File Sharing Companies Scramble To Go Legit; File Sharers Shrug And Move On

from the yes,-but-will-it-stop-file-sharing? dept

It looks like the recording industry's strategy of nastygramming file sharing providers has worked. While we've already reported on Grokster's plans to sell out to industry-supported Mashboxx, the NY Times is reporting that many of the other big name file sharing providers are looking at similar deals. This isn't that surprising. Any company in the space is likely facing a nasty lawsuit from the entertainment industry, even if they believe what they're doing is legal. Of course, the entertainment industry will mistake this as being a "victory," when it's actually anything but. To anyone who's actually watched what's happened over the past five years, it's pretty clear that file sharers will simply gravitate elsewhere -- specifically to systems that are even further underground. This generation of file sharing companies could be sued because they're companies. It seems pretty likely that the next generation won't be companies at all and there may not even be anyone specific to sue. The file sharing, however, will go on. It won't be legal -- but this isn't a point about legality; it's about reality.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Steve Mueller, Sep 20th, 2005 @ 3:16am

    Which Crimes Do You Prosecute?

    So should the government stop going after drug dealers and murderers just because they might go further underground if they do? Sure, drug dealing and murder are illegal, but it's not about legality -- it's about reality.

    I know. Your position is to try to monetize things related to the bands (like T-shirts) even if the music gets stolen. Should we also try to monetize other crimes? Maybe we could also make T-shirts with pictures of good meth cookers or hit men.

    Yes, it's an absurd argument, but not much less absurd than your position seems to be. Where do you draw the line?

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Gosh, Sep 20th, 2005 @ 3:57am

    Re: Which Crimes Do You Prosecute?

    It may be wrong but no one gets physically hurt, and drug dealing isn't bad, its peoples own choice to buy drugs so it doesn't really hurt the innocent. with piracy your not really "stealing" since it never existed and its just a virtual copy which you would have never bought in the first place.

     

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  3.  
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    Schemer, Sep 20th, 2005 @ 5:27am

    Re: Which Crimes Do You Prosecute?

    hahahaha, very well said

     

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  4.  
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    Jesus, Sep 20th, 2005 @ 6:18am

    No Subject Given

    You pay to see the original of the Mona Lisa, becuase you deem it worthy of payment. You do not pay to see a digital COPY of Mona Lisa, because that would not make sence. Art is only worth something in its original form. Concerts, for example, are worth the money because there is an art being perfomed. The recordings of the musicans are copies. They're just an example of how their art would sound. If spreading around music is illegal, than so is hosting a copy of the Mona Lisa on countless servers accross the globe.

     

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  5.  
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    Jesus is an idiot, Sep 20th, 2005 @ 6:31am

    Re: No Subject Given

    You've never recorded music have you, dumbass? So I'm not even going to get into the costs and effort involved. To argue the the end product isnt art, simply because it can be copied and cloned is just stupid. You're stupid.

     

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  6.  
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    Whosawhat?, Sep 20th, 2005 @ 7:02am

    No Subject Given

    Man - you guys have been brainwashed.

    File sharing in any form of copyright material is illegal. You can't just say "it's ok to see some peice of art so it must be ok to steal music"...

    As much as I hate the RIAA and all the media they get they do have the right and should think about protecting the product.

    These people are in the business of making money. They aren't stupid. What they are doing is making money.

    One day when you all get a job you'll relies you donít' want your product or service to be stolen and see why this is such a big deal to them.

     

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  7.  
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    "Jezus is an idiot" is an idiot, Sep 20th, 2005 @ 7:06am

    Profit...

    If you were a musician you would know that 90% of your real income comes directly from concerts. So the argument about "real art" is already discussed by a lot of artists. You could see the record as marketing material for numerous concerts.

    The profit you make from your records is needed to pay back the record company. This profit is based on a 3 to 10 % profit rule/cd. The other 95% of the price of your cd is used for marketing, materials, distribution fees, wages and going to court.

    If you are a musician you would know this offcourse - unless you have a bad live reputation.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Jean, Sep 20th, 2005 @ 7:08am

    Re: No Subject Given

    Still, what do the record companies do?
    Three things:
    They record songs,
    They copy them,
    They promote them.

    Promotion is useless for everyone except themselves and the artists, so I don't see why we should pay for it.
    Copying the songs (producing CD's) is now useless because there are more efficient ways of procurement.
    Recording songs is still useful but most artists don't really need the record companies to do that.

    Now, record companies do an additionnal thing: they try to prevent other people from copying songs. But once again, that is totally useless for us.

    It seems to me that today's music business exists thanks to technological limitations which kept the rest of us from distributing the music, but that is no longer the case. So should we keep on paying for something we can do for free?

    I don't know, but it seems strange to me.

     

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  9.  
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    Matt, Sep 20th, 2005 @ 7:55am

    Re: No Subject Given

    The only way artists can get around promotion costs and bogus fees etc, is to open their own label.

    Many artists have done so, and unsuprisingly, you don't ever hear about those artists suing, it is far more rare (and has nothing to do with the legal fees).

     

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  10.  
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    malhombre, Sep 20th, 2005 @ 8:19am

    Re: No Subject Given

    To Whosawhat?...Amen, amigo.

    IMHO we have a real societal issue these days with just admitting what we are doing - and, as I have posted before: I do swap files, and I do admit it is theft. Ahh, that was easy - no self justifying BS nor "the poor artist only gets a dollar" nor anti-RIAA venom necessary. Just say it.

    I also happen to agree that the copyright system should be changed. Until then, the law is on their side. In any case, the RIAA is doing exactly what they were contracted to do by the poor, starving artists themselves who voluntarily signed up.

    To hate the RIAA and copyright law is certainly your right (and mine), but to justify theft with all this "its OK because..." crap is self-delusion, and it is morally weak.

    And Mike:
    "Any company in the space is likely facing a nasty lawsuit from the entertainment industry, even if they believe what they're doing is legal."

    Yeah, please don't make me go over the whole ignorance-of-the-law-is-no-excuse thing that we are all aware of. A company whose business model involves the commission of crime, without being aware of it, is a company with inadequate legal advice, and is probably doomed due to lack of due diligence anyway.

     

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  11.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Sep 20th, 2005 @ 8:31am

    Re: No Subject Given


    Yeah, please don't make me go over the whole ignorance-of-the-law-is-no-excuse thing that we are all aware of. A company whose business model involves the commission of crime, without being aware of it, is a company with inadequate legal advice, and is probably doomed due to lack of due diligence anyway.


    Sorry, you misunderstood my meaning. I wasn't saying they were ignorant of the law, but they may believe that even with the law being what it is, they're still innocent. However, even in that case, facing a big lawsuit to prove you're on the right side of the law isn't particularly appealing to many...

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2005 @ 8:32am

    Re: No Subject Given

    But doing unlawful things is not the same as doing bad things. Nobody is saying that swapping files is legal, some people just think it is not bad. Just because the law says it is theft doesn't make it so. The law is what it is, but it should change.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Steve Mueller, Sep 20th, 2005 @ 8:35am

    Copies And Promotion

    Gosh said:

    It may be wrong but no one gets physically hurt, and drug dealing isn't bad, its peoples own choice to buy drugs so it doesn't really hurt the innocent. with piracy your not really "stealing" since it never existed and its just a virtual copy which you would have never bought in the first place.

    So if I photocopy your book and give it away, that's OK, too? Or if I read your patent and produce your invention cheaper, that's OK, too?

    Face it, just because something doesn't have a physical form or can be copied doesn't mean it has no value. That's why copyright and patent laws exist, in fact.

    Jean said:

    Still, what do the record companies do?
    Three things:
    They record songs,
    They copy them,
    They promote them.
    Promotion is useless for everyone except themselves and the artists, so I don't see why we should pay for it.

    That's a pretty foolish statement. Do you think you're not paying for advertising (promotion) when you purchase a car, soap, soup or any other product?

    The fact is that promotion helps get consumers interested in products (for better or worse). Promotion also (generally) costs money. Profit = revenue - expenses. To make profits (what companies exist to do), they have to recover their expenses ó including promotion.

    Also, saying promotion is useless to you is also arguable. Suppose you really like a piece of music by a new artist that you heard on the radio or saw on MTV. If the record company hadn't promoted that music, the chances that you would have heard about it go way down and you might have missed that music that you love. So promotion can help you find new music.

     

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  14.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Sep 20th, 2005 @ 8:37am

    Re: Which Crimes Do You Prosecute?

    Yes, it's an absurd argument, but not much less absurd than your position seems to be. Where do you draw the line?

    Seems odd to even bother responding to a reductio ad absurdum argument... so I'll just say it isn't that hard to "draw a line" if you actually look at what you're saying. If you can't tell the difference between someone listening to a music file and murder, then you have much bigger problems to deal with.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Coolio472, Sep 20th, 2005 @ 8:53am

    No Subject Given

    While on one hand i have to agree that filesharing of cpyrighted matirial is illegal, the RIAA which is the cuase of all this madness, doesn't want to stop there. They want to outlaw fair use. Period. If it were up to them we couldn't copy cds for our own use. If they could drop ther blatant anti-fair use policies and practices they might find themselves getting more support.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Fool for responding to fools, Sep 20th, 2005 @ 10:38am

    Re: No Subject Given

    "Just because the law says it is theft doesn't make it so."

    What?!? I don't know if I've ever read a more ignorant argument. Ignorant and stupid. Yes, because the law says so DOES make it theft. Laws (and not possession) define ownership rights and further define theft of that right.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Fool for responding to fools, Sep 20th, 2005 @ 10:56am

    Re: No Subject Given

    "You pay to see the original of the Mona Lisa, becuase you deem it worthy of payment. You do not pay to see a digital COPY of Mona Lisa, because that would not make sence. Art is only worth something in its original form. Concerts, for example, are worth the money because there is an art being perfomed. The recordings of the musicans are copies. They're just an example of how their art would sound. If spreading around music is illegal, than so is hosting a copy of the Mona Lisa on countless servers accross the globe."

    Actually jackass many people do pay to see a digital copy of art - it is just how you define "pay". A company has taken the time capture the image, host a website to show the image and generally gets ad revunue froms hits on its website, or is funded by the gov/a non-profit. Whatever way $ is exchanging hands so that you can see that digital copy.

    With music it took a lot of cost to make that first version. While, each successive copy is very cheap, the artist needs a manner in which to fund that first version. Just because you look at the production costs of an additional unit as nil to the artist, does not mean that the artist is compensated.

    What moral ground do you all have for getting something (a copy of music) for free? Clearly you all want digital copies of the music, judging by your near incoherent rants about copyright protection. You have a "need", yet you do not want to compensate the provider of that "need." That is, and always will be, the problem with your argument. You are on moral quicksand. There are excellent arguments for better ways to meter and account for your "needs" but any argument that, at a basis, requires you to get a "need" without compensating the provider, is without merit.

    I hope the dryer eats half of each of your sock pairs. Karma.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    what, Sep 20th, 2005 @ 11:07am

    Mike hits it on the nose again

    Of course, everyone gets way off topic with their stupid debates.

    Yes, stealing music is against the law. But laws CAN be changed. How are laws supposed to change without people making a stand?

    Filesharing is a stand.

    I personally am happy that filesharing companies are being screwed with and sued by the RIAA. GOOD. This isn't about your fucking profit Grokster/Napster. This is about changing what is screwed up about the entertainment industry with the technology that we have created. It is about spreading someone's ARTISTIC CREATION to as many people as possible. Art should be a gift and you should only profit from it if you are GOOD. Not if the RIAA signs and promotes you.

    I think Mike is correct and I can't wait. Future P2P will be:
    -open source
    -decentralized
    -autoupdated between users as they use it.
    -changed constantly
    -anonymous
    -underground
    -no companies
    -NO PROFIT FOR ANYONE

    Copyright should be used to stop others from copying exactly what you have worked hard to create and profitting from it as if it is their own. Filesharers are not doing this. The profit has already been made by the time music hits P2P and it's time to profit off something NEW. P2P companies profit off artists in basically the same way the RIAA does.

    Some laws NEED to be changed. Nobody/government is perfect. Revisions must be made and changes must be accepted and we progress with our inventions and way of life. If we all act like the law is perfect and accept without any anger or retaliation, NOTHING CHANGES. The people are speaking out, non-verbally. "F/O RIAA." There is nothing wrong with this. This is a great country. "Anger is a gift."

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Steve Mueller, Sep 20th, 2005 @ 11:09am

    Fair Use

    Coolio472 wrote:

    While on one hand i have to agree that filesharing of cpyrighted matirial is illegal, the RIAA which is the cuase of all this madness, doesn't want to stop there. They want to outlaw fair use. Period. If it were up to them we couldn't copy cds for our own use. If they could drop ther blatant anti-fair use policies and practices they might find themselves getting more support.

    While I don't know if the RIAA would get much more support (as another poster said, people want their free stuff), I agree with you about Fair Use. Any organization trying to kill Fair Use should themselves be killed (figuratively speaking, of course).

    In fact, I wonder what would happen if we tried to pass a law saying that any technology used to inhibit Fair Use was illegal.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    thatguy, Sep 20th, 2005 @ 11:24am

    Re: No Subject Given

    Fool for responding to fools...

    Let me teach you something your mommy should have taught you a LONG time ago:

    Money isn't everything.


    Yes it must suck to have something like technological advances (that make the world more efficient and easier on the majority of us) take SOME profit away from you or your company. But you know what, SOME is an important word here. NOT ALL. Time for a pay cut everyone, sorry. That's life.

    Take some time and think of all the obsolete careers and all the money lost by someone somewhere as a result of technological advances.

    Here's a hint: INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION

    How many telegraph operators or coal miners do you know of these days?

    The RIAA is becoming obsolete. There is very little need for them anymore and it will only be getting worse.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Fool for responding to fools, Sep 20th, 2005 @ 11:40am

    Re: No Subject Given

    Haha! Again, I am a fool for responding to fools.

    Your retorts:

    Art should be a gift and you should only profit from it if you are GOOD.

    Money isn't everything.

    Sometomes you need a good laugh.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2005 @ 11:50am

    Re: No Subject Given

    ""Just because the law says it is theft doesn't make it so."

    What?!? I don't know if I've ever read a more ignorant argument. Ignorant and stupid. Yes, because the law says so DOES make it theft. Laws (and not possession) define ownership rights and further define theft of that right. "

    The law may changed, but theft remains theft. You've got a lot to learn.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2005 @ 1:52pm

    Re: No Subject Given

    "Haha! Again, I am a fool for responding to fools.

    Your retorts:

    Art should be a gift and you should only profit from it if you are GOOD.

    Money isn't everything.

    Sometomes you need a good laugh."


    Translation:
    I have no retort and I have no idea what I am talking about. But don't worry, I THINK I do. And that's all that counts...

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    DigitalBomb, Sep 20th, 2005 @ 2:26pm

    Re: Which Crimes Do You Prosecute?

    "So should the government stop going after drug dealers and murderers just because they might go further underground if they do? Sure, drug dealing and murder are illegal, but it's not about legality -- it's about reality."

    Logical fallacy. You compared two things that are the opposite ends of the legal spectrum.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Luke, Sep 20th, 2005 @ 4:02pm

    Re: No Subject Given

    I have to disagree with the point on the Mona Lisa, but it has clearly been dealt with all ready. Personally I agree that concerts are way better then recordings. I prefer live recordings over studio recordings any day. Just to hear the fans inthe background and stuff just makes it so much better.

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Whosawhat?, Sep 20th, 2005 @ 7:04pm

    Re: No Subject Given

    "Time for a pay cut everyone, sorry. That's life.
    "

    Are you for real? That is retarded. If the RIAA says "you know what.. screw money"... who do you think is going to continue to produce and distribute music?

    Yeah, those artist... yeah, and you think they'll just develop and release this great music becuase they have nothing better to do?

    Wait until you have to put food on the table or you want to buy a new house. Money makes the world go round and all your bitching isn't going to change anyones mind about that at the RIAA.

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    The Antijyn, Sep 20th, 2005 @ 8:06pm

    Back to the start

    It seems that everyone's argument is based on the fact that filesharing is against the law.
    Who created the law? I mean once (I know, beating dead horse) slavery was not against the law, yet that was changed.

    It's amazing how information is sent from one person to another. First it was letters, now it's email.
    Until we meet that awesome wiz in accounting, when he realize that there is another way to profit on information without stifling current and future technolgy, then the law will be changed.

    Until then, we will just either be breaking the law or breaking our wallets trying to obey it.

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    The artist formarly known as Jesus is and idiot, Sep 21st, 2005 @ 6:26am

    Sick of this...

    1. Record companies rip off everyone, from the artists to the consumers and all the stages between. They are greedy and corrupt and I could tell you many scams they operate.
    2. So what - not paying for the music live or recorded is still theft.

    And to ""Jezus is an idiot" is an idiot" - nothing you said contradicts anything I said in my first post. Try reading before you hit reply! Yes artists should look to live music for revenue - but that STILL doesnt change anything, least of all my counter-arguement (the whole point of my post) that recorded music IS art.

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    Steve Mueller, Sep 21st, 2005 @ 10:34am

    More Foolishness

    The Antijyn wrote:

    It seems that everyone's argument is based on the fact that filesharing is against the law. Who created the law? I mean once (I know, beating dead horse) slavery was not against the law, yet that was changed.

    True, but until property rights are completely abolished, I doubt anybody will change the law to allow stealing.

    The Antijyn wrote:

    Until then, we will just either be breaking the law or breaking our wallets trying to obey it.

    This is completely foolish. Nobody needs music. You buy as much as you want without breaking your wallet. If you want more, that doesn't mean you get to steal it. It's called "living within your means".

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    Robert Martin, Oct 4th, 2005 @ 3:26am

    hey, buddy

    Psssst. [whisper] Usenet is still the King of Thieves. [/whisper] Keep it under your hat.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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