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Britney Spears, Madonna, Other Stars in TV Ads on Piracy
September 25, 2002 10:21 PM   Subscribe

Britney Spears, Madonna, Other Stars in TV Ads on Piracy "Too many people don't realize that when you download a song you like from a peer-to-peer network or some other unauthorized Internet source, what you're doing is stealing music," says Britney. Somebody ask Brit if she knows what peer-to-peer means. This is the latest Big Idea from the RIAA.
posted by BarneyFifesBullet (78 comments total)

 
nobody listens to that crap anyhow!
posted by mcsweetie at 10:31 PM on September 25, 2002


Britney wagging a finger at people who download music isn't going to do anything. Nor will any of the artists listed in the article.

The best part was the guy at the end, suggesting that people will switch to pay services eventually...riiiiight. I remember back in the mid 90's downloading mp3s on my 56k from AOL chat rooms. Every week or so a chat room name would get banned, and people moved to a new name. The same thing will happen with spoofing. Don't like Kazaa? Try WinMX, Direct Connect, iMesh and the like. p2p has, for better or worse, become ingrained into the Net
posted by Be'lal at 10:35 PM on September 25, 2002


"Don't y'all realize that every time y'all download one of my songs from the Intarweb, I have to sell one more CD to y'all before I can get nekkid for Oliver Willis?"
posted by Danelope at 10:36 PM on September 25, 2002


As fake as Britney is, do we believe that what she's saying is her real opinion? Even if it is, is it based in reality, or fed to her through a corporate mouthpiece with a wink, nudge, and endorsement check?
posted by askheaves at 10:39 PM on September 25, 2002


"Too many people don't realize that when you download a song you like from a peer-to-peer network or some other unauthorized Internet source, what you're doing is stealing music"

Cool, so if I download every song she's ever written, then I'll own them all and all her crap will magically disappear? It might be worth a bit of jail time, too -- at least I'd be able to listen to the radio again, even if it is an AM Transistor radio in a jail cell. :-)
posted by shepd at 10:39 PM on September 25, 2002


Too many people don't realize that when you produce music on a new media that costs half as much as the old media, and sell it for twice as much, you're a fucking con artist.
posted by zekinskia at 10:41 PM on September 25, 2002


Downloading copywritten music and movies isn't a right.

In fact, it's against the law.

If you disagree with a media companies policies or prices, the morally correct thing to do is to not buy their product.

Your disagreement or your ridiculing of certain artists does not justify your theft.

In fact, it makes you the very thing you protest.

No matter how much word juggling you do, you're a thief and there's no justification for it.

My advice is to quite this stupid prancing around and just accept the fact that you're a thief and stop your whining when people try to keep you from stealing.
posted by mbannonb at 10:42 PM on September 25, 2002


After falling more than 5 percent in 2001, CD shipments dropped another 7 percent in the first half of this year as illegal downloading of music persists at high levels.

I don't understand this concept? Is the RIAA unaware of the current economy? Sales of almost everything are down...

I had to quit my job selling TVs because of bad sales, and last time I checked people couldn't download big screens?
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 10:44 PM on September 25, 2002


The idea that stealing directly from a store is equivalent to pirating on the internet is a bit false, even if it's a trivial point. If you steal from a store, you take money from the store, distributer, label, and artist. If you pirate, you're only stealing from the label and artist. Hell, if you buy from one store, you're stealing money from another store and their distributer.

It's unfortunate that Eminem is against internet piracy, since I've bought all of his CDs after listening to his music i downloaded. Same happened when I listend to Linkin Park after pirating... Portishead, System of a Down, Sarah Mclachlin, Insane Clown Posse, and many others. Anecdotes aside, the whole phenom is indicitive of an industry problem. People who use the medium properly get a taste from the radio, evaluate whether the CD is worth the money from P2P, and eventually buy from the store. Those people give more money, in the end, to labels.

Cutting all P2P eliminates those folks who use the medium to the label's advantage. In addition, there's no possible way they could actually kill all P2P forever... it's too driving of a force. What's really needed is a real business model, developed sometime after the 1920s, to make them profit off this. Duh.
posted by askheaves at 10:53 PM on September 25, 2002


Actually, every time you download an mp3, you're stealing a little bit of Britney's soul.

Well, most of mbannonb's point is well-taken. I had a friend who went cold turkey off software and cultural items theft this year. It was harsh withdrawl, dude. And not paying for copywrited material is in fact stealing: these are things people own that they charge money for.

Fortunately, one can easily whip up a handy anarchist framework for theft.

Although: I can't imagine any "cost" incurred by this theft equals the huge amount industry spends on radio promotions.

And doesn't cultural consumption, like vice, go up when people are broke?
posted by RJ Reynolds at 10:55 PM on September 25, 2002


mbannonb, it isn't theft in the slightest way, unless its shoplifting.

The law very clearly delineates between theft and copyright violation. The reason for this should be clear, but I'll mention it anyways:

When I steal your CD you bought from HMV, you have no CD. You cannot sell it, you cannot play it, you're boned.
When I pirate your CD from the internet (assuming you're a musician), you have lost some control on your media (not necessarialy a sale -- courts seem to throw out crap charges like that). You can still sell it, although its now harder. You can still play it. You're much less boned.

As you can see, the second charge is a completely different kind of crime -- the type of loss is so very different it simply cannot be covered by any theft laws.

This goes inline with suing for lost profits (which is what piracy causes). If I illegally prevented you from making a trade on the stock market, causing you to be unable to make (for example) $500, you would have lost profits. You couldn't call me a theif, though, because you have no physical loss.

Theft requires the loss of an article. Piracy isn't theft, and the dictionary will support me on this.

Not to mention that I pirated American TV in Canada for over a year legally. If piracy and theft were identical, I'd be in jail right now, cause Bell ExpressVu would love to have charged me (and everyone else in my situation) for it.
posted by shepd at 10:57 PM on September 25, 2002


The thing the RIAA has been missing since 1997, and continues to miss is one major thing (which has since been proven to them by a consulting outfit), and that major thing is this:

When people willingly wait hours to download low-quality rips from 12 different machines all over the world, after first installing application after application just to get to a network where they can search for the song, you can call that piracy.

But.

You can also call that demand. If someone's willing to waste two hours tracking down all the eminem singles, wouldn't they recognize the benefits of knowing one place they could get it in five minutes, in high quality, at high speed, for a small price?

My time is worth something to me, and whenever I've wanted to save some of it, I've searched for ways to pay for pre-compiled programs rather than writing my own. If I could download mp3s for a fifty cents to a buck each, or charge me 30 a month to listen to all your label's music I want, I would jump at the chance.

RIAA can't see that, and they never will. They're too busy trying to shut down the varied music tastes and music channels so they can maintain total and absolute control. And it looks like they got some of their headlining lackeys to vouch for them.
posted by mathowie at 11:08 PM on September 25, 2002


"Don't y'all realize that every time y'all download one of my songs from the Intarweb, I have to sell one more CD to y'all before I can get nekkid for Oliver Willis?"

DAMN YOU INTERNET PIRATES! DAMN YOU TO HELLLLL!
posted by owillis at 11:15 PM on September 25, 2002


As usual, someone not only beats me to the point I was making, but sums it up better than I did. Curse the preview button!

But thanks, Matt.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 11:21 PM on September 25, 2002


I get most of any songs I want from newsgroups, many many meg of music. I have never used Kazaa or any other deal like that.

I would love to see a breakdown that justifies the incredible PRICES of an average CDs these days.

I don't want anyone to go hungry but there is not a great deal of difference ( and I wonder why ) between different CDs. They all cost close to 20 bucks.... No matter how old the damn thing is; I wanted to hear one song off an old WHO album that I had bought once - on vinyl - years ago. I looked in the store and the CD was $ 16.95. The album is from 1973 for god sake. I know that probably should not matter.

I am sorry I agree with Steve_at_Linnwood: the arguement claiming that file-sharing cuts drastically into sales is stupid. Bitch at the Chinese and Russians ( and others overseas ) who mass-produce a gazillion units of "precious" US entertainment product and sell it cheap.
posted by RubberHen at 11:23 PM on September 25, 2002


Your are sorry you agree with me?

:(
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 11:27 PM on September 25, 2002


No kidding. RIAA should get with the times. All the time and money they spend trying to fight peer-to-peer is time they could be spending figuring how to make the system work to their benefit. Of course...a lot of the time it already does.

The trouble with all this is that there are people who take advantage of the system and download entire albums, burn them to CD, and never buy anything.

But I, and I think most of the people who do download music, use it to try things out. I've bought more albums because I had mp3s and I knew they were good than because I heard one song on the radio. Not coincidentally, I don't buy a lot of top 40. Neither do most of my friends. Which is too bad for Britney.
posted by SoftRain at 11:28 PM on September 25, 2002


The thing I don't understand: the ephemeral nature of audio recordings means that their owners have to give them away before they can reasonably sell them -- how else can their quality be demonstrated?

So why are free distribution via radio and free distribution via the internet thought to be so different? And how can the RIAA claim that it's losing money on something it's willingly giving away all the time?
posted by Epenthesis at 11:35 PM on September 25, 2002


mbannonb,
I'll admit that I am a thief. But that won't change my mind about what I do. Not when if I want to buy CD's and DVD's I have to pay the big thieves running the labels and studios.
posted by Be'lal at 11:37 PM on September 25, 2002


Personally I never grab MP's from the net as I prefer to have my MP3 Library whole and well arranged. An almost impossible goal grabbing from gnuttella clients. My concerns are more along the lines of the RIAA attempt to stifle other mediums and routes of distribution now being explored by unknown artists, and some well known.
As for pop artists and major labels, I feel no pity for the small losses they may be incurring due to file swapping. None of the major artists will miss a meal or sleep without shelter tonight. Maybe Britney can just add in some Pepsi jingles or other product endorsements directly in her(come on now, are they really written by her) songs. This way even if you just hum along to her music she will make money for her sponsors.
posted by Zoraster at 11:45 PM on September 25, 2002


I bought Batman the movie on video tape a long time ago. Then, when DVD came out, and I simultaneously forgot how to work a VCR, I had to buy it again on DVD. Makes me wonder about the whole of the entertainment industry in general. How much is a song really worth? If "Hit me Baby" gets her 5 million record sales, and the majority were when they heard that song (and saw the video), then that song is worth millions. That's insane. Why would one dumbass's brainfart pairing one chick who hit the Pick-6 in the genetic lottery (Dennis Miller) be worth millions? I write a piece of software that saves an industry millions, and I get my $35,000 a year. Friggin crazy!
posted by askheaves at 11:45 PM on September 25, 2002


Everything, virtually every one of my (perhaps) close to a thousand MP3's I've ever downloaded, is due to the fact that I owned the music once on cassette and wanted to hear it again. Rubberhen, exactly. I've got no need for new music unless I like it. I won't even search it out unless it comes recommended word of mouth. I wouldn't even steal Britney, is what I'm saying. The bands I like that are still churning also put great, though not sonically flawless 128k MP3s on their websites anyhow. Then you buy the record because, well, there's a relationship between you and the band.

As a side, All once sent out a demo cassette to every one of their mailing list subscribers ten years ago or so. That was cool.
posted by crasspastor at 11:46 PM on September 25, 2002


Sometimes, late at night, I like to download Britney Spears songs off the web, and then delete them.
posted by elwoodwiles at 11:50 PM on September 25, 2002


My advice is to quite this stupid prancing around and just accept the fact that you're a thief and stop your whining when people try to keep you from stealing.

I hate the major recording labels, and if I could do more to cut into thier profit margins, I would. I accept the fact that I am infringing on their copyright, but I do not accept your argument that the only thing to do is declare a war of attrition.

Why? Because the majority of consumers neither know of nor care about how corrupt the system is, and they wouldn't join me in my little crusade. Consequently, nothing would get accomplished, nothing would change, and I would be stuck on the moral high ground with nothing to listen to on my cool new headphones. I'm sure I'd enjoy your company, mbannonb, but frankly I'd rather hear a ripped version of Blonde on Blonde than the beating of my own noble heart.
posted by Hildago at 11:55 PM on September 25, 2002


RubberHen - you may be interested in the RIAA's somewhat unconvincing Price of a CD article.

But put simply, the price of a CD is explained in exactly the same way as the price of Nike shoes or a Hilfiger shirt. Do you think the sneakers cost $100 to produce? Do they hell! They cost a dollar or so in some sweatshop. The cost is incurred in marketing, and to a lesser degree in research and development.

More and more, it costs hundreds and thousands or even millions to market even a small artist to make you aware of them. This goes even for some bands on bigger independent labels who you as a music listener might feel you just 'discovered.' Now, as you rightly say, the same price points shouldn't apply to age-old artists as they do to new acts. And of course there are often bargain bin CDs by old acts - but in the case of a major star act like the Who, the labels will sell it for as much as people are willing to pay. That's just capitalism in action. If labels and record stores believe they can charge people $16 for a CD, that's how much they'll charge.
posted by skylar at 11:55 PM on September 25, 2002


This is your brain. (Picture of a nice normal girl) this is your brain on the RIAA (picture of Britney covered in urine in LA).

Any questions?
posted by nyxxxx at 12:03 AM on September 26, 2002


Wasn't the quote at the very top of this thread said by Hilary Rosen (RIAA CEO) and not by Britney? Ms. Rosen wants you to stop stealing her quotes.
posted by gluechunk at 12:21 AM on September 26, 2002


"And doesn't cultural consumption, like vice, go up when people are broke?"

RJ Reynolds... you couldn't have said it better. The issue here that steams me the most is NOT the issue of piracy, but of the "haves" and "have nots". Its the issue that a major label is losing miniscule profits from a marginal market and will saber rattle until they get yet ANOTHER piece of the artist's pie.

Most of my struggling musician friends could care LESS about this... they just want to get their music heard.

And why is it that the majority of the bands that are so vocally AGAINST the p2p networking come off looking dumber than bricks? Oh yes... I remember. They are doing what their label told them... again.

And Hidalgo? Everytime I hear of an artist coming out against p2p technology on the basis of lost sales, I scrap them from my collection and refuse to buy another album. Now, if we can JUST get another 1,000,000 like us doing this... :P
posted by FilmMaker at 12:53 AM on September 26, 2002


The RIAA doesn't seem too happy about internet radio either. If I could only tell them how much I've spent in buying CDs after hearing them on internet radio first.

I bought a blank CD yesterday for about 60 cents, and I burned some music onto it at home. Anybody want to buy it for $16.95?
posted by hama7 at 12:53 AM on September 26, 2002


Those of us who listen to mostly 'classical' music are unaffected by this debate-

1. We're usually audiophiles, so the inconsistent quality of badly ripped mp3s is a big turn-off.

2. We love to collect favorite performances, and the ephemeral nature of digital files without the disc is a real turn-off. The 35-page liner notes (often in German and French in addition to English!) are also an incentive to buy the disc.

3. Many of the performances we love have never even been released on CDs, so we often own lots of old vinyl.

4. Most of the artists who perform on classical recordings are terminally underpaid for their serious talent, so we have no compunction paying 16-20 bucks for the fruit of a lifetime of study, understanding and practice. In fact, the more artists we can support through sales, the more secure the future of classical music is, since sales give incentive for performers to devote their lives to the study and performance of music.

5. Even if we wanted to steal music from the internet (there's no question that it's theft in my mind), do you really think there will be some yob on Limewire (or Kaazaa or Ba'al or whatever yor filestealing apps/networks are called) who has MP3s of Giovanni Paisiello's Il Barbiere Di Siviglia? I don't think so.

So the RIAA needs to change their strategy and encourage people to listen to classical music. The illegal file sharing would dry up in no time.

I actually think that Ms. Spears and her ilk should have to pay the public to listen to their studio-manufactured effluent, and also pay computer owners a fee for storing the digital files of the crap. But then, I'm an elitist bastard.
posted by evanizer at 1:21 AM on September 26, 2002


copyright. copyrighted. the right to copy.
posted by dhartung at 2:11 AM on September 26, 2002


Maybe Britney can just add in some Pepsi jingles or other product endorsements directly in her(come on now, are they really written by her) songs. This way even if you just hum along to her music she will make money for her sponsors.

Then you can download those too! (Search on your fave P2P for Britney, or better, Britney Pepsi. Jingles. They're out there. People are rampantly file-trading her jingles. For the love of all that's good, why?!?!)

Even if we wanted to steal music from the internet (there's no question that it's theft in my mind), do you really think there will be some yob on Limewire (or Kaazaa or Ba'al or whatever yor filestealing apps/networks are called) who has MP3s of Giovanni Paisiello's Il Barbiere Di Siviglia? I don't think so.

Hmm. I do. I also have Vivaldi's Four Seasons, Handel's Wassermusik and Beethoven's 8th. (Part of the Bernstein Century series. Yum.) All totalled, we have about six or seven GB of classical MP3s on our network, all stuff we've ripped from our collections for portability's sake, but if I fired up Limewire (on this particular machine when I bought it, might I add) I presume that you'd be able to, uh, share those files. And in the same vein, the one and only illegal MP3 in the collection is a rare recording of Clair de Lune. Does that make me an MP3 freak?

It's been my experience that no genre is safe from the lure of P2P. Even contemporary Christian "praise and worship" music is available if you look for it. Try searching for "Hallelujah" - as in Cohen and/or Buckley - and you'll probably get some thrown into the mix.

Fighting this at this point is simply impossible. I cannot imagine that even the introduction of an extraordinarily fair-priced ($0.25 per song up to 50, $0.10 per song thereafter?) on-demand, extremely high quality, purchase anything you want whenever and wherever you want system run and condoned by RIAA members would slow P2P.

We can appease ourselves by arguing time and time again that people download to evaluate and many of them eventually buy, but it's just not true. People download, don't give a damn about the quality, they burn, they keep, they don't buy. They won't buy, because so long as blank media is cheaper than pre-recorded music, they are getting off cheap that way. They don't care about liner notes, or cover art or copyright. They just want the music (and movies and television programs) and to hell with whoever and whatever tries to slam the lid on the trough now that their sticky fingers are so accustomed to the full-on feeding frenzy.
posted by Dreama at 2:14 AM on September 26, 2002


Last week I met with the marketing manager of a major label. We were discussing this issue in depth. During our discussion of P2P he said "We [the major labels] have lost a generation. We had an opportunity and blew it." He was refering to the fact that the major labels have missed their chance to tap the demand that P2P trading demonstrates and that the previous core demographic for music sales is slipping away.

A relevant and scary (if you are in the music biz) stat he tossed out was that customer demographics in most retail music outlets are shifting up in terms of age. It used to be teens, twenties. Now its twenties-thirties and still shifting up. What happened? Where are the younger shoppers? Trading online. This is the lost generation he was referring to.

This appeal to consumer goodwill is bullshit. These same companies would appeal to the spirit of the free market governed not by morality and goodwill but rather by uncompromising market forces if it suited their needs. And at the end of the day it is indeed the market forces which will win. If the major labels can fall in line with these pressures and supply consumer demand in a way which exceeds the value offered by p2p, then they will win, as will consumers.
posted by i blame your mother at 2:19 AM on September 26, 2002


Here in the UK we now have proof that the record companies have been taking the piss by artificially inflating CD prices for years. I wonder if those same companies’ US operations operate on a more elevated moral level? Hmmm?

On a personal note, if the RIAA tied to blackmail me into a course of action using popular entertainers to patronise me (“You don’t understand the consequences of what you’re doing, young person”), I’d want to do it more out of simple bloody-mindedness. So, nice one RIAA, you’ve shot yourself in the foot. Again.

I continue to admire artists such as The Streets who make their music available for download and steaming from their website. (The thread in which we talked about the band .) Such a good idea for a band to treat its fans as peers with whom to form a relationship than a pliant revenue-stream.

Finally, bizarre choice of artists; I’d pay money for most of them to never make ‘music’ again. I mean, come on, 15 mpg Jaguar front-man and eco-warrior Sting? Phil 'I was patronising and offensive in the 80s – just look at me now!' Collins, The f^&*ing Dixie Chicks?!?
posted by dmt at 3:02 AM on September 26, 2002


earlier this year, wilco recorded a fantastic album called yankee hotel foxtrot, and submitted it to their record label.

it was promptly rejected for it's lack of commercial viabilty.

wilco then bought the rights to the album back from the record label for 50 grand, and tossed it up on their website, until they eventually found a new company to distribute it.

i downloaded the album, burned it, loved it. and then bought it when it was made avaliable.

it's sold tremendously well, and recieved incredible critical acclaim.

now... that is a prime example. britney spears will never have a problem getting an album released. britney spears would never front her own money simply to get her music heard, because it's product, not art. britney can starve (yeah, right).

bands that deserve my money will recieve it. eminem and britney will not.
posted by sunexplodes at 3:28 AM on September 26, 2002


Id quite happily pay Miss Spears $16 to not release another album.....ever.
money well spent.

I cant understand how the RIAA think....
"lets get britney to tell everyone that downloading mp3's is wrong, that'll work a treat. People love britney.they will listen to her......"

Also any subscription based p2p network?
"why buy the cow when you can have the milk for free?"

Im still looking for an "mp3 is not a crime" sticker for my car.
posted by bhell13 at 3:49 AM on September 26, 2002


Everyone has their price. Make it worth my while, and I'll stop "stealing" music from the net. At $6 - $7 a pop, it's not worth my time to spend an hour assembling and burning the songs onto a disc, but for $16, it's now worth it to me to do it myself. At what price would you start going back to the record store?
BTW, I was checking out prices for a pair of McCartney tickets to an upcoming FleetCenter show last weekend.........$500 for a pair! To me, THAT'S stealing.
posted by reidfleming at 4:07 AM on September 26, 2002


dear Britney Spears & co.,

yesterday I bought CDs. they were all imports: bands I'd never've discovered without p2p programs. smashingly un-cliched music.

all you're doing is making people like you even less.

bye now.
posted by kv at 4:09 AM on September 26, 2002


The labels are missing out on the older market as well. Anyone else look for an older track in a record store, only to discover the album is out of print or never released on CD? If it's not one of the top 50 artists it's unlikely to ever be re-released, so you're screwed. The labels have enormous back catalogues of great music, and with the internet they have the ultimate distribution system. No middleman, no production or shipping costs, no warehousing, no $2.99 CD bins clogging up store aisles.
If they had any sense, they'd set up a virtual store where anyone can pay a fee and download whatever the hell they wanted. Sure it's a new economic model for them, but it's a new economic world out there now. I think you can download and burn classical music at Listen.com, and that's supported by the labels, so perhaps there's hope yet.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 4:48 AM on September 26, 2002


It's uncanny this correlation between how well known an artist is and protesting about P2P.

Does anyone know at what point you start protesting - is it the first, second or tenth million?

AND did I buy any rights when I bought my vinyl records?
Where have my rights gone with digitisation ?
posted by dprs75 at 5:16 AM on September 26, 2002


Sometimes, late at night, I like to download Britney Spears songs off the web, and then delete them.

THAT is hysterical. i giggled like a schoolgirl.
posted by wickedfat at 5:39 AM on September 26, 2002


Another problem:
Say I really want to listen to "I'm Too Sexy". Well, it is absolutely not worth spending $20 to buy the Right Said Fred album just to hear that song. (Sorry Fred)
But I am provided with no real choice. So, if I see "I'm Too Sexy" when I fire up Kazaa or whatever, I'll download it.
***disclaimer -- I wouldn't really do it, that song is awful. (Sorry again, Fred)***
Now, as was mentioned above, if I could pay some reasonable number of dollars per month to have access to major record labels' catalogs of super-radio-hits, I might do it to save time, hassle, ensure good quality file, etc.
Luckily, I don't like that crap, and things like emusic work well for me.
posted by Fabulon7 at 5:55 AM on September 26, 2002


Too many people don't realize that when you download a song you like what you're doing is stealing music

Yeah, they all think it's legal. Thanks for pointing that out, miss Spears
This is a really effective campaign. What's next, "Downloading mp3's makes the Baby Jesus cry"?

do you really think there will be some yob on Limewire (or Kaazaa or Ba'al or whatever yor filestealing apps/networks are called) who has MP3s of Giovanni Paisiello's Il Barbiere Di Siviglia? I don't think so.

You'd be surprised, evan. You'd be surprised
posted by matteo at 6:08 AM on September 26, 2002


It's the same old argument: The record labels are evil. They screw the consumers. They screw the artists. Therefore, it's okay for me to violate their copyright. This benefits the artists. I'm not entirely sure how, since if a record doesn't sell they don't make money and one doesn't live on word-of-mouth alone (especially if one is a song *writer* and not the musician), but it does. I'm sure of it. Anyway, it's their own fault for being popular and signing with a major record label. Did I mention they were evil?
posted by UnReality at 6:15 AM on September 26, 2002


Well, RIAA has turned me off of filesharing, mainly because it's ALOT harder to find the stuff I'm looking for. AN example: A CD I love: Body exit Mind by the New Fast Automatic Daffodils has been MIA for about a year now... I still have the case, but I think the CD was stolen out of my car along with others that I know were, and have replaced via p2p.

Here's my question: If I'm replacing CDs I've already paid for.. am I stealing?
posted by tj at 6:16 AM on September 26, 2002


sorry, two different thoughs intersected there...
posted by tj at 6:17 AM on September 26, 2002


Theft?

If I download an MP3 of a song that I would never actually buy in the first place, is that called theft? The 'artist' or record company has lost nothing. And they were going to gain nothing. The only thing that has happened is that I may have a tiny bit more pleasure in my life for the 3 minutes that I listen to that song.

Is that so bad?
posted by eas98 at 6:26 AM on September 26, 2002


I'm a little disturbed by the sheer energy and violent rage being aimed at Britney Spears in this thread. I understand she's annoying and has a hand in the type of pop music you don't happen to enjoy, which is fine and I share your sentiment.

But saying things like this

"nobody listens to that crap anyhow!"

Is pretty foolhardly, considering that Britney Spears sells like go-gillions of records. You sound like Eminem trying to tell Moby (another million-selling artist) that he's "too old" and that "no one listens to techno[sic]". Just because you don't like something doesn't mean it doesn't exist or have value to other people. Young teens tend to enjoy crappy music, that's the way the world spins and has spun as long as pop culture has existed. You aren't going to get many 13 year old girls to buy Guided By Voices albums.

Anyways, I'm off point. In my punk heyday, we traded tapes like baseball cards. Every new band discovery prompted a sweaty, antsy trip to the record store. This is the same thing. The only types of artists who may typically NOT prompt a quick trip to the record store are the Britneys and Eminems and Linkin Parks - these are being downloaded by 14 year olds who wouldn't ever go buy the album anyways. I'd say the vast majority of us who are grabbing MP3s are sampling and geeking out on new music, and then buying it. I've bought WAY more CDs since P2P entered my life.

File sharing is NOT STEALING. It's SHARING. It's a fully protected right for you to make a copy of a song and share it with someone. The only artists speaking out against file sharing are coddled robots living in mansions who don't even inhabit the same galaxy as us mortals.
posted by glenwood at 6:33 AM on September 26, 2002


I have said it time and time again, yes downloading whole albums with no intent to buy Is stealing (such as pulling rar'ed albums off IRC). However, when I use P to P software it is to find specific songs and specific artists I want to test drive before I put money on them. This is the way almost everyone I know uses these services. Its just to much effort to get every thing you want at the right quality. Now along with that I buy A LOT of music but I don't pay over $15 an album that is my breaking point. The point is I am an active consumer of music who is FED UP with the radio/MTV/Clear Channel lock down on what we hear. The music industry need to know that there are many like me and realize that because music is almost a drug to many people they can use the old dealer "first hit is free" analogy. Save you money on lawyers and wake up to the real issues is what I say. Your only alienating people.

posted by Dr_Octavius at 6:35 AM on September 26, 2002


Fabulon7: Several years ago, my friend received that Right Said Fred album for his birthday. I kid you not, every track other than the radio hit was absolutely unlistenable. Mr. Fred is hardly deserving of your apology. =)
posted by dr_dank at 7:10 AM on September 26, 2002


As long as Willa Ford continues to be seen on MTV's Cribs, the RIAA will have not have my support.
posted by ferociouskitty at 7:13 AM on September 26, 2002


File sharing is NOT STEALING. It's SHARING.
Oh, come on. Calling it a nice name doesn't negate its true nature. "It's not rape, it's sharing sex." Please.

I'm a writer. I make my living putting words together. But in order to actually earn a living, somebody has to buy my words. If people just "shared" my works with their friends, that would make me popular and broke. Since I have a pregnant wife to support, broke ain't an option. How long would you be willing and able to work for free?
posted by GhostintheMachine at 7:21 AM on September 26, 2002


I guess I should believe the RIAA because if any organization knows anything about the ins and outs of theft, it's certainly that one.

Here's what I want: I want to download albums and burn them onto CDs. I'm willing to pay for that as long as you don't hose me -- say, $10 per CD, which really should be an obscene profit when you look at the expense involved in distributing music electronically.

Yet the vast majority of the music industry cannot wrap its arms around this. The industry wants me to go to my record store and pay $18 for a CD that cost $2 to produce, including studio costs. It produces silly overpriced per-month download models based around singles and then whines about P2P thieves. It deserves no sympathy for being hammered.

Copyright law makes it clear that obtaining copyrighted music via P2P is illegal, but when I see artists standing with the RIAA, which has ripped them off for generations, I know that they are completely clueless.
posted by Phaedrus at 7:27 AM on September 26, 2002


The only artists speaking out against file sharing are coddled robots living in mansions who don't even inhabit the same galaxy as us mortals.

Nope. Neko Case asked in big block letters on her Canadian Amp CD that mp3s not be made, as they had rent to pay and children to feed.

See also: "Everything is free now," sings Gillian Welch. "That's what they say/ Everything I ever done/ Gotta give it away."

And I'm sure they're no fans of the ridiculous RIAA.

Just because a law is stupid and wrong doesn't mean it's not the law. It just means it needs to be changed.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 8:08 AM on September 26, 2002


File sharing is NOT STEALING. It's SHARING.
Oh, come on. Calling it a nice name doesn't negate its true nature. "It's not rape, it's sharing sex." Please.


Wow. Now theres a contender for absurd analogy of the century. I won't even begin to pick apart how stupid that was.

I bought the O Brother soundtrack after downloading a Gillian Welch song I heard on NPR. That led to me buying another Gillian Welch CD over time, and to my attending a blue grass festival I heard she was a part of.

Her point is moot and she doesn't get it either.
posted by glenwood at 8:30 AM on September 26, 2002


I'm a writer. I make my living putting words together. But in order to actually earn a living, somebody has to buy my words. If people just "shared" my works with their friends, that would make me popular and broke.

All of my librarian friends just shared a collective shudder.
posted by Wulfgar! at 9:09 AM on September 26, 2002


The industry wants me to go to my record store and pay $18 for a CD that cost $2 to produce, including studio costs

I'm sure the CD itself costs no more than a dollar, but I'm guessing there's quite a bit more than $1 extra in studio costs. You've got to pay the artists, the technicians, the producers, the execs, the studio musicians, etc.
posted by Be'lal at 9:39 AM on September 26, 2002


thisWow, am amazed at how so many of you have no problem with this. I too download songs - some I've already paid for and lost/regret having gotten rid of, some for sampling purchases - and I too have purchased many CDs from downloads I have liked.

However, I have to agree with Ghost (over-the-top rape analogy aside) and say that I do think it is morally wrong to take music without paying for it. Would you photocopy a book you liked so you wouldn't have to pay for it? I feel the same way about libraries - I believe they are a great place to sample new authors and I make decisions to buy books based on books borrowed there.

Maybe this is a little too metaphysical for this crowd, but on an energetic/spiritual level I believe that if you like something by an artist it should be a natural consequence that you would give them something in exchange for what they've given you.

And lastly, I just got this from audiogalaxy's newsletter: - a monthly-fee download service which pays royalties to artists, exactly what I've been looking for. Haven't tried it yet, but if you're interested the code for free trial during October is AGR-FREEOCT.
posted by foxglove at 9:44 AM on September 26, 2002


oops, screwed up link placement. duh.
posted by foxglove at 9:47 AM on September 26, 2002


What's next, "Downloading mp3's makes the Baby Jesus cry"?

No, but you're close.
posted by Dirjy at 10:49 AM on September 26, 2002


I'm sure the CD itself costs no more than a dollar, but I'm guessing there's quite a bit more than $1 extra in studio costs. You've got to pay the artists, the technicians, the producers, the execs, the studio musicians, etc.

Indeed, it costs a lot to produce an album. The thing about it, though, is that while the recording company forks out the initial capital to produce and promote an album, the artist who records the album is contractually obligated to pay them off. It's what's known as recoupment. This means that out of the $1 in royalties the band makes from selling a CD, the recording company takes the whole $1 until they have made a profit on the venture. 80% of albums never reach profitability for the band, and this number has not changed since the advent of P2P sharing. This means that only the top 20% of artists who have been signed by a MAJOR LABEL make any money at all from selling a CD that has taken them many hundreds of hours to produce.

I had a big huge spiel about how you have to go platinum to make $50,000 off of your album, but I can't find the link that that statement hinges on, so I erased the whole thing. I got it from MetaFilter, though. Does anyone remember the cool recording contract calculator someone posted?
posted by Hildago at 11:57 AM on September 26, 2002


I don't download MP3s. Personally, I'm fine with the practice, but I believe that musicians who agree with it should be willing to put up their own works (or at least a portion) for people to download.

So (shameless self-link) the New Blind Nationals remind you that corporate Britney still sucks rock.

Most people (except a few naive 13-year-olds) won't be moved by this plea.
posted by drezdn at 11:58 AM on September 26, 2002


I've had a copy of the Wilco album "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" since last November, and, after seeing the movie "I am trying to break your heart" intend to buy the album... It's worth it, they put out a hands down great album, took the risk of streaming it, and deserve something back.
posted by drezdn at 12:06 PM on September 26, 2002


Therefore, it's okay for me to violate their copyright. This benefits the artists. I'm not entirely sure how, since if a record doesn't sell they don't make money and one doesn't live on word-of-mouth alone (especially if one is a song *writer* and not the musician), but it does. I'm sure of it.

I disagree. Maybe the big artists are perseverating on this point but what about the artists that will never get a shot at radio play? Folks likeRichard Buckner , Sixteen Horsepower, Denver Gentlemen for example. If I burn a few songs onto a disc so that my friends can get a taste of what they're about, how am I hurting the artist, especially when they are not getting the exposure they deserve and their own labels won't even promote their work?

I am a firm believer in buying the work of artists that I like. People have burned me copies of CDs and consequently I've gone out and bought not only that CD but other CDs that artist has produced. The way I see it, burning and downloading is, oftentimes, putting more money in the pockets of artist than anything the major labels are doing to promote them.

In my punk heyday, we traded tapes like baseball cards. Every new band discovery prompted a sweaty, antsy trip to the record store. This is the same thing. The only types of artists who may typically NOT prompt a quick trip to the record store are the Britneys and Eminems and Linkin Parks

I remember the whole "taping is killing the music industry" campaign in the '80s. 15, 20 years later, they're still here. In the meantime, artists who couldn't get arrested in this country got exposure through college radio and mix tapes.

If the big labels want people to stop downloading songs by their megabucks artists, they should provide an inexpensive download service of their own. As long as they neglect to promote the smaller, more interesting (in my opinion) artists, I will continue to download and swap mix CDs with my friends. Quite frankly, they should be grateful that fans are motivated to get the word out about the artists they've relegated to the back wards of the music industry.
posted by echolalia67 at 12:23 PM on September 26, 2002


I won't even begin to pick apart how stupid that was.

...because if you tried, you just might realize how stupid your original comment was.

It's a fully protected right for you to make a copy of a song and share it with someone.

(you know, you're absolutely correct! It's right there, squeezed in between the 14th and 15th amendments... "All men are endowed with the right to digitally duplicate and distribute the creative works of others without penalty." How silly of me to have missed that right.)

The level of self-justification regarding pirated music is amazing. What makes you think you're *entitled* to free music?

(and Wulfgar!, last time I checked, you don't get to keep the books you take from libraries. You can borrow CDs and movies, too.)
posted by GhostintheMachine at 12:33 PM on September 26, 2002


GhostintheMachine, I ask you directly:

If I'm replacing CDs I've already paid for... and were stolen from me, am I stealing?
posted by tj at 1:16 PM on September 26, 2002


drezdn
buy it man, it's very good and also Tweedy's a good guy
ps (I loved the movie too)
posted by matteo at 2:43 PM on September 26, 2002


buy it man, it's very good and also Tweedy's a good guy
ps (I loved the movie too)


That's the thing... I've had the album for more than a year, but I'm going to buy it for sure, if only as a fuck you to the label that dropped them (and to have the art work and lyrics).

Arguably I've been introduced to more artists through mix tapes than anything else. (mixtapes being like a 80s version of MP3's I guess).
posted by drezdn at 3:00 PM on September 26, 2002


GhostintheMachine, whether you keep it or not is beside the point (you know, the one YOU raised?). Libraries do share copywritten material, and humanity is enriched. You want that if anybody reads your stuff more than once they should have to pay through the nose? No thank you. If a writer is good enough to want to support with money laid out, it will happen. Same with music.

If I read to poem to my wife, do I owe somebody? If I download a copy of "Living in the Past" (which I purchased on both vinyl and tape) and burn it to CD, do I owe Ian Anderson even more bucks? Why don't I just send him a check everytime I hear a tune from it, like in those car commercials? I shared your words written here (copywrite to you according to mathowie) with a friend who is, indeed, a reference librarian. Does she now owe you something? Do I?

There doesn't need to be an amendment to the Constitution for people to have the right of fair use. You might want to look past the profit motive for just a bit here.
posted by Wulfgar! at 3:06 PM on September 26, 2002


GhostintheMachine: People never share books? Huh? There is no such thing as a library? A little picky there, admittedly, but c'mon.
posted by raysmj at 4:54 PM on September 26, 2002


Oh, someone else figured that out. Never mind! I've copied large swaths of academic books before, though, for the record.
posted by raysmj at 4:55 PM on September 26, 2002


The point we should focus on is that right now laws like the DMCA make things like this bad. Bob Cringely has the antidote.

Ah, that wacky Cringely.......
posted by TheManWhoKnowsMostThings at 5:07 PM on September 26, 2002


I'd much rather see Brittney in a piracy commercial than I would in an abstinence commercial. Especially considering she's no virgin.
posted by Lusy P Hur at 7:00 PM on September 26, 2002


Ghostinthemachine, i don't know about you, but i don't write to make a profit. if someone pays me money for what i have to say, i will gladly accept the money. if i starve because i want to spend sll my time writing aand not having a consistant job, that's fine too, since i'm not writing for money. i write because i have to write, not because i have a preganant wife and i don't want to get a real job.
posted by fuq at 9:50 PM on September 26, 2002


The problem here ultimately is in the use of the word piracy. I hate it when filesharers use the word in reference to what they're doing. They're playing into the RIAA's hands.

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, includes the reproduction of copyrighted or patented material as part of the definition. It's copyright 2000. Older dictionaries do not. The original use of the word referred to theft at sea. Over the centuries, the use of the word has been twisted to include activities on land. This bastardization of the definition in reference to copyrights is a very recent occurrence, and is misleading. However, it's how people are using the word, so the definition gets bastardized.

Prior to Napster, music piracy involved making copies of CDs and selling them. The transfer of money has to be involved for it to be a form of piracy.

If you share a file with someone else for no monetary response, it's called filesharing. If someone takes that file and sells it to someone else for money, it's software piracy. There's no economics in regards to filesharing. There's no money trading hands, so there's no money involved. There's no financial anything, so the music industry is not losing anything, because there's no money there to lose. It's a dead argument, and Rosen needs to quit beating the corpse. Calling it piracy is like calling a crocodile an alligator. The difference is subtle, but relevant and valid.

No one's gonna read down this far anyway.
posted by ZachsMind at 10:41 PM on September 26, 2002


So what's the news here? New economy with technology shifts that lessen album sales?

Oh well. The music industry can't stop sharing networks. The music industry can't make consumers buy something that they can get for free.

That means 'Game Over' doesn't it? They will never recoup costs. They will never sell that many albums for $20 a pop. Get used to it.

The important thing here is that the music industry puts the wagon before the horse. Music was and always will be made without record labels.

Musicians who love making music will be heard. The music companies are a secondary complication to that fact. The only importance they have in the industry is the importance which they have created for themselves.
posted by ttrendel at 12:32 AM on September 27, 2002


tj: No. You paid for a copy, you should have a copy.
Wulfgar!: If I read [a] poem to my wife, do I owe somebody? That depends... who wrote the poem, and when? do I owe Ian Anderson even more bucks? No. See above. Does she now owe you something? Do I? Money? No, because I don't charge anyone for my opinions. As for "fair use", considering the artists & record labels SELL their recordings, why is it "fair" to not pay?
fuq: From your grammar and spelling, I can see why you don't make any money from writing (sorry, I apologize. That was a very cheap shot). It's perfectly fine for you, or anyone, to give away the products of your labour. That's your choice. But please respect the wishes of those of us who do this for a living (which I have since 1990, in varying degrees of success). Writing is a real job. Yes, most people can put words together but not everyone can write, just as most of us can cook a decent meal but few of us are chefs.

Look, there's a distinction between sharing a paper book and sharing a digital file. If I share a book with my friend, I no longer have the book (literally and in perpetuity with some friends, I'm afraid). I wouldn't have a problem with people "sharing" digital files if they deleted their copy of it once it was "shared".

When you purchase a CD/tape/record, you are really purchasing the limited rights to possess a single copy of said recording. You don't own the music itself - you can't broadcast it over the radio, you can't copy it and sell the copies, you can't put it in a movie you've created, and you can't (in any jurisdiction I know of) play it over the stereo in your store. It may be in your possession, but it's not yours to do with as you please.

(I don't know why I'm bothering to continue this thread... nobody's still reading it, are they?)
posted by GhostintheMachine at 5:17 AM on September 27, 2002



A few thoughts... just for me since we are way too far along for anyone to revisit this thread.

First of all... musicians get the same sympathy from me as professional baseball players. STFU. Like someone said above, play music (or write) because it is what you want to do. If people give you $ for it, jump for joy. But this whole sense of entitlement is just revolting. You get to play music for dogs sake. I know 1000 people who would give a nipple to be able to play music, or paint or whatever.

Second... "Is pretty foolhardly, considering that Britney Spears sells like go-gillions of records. You sound like Eminem trying to tell Moby (another million-selling artist) that he's "too old" and that "no one listens to techno[sic]". Just because you don't like something doesn't mean it doesn't exist or have value to other people. Young teens tend to enjoy crappy music, that's the way the world spins and has spun as long as pop culture has existed. You aren't going to get many 13 year old girls to buy Guided By Voices albums."

Ok... 13 year olds don't like quality music? I think thats BS. I think it is more likely that 13 year old girls only hear the sugar coated britney just like they only eat sugar coated cereals. Because that is all they are marketed. It isn't that the kids only like britney, its that it is so much cheaper and easier to sell britney than a decent band. And besides, there is only ONE britney that sells tickets for 50 bux a pop while there are dozens of better bands in their local area that can be seen for 5 bux. If you were a company, which would you rather have?

My hat tips to all independant artists who vow to make the million britney never made ala Ani Difranco.


posted by jopreacher at 11:58 PM on September 27, 2002


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