Entertainment Industry Still Insisting That Gov't Protectionism Is The Only Way To Compete

from the oh-really? dept

A few months ago, we responded to an ill-informed opinion piece in the UK's Independent by Stephen Garrett, who runs a TV production house. In his essay, Garrett trotted out all the old falsehoods about how file sharing is the same as theft and that ISPs absolutely need to stop file sharing or the entertainment industry will die. On top of that, he relied on the tired old argument that file sharing "costs jobs" and those jobs are "needed" in these economic times. That's ridiculously laughable, of course. Inefficient industries and inefficient jobs (such as those supported by gov't monopolies) are exactly what's not needed these days. However, it appears that Garrett has not gotten the message (or, would simply beg for a gov't handout, rather than adjust his business model to match with the economic times).

Steven Hoy points out that the Financial Times is the latest UK paper to give Garrett space to put forth his opinions on the subject, and so we get yet another misguided rant about how the gov't and ISPs need to protect his own inability to craft a better business model.
Piracy (think Johnny Depp) and file-sharing sound harmless enough. But as it involves the widespread appropriation of intellectual property without payment, file-sharing is better described as file-nicking. It is theft. Hundreds of millions of pounds are haemorrhaging out of the film and TV industries, just in the UK. Jobs are being lost and companies will fold. This is not in contention.
Actually, it is very much in contention. It's almost pointless to reiterate this point, but if you can't understand the difference between someone making a copy and someone taking away a good, it's difficult to see how you should be given responsibility over running a business. It may be infringing, but it is not "theft." There is no "loss." Nothing is "missing." The only problem is a business model issue -- that is that you, Stephen Garrett, failed to give people a good enough reason to buy something. That's your fault, and your fault alone.

If any jobs are being lost, it's because you failed to manage your business properly, recognize the new market that technology has created, and learn to embrace it in a profitable manner. Others are doing so. You whine and ask the gov't for a handout.
In this parallel universe, consumer rights have acquired the status of a fascistic mantra. What the consumer wants, the consumer gets, even if he does not want to pay for it. Everyone has, to some extent, colluded in this fantasy, blocking out the advertisements while consuming -- for "free" -- newspapers, films, television shows and music on legitimate websites. Now, and this has happened very quickly, consumers assume they have a right to these things. Free, and forever. Unfortunately this fantasy is unsustainable.
Why is it unsustainable? It is, in fact, no different than any marketplace where competition exists. Let's say, for example, that you're a pizza maker, and it costs you $5 to make a pie, which you then sell for $10. Not a bad business. Now, a competitor comes along, and figures out how to make pizza pies for $3, and start selling his (which are just as good as yours) for $5. Now, you're in trouble. What do you do? Normally, you figure out how to compete, or you go out of business. You don't go crying to the gov't about how you're going to lose jobs if the gov't doesn't stop others from making the cheaper pizza. You come up with a better pizza or a more efficient way of making the pizza and you compete and get people to buy your pizza.

Economically speaking, this is the identical situation, because all that matters to a business is the margin. The fact that new technology has made it possible for your content to have a marginal cost of $0 is the same thing as someone figuring out how to make a pizza and price it at your marginal cost. It's just competition, and the answer is that you learn to compete, not that you blame the more efficient system or anyone who enables it.
All of these cost money to produce; in the case of TV dramas such as Spooks that my company produces, a huge amount. At the point when these creative products enter cyberspace, they are only partly paid for. Producers are dependent on revenues from DVDs and international sales, which piracy hits.
Of course all of these things cost money to produce. No one has said otherwise. But that's why you put in place a better business model that offers something unique that they can't get elsewhere for free. You use those unique scarcities to make a profit and recoup your fixed costs. That's just business. No gov't protectionism needed.
Piracy happens on the internet. The greater the bandwidth, the easier piracy is. We in the creative industries have asked (nicely) that the internet service providers should help tackle piracy by responding in a graduated way to customers of theirs identified as offering or downloading pirated material. The sequence would be along the lines of a warning letter, a "squeezing" of bandwidth, a further cut in bandwidth and then the ultimate sanction: a limitation of service.
I read that logic to be the same as "automobiles happen on roads, the nicer the roads, the more automobiles we have. We in the horse carriage industries have asked (nicely) that the road builders should help tackle automobile dangers by responding in a graduated way to drivers identified as speeding at rates beyond what a horse carriage can run. The sequence would be along the lines of a warning letter, a fine for speeding, a further ban from driving on roads, and then the ultimate sanction: a limitation on driving altogether."

Stopping progress because you're unable to adapt is no excuse.
Having the right to use the internet to access entertainment brings with it the responsibility not to act in a way that endangers every future film, TV show and music track. In particular, the UK government needs to use Tuesday's Digital Britain report to compel ISPs to work with us on a graduated system of penalties for file-sharers. Doing nothing bolsters the notion that nothing has value. The logical outcome is that, within our lifetimes, there will be nothing of value left.
No, Mr. Garrett. What you are asking for is for the internet to change to adapt to the way you liked to run your business. But that's not how the world works. Your unwillingness (or, perhaps, inability) to change is your problem, not the internet's. The internet was designed as a communications medium. You are trying to force it into being a broadcast medium, because that's the only business model you know, and you're unwilling (or unable) to learn how to create a business model on a communications platform. The only ones who should be "sanctioned" or face penalties is you, for your own inability to compete.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    bshock, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 8:19am

    consumers are fascists?

    "In this parallel universe, consumer rights have acquired the status of a fascistic mantra. What the consumer wants, the consumer gets, even if he does not want to pay for it."

    Apparently Mr. Garrett belongs to the Jonah Goldberg school of thought (or lack thereof), where whatever we don't like is reflexively labeled "fascist."

    In a very general way, fascism would be the needs of the few outweighing the needs of the many. In Mr. Garrett's world, fascism has mutated into the needs of the many outweighing the needs of the few. Funny -- where I come from, giving consumers what they want is called "capitalism," and in the correct doses it's quite a good thing at all.

     

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    Ima Fish (profile), Jun 16th, 2009 @ 8:19am

    For the second time today, if the only way your business model can survive is via new laws and lawsuits, it's time to give it up.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 8:21am

    Imagine a store that pays a lot of money for in store security. They hire guards to catch shoplifters. When they do catch people they turn them over to the police. When they do this, the police let them go and tell the store that they have no responsibility to do anything about it and if they want to follow up on it, they have to take that person to court.

    That is basically what happens to copyright owners. Is it any surprise they feel the way they do?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 8:25am

    "Actually, it is very much in contention. It's almost pointless to reiterate this point, but if you can't understand the difference between someone making a copy and someone taking away a good, it's difficult to see how you should be given responsibility over running a business. It may be infringing, but it is not "theft." There is no "loss." Nothing is "missing." The only problem is a business model issue -- that is that you, Stephen Garrett, failed to give people a good enough reason to buy something. That's your fault, and your fault alone. "

    Wow.

    This is probably the biggest, most direct twisting of reality that comes on Techdirt. Seriously, while I understand what you are saying, what you are saying is basically wrong.

    If someone doesn't have something, but then ends up WITH something, but didn't pay for it or obtain it legally, how did they get it? You say it isn't "theft", it is just infringement and that is okay, no harm no foul, right? But in the end, there is harm, there is foul, there is no debate about it.

    Mike, you go on and on about businesses being turned into "buggy whip businesses". There is harm right there. If they were making money before, and they are not making money now because of file "sharing", then there is harm.

    going on an on about there being no loss it just not supported by reality.

     

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    Tom Landry (profile), Jun 16th, 2009 @ 8:28am

    Nice slapdown Mike. One of your better ones actually.

     

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    Ima Fish (profile), Jun 16th, 2009 @ 8:36am

    Re:

    Your analogy fails for a couple of reasons.

    First, you cannot reasonablly compare theft with infringement. If you're going to analogize infringement to theft, why not go all the way and analogize it to rape or kidnapping? They all make the same amount of sense. I.e., none.

    Second, if the music industry does catch infringers, there is nothing stopping the music industry from suing them or having them charged. However, the music industry does not want to police the internet itself, it does not want to "pay a lot of money" for security as your analogy states. The music industry wants ISPs to provide infringement security them for free!

    So here's a more accurate analogy. The music industry has a store but refuses to pay for any security. The music industry demands that the owner of the sidewalk perform security for the store because the alleged criminals are entering the store via the sidewalk.

    The music industry claims that the owner of the sidewalk is letting criminals into the store and that the owner of the sidewalk should keep such criminals out of its store. The music industry wants laws passed requiring anyone alleged to have shoplifted three times to be banned from using any sidewalk in the country.

    Yes, it's that absurd.

     

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    SteveD (profile), Jun 16th, 2009 @ 8:36am

    Spooks isn't even a comercial programme in the UK

    The strangest thing about this entire story is that Garrett's company produces 'Spooks', which is broadcast by the BBC, a tax-funded organisation. How is anyone harmed by British people downloading such content? They have, after all, effectively already paid for it.

    It also seems that British TV is getting hit so hard by the digital crunch its turning into the UK version of the American Newspaper industry.

    The good news is that at least the Opposition parties politicians seem to be thinking along the right lines: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8103206.stm

     

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    Tom Landry (profile), Jun 16th, 2009 @ 8:40am

    Re:

    If someone doesn't have something, but then ends up WITH something, but didn't pay for it or obtain it legally, how did they get it? You say it isn't "theft", it is just infringement and that is okay, no harm no foul, right? But in the end, there is harm, there is foul, there is no debate about it.

    Theres only "harm" if the person in question had any intentions of paying for it to begin with and given the averages taken from informal polls, you can generally assume that 95% would NOT have bought anything.

    People like yourself keep trying to argue ethics in a way that if you win said argument people will come to their senses and start buying again. "Debate" it until you turn blue, people are going to copy unless they have a more attractive option that is actually worth their cash. THAT is what there is no "debate" about.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 8:40am

    Re:

    Studies have shown a correlation between illegal downloads and legal music purchases, namely that those who download also buy a significant more than the average person. One such study was commissioned by the CRIA, a Canadian organization pushing for tougher copyright laws, so you can basically be assured that the results were not improperly skewed to benefit the sponsor. I believe that the study also required receipts of those purchases, so it wasn't a matter of people simply lying to skew the results.

    In other words, to take your example, what if all those shoplifters were also your largest source of revenue? What if, for each item stolen, the same person also bought 5x the amount stolen?

    That's basically what the copyright owners are doing, attacking their best customers. If every filesharing simply stopped listening to any big-name music, you would almost certainly see a huge drop in revenue.

    Is it the copyright owner's legal right to pursue downloaders? Of course it is. Does that make it the right decision, in a business sense? Not in the slightest. The entertainment industry is first and foremost a consumer based industry, meaning it lives and dies on its ability to convince customers to buy the product. And ultimately, the entertainment industry is on that refuses to change prices to reflect current consumer demand, fails to utilize the most efficient distribution methods, and makes legal purchases inconvenient for the average consumer. No matter how you look at it, that's terrible business.

    I've heard it said that if iTunes had been created a year after Napster went mainstream, illegal music downloads would've been significantly stunted. I don't doubt it. There are many examples to show that "inexpensive" can beat "free" if convenience and ease make it worthwhile, especially when the inexpensive method allows a morally clean slate.

     

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    Rob, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 8:46am

    Re:

    Mike's logic on this is very solid -- I don't see anything in there where he says no harm no foul, he is simply arguing with the use of the word theft -- copying is absolutely not theft no matter how you slice it. It is still infringement, it is still against the law, and some might argue that it is a bad thing (I would disagree, but that is entirely beside the point), but it is absolutely NOT theft. If I were to walk into a record store, pick a CD up off the shelf, and walk out without paying, the record store would not have that CD anymore. I would have taken a finite good out of their possession, that is THEFT. If I were to buy that CD, take it home, rip it, and upload it on the Internet, and somebody were to download the copy, that would be INFRIGEMENT, not THEFT. Nobody lost any finite goods in that transaction, and it is even debatable as to whether or not a potential sale was even lost, the person may never have intended to buy the CD in the first place or could even (*gasp*!) go BUY the CD after hearing it for free and liking it. But I digress...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 8:48am

    Re: Re:

    Tom, all you need is for a single person who intended (or even might have purchsed) getting a copy for free, and that is all the harm that is needed to show harm. There is harm every day.

    It's all splitting hairs where there is no debate: If you didn't pay for it, you shouldn't have it. How hard is it to understand? Are we are a people so entirely morally bankrupt that we no longer understand the basic concepts of life?

    If you didn't pay for it, if it wasn't given to you by someone who can legally give it to you, then you shouldn't have it.

    How hard is that to understand?

     

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    slacker525600 (profile), Jun 16th, 2009 @ 8:52am

    Re:

    "If someone doesn't have something, but then ends up WITH something, but didn't pay for it or obtain it legally, how did they get it? You say it isn't "theft", it is just infringement and that is okay, no harm no foul, right? But in the end, there is harm, there is foul, there is no debate about it. "

    It is not theft. It is a crime, but it is not theft " the felonious taking and removing of personal property with intent to deprive the rightful owner of it" -websters

    Mike did not say that there was no harm or no foul. He said the it was not theft. There is theoretically some harm, in a lost sale. But the claim that every download of a product is upwards of 10 lost sales as various industry representatives have attempted to claim is utterly ridiculous. I can buy something and download it, or go to a movie and download it, or buy a game with drm and download an illegal copy because I want to install it repeatedly. So I would venture that the losses claimed by anybody in the industry are overstated.

    The point of Mike's comment is that there is no loss of the owner's ability to continue to use the good. In the case of theft, the rightful owner no longer has the use of the good.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 8:53am

    Re: Re:

    "Second, if the music industry does catch infringers, there is nothing stopping the music industry from suing them or having them charged."

    It is a "prove it" type situation right now. The file "pirates" are working hard to slant everything to their side. They hide behind the ISP's skirts, screaming that the ISP can't out them - can't even tell people who is on the IP. They scream that the music industry shouldn't be allowed to look at what files they are publically offering, because it somehow violates their privacy. When pressed about P2P, they throw up their arms and point to a few exceptional cases where legal files are shared, and say " you can't shut it down, because look at all this legal stuff".

    It's 100% horse crap, making it almost impossible to pursue infringers. The amount of time, money, and effort to track down a single file sharer is beyond understanding. With everything stacked against the content providers, it is pretty much impossible for them to control things under the current legal framework.

    If I ran a store and in front of it was nothing but drug dealers and stolen good fences, then yes, I would be complaining to the authorities to come clean up their sidewalk.

    Get out of the dream world of "free" and come look at reality for a while.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 8:57am

    if I pay property taxes based on a certain perceived value of my property then why don't these guys pay taxes based on how much their "intellectual property" is worth? Until then, their imaginary property is worthless to me and the $150,000 price tag per infringement is absolutely insane.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 9:05am

    Preaching to the choir, Mike?

    Mike, I often see you committing the same mistake that most of the commentators you report on make - namely, speaking to convince a crowd that already agrees with you. The entertainment industry relies on having customers that want their product, and do nothing to help their business by insulting the consumer.

    In the same vein, the majority of your articles involve directly insulting your target audience, namely businesses that your are trying to convince to move away from old business models. When your economic strategies always involve expanding your potential consumer base as large as possible, I don't really see the gain in alienating what is likely the largest portion of that consumer base.

    Frankly, there are plenty of websites where vented opinions against the industries can be provided. The main reason I read your articles is for the economic viewpoints which, even if I don't agree with them fully, are extremely insightful.

    This is intended to be purely constructive criticism, and not an insult. If it's perceived that way, then I apologize.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 9:06am

    ok here's a question then.

    As a English tax payer, with both a TV licence and a sky tv subscription. Why is it that if i use my sky+ box to record all of a series of say LOST, im fine. If i use a VHS or dvd recorder to record the whole series of LOST, this again is fine and fair use.

    Yet if i decide to go onto my pc, and download the current series of LOST, so i can then use it on a portable device etc, its suddenly theft? or infringement?

    If content is accessible to me legitimately for me, and its considered fair use for me to record them from the TV (based on the fact that i pay both a TV licence and have a Sky subscription), why is it wrong for me to access the same content via a different means?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 9:06am

    "The music industry has a store but refuses to pay for any security."

    So you are for DRM?

    "The music industry wants laws passed requiring anyone alleged to have shoplifted three times to be banned from using any sidewalk in the country."

    So people who continually violate the law should have a right to use the side walks?

    Should someone who is arrested 3 times for drunk driving, even though they have never been in an accident or cause harm to anyone, be allowed to drive on our streets?

    I would love to see a study of what additional cost the music industry puts into their prices to compensate for file sharing? How much more does the non file sharing public pay because of lost revenue caused by file sharing? When you go to a grocery store and pay for food, you pay a percentage of that to protect against and pay for theft, what about content?

    I see this as more a minority that does not pay for content, the laws that are proposed are mostly to make sure file sharing does not become common by the masses.

     

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    JAy., Jun 16th, 2009 @ 9:08am

    Try Again, Mike

    Mike, you really blew this article.

    I understand some of your intended points, but you completely messed up your argument in this article. Your metaphoric examples in no way really correlate to on-line file sharing. I think I have a better example for you.

    I read Techdirt via an RSS reader (which one is not important). Your blog is supported by advertising. What if my RSS reader stripped your in-line ads (it doesn't currently). Then you would spend your time writing articles and posts, and I would read them without you getting paid for it. Now, suppose I take those same articles and start distributing them to everyone I know on the internet, also without your ads. Now your income is seriously limited.

    This is not competing against your content with similar content (your pizza example), but providing your exact content without giving you a way to get paid for it.

    And your horse-carriage example is a complete waste of my time to read. The recording industry isn't trying to slow down the internet because someone else sells a faster internet. They are trying to find ways to discourage copyright infringement. Unfortunately, there is little the recording industry can do to deter such activities themselves.

    Anonymous Coward's comment (8:40 am) is a far better argument with regards to file sharing than your original post, I am afraid.

     

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    Analmouse Coward, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 9:13am

    Re: Re: Re:

    aww poor boogins, its so hard to get a conviction therefore you must make it easier for you... Yes its a F'in ""prove it" type" situation, when has it ever been anthing other. what gives you the right to judge others. what gives you the right to punish others.. oh yeah, that'd be proof that they had wronged you.

    If you can prove someone slighted you or "Stole" from you then you can get a conviction and they will be punished. if you cannot, then what?, is your word more worthy than someone elses. you moralistic A-whole.

    "If I ran a store and in front of it was nothing but drug dealers and stolen good fences, then yes, I would be complaining to the authorities to come clean up their sidewalk."

    What are you, a moron?, read this again out loud and tell me it makes any kind of sense.
    In this "scenario" you've gone and chosen the worst possible place to have a store, you're not gonna get any customers in here, yet you still open and then go and complain that you can't make any money.

    Jeeeze

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 9:14am

    Re:

    There are been studies showing that file-sharers buy the most music. As I said above, one such study was commissioned by the CRIA, which is much like the Canadian version of the RIAA.

    In other words, the group that does not pay for some content also pays for the most content. Sound contradictory? Think about it: the largest file sharing base is in the teenager-young adult demographic. Where do you think the largest consumer base is for music?

    That's why I can never take arguments like these seriously: hurting the filesharers alienates the best customers.

     

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    slacker525600 (profile), Jun 16th, 2009 @ 9:15am

    Re: Try Again, Mike

    Mike has already addressed this numerous times. This site provides an added value. Which you are proving by engaging in this discussion.

    The car versus carriage example is not claiming that there is somebody trying to sell a better internet. It is saying that there are people trying to market a better product with a better distribution method.

     

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    Alasdair Fox, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 9:19am

    "All of these cost money to produce; in the case of TV dramas such as Spooks that my company produces, a huge amount. At the point when these creative products enter cyberspace, they are only partly paid for."

    In the case of Spooks, it's partly paid for by me, via the TV licence fee, whether I have any intention of consuming your content or not. And I don't.
    Effectively, people are paying you for nothing, analogous to being charged to enter a music store whether or not you intend to buy anything.
    Yes, you're very hard done to on this point.

     

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    Ima Fish (profile), Jun 16th, 2009 @ 9:21am

    Re: Re: Re:

    All I did was to show how your analogy was idiotic and offered a better one. You neither defended your analogy or argued against mine, so I assume you conceded both of my points.

    I do want to address this comment you made:
    It is a "prove it" type situation right now...

    That's simply asinine. You seem to think that because it's difficult to prove copyright infringement, that the music industry should get some slack. That someone else should be forced to do it for them or the burden of proof should be lowed to make it easier to prosecute. However, if someone accuses you of a crime, that person should able to prove that you committed a crime. If they can't, they should shut up.

    Then you completely defeat your entire argument by writing this:
    The amount of time, money, and effort to track down a single file sharer is beyond understanding.

    If these alleged crimes are not worth pursing, proving, and prosecuting, then it necessarily follows that they are not serious crimes! Under your argument, you concede that it is not worth the music industry efforts to go after pirates because the costs of pursuing the charges far exceed the harm the pirates are causing.

    Think about that for a second. If the harm caused by piracy was so bad, then the costs to prosecute would be more than worth it. However, you admit that the harm is not that bad. That the benefit received by prosecution does not make up for the costs of prosecution.

    And for that unintentional argument I give thanks. I finally understand why the music industry is taking such a hands off approach. Piracy is simply not worth the bother to stop.

     

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    Alasdair Fox, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 9:23am

    Re:

    @16

    For the same reason you have to pay a fortune to have the radio on in a workplace if anyone can hear it, even if everyone that can hear the radio has already paid the licence fee which enables them to listen to it on a personal radio.
    Greed.

     

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    musicians POV, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 9:27am

    I have been a musician for about 20 years. I watched this from the first days of napster. I can tell you that we (true artist) out here love what is happening to the labels. Now let me say that the new model is giving away the music for FREE, getting fans from it, and then said fans pay for live shows. I do not need the labels or the RIAA. I can record and dist myself. I want people to give my mp3 to all thier friends for FREE. I'm not in the old biz of selling CDs. I'm in the biz of making music and playing for fans. When i was a kid we would record little demos on tape and give them away at shows for free so people would get to know our songs and make copies for thier friends. Nothing has changed. Before now a musician had to "play ball" with labels to get deals and dist. What i mean by "play ball" is they had to listen to the labels opions of thier material. They would say things like "It need to be under five minutes" or "It's not radio friendly". Now we have free riegn to do whatever we want. That's true art. I like to read these articles shows how the labels are strugling to survive. I can't wait untill they are completely gone from this world. I won't even go into the breakdown of how musicians really don't get anything from CD sales anyways. They have always made most of all thier money from tours. Look at the Stones and the Dead. Trust me, real musicians out here know what's up.

     

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    FatGiant (profile), Jun 16th, 2009 @ 9:28am

    Standing Ovation required...

    "The only ones who should be "sanctioned" or face penalties is you, for your own inability to compete."

    Apparently they are already feeling the "sanctions" that may be the reason for his rant.

    Your response, even if I consider it, a bit too polite, is perfect, and, in any place minimally enlightned you would get a standing ovation.

    Great reading, thankyou Mike.

     

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    Ima Fish (profile), Jun 16th, 2009 @ 9:29am

    Re: Try Again, Mike

    "They are trying to find ways to discourage copyright infringement."

    Which is great. They hold the copyrights so it should be their job to protect them.

    "Unfortunately, there is little the recording industry can do to deter such activities themselves."

    Then it should go out of business. As I've said before, if your entire business model can survive only if a new law is passed or if lawsuits are filed, then it's time to give up.

    The buggy whip manufacturers could have pushed for a law making the automobile illegal. The government could have passed that law and the police could have enforced it. And the buggy whip manufactured could have survived longer than it did. But do you seriously think that was the best solution?

     

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  28.  
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    Arthran, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 9:31am

    Re: Re:

    I'm #16.

    But your completely right i'm afraid. alot of the time it is nothing but greed. i already pay both a TV licence and a Sky subscription, which means according to current laws, i can record and watch later any programs available on the channels i have in my sky subscription. I simply do not see the difference between recording shows from my sky tv,and downloading the EXACT SAME SHOW from the net, and then watching it later...

     

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  29.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 16th, 2009 @ 9:33am

    Re: Try Again, Mike

    I read Techdirt via an RSS reader (which one is not important). Your blog is supported by advertising. What if my RSS reader stripped your in-line ads (it doesn't currently). Then you would spend your time writing articles and posts, and I would read them without you getting paid for it. Now, suppose I take those same articles and start distributing them to everyone I know on the internet, also without your ads. Now your income is seriously limited.

    Actually, as we've said, lots and lots of sites do this already, and that's fine. It makes them look dumb, but that's fine.

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090116/0348223430.shtml

    Our focus is on providing more value for actually coming to OUR site, so it doesn't really matter if someone strips out the ads and reposts our content. It makes them look silly, but that's their decision.

    So, no, my income is not "seriously limited." That would only be true if I relied on a bad business model.

    Also, advertising is not our business model. Yes, it provides a small fraction of our revenue, but we know it's not a good business model for exactly the reasons you describe above. I fully expect that a significant number of readers never see any advertising at all, and that's their choice.

    The responsibility is on ME to come up with a business model that works. If I'm annoying people with too many ads or they don't want to see the ads, that's MY FAULT, because I have not come up with a good enough business model.

    And your horse-carriage example is a complete waste of my time to read. The recording industry isn't trying to slow down the internet because someone else sells a faster internet. They are trying to find ways to discourage copyright infringement. Unfortunately, there is little the recording industry can do to deter such activities themselves.

    The horse carraige argument is incredibly accurate once you realize what business the recording industry is really in. They're in the *distribution* and *promotion* of music business. That's all. They're not in the music *selling* business. The internet makes the distribution and promotion of music MUCH faster and MUCH more efficient. That's the same thing as the horse carriage/automobile example.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 9:38am

    Re: Re:

    "The point of Mike's comment is that there is no loss of the owner's ability to continue to use the good. In the case of theft, the rightful owner no longer has the use of the good."

    If the seller has lost a single potential customer, then his use of the good has been impeded.

     

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  31.  
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    Ima Fish (profile), Jun 16th, 2009 @ 9:45am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Tom, all you need is for a single person who intended (or even might have purchsed) getting a copy for free, and that is all the harm that is needed to show harm. There is harm every day."

    So if I open up a restaurant next to a different restaurant. And I "steal" his customers, in that they come to me instead of him. And because they would have paid him if they did not pay me. Then it necessarily follows that the original restaurant was "harmed" by my competition, right. That means the original restaurant can ask the government to pass laws making my restaurant illegal, right?

    "If you didn't pay for it, you shouldn't have it."

    You have no understanding of copyright. The purpose of copyright is not to protect a right. It is a government granted monopoly. In other words, without copyright there is no monopoly. That's different from property rights. Property rights are a part of those god given "inalienable" rights we hear so much about. Those rights exist independent of our laws. (Well, at least that's what we tell ourselves.)

    So all copyright does is to provide a monopoly along with exceptions to it. For example, you don't pay to hear songs on the radio, but yet there is no infringing. You might hear your neighbor playing music while sitting in your house, you're getting music for free, you're not paying, but it's not infringing. Under the Home Recording Act you're able to make mix tapes for friends and family, without paying anything, and its not infringement.

    The problem you have, and the problem nearly everyone here has, is that you don't understand copyright. You believe the propaganda that it's synonymous with property rights and that it protects property rights. But it doesn't.

    You would not waste time talking about open heart surgical techniques, because you know nothing about them. So please do us a favor and stop talking about copyright. At least until you actually understand it.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 9:49am

    Re: Re: Re:

    And if another customer is gained at the same time?

    There are a large number of independent studies that show that file-sharing correlates to a neutral, or even positive, effect on a good. There have been several specific cases where the most widely pirated goods also make the highest profits.

    Granted, I won't say that these studies are conclusive, or completely accurate, but the point is that the matter of damages is largely in debate for anyone looking in from an unbiased standpoint.

    So again, if one customer is gained (that would not have been gained otherwise) for every one that is lost, can you still say that the use of the good has been impeded?

     

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  33.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 16th, 2009 @ 9:49am

    Re:

    "Imagine a store that pays a lot of money for in store security. They hire guards to catch shoplifters. When they do catch people they turn them over to the police. When they do this, the police let them go and tell the store that they have no responsibility to do anything about it and if they want to follow up on it, they have to take that person to court."

    ...yeah? That's what happens, you dolt. Either the store presses charges or the police release the suspect. The only time that doesn't happen is when the DA decides to prosecute the case w/The People as the accuser, which is always shakey ground since criminals have the right to face their accuser.

     

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  34.  
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    Rob, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 10:13am

    Re: Re: Re:

    @Anonymous Coward (#30) -- "If the seller has lost a single potential customer, then his use of the good has been impeded."

    This is patently absurd. If Jack steals a record from the store, Jill cannot go in and buy that record, that is theft. If Jack illegally downloads a record, he is not inhibiting Jill from buying a record in any way.

    This kind of thinking assumes that if Jack were not able to download the record, he would have bought it instead, failing to consider option C -- Jack simply does not hear the music. If Jack does download the album and likes it, Jack might possibly even go to the store to buy the record to have a higher quality version of it plus the album art. Jack will probably go see the band live when they come to town.

    Granted, I am sure that there are people out there that would buy records and choose not to, opting to download for free instead. I would submit that these folks constitute the minority of file sharers (i.e. most file sharers either buy records or would have just not listened otherwise), and that in any case the record industry is doing far more harm than good in going after these people.

    For instance, let's say Jack often illegally downloads music, but then quite often buys music in the store after hearing things he likes. Jack buys, let's say, 100 CDs every year. That is a good bit of profit the record companies are making off of Jack, versus a very marginal loss to his file sharing. Now if they decide to sue Jack, they can be sure that the revenue stream that they were getting from him is going to dry up very quickly, and they will end up with a huge net loss for many years to come, as Jack will be rightfully pissed and not want to give them any more of his money. Jack will also stop going out of his way to get others excited about buying music and will probably in fact turn many off to giving the RIAA money by relating his negative experience.

    Now say that Bob is an illegal downloader used to buy a lot of CDs until he discovered Limewire, i.e. he is a potential customer. The record company is not going to gain anything by taking him to court! They will not convince Bob that now he has to give them money. Bob will not start buying CDs again. If anything, Bob will again turn more people away from buying CDs.

    Ok, I know this post was a bit rambling, but I think I have made my point fairly clear. The record industry is trying to apply a 20th century worldview to a 21st century world, and the results are not going to be pretty and things will not work out well for them.

     

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    darrin (profile), Jun 16th, 2009 @ 10:14am

    Re: Re:

    The problem with this argument is that is does not matter if they intended to buy it or not. They acquired it illegally. If someone goes into a store a takes a cd, it is theft, whether they would have bought it or not. So if someone illegally downloads music, movies, etc., they have stolen that property. There is no moral gray area here. They are wrong, and they should be held accountable for the crime. But that is all, just the cost of what that movie, etc. would have cost them to download, not the thousands of dollars that these companies try to get from them.

     

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    Good & Plenty, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 10:14am

    Government Piracy

    The biggest music pirate in the U.S. is the government. They purchase CDs with my tax dollars and store them in libraries and then they give that CD to anyone that asks for it. I take the CD home and make a personal copy of it, then I return it to the library so that anyone else can do the same. I fail to see this as criminal activity.

    I still spend as much money as I can afford buying music - several hundred dollars a year - but I could understand if someone didn't. I'm a music fan and most people really aren't. The biggest difference is everyone still pays for it with taxes whether they go to the library or not.

    So why isn't the RIAA suing the government, or at least not selling their CDs to libraries to prevent piracy?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 10:15am

    A dolt?

    So the content company wants to "press charges" and is "hey, sue them". That isn't quite the same, unless you support criminal charges and jail time for file sharing.

     

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    Anshar, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 10:17am

    Ok... how about a reversal?

    Why don't the ISPs go after the entertainment industry? After all, every hour one spends in a movie theater is an hour NOT spent on the Internet using bandwidth? Makes about as much sense too.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 10:18am

    Re:

    The flaw in your example is that when something is stolen, the owner no longer has the merchandise any longer but with copyright infringement, the owner still retains a copy.

    It is like comparing someone going to the library and stealing a book (theft) to someone going to a library and copying the pages of the book and putting the book back on the shelf (copyright infringement).

     

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  40.  
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    Jay, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 10:20am

    Re: "Thing"

    Mike is totally correct. Look at what you just wrote- "if someone doesn't have something, but ends up with something". IP is not a thing and doesn't exist. Let me explain why the labels are devaluing and taking their products outside the realm of the "real product" and cannot expect a similar result as a "real product". Even the buggy whip you can hold and own therefore it has more real value than any of the IP products...

    The labels have created the scenario where there is no object of possession. Since even after you buy one of these cds or dvds the content producers are saying you are buying the license to replay that content and not the content itself you end up owning nothing in reality. If you never can own these items then they cease to exist in any real identifiable form and cease to hold real value because they no longer exist as a product.

    If the product is not something anyone can ever own, then there is no harm in sharing an idea because it has become outside of the world of the real product. The content producers are doing this to themselves and only have themselves to blame for the devaluation of their own products which the word product is more of an abstract concept.

    Loss and valuation of these abstract concepts is debatable since true ownership and possession is questionable in all legal forms. Also it is pretty obvious that the value of non-DRMed products is higher than the stuff that the content producers are putting out there. If there is a choice in the market, the market will go to where the most value can be found.

    Also water bottle companies have been competing with "free" for a long time so that excuse is not really valid. It is all about how you market and offer the product in an acceptable form to the public. Right now the content companies are doing it wrong...

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 16th, 2009 @ 10:22am

    Re:

    "That isn't quite the same, unless you support criminal charges and jail time for file sharing."

    No I don't, but I was responding to an analogy of shoplifting, which would be a criminal matter. I don't think pressing charges necessarily equates to jail time either.

     

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  42.  
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    AJ, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 10:27am

    Sigh...

    To the AA's.

    The bottom line, from what I can see, is that the old model is just not going to work. How long do you have to fight a change before you just adapt? If you spend the same amount of energy adapting, as you did fighting, where would you be today? All the so called "Pirates" are not going to wake up one day and just stop sharing files, if you think they are your crazy. It's like quicksand, the more you struggle the deeper you get. Find another way if you want to survive, if not, continue to fight. Either way, stop thinking your going to change people's minds, its not going to happen.

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 10:28am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "It is a "prove it" type situation right now."

    Do you want people to be guilty until proven innocent?

     

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    Steve R. (profile), Jun 16th, 2009 @ 10:28am

    New York Times - Doesn't Get It Once Again

    Mike write: "If any jobs are being lost, it's because you failed to manage your business properly, recognize the new market that technology has created, and learn to embrace it in a profitable manner."

    The New York Times has once again published a disingenuous puff article lamenting the inability of artists to get paid for their work. The Times writes:"“There’s a lot of concern that newspapers and all of print is becoming a bit of an endangered species,” said Brian Stauffer, an illustrator based in Miami whose work has appeared in publications including Rolling Stone, Esquire and Entertainment Weekly, and who also rejected Google’s offer. “When a company like Google comes out very publicly and expects that the market would just give them free artwork, it sets a very dangerous precedent.”"

    Here we have Google soliciting for "free" content, but the reaction of the Times is that this is a travesty since the artists won't get paid!!!!

    The obvious implication that the Times is trying to project is that Google is costing these artists paid jobs. A fact conveniently overlooked by the Times is that if an artist does not want a job for "free"; they don't have to work. And if they want to work for "free" they can. But it isn't costing these artists jobs.

     

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  45.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 10:37am

    Re: Re:

    "There are been studies showing that file-sharers buy the most music."

    I don't think the problem is that file sharing is bad for the artists per - se, it's just bad for the distributor. It maybe true that file sharers are more likely to buy music (and to the extent it increases RIAA profits they would be glad to allow it) but what they are afraid of is that Alice can make music and communicate it without paying the RIAA a tax. Then people will switch away from mainstream music that the RIAA profits from and to alternatives. The RIAA would go out of business. Why do you think they try to prevent restaurants from playing any music without a license? If someone wants to make music and to allow the restaurant to play it without paying any money to any unnecessary third parties then all of a sudden the RIAA is not needed. They lose profits. So they have to lobby the government to extort money out of people.

     

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    Ima Fish (profile), Jun 16th, 2009 @ 10:37am

    Re: Re: Try Again, Mike

    I want a cool blue background!

     

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  47.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 10:48am

    Re:

    "Before now a musician had to "play ball" with labels to get deals and dist. "

    And this is absolute nonsense. Artists should be allowed to get distribution of their music (ie: on the radio, in restaurants, work, Internet Radio, wherever) without having some unnecessary third party profit in the process. We need to get rid of these stupid laws.

     

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  48.  
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    Almost Anonymous (profile), Jun 16th, 2009 @ 10:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    """Then you completely defeat your entire argument by writing this:

    The amount of time, money, and effort to track down a single file sharer is beyond understanding.

    If these alleged crimes are not worth pursing, proving, and prosecuting, then it necessarily follows that they are not serious crimes! Under your argument, you concede that it is not worth the music industry efforts to go after pirates because the costs of pursuing the charges far exceed the harm the pirates are causing."""

    Was going to comment to say precisely this. I thought it was amusing that by simply shifting the position of a couple of sentences in AC's post, you get an almost Monty Python-esque effect:
    "You just said that!"
    "No I didn't."

     

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  49.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 11:16am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "You have no understanding of copyright. The purpose of copyright is not to protect a right."

    I have not reviewed the comment that led to this comment, but if this what your comment accurately conveys your position I would strongly urge you to read Title 17 to the United States Code, as well as treatises by persons such as David Nimmer and William Patry.

    I would suggest a reading list of specific judicial decisions at all levels of the federal judiciary (and state decisions pertinent to state laws that predate January 1, 1978)that unequivocally contradict your position, but such decisions are far, far too numerous to mention.

     

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  50.  
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    some other Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 11:22am

    Re: Re:

    I second that and would expand on it by saying that when I have "pirated" things in the past it has been to the end of "try it before you buy it". I don't have any music, movies or games that I haven't paid for, and a lot of music, movies and games that I wouldn't have bought if I hadn't been able to check them out first.

    I don't have a solution for the IP industry at large, but I can say that if I try out a product and it sucks I'm not going to buy it. If I buy something and it sucks, I'm less likely to buy its successor in the future. So like Mike says, give people a reason to buy.

     

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  51.  
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    FatGiant (profile), Jun 16th, 2009 @ 11:24am

    Question: What is copyrighted?

    I've been reading and reading, trying to understand, but, this question remains.

    What is actualy copyrighted?

    Take for instance a movie. If I have a DVD and rip it to divx, or xvid, or rmvb or whatever, I don't get a copy of a DVD. I get a version, lower in quality and options, and basicaly a different set of "0 and 1's" from the DVD. That version requires a different equipment (software) to produce a "similar but different" experience from that one I get from the DVD. My question is, the copyright extends to these versions that are NOT copyed but transformed?

    Isn't this "reversal engineering"?

    Imagine I don't have a DVD player. The only way to access the media I have is by transforming it into something else, using, maybe my neighbours computer... Isn't this "Fair Use"?

    If then having a VERSION of something I share it, who am I hurting? Whose rights?

    Ok, I really don't expect anyone here to answer, I just have this question. Maybe one day I'll find a satisfying answer.

    Thanks all for a great discussion.

     

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  52.  
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    JAy., Jun 16th, 2009 @ 11:29am

    Re: Re: Try Again, Mike

    "They're not in the music *selling* business."

    Huh? Come again? I don't thik that I agree with that at all. If the point of the record labels was only to distribute, they would drop CD's attached to little parachutes from airplanes. Talk about efficient!

    But the record labels make money through the *authorized* distribution of music, i. e. selling.

    "The internet makes the distribution and promotion of music MUCH faster and MUCH more efficient."

    The labels couldn't agree more. Hence they have partnered with *authorized* partners to distribute music (e. g. iTunes, Pandora, Zune Marketplace, Amazon Music, Walmart Music Store, etc.).

    As such, the record labels aren't asking for the internet to be slowed down. They are asking for the *unauthorized* distributers to be slowed or kick-off completely. Is it entirely practical? No, at least not as they seem to be currently requesting. You can't limit all P2P exchanges to stop some illegal transfers.

    Back to your horse carriage/automobile example specifically, you are still comparing tools (horses or cars) to tasks (distribution, sales). The tool is there for anyone to use within their legal rights. The record company is trying to restrict the rights of those who have used the tool illegally, not remove the tool completely.

     

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    NullOp, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 11:29am

    Wonder Why?

    This statement says a lot: Hundreds of millions of pounds are haemorrhaging out of the film and TV industries...

    When I go to buy a 10 year old movie that still sells for $29.00 I just might be tempted to 'nick it' instead! Like so many corporations the entertainment industry is only interested in obscene profits!

     

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    Tom2, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 11:29am

    I've got a great color copier, and a good selection of paper. The crack legal minds commenting on this thread clearly would have no problem with me copying my Benjamins and supplying to whoever wants 'em. As long as nobody is getting money taken from them, it's cool to forge it, yes?

    Since technology allows virtually perfect copies of currency, the mint should go to a performance model, apparently.

     

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  55.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 11:36am

    The flaw in Mike's economic plan that he continues to ignore

    Of course all of these things cost money to produce. No one has said otherwise. But that's why you put in place a better business model that offers something unique that they can't get elsewhere for free. You use those unique scarcities to make a profit and recoup your fixed costs.

    The major flaw that Mike likes to pretend doesn't exist is that not everything has something unique that can be tied to it. Bridges of Madison County action figures? T-Shirts? Not going to sell. Any software that's easy to use and flawless, hmmm, no customer service, now what. Fast forward ten years when ebooks are all the rage and what does your average novelist have to sell? Not much.

     

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    Ima Fish (profile), Jun 16th, 2009 @ 11:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "The purpose of copyright is not to protect a right."

    Well, you got me. I was certainly incorrect. What I meant to write, and what is pretty clear from the context of what I wrote, is that the purpose of copyright is not to protect a property right.

    All of copyright (and patent law) comes from one and only one source: Article 1 Section 8 of the US Constitution:
    To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries

    As you can read yourself, there is no property interest related to copyright. The copyright holder's only a right to have the content protected by a monopoly. And furthermore, without the right as expressibly provided, no such right exists.

     

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  57.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 11:53am

    What is a law? What is criminal? Abortion used to be illegal, now it is legal. Slavery used to be legal, now it is illegal. What was considered good tactics in warfare in WWII would get you thrown in jail today.

    Laws are just the rules of our society. If the society decides that file sharing should get someone thrown in jail, then that will happen. If not, it won't. If society decides that there will be less "content" created, or the right kind of content being created, then file sharing will be considered a crime worthy of jail time.

     

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    RD, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 11:58am

    Industry BS

    Dark Knight - cam version released, movie is 2nd highest grossing of all time
    Wolverine - leaked workprint came out weeks before the movie, it now stands at $185million domestic gross

    The entertainment industry can shove it.

     

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  59.  
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    RD, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 12:04pm

    Once again 'Tards...InfringementTheft

    "If someone doesn't have something, but then ends up WITH something, but didn't pay for it or obtain it legally, how did they get it? You say it isn't "theft", it is just infringement and that is okay, no harm no foul, right? But in the end, there is harm, there is foul, there is no debate about it."

    Oh really? So that blonde girl that writes out a copy of her phone number is now theft? Or someone who quotes a movie line, or a song lyric, is now guilty of theft in your view. Because, after all, a copy is theft, since you have deprived the owner of the original! Oh wait....

    You might want to read up on copyright law before you spout off. Infringement is not only NOT theft, its legal standing is also NOT THEFT and is a civil, not criminal, matter. Theft is a criminal matter. Get a clue.

     

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    RD, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 12:10pm

    Too damn bad

    "It's 100% horse crap, making it almost impossible to pursue infringers. The amount of time, money, and effort to track down a single file sharer is beyond understanding. With everything stacked against the content providers, it is pretty much impossible for them to control things under the current legal framework."

    Well thats just TOO GOD DAMN BAD for the industry then, isnt it? Times have changed, technology has radically changed how entertainment can be gotten. Change with the times or fall by the wayside. It's that simple. Dont like it? Too bad, thats how it IS. Should the laws have been changed with steam powered cotton pickers came on the scene in order to protect "the way it is?" When the market changes, YOU CHANGE WITH IT, or you go out of business. Tough shit.

     

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  61.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 12:14pm

    Obviously drug use has not been stopped in how long? Why shouldn't we just give up trying to stop it and make it legal? Its an unenforceable law, isn't it?

     

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    RD, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 12:28pm

    Even better

    "This kind of thinking assumes that if Jack were not able to download the record, he would have bought it instead, failing to consider option C -- Jack simply does not hear the music. If Jack does download the album and likes it, Jack might possibly even go to the store to buy the record to have a higher quality version of it plus the album art. Jack will probably go see the band live when they come to town."

    I'll go you one better, and this has happened to me. Jack gives Jill a copy and says "check this out I think you might like it." Jill is driving to see a movie with her friends (because she WILL pay for an experience she finds value in) and plays 1 or 2 of the songs (however long the ride is) she got from Jack. Jill's friends like them (because they share similar musical interests) and after the movie, they go to a music store in the mall. One of Jill's friends liked the music, but doesnt want to buy the album. The other friend decides to try it, so on an impulse buy and Jill having shared it, she decides to pick it up.

    Friend #1 wouldnt have bought it anyway. Friend #2 bought it SPECIFICALLY because Jill shared it with her (even though Jill didnt make her a copy, but Jill did GET a copy).

    If you think this doesnt happen, and a lot, you are fooling yourself. This was the main mode (or variations) of sharing music for DECADES before the internet came along.

     

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

  63.  
    identicon
    Antigravitational Coward, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 12:40pm

    Re:

    You very tellingly skipped right over the word 'alleged' in your second quote.

     

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

  64.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 1:06pm

    So Jill watched a movie while driving? Isn't that dangerous?

     

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  65.  
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    RD, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 1:21pm

    er..

    "So Jill watched a movie while driving? Isn't that dangerous?"

    Funny, but what part of "music" and "album" didnt you get from the quoted text?

     

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  66.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 1:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Try Again, Mike

    Actually, the labels have done their absolute best to make sure that music CD's (AKA, physical distribution) remains the dominant business.

    Heavy DRM restrictions, lower quality music files, prices that are equal to physical copies...

    The only reason why services like Amazon and iTunes are currently superior to CD's is because those companies fought tooth-and-nail against the labels to get those restrictions and ridiculous prices cut down to size.

    To use the buggy-whip metaphor, the record companies tried to stop cars going faster than horse carriages.

     

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  67.  
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    Rekrul, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 1:29pm

    All of these cost money to produce; in the case of TV dramas such as Spooks that my company produces, a huge amount. At the point when these creative products enter cyberspace, they are only partly paid for. Producers are dependent on revenues from DVDs and international sales, which piracy hits.

    Gee, this comment of his made me feel guilty, so I went to Amazon to see about purchasing Spooks on DVD. First, I had some confusion, because it's not available in the US under the name Spooks, instead it's called MI-5. There are six box sets available and the cost to buy them new at Amazon's prices is $332. That seems pretty steep to me considering that each set contains five discs that probably cost a grand total of $0.25 to manufacture.

    As for watching it on TV, all the broadcasts so far have had as much as 14 minutes cut out of each episode so that commercials can be added. Not to mention that they can't be watched unedited on any channel, not even PBS, as they are all edited for language.

    So, US viewers can watch censored, butchered copies of the show, or spend over $330 to watch it on DVD. Is it any wonder that people would rather download the episodes?

     

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

  68.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 1:32pm

    Re: The flaw in Mike's economic plan that he continues to ignore

    The Steam game platform, created by Valve.

    iTunes digital store, created by Apple.

    Two services that are directly competing with "free" and coming out on top. How? They take the free to distribute good, and provide accessibility, convenience, ease and service that can't be found anywhere else. Ten years now, when eBooks are the rage, I'd hope that some entrepreneur was smart enough to create a platform that convinced the majority of consumers to use the service.

     

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

  69.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 16th, 2009 @ 1:33pm

    Re:

    "Obviously drug use has not been stopped in how long? Why shouldn't we just give up trying to stop it and make it legal? Its an unenforceable law, isn't it?"

    I'm not sure if you're trying to be sarcastic or not, but yeah, legalize it all, tax it, and let anyone who wants to ruin themselves by being irresponsible drug users get sick and die. I'd be okay with the legalization of all drugs. Unfortunately, the government makes entirely too much money off of the criminilization of drugs to allow this to happen.

     

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  70.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 1:35pm

    Re:

    Drug use has a proven and distinct harm to individuals.

    Copyright infringement's damage is still debatable, especially when looking only at studies done by 3rd parties.

    Bad comparison.

     

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  71.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 1:40pm

    The comparison is not in the products but in the enforcement of laws.

     

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

  72.  
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    FatGiant (profile), Jun 16th, 2009 @ 1:41pm

    Re:

    My question to you is:

    Guilty about what?

    :)

     

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

  73.  
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    riiiiiiight, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 1:42pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "If you didn't pay for it, you shouldn't have it.......Are we are a people so entirely morally bankrupt that we no longer understand the basic concepts of life?"


    I didn't realize that cash transactions were integral to life.

    I also take it that you have never EVER had a mix tape( or cd ) given to you by a friend.

     

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  74.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 16th, 2009 @ 1:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Or a free sample. Or a buy one get one free coupon. Or a prize.


    ....Or a life.

     

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  75.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 2:06pm

    The Steam game platform, created by Valve.

    iTunes digital store, created by Apple.

    Two services that are directly competing with "free" and coming out on top. How? They take the free to distribute good, and provide accessibility, convenience, ease and service that can't be found anywhere else. Ten years now, when eBooks are the rage, I'd hope that some entrepreneur was smart enough to create a platform that convinced the majority of consumers to use the service.


    I have two comments to this post. #1, I was writing about the flaw in Mike's argument. I could be wrong about this but I thought he was against charging for any digital content. If this is the case, iTunes isn't a good example for speaking about Mike's specific ideas.
    #2, Copyright law allows iTunes to compete. If it weren't for copyright law, there would not only be file sharing sites who use the excuse that they can't control what people share to defend themselves, but there would also be legal sites, just like iTunes, that open up to compete with iTunes, but with one major difference - they have no obligation to pay the record companies, copyright holders, or anyone else. Less overhead means they could undercut iTunes simply because they wouldn't be paying the people who created the music.

     

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  76.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 2:10pm

    Re:

    the forging of legal tender != the copying of data from one media to another vis-a-vis internet.


    By forging cash you are creating artificial inflation which decreases the value of the cash you are making ( even if by a minuscule amount) you are also not granted a license to print cash.

    The only thing that makes copying bits from one HDD to another illegal is the "terms"( more like demands ) of the limited license granted to you by the presser of the cd you are assumed to be a slave to.

    Sure you can BUY the CD but god help you if you want to use( read:listen ) the music ON it on your non cd music player cause even ripping the CD breaks the license.

    You're a criminal either way

    they can keep their plastic disks all I want is the music.
    make the music good enough and you will have a paying concert goer. I don't think the performers would mind that one bit...


    but that's right this has never been about the performers it has been about that CD pressers.

     

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

  77.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 16th, 2009 @ 2:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Try Again, Mike

    Huh? Come again? I don't thik that I agree with that at all. If the point of the record labels was only to distribute, they would drop CD's attached to little parachutes from airplanes. Talk about efficient!

    Sorry if I wasn't clear. They're in the business of making MONEY through distribution. CDs provide a scarcity that allow them to cash in.

    The problem is that the internet changes that economic model.

    The labels couldn't agree more. Hence they have partnered with *authorized* partners to distribute music (e. g. iTunes, Pandora, Zune Marketplace, Amazon Music, Walmart Music Store, etc.).

    Hahahah. No, seriously. Did you see how long that took? What sorts of ridiculous deals were structured to make that work? The labels don't agree. They were forced kicking and screaming into those deals and have been complaining ever since trying to squeeze more and more money out of them. And, to date, none of those deals have been particular profitable for those other companies -- all of whom use the music as a loss leader to sell something else.

    Back to your horse carriage/automobile example specifically, you are still comparing tools (horses or cars) to tasks (distribution, sales). The tool is there for anyone to use within their legal rights. The record company is trying to restrict the rights of those who have used the tool illegally, not remove the tool completely.

    Yes, just as the horse carriage companies got laws passed that required people to walk in front of automobiles waving red flags. It WAS illegal to drive an automobile with out that in many places. So, you could just as easily claim that the horse carriage makers were only looking to stop the "illegal" use of the tool as well.

    100 years from now, the idea that music shouldn't be freely shared will seem equally silly as the idea of it being required to have someone walk in front of an automobile waving red flags.

     

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

  78.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 16th, 2009 @ 2:15pm

    Re: The flaw in Mike's economic plan that he continues to ignore

    The major flaw that Mike likes to pretend doesn't exist is that not everything has something unique that can be tied to it.

    That's wrong. If you can't figure out the scarcity related to your content, then you've failed in business. There are always scarcities that can be sold. If you can't figure it out, you can give us a call and we can help you.

    Bridges of Madison County action figures? T-Shirts? Not going to sell.

    Sure, because that would be a dumb scarce product to offer. But there are others that are very good scarce products.

    Any software that's easy to use and flawless, hmmm, no customer service, now what. Fast forward ten years when ebooks are all the rage and what does your average novelist have to sell? Not much.

    Heh. Keep on believing that and then watch and weep as new business models work out just dandy for authors. We're already starting to see some... Pay attention.

     

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

  79.  
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    FatGiant (profile), Jun 16th, 2009 @ 2:33pm

    Re:

    Wich you assume, in your good will mind, that the RIAA is paying ALL the artists ALL that is owed to them. And I mean the RIAA as one organization, but also the RIAA as the group, considering all the labels that are there.

    FYI, there are several lawsuits againts RIAA companies, by artists, claiming they got cheated.

    But, ok. I get your point. You are a believer.

    Sorry, I'm not.

     

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  80.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 3:25pm

    Re:

    #1.
    He was talking about charging for scarcities. Digital content is an infinite good, but service, as Mike puts it, is the "reason to buy". The centralized service, accessible from any computer, with reliable quality and large selection. Those are the kind of things that are the scarcity.

    #2.
    iTunes has many things that beats the competitors out. In fact, I think that Amazon currently has cheaper prices (with "lossless" and DRM free music as well), but iTunes is still the market leader for digital music sales. I can't tell you all the reasons for this, because I don't know, but the Apple brand name and the iPod product have a lot to do with it.

    So, price isn't an absolute factor.

    In fact, copyright law (or rather, companies abusing the copyrights) are the ones hurting iTunes the most right now. I've heard that Apple only gets 5% of the sales from each purchase, which is piddly.

     

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

  81.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 3:38pm

    Re: Re: The flaw in Mike's economic plan that he continues to ignore

    Typical Mike response. Offer generalities instead of actually addressing the points made.

    Well Mike, what scare items would you tie to the Bridges of Madison County, or any art movie that's out there? With new home entertainment systems, people are choosing theaters less often, so DVD sales is what pays for these movies.

    And what exactly are the new business models that have worked out for authors. And I'm not talking about self-help or technical authors who can of course help people in their area of expertise. Exactly how many novelists make money on something other than their book? I'm sure you can find on or two special examples, but how about a business model that would support a similar number of authors as are now supported through the current system.

     

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

  82.  
    identicon
    Raybone, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 6:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: The flaw in Mike's economic plan that he continues to ignore

    "With new home entertainment systems, people are choosing theaters less often, so DVD sales is what pays for these movies."

    A citation for this would lend credibility to the assertion you make about where income to cover cost overhead for movies comes from. Otherwise, you position deflates.

     

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

  83.  
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    Azrael (profile), Jun 17th, 2009 @ 12:20am

    Re: Re:

    Wrong analogy. Here's a better version:
    Somebody has a bookstore but refuses to pay for any security. People walking thru the street enter the store and, if they like what they see, take their own pen and paper, from their own pocket, and make a copy. The store owner thinks that this is theft and demands that the owner of the sidewalk perform security for the store because the alleged criminals are entering the store via the sidewalk and that the owner of the sidewalk should keep such criminals out of its store.

     

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

  84.  
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    FatGiant (profile), Jun 17th, 2009 @ 1:09am

    Re: Re: Re: The flaw in Mike's economic plan that he continues to ignore

    Why do you think Mike, or anyone else, has to create a businness model for you?

    You, if interested part, needs the model, either pay someone for it, or, pull it out of your head. Why demmand anyone to create one, just because that person points the flaws in other models?

    Authors, artists, content producers of every kind, need to take advantage of new technologies. That's a fact. Either do, or die. But it's up to each one of them to come up with a working model, instead of relying on "someone else's" bright ideas.

    Last time I checked there's plenty of professionals eager to help you build it. Just provide the personal angle that is the cornerstone of today's world.

    It's up to you. Don't demmand anyone. Do it yourself.

     

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

  85.  
    identicon
    JP_Fife, Jun 17th, 2009 @ 2:19am

    I read the article and it's utter mince (I also note that it's copyright the FT, Not Stephen Garrett) but when are you going to get articles in the Guardian and FT countering this rubbish? It's alright people commenting here that Garrett is talking through his arse (and no doubt on a huge salary) but when are these things going to be said in the media that the copyright Nazis are using?

     

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

  86.  
    identicon
    SunKing, Jun 17th, 2009 @ 7:48am

    AC finally lost it... big time.

    "Imagine a store that pays a lot of money for in store security. They hire guards to catch shoplifters. When they do catch people they turn them over to the police. When they do this, the police let them go and tell the store that they have no responsibility to do anything about it and if they want to follow up on it, they have to take that person to court."

    I imagine myself asking the store owner why he continues to pay "a lot of money" for security that clearly does not work. *cough*DRM*cough*

    I imagine I would ask him why he continues to expect the police to solve his problem, when it is not their job to do so. *cough*ISPs*cough*

    I would ask him why he insists on perservering with a method that is both costly and unworkable, and refuses to adopt an alternative method, which he is aware about thanks to the police advice, and which is both cheaper and more efficient (and works!!). *cough*Business Models*cough*

    Finally, I imagine myself asking him how a total dickhead who cannot work this out for himself gets to be in charge of a store.

     

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

  87.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2009 @ 8:13am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: The flaw in Mike's economic plan that he continues to ignore

    Why do you think Mike, or anyone else, has to create a businness model for you?

    FatGiant, are you serious? Where did I ask Mike to come up with a business model for me? By asking for examples of his business model? Actually, I was pointing out flaws in his business model, areas where the the other "scarce goods" that can be tied to the digital property will never make up for the income lost by not being able to sell the digital property.

    And, FYI, if we have enough art forms that can't generate the income off of these business models to sustain their business, it is not the content producers who lose - they can get other jobs. It is society who loses. We as a society lose the content that they would have continued to create.

     

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

  88.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2009 @ 8:19am

    Re: AC finally lost it... big time.

    I would ask him why he insists on perservering with a method that is both costly and unworkable, and refuses to adopt an alternative method, which he is aware about thanks to the police advice, and which is both cheaper and more efficient (and works!!). *cough*Business Models*cough*

    Problem with that statement is that the business model you speak of is a theory. Something working in select cases does not prove that it'll work for an entire industry. A much bigger percentage of each content industry would have to try the business model before we know whether it works or does not. Methinks you drink too much of the techdirt kool-aid.

     

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


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