that a man has the right to profit from the industry of his own intellect. That's a bit of an oxymoron. Libertarianism's most basic guiding concept is a human's right to ownership of his/herself and all that arises from their productivity, whether physical or mental.
"The baloney is yodeling" -- [i]Jon Arbuckle[/i]

User avatar
Alatar
Semi-Pro
Semi-Pro
Posts: 372
Joined: Fri Feb 21, 2003 11:28 am
Location: Australia
Contact:

Post by Alatar » Wed May 23, 2007 8:44 pm

FredProgGH wrote:
Joe-× wrote:
I'm a radical libertarian who doesn't believe in the concept of "intellectual property",
You're a radical Libertarian that doesn't believe that a man has the right to profit from the industry of his own intellect. That's a bit of an oxymoron. Libertarianism's most basic guiding concept is a human's right to ownership of his/herself and all that arises from their productivity, whether physical or mental.
Maybe by radical libertarian he means anarchist. :)

Some interesting points in this discussion. I think what it comes down to is that illegal downloads straddle a rather blurry line between "victimless crime" and theft. I still don't see that you can morally justify downloading an entire that is available for sale at a reasonable price. Even if it is Kelly Clarkson.
----
Five wizards came from the West. One sought knowledge, one power, one conversed with the animals and the other two got into blues

Joe-×
Amateur
Amateur
Posts: 66
Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2006 8:00 pm
Location: Columbus, OH
Contact:

Post by Joe-× » Wed May 23, 2007 8:51 pm

FredProgGH wrote:You're a radical Libertarian that doesn't believe that a man has the right to profit from the industry of his own intellect. That's a bit of an oxymoron. Libertarianism's most basic guiding concept is a human's right to ownership of his/herself and all that arises from their productivity, whether physical or mental.
That's a bit a stretch from what I said, and I'm a small "l".

Without haggling over the basic concepts of libertarianism, let me add some more substance to my previous statement.

Here's what I think - you have an idea, be it a device, a song, a book, or just a simple concept. You own it - exclusively. If you share it with anyone else (regardless of whether that sharing is renumerated), you no longer (exclusively) own the idea.

There is no way to take that idea out of the mind of the receiver. Furthermore, the fact that the idea is now possessed by the receiver has deprived you of nothing. You still have your idea. Others may also, but there's no way to stop that.

Well ... actually ... there is. The originator (ha ha, as if) of the idea can employ the services of a third party who will threaten or employ violence against the un-licensed use of the idea by others. That third party has historically been the government.

"Intellectual property" is a man-made, government-created right. It is not a God-given, divine, natural right. God has given people the intellectual capacity to take the ideas of others and improve upon them. For centuries, this was called the evolution of human culture or progress. The taking of ideas from others is natural. It is normal. It causes no actual harm to the possessor of the last great idea because he has no natural right (since he has no actual ability) to dispossess others of the ideas they've accumulated / borrowed / "stolen".

No one writing music today pays license fees to the inventor of major harmonic scale. We, as a civilization, have accepted that the majority of the ideas currently in use in the world today are, in fact, owned by no one. The accounting / record-keeping to identify the "owner" of the major harmonic scale would have introduced a bureaucracy into the creation of music that would have killed it in its infancy. If it's a bad idea to lock up all the big ideas called music theory, then, in my reasoning, it's a bad idea to lock up all the little ideas called songs or albums.

My beef with "intellectual property" is that it is a logical construct that has no meaning whatsoever without government coercion / violence to back it up. For that reason, I oppose it on libertarian and Christian grounds.

My own preference is simple. Musicians put out music for people to hear. (Give it away). If I like it, I voluntarily pay the musician for providing me with enjoyment of his music. If I prefer to have it in a round plastic format with images and words, I send money to the artist to provide it to me in that format (if he wishes to sell his music that way).

Instead of having some money-grubbing, manufacturer / consumer / product business model, we should evolve into an artist / patron / art model. I have faith in the decency of the majority of people to compensate the artists they enjoy. If some kleptomaniac steals the music of others and passes it off as his own, I have faith in the ability of knowledgable listeners to set the record (no pun intended) straight. Again, I have faith in the decency of the majority of people to do the right thing.

Joe-×
Amateur
Amateur
Posts: 66
Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2006 8:00 pm
Location: Columbus, OH
Contact:

Post by Joe-× » Wed May 23, 2007 9:00 pm

Alatar wrote:Maybe by radical libertarian he means anarchist. :)
LOL. Actually, I work for the government (at the state level) doing one of the few things that I believe that a truly free society would delegate as a power of government. I'm not an anarchist, even though I think they have the advantage of logic and history on their side. I'm more of a mini-archist. Whatever affinity I have for libertarianism, I'm more about the principles. By "radical" libertarian, I simply mean that I think Ayn Rand is a quack and I don't smoke dope. :lol:

FredProgGH
Hammerhead
Hammerhead
Posts: 1857
Joined: Tue Dec 10, 2002 3:35 am
Location: The short bus

Post by FredProgGH » Wed May 23, 2007 9:37 pm

OK, in the interest of a shiny happy forum I'll be ignoring this thread from now on :D
Not that I don't think we couldn't have a very nice calm discussion about it all, it's just not where I feel like putting my energy at the moment. Have at it kids :P
"The baloney is yodeling" -- [i]Jon Arbuckle[/i]

mflorio
Amateur
Amateur
Posts: 99
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2006 11:49 pm
Location: New York
Contact:

Post by mflorio » Wed May 23, 2007 11:34 pm

Joe, it seems to me you are confusing intellectual "property", with intellectual "ideas".

In the US, copyright is for products - patents are for ideas (and generally don't last too long - unlike copyrights which do). Now, it would be cool if I could secure a patent on the proper fingering of the left-hand Tarkus ostinato. Then everytime someone plays it my way, they need to pay me! (Fred, I'll be keeping my eye on you...) I'm sure you would agree this would be quite counter-productive.

But a product (and yes, a downloadable product) like a cd, book or software, is not simply an idea. It is an idea that was labored upon by a craftsman in order to bring it into a presentable, tangible, marketable form. It's that labor that the laborer deserves to be compensated for. Heck, I have plenty of musical ideas ! You can glady have my ideas and turn them into symphonies. As long as *I* get to download them for free if I want to. No matter that it took you 20 years and your life savings to produce it (or if some label gave you half a million dollars to make it). It was my idea in the first place anyway, so why should you be compensated for putting the notes down, recording the orchestra, etc...

Joe, maybe one day you will write a book on this subject, and explore the reasons why there should be no such thing as intellectual copyright. Maybe you will get a nice big publishing deal too, and they will sell your book for $25 and distribute it to bookstores across the country and sell it online too at all the regular places like Amazon and BN.

Just know, that I hereby reserve the right to buy your book, make a single pdf copy and upload that single pdf copy to one public server, post links to it in every forum I visit, so possibly thousands of people will be able to download and read it for free. It's just so good that I need to share it with the world ! Sorry, but hey, your publisher only pays you 15 cents for every copy sold anyway. So I'm really stealing from them, not you. Don't feel hurt, because not only don't I care that you need to feed your family by selling books, but neither does God, and nor should the government.

You see, my ultimate goal is to put all these big, evil publishing companies out of business. Besides, you really didn't need that $100,000 advance against royalties to live on, did you ? You could write your next book in your spare time while working 2 jobs just to pay the bills and keep your family alive. And I certainly don't care about the evil families of those evil publishing houses! This is a free society after all ! You should want to give your *ideas* and *products* away for free. In fact, you should really get out there, and tour the country reading your book live and make your living that way ! Yeah, that's what it's all about ! That's how they did it in the old days, before all this new-fangled printing press garbage !

Mike
http://www.massdream.com

Joe-×
Amateur
Amateur
Posts: 66
Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2006 8:00 pm
Location: Columbus, OH
Contact:

Post by Joe-× » Thu May 24, 2007 6:30 am

OK. Let's get full disclosure out of the way first. I own your Arisen CD. I like it. I didn't download it. I bought it based on the samples you had on CDBaby. I'm going to listen to it today.
mflorio wrote:Joe, it seems to me you are confusing intellectual "property", with intellectual "ideas".
I don't think so. I see them as the same thing, and the people who do believe in "intellectual property" do also. The "protection" of "intellectual property" extends to the ideas themselves.
mflorio wrote:Now, it would be cool if I could secure a patent on the proper fingering of the left-hand Tarkus ostinato. Then everytime someone plays it my way, they need to pay me! (Fred, I'll be keeping my eye on you...) I'm sure you would agree this would be quite counter-productive.
I've already said so.
mflorio wrote:But a product (and yes, a downloadable product)
like a cd, book or software, is not simply an idea.
I think this is where the confusion arises. A CD is physical property. A book is physical property. The CD / DVD containing the software is physical property. The content of the CD (the music) is not physical property. The content of the book (the words) is not physical property. The content of the software CD / DVD (the software) is not physical property.

The intangible (meaning literally that you can't touch them) contents stored in these physical media are merely recorded ideas. This is what people call "intellectual property."
mflorio wrote:It is an idea that was labored upon by a craftsman in order to bring it into a presentable, tangible, marketable form.
It doesn't have to be tangible to be marketable. Downloading (illegal and legal) has shown that many consumers actually prefer the intangible form.
mflorio wrote:It's that labor that the laborer deserves to be compensated for.
The artist "deserves" nothing mean that he is entitled to nothing. Maybe the music cost him thousands of hours and thousands of dollars to make. That's no guarantee that anyone wants to hear it. Maybe it's crap. His compensation is limited to those payments that people are willing to make voluntarily.

... various strawmen snipped ....

OK. A few more statements are in order. I distribute nothing. I put nothing onto Usenet. I put nothing onto FTP sites. I "share" nothing on my hard drive. I've never done it. In my system of values (certainly perceived by many at this point to be horribly corrupt, I'm sure), it's wrong to give stuff to the whole world. Sure, I make a limited number of copies for friends from time to time, but who doesn't. That's called being social.

I like record companies. If they make billions of dollars that's fine with me. I only buy the products I'm interested in. If others buy other products, that's fine with me. I don't download to harm record companies.

If I write a book on my theory of intellectual property, I'm not going to deal with a publisher. Fact is, I make enough money doing what I'm doing now that I wouldn't be interested in the hassle of the whole thing. I'll create the PDF, and I'll put in on wacko libertarian web sites. Just because I'd give it away for free doesn't mean that no one would buy it.

www.biblegateway.com

So, within 5 miles of my house there are 3 Christian book stores that do a great business selling Bibles. Even though they are out there on tons of web sites for free. Even authoritative ones (that was a joke). Some people want to hold the physical book in their hands. There is no copyright on the Bible, yet it still sells millions. There's no copyright on Beethoven's 9th symphony, yet it still sells (I'm guessing now) thousands. Copyrights and patents aren't necessary to earn a living from "intellectual property."

There's tons of music available at my fingertips. I don't have to buy anything. But I do. Part of it is convenience - my time is valuable (despite the impression that writing long posting on web boards would indicate). I don't have time or inclination to listen to every prog rock album that comes out. I have people filter it all for me. Reviewers. Vendors. Friends. Nerds on the Internet. I buy the stuff that makes it through the filters. Completely blind (or deaf - forgive my metaphor).

So let's go back to the me writing a book on intellectual property thing. I could. It wouldn't interest a lot of people, so I wouldn't expect to earn a living from it. (Prog artists take note of this acceptance of reality). I'd feel funny about taking money for it. Though I'd write in my own words, 90% of the content would be ideas borrowed from my predecessors. As much fun as it might be to track down the descendants and distant relatives of Acquinas and Aristotle and Locke, I'd rather just put a thank you in the foreward and save myself the effort. It would take more hubris than I have to claim the entire body of work to be "my idea."

User avatar
Alatar
Semi-Pro
Semi-Pro
Posts: 372
Joined: Fri Feb 21, 2003 11:28 am
Location: Australia
Contact:

Post by Alatar » Thu May 24, 2007 7:48 am

First off, I just want to say Joe that I get that some of what Mike said was more based on what others use to justify themselves than what you actually believe.

I do however think that your philosophy if put into action would have the ultimate effect of devaluing work that is easily copied. Better to be a plumber than a musician, at least you are guaranteed payment.

The irony is that ideas get horded rather than spread by removing protection on them. As an example, the Vatican commisioned a wonderful piece of music by Gregorio Allegri (his Miserere). Rather than share it with the world, being in the days before copyright they hoarded it and it was only sung once a year in the Sistine Chapel. Of course there were one or two musicians who managed to make copies from memory after hearing it once, including Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

I really don't see that just because the results of somebody's labour can be easily copied (as opposed to imitated) that they are less entitled to be rewarded for it. Mind you I also support the copyright disappearing fifty years after the author's death, so the major scale became public domain over 2 000 years ago. But that would come under patenting anyway.
----
Five wizards came from the West. One sought knowledge, one power, one conversed with the animals and the other two got into blues

mflorio
Amateur
Amateur
Posts: 99
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2006 11:49 pm
Location: New York
Contact:

Post by mflorio » Thu May 24, 2007 10:34 am

Joe,

Just to be clear, as Alatar noted, my rather facetious book scenario was not aimed specifically at you. I just tried to illustrate some of the general mindset and rationalizations I have witnessed from people who distrubute and download unauthorized copies of other's work.

I do very much appreciate that you purchased my album. I also know for a fact that others have illegally downloaded it, and while I'm not materially hurt by that fact (as I sell so few anyway), it does hurt that someone would devalue all the hard work I put into making it, and deem it essentially worthless.

One statement that you made:

"It doesn't have to be tangible to be marketable. Downloading (illegal and legal) has shown that many consumers actually prefer the intangible form."

I just don't understand your reasoning here. That a product may be in an intangible form, means that somehow it's up to the consumer to either pay for it or not ? Why should that be different from the physical, tangible version ? Unless you're putting a value NOT on the musical content, but rather on the plastic and paper materials that make the cd product ? That sounds rather ridiculous to me. So, you're really paying 15 bucks for an aluminum-coated plastic disc, and NOT the music encoded on it ?

If I gave away my album, and asked for donations (and some people do this and it works for them!), I could certainly understand and agree with your logic. I find your conviction that most people are of good enough conscience to actually pay anyway intriguing. But even if you are correct, that might not be the case in another 10 years or so, when most of the people who actively acquire music have *never* paid for any of it. Also, as Alatar alluded to, I can see a day where a kid's grandparents might ask "did you pay for that album, sonny ?" to which the kid will reply "what do you mean, 'pay for it'" ? That's all well and fine, but don't expect to find much music really worth listening to, as most artists will just have to crank out low budget recordings in between their 'paying' day jobs. While others will just throw up their hands, and say "what's the point" ?

Mike
http://www.massdream.com

Joe-×
Amateur
Amateur
Posts: 66
Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2006 8:00 pm
Location: Columbus, OH
Contact:

Post by Joe-× » Thu May 24, 2007 12:12 pm

Alatar wrote:I do however think that your philosophy if put into action would have the ultimate effect of devaluing work that is easily copied.
I believe the position of the anti-downloaders states that this has already happened.

But this begs the question - what is the "value" of music? The value of music is that amount that people are willing to pay for it. No more, no less. The idea that musicians "deserve" or are "entitled" to some sort of hourly wage for their labor is just plain silly. The notion that musicians "deserve" or are "entitled" to some amount of money equal to the costs of production plus a reasonable profit for cost of living is also silly. It's a rough-tough free market out there. If you want to make money, you have to produce music that people are actually willing to buy.

With the dawn of each new techology, the "owners" of the music at the time have expressed fear that the new technology will cause the end of music. It doesn't happen. In the old days, mainstream music was available only to the super-rich. Sure the peasantry had its minstrels performing folk music, but "real" music was limited to the elite. As each new advance in technology is introduced, the "value" of music decreases along with its cost of production.
Alatar wrote:Better to be a plumber than a musician, at least you are guaranteed payment.
Plumbers provide a service that many people find valuable and are willing to pay for. Musicians must find a way to do the same in the reality of current conditions. Though "illegal" downloading happens, there are still plenty of people purchasing music. There will always be people who don't purchase any music. They listen to stuff for free on the radio / tv. Buddy of mine has Sirius - doesn't buy music any more. People have found a way to make money by giving music away for free. People have found a way to make money from downloading.
Alatar wrote:The irony is that ideas get horded rather than spread by removing protection on them. As an example, the Vatican commisioned a wonderful piece of music by Gregorio Allegri (his Miserere). Rather than share it with the world, being in the days before copyright they hoarded it and it was only sung once a year in the Sistine Chapel. Of course there were one or two musicians who managed to make copies from memory after hearing it once, including Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
I don't think you can say this example was "removing protection." It was quite the opposite. The Vatican threatened excommunication to anyone who transcribed the piece. Like government-granted copyrights, coercion was employed to protect the "intellectual property." I also think that the Vatican was able to "hoard" its music because of limitations in technology at the time. Once the cat was out of the bag, so to speak, the Vatican's threat of violence was lifted. It's a nice piece. Preston's performance at the Westminster Abbey remains my favorite. I also like Eric Parker's take on the same psalm. I think you'd be hard pressed to provide real examples of how removing "intellectual property" protections results in a reduction of idea growth.
Alatar wrote:I really don't see that just because the results of somebody's labour can be easily copied (as opposed to imitated) that they are less entitled to be rewarded for it.
I don't either. No one (musicians or otherwise) are "entitled" to be rewarded for their labors. Like everybody else, musicians must find willing buyers for their labor. I'm all in favor of social pressure and other non-coercive means to stop "illegal" downloading and to encourage people to give patronage to artists for the music the partons enjoy.

Post Reply