Recording Industry Insiders Complain About Musicians Who Argue Against Kicking People Off The Internet

from the how-dare-they-speak-their-minds dept

Well, well. Last week, we noted that a large number of well known musicians had come out against the idea of kicking accused file sharers off the internet, noting that it would only escalate the problem rather than solve it. But, of course, the industry organizations who claim to represent musicians' best interests can't have that, so this week they're on the attack. The head of a royalty collection society apparently called the statement from musicians "grossly naive and desperately damaging." Yes, but damaging to whom? Perhaps to collections societies, but not to artists. Smart artists know that going to war with fans is never a smart move. But the collection society head went on:
"This is more than unhelpful. It's destructive, I wish I could understand the hostility. But if between us all we don't screw it up, within 12 months we could have some legislation in place. I am quietly confident."
You wish you could understand the hostility? There was no hostility from the artists. The only hostility has come from an industry hellbent on protecting an old and obsolete business model by kicking people offline for sharing the music they love. These artists were coming out against hostility. They were coming out against this war mentality where it's the industry against the consumer.

Meanwhile, another group, the Musicians Union has come out and called the statement from the musicians last week "a bit blinkered" and "counterproductive" and then said:
"I am disappointed they went maverick without looking at the bigger picture. Our position is somebody should be paid for their creation."
Actually, they are looking at the bigger picture, and recognize that kicking people off the internet doesn't have anything to do with getting paid. You get paid by providing something that people want to buy. Kicking people off the internet doesn't make anyone want to pay you. It actually does the opposite. No one is saying artists shouldn't get paid for their creation -- least of all the musicians who spoke out last week. What they're saying is that kicking people off the internet doesn't help anyone get paid.

Honestly, does anyone actually think that kicking people off of the internet is a good business model?


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Ville Valtasaari, Sep 15th, 2009 @ 6:55am

    Somebody should be paid

    If I read the quote correctly, the Musicians Union is not suggesting that the artists themselves should necessarily be paid for their creation. "Somebody" should. Which seems to be well in line with what labels are demanding. Freudian slip?

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Sep 15th, 2009 @ 7:05am

    Question

    "Honestly, does anyone actually think that kicking people off of the internet is a good business model?"

    What I don't understand is this: do these people realize how much music is being legitimately SOLD via the internet? And you want to enact legislation that opens the door to kicking people off of your revenue stream?

    It's as if these music industry groups think they operate in a vacuum, as if they aren't setting a precedent for OTHER industries and even government to begin kicking people off of the internet for things they don't like.

    What are these music execs going to say when some other special interest successfully kicks off the internet 300 and those 300 people bought a ton of music via iTunes, all based on this precedent they're setting? Or when the government shuts out hundreds of music customers for "sedition" or some other nonsense that this legislation would open the door for?

    Ladies and gentlemen, I understand that to become a C-Level exec in these major corporations, you generally need to have a 4 year bachelor's degree and usually another 4 years in graduate school, so I can safely assume that most of you are at least 8 years old. Please try to act like it and see beyond your own noses.

     

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  3.  
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    Allen (profile), Sep 15th, 2009 @ 7:15am

    The Difference Between Reporting And Discussion

    You dont come over angry at all.

    You're like a scientist trying to explain that Intelligent Design is not a scientific theory to some fundamentalist creationist. Logic and reason are never going to convince the true believers. Frustration and exasperation are easily confused with anger.

    Oh wait, am I commenting on the right post ;-)

     

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  4.  
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    AC, Sep 15th, 2009 @ 7:18am

    In the US

    I know article and legislation refers to proposals in the UK, but wouldn't any law that kicks people off the internet in the US be illegal?

    Some items/services can only be purchased online, and there are laws that forbid restrictions on interstate commerce. I'm not sure if the UK has similar laws.

    By the way, don't you need internet access to purchase legal songs? How will kicking pirates off solve anything, as now they can't get mp3's legally or illegally.

     

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  5.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Sep 15th, 2009 @ 7:23am

    Once again

    This, like almost all of life's other problems, can be solved with proper application of explosives.

     

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  6.  
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    Brooks (profile), Sep 15th, 2009 @ 7:32am

    Re: Somebody should be paid

    That's what I noted as well. They're not particularly concerned about fair compensation; they just want to be paid for the work someone else does.

    The bizarre thing is to couch such transparently economically counterproductive concepts in moral opprobrium.

     

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  7.  
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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Sep 15th, 2009 @ 7:35am

    How dare

    How dare musicians speak for themselves!
    And how dare they contradict us and make us look like the douchebags that we are!

    Anyone surprised that this is happening?

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 15th, 2009 @ 7:39am

    Re: In the US

    The commerce clause just says that the Federal government has the right to regulate interstate commerce. It doesn't forbid restrictions on it. Presumably they would push for a federal law.

    It may be unconstitutional just because it's a punishment for something that isn't intrinsically a criminal act.

     

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  9.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Sep 15th, 2009 @ 7:43am

    Re: In the US

    "I know article and legislation refers to proposals in the UK, but wouldn't any law that kicks people off the internet in the US be illegal? "

    Actually 3 strikes is in conflict with the EU's telcom laws so it will be struck down.

    Read more
    and some more

     

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  10.  
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    John Strickland, Sep 15th, 2009 @ 7:44am

    Imagine.

    What if you made a CD and it didn't sell because people were afraid there were rootkits embedded in it so they couldn't put it in their computer. And then they didn't want to download the music because they could be kicked off the net.

    What is left?

    Or imagine if there was just SO LITTLE INTEREST that NOBODY wanted your music for free?

    How bad of an artist do you have to be to not be able to give away your music?

    Piracy should be a popularity measuring tool, not an enemy. Clearly if a band has one of the top piracy rates in the world a label should try to pick them up and market for them for merchandise.

     

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    fogbugzd, Sep 15th, 2009 @ 7:49am

    It seems to me that the collection societies should be the last ones to say that "somebody should be paid for their creation." The collection societies and the recording industry have worked hard for years to make sure that artists are paid as little as possible for their creations.

     

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    thublihnk (profile), Sep 15th, 2009 @ 8:01am

    As someone who pirates and pays, I can safely say kicking me off the internet because I stole some stuff using the internet would cost them more revenue than what they supposedly 'lost' due to piracy.

     

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    Call me Al, Sep 15th, 2009 @ 8:04am

    Is it just me or do these industry groups seem to be quietly dropping their claim that they are doing it all for the artist? Everything I've seen recently has avoided that phrase and made it much more about themselves.

    Its almost as if they recognise that their bluff has been called and so they are seeking to move the debate onto new ground of their choosing.

     

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  14.  
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    Call me Al, Sep 15th, 2009 @ 8:07am

    Re:

    What I pirate and pay for these days is often identical. I try it out and then buy it if its worthwhile.

    If I could find the music on a legal channel to listen to before buying then I would. The 30s snippets of songs on I-Tunes simply don't provide enough of a feel for a song.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 15th, 2009 @ 8:13am

    Re: The Difference Between Reporting And Discussion

    That's a bad comparison. Belief in evolution would be the RIAA's position because it's the standard position for scientists to take.

    When you have a scientist break away from that (I had a biology professor reject evolution in college, a much larger step than intelligent design), he's the one that's rejected with religious dogmatism. His objections were all based around discoveries in microbiology. It wasn't a religious thing for him. The fact that he arrived at this conclusion through science, but was ultimately fired for it is sad.

    But that's similar here. You have a few musicians who don't step in line, and they will be criticized. The primary criticism will be that they don't understand business. Similar to the criticism of ID, who are charged with not understanding science.

    Science is about discovering truth, just like religion. Defining science so that it excludes any possible supernatural action, even if that might be truth, removes science from pursuit of truth. Science becomes an end rather than a means.

    I don't know how we got here with absolute certainty. But life is good (a moral judgment), beautiful (an emotional judgment), and meaningful (a religious judgment) to me. You can't get there with the current scientific establishment. And it has the same effect as in music, rather than increasing interest in science, it dries it up as boring, irrelevant, and ironically preachy. Just like the RIAA.

     

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  16.  
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    Luci, Sep 15th, 2009 @ 8:17am

    Re: Once again

    I keep seeing this and flashing back to the button I had over 20 years ago:

    There are very few personal problems which cannot be solved by the suitable application of high explosives.

    Now, what's the most suitable application in this situation? Hmmmm....

     

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  17.  
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    Yohann, Sep 15th, 2009 @ 8:23am

    This could make things worse...

    "Honestly, does anyone actually think that kicking people off of the internet is a good business model?"

    Kicking people off the internet won't do anything but make those people pissed off and go searching for ways to crack their neighbor's WEP routers or search 'open' internet points and download that way. That would eventually lead to those innocent people getting kicked off for accusations whose only 'real crime' was not knowing how to set up their own routers.

    Besides, it's not that hard to set up another high speed internet connection under someone else's name in the house. *Boom* they're back on the internet.

     

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  18.  
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    Captain Obvious, Sep 15th, 2009 @ 8:27am

    Luci: Say, blowing up the HQ's of these collection agencies and the *AA's. ^_~

     

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  19.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Sep 15th, 2009 @ 8:34am

    Re: Re: Once again

    Not sure, but I have faith. ; )

     

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  20.  
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    Me, Sep 15th, 2009 @ 8:37am

    Re: Question

    You're a fucking homo.

     

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  21.  
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    PrometheeFeu (profile), Sep 15th, 2009 @ 8:37am

    So let's see, in the music industry, customers are thieves and producers are short-sighted idiots. Thank God they have middle-men...

     

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  22.  
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    Alan Gerow (profile), Sep 15th, 2009 @ 8:45am

    If I get booted off of the Internet for 12 months, not one cent of the $840 I'd save over the year would go towards directly paying for music. And all money that would have gone towards music normally would go elsewhere. Any artists that I would have purchased music from (more than likely smaller artists), I would let know why I am boycotting putting money into their industry at large to hopefully polarize them against the trade/lobby groups.

     

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  23.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Sep 15th, 2009 @ 8:57am

    Re: Re: Question

    Haha, that's they best you can do?

     

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  24.  
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    werd, Sep 15th, 2009 @ 9:07am

    Re:

    As far as I'm concerned, they won't get a penny from me until they stop this crap. I will only go to shows and buy shirts for the underground bands.

     

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  25.  
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    interval, Sep 15th, 2009 @ 9:28am

    You sign some one with some talent up with a tightly binding contract making YOU the greater benefactor in their artistry, trot them out on YOUR schedule to do shows, slap their likeness on a bunch of consumer crap and charge a BUTTLOAD of cash for it, which YOU collect, then when it all caves in as the artists & fans move on you whine that you're not getting PAID and sue EVERYBODY. What a business.

     

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  26.  
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    Eric (profile), Sep 15th, 2009 @ 9:36am

    Re: Re: Once again

    Most suitable application would be more is better. Rather have too much to get the job done then not enough right?

     

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  27.  
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    Richard (profile), Sep 15th, 2009 @ 9:36am

    Re: In the US

    See http://www.freedom-to-tinker.com/blog/felten/infinite-storage-music

    soon the internet won't matter because within six transactions everyone will have all the music ever recorded just by local copying.

     

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  28.  
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    Chris Reich, Sep 15th, 2009 @ 9:44am

    musician's

     

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  29.  
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    Rosedale (profile), Sep 15th, 2009 @ 9:55am

    Somebody

    Anyone notice how last quote said "somebody" Not that the artist should be paid, but that somebody should...ideally them. That is the issue. It isn't about the artist it is about their own pocketbooks. How dare and artist try to go around the perfect system and cut them out. They must be "naive."

     

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  30.  
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    taoareyou (profile), Sep 15th, 2009 @ 10:12am

    Snowball effect

    So the music industry removes someone who pirates music. That person however, purchased e-books from Amazon. Now the music industry has removed a customer from Amazon.

    Amazon takes advantage of the legislation and removed people who illegally download e-books. Those people bought and rented movies online from places like Netflix and no those paying customers are gone.

    The MPAA goes after people downloading movies and uses the law to take more off the Internet. Those people bought music online. There goes some customers who were actually paying for music.

    ALL of these people were paying for Internet from various providers, and so the ISPs lose customers. Look at just how many business' would lose REAL, measurable revenue. Not to mention that it's much more unlikely for anyone forced off the Internet by the music industry to suddenly decide to start buying music CDs.

    So where is the gain? It's just all loss.

     

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  31.  
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    deadzone (profile), Sep 15th, 2009 @ 10:36am

    Give them whatever they ask...

    Just get on with it please! I say give the RIAA/MPAA and all of the associated groups everything they want.

    This slow-motion death that we are seeing will speed up rapidly and lead to a quick death.

    We then can start over and open up the dialogue directly between the artists and their fans and come up with some rational alternatives that work for both the artist and the consumer.

     

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  32.  
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    Michial Thompson, Sep 15th, 2009 @ 10:50am

    It's not a "business model

     

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  33.  
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    Michial Thompson, Sep 15th, 2009 @ 10:56am

    It's not a "business model" Its LAW

    Kicking people off the internet may not be the solution, but neither is steeling other peoples product either.

    This is'n't about a business model or anything else, it's about society and the law. If you break the law you pay the price, and in this case it's losing your internet connection which to me seems a little stupid, but still it's the punishement for your actions.

    Instead of whining about how the law is not fair and is not looking out for you etc, maybe you should loby congress to do things your way. Maybe build a fund and accept donations and lobby like the other guys do...

    The reason you don't is it's easier to sit here an gripe instead of doing something about it. Unless your motivation is to generate revenue through taking a contradictive aproach.

    If you really felt strongly about the trash posted on this site you would take the money you generate in advertising and use it to lobby your point, but my guess is you take the money and laugh all the way to the bank with it.

     

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  34.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Sep 15th, 2009 @ 11:18am

    Re: It's not a "business model" Its LAW

    "Kicking people off the internet may not be the solution, but neither is steeling other peoples product either."

    Typo of the day nominee! Personally, I want to take this opportunity to encourage people to encase the entertainment indutries products in metal and bury them underground somewhere.

    But all humor aside, Michial, this country was founded on breaking laws that no longer work. Let's take a gander at a quick revision to see who you would have been 220 or so years ago:

    "Kicking the Crown out of the country may not be the solution, but neither is siezing other peoples products and tossing them into the harbor."

    I think your intentions are admirable in that you advocate an orderly rule of law, but that simply isn't the way you affect useful change in the Western World. You don't lobby for the King's attention and trust his benevolent rule, you storm the boat, take the tea, and toss that shit overboard.

    "This is'n't about a business model or anything else, it's about society and the law."

    That's what it SHOULD be about, but when the businesses write the law, that no longer applies.

    "If you break the law you pay the price, and in this case it's losing your internet connection which to me seems a little stupid, but still it's the punishement for your actions."

    And then the pubilc has a discourse over whether the punishment fit the crime. This attitude would have led to serious problems during McCarthy's reign, where people were punished for being SUSPECTED. Same deal here.

    "Instead of whining about how the law is not fair and is not looking out for you etc, maybe you should loby congress to do things your way. Maybe build a fund and accept donations and lobby like the other guys do..."

    No. Again, when the other side holds are the cards you don't lobby, especially if you are generally against the practice of lobbying like I am. You storm the boat and throw the tea into the harbor.

    "The reason you don't is it's easier to sit here an gripe instead of doing something about it."

    People ARE doing something about it. They're violating a bad law. They're advocating boycotts. They're sharing information. I even see people organizing and advoating letter campaigns to govt. officials, at time even listing they're contact info. Open your eyes, me boyo.

    "If you really felt strongly about the trash posted on this site you would take the money you generate in advertising and use it to lobby your point"

    Let me get this straight: if you feel passionate about a subject you must lobby for it? How silly. Sorry, but your way perpetuates. I don't want to perpetuate, I want to disrupt.

     

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  35.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 15th, 2009 @ 11:33am

    Re: It's not a "business model" Its LAW

    If you really felt strongly about the trash posted on this site you would take the money you generate in advertising and use it to lobby your point

    Hmm. Which makes more sense? Taking our small business profits and throwing them away on some politicians (who get orders of magnitude more from big industry), or spending time convincing more and more people of the problems with the law so that, as a group, we can create change?

    You tell me.

     

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  36.  
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    Free Capitalist (profile), Sep 15th, 2009 @ 11:40am

    Re: It's not a "business model" Its ILLEGAL

     

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  37.  
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    Valkor, Sep 15th, 2009 @ 11:51am

    Re: Somebody should be paid

    "somebody should be paid for their creation"

    Someone should explain some really hard economic truths to whoever made that quote, first of which is this: you only get paid for something if someone *wants* to pay for it. I can create until I'm blue in the face, but the market decides what, and if, I get paid. Supply and demand comes into play. Since the supply of bits is infinite (cost = 0), the demand has to be created around something more scarce, like the intangible desire to actually *support* an artist.

    That's why "give it away and pray" is a scary business model. If you're Radiohead or Trent Renzor, there is a market for the good feelings of supporting a musician. If you're Metallica, there isn't as much. It seems to be easier for some musicians to put discs in boxes and sell them than to not act like a dick.

     

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  38.  
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    chris (profile), Sep 15th, 2009 @ 1:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Question

    the argument is sound and well reasoned and cannot be disputed.

    your only recourse is to go down town and turn in your internet.

     

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  39.  
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    Jeff, Sep 15th, 2009 @ 1:14pm

    Re: It's not a "business model" Its LAW

    "The law is an ass"
    -- Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist

    Oh how I've always wanted to use that line! First of all, laws are made by men. In this case greedy, selfish men. You are correct in that we in the techdirt community should "lobby your point". But my question is where? "The other guys", as you so quaintly say, are *multi-billion* dollar corporations with much more money to buy a seat at the table. Last time I checked, *nobody* has taken Mike up on his offer to "Shut us up", so our community is a bit on the fiscally-challenged side of the fence.

    As for your assertion that "You break the law you pay the price" - we are talking about civil actions here, not criminal actions. This point has been made several times, and probably much more eloquently than I can make it. You would allow the **IAAs of the world the authority to determine both guilt and punishment - a tyrannical yoke our forefathers died to escape.

    So, my point to you Mr. Thompson, is either help us find the solution, or go away. Your straw-man attacks aren't productive, nor are they particularily welcome.

     

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  40.  
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    Call me Al, Sep 15th, 2009 @ 2:04pm

    "a tyrannical yoke our forefathers died to escape." - lets leave the American propaganda out of the otherwise well argued post ;)

    Currently the music industry in particular is waging an all out war to control the vocabulary of this debate. They say "steal" where we say "copy", they say "breaking the law" where we say "infringing". The majority of people are not informed on the technicalities of these issues and the industry knows it. If you control the vocabulary that is used you get to play with the connotations of those words. The only way to deal with that is to correct every single person you see, or hear, get it wrong.

     

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  41.  
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    Richard (profile), Sep 15th, 2009 @ 2:04pm

    Re: It's not a "business model" Its LAW

    This is'n't about a business model or anything else, it's about society and the law. If you break the law you pay the price, and in this case it's losing your internet connection which to me seems a little stupid, but still it's the punishement for your actions.

    but this is a law that everyone, including you Michial, has (at least technically) broken at some time or other.

    It is a law that has had to be "technically revised" on many occasions in the last 20 years to avoid stupidity. Computers make transient copies of everything all the time and the law has had to be substantially re-interpreted from what it was 40 years ago to allow any kind of computer access to copyrighted material by anyone other than the original copyright holder.

    It is a law that was originally passed as a job creation scheme for redundant censors. It was never created for authors musicians or artists.

    It is also a law that has been shamelessly extended retrospectively (and arguably illegally) at the behest of financially interested parties.

    It is a law that has been "locked in" internationally by treaty to make it almost impossible to change by ordinary democratic processes.

    It is a law that has been used to persecute the innocent and to extort money from those who are too weak to defend themselves.

    In short it is a law that brings law into disrepute.

    It is also a law that is increasingly unenforceable without a police state that would make Stalin and Hitler drool with envy.

    It is a law that no wise man would defend.

     

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  42.  
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    PRMan, Sep 15th, 2009 @ 2:27pm

    Re: The Difference Between Reporting And Discussion

    It's only not a scientific theory to people who haven't taken the time to read it.

    Ad hominem attacks are much easier than research and thinking. Much easier than attempting to see the merits of both sides instead of being an evolution/big bang fanboi.

    The theory of intelligent design must really be troubling to people if they have to continuously defend against it in forums where nobody has even mentioned it.

    BTW, the world's leading evolutionist Richard Dawkins recently admitted that life must have been designed because it is very complex. Sound familiar?

     

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  43.  
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    Luci, Sep 15th, 2009 @ 4:03pm

    Re: Re: The Difference Between Reporting And Discussion

    We've gone outside the current discussion, but let's pursue this:

    "Science is about discovering truth, just like religion. Defining science so that it excludes any possible supernatural action, even if that might be truth, removes science from pursuit of truth. Science becomes an end rather than a means."

    Basically, you are saying that science cannot be the pursuit of truth if it demands evidence that cannot be supplied through religion or supernatural means. I don't quite understand this. Science demands evidence. It demands that something can be proven time and time again. These aren't things you can get with religion.

    This is not to say religion is bad. Religion and belief is still an important part of the human psyche. Science and Religion are not necessarily mutually exclusive. They also are not necessarily compatible. When they start forcing my children to learn Christian 'science' in school, we have a severe issue. Not because I'm not religious, but because I do not subscribe to Christianity. This is why they must remain separate. Leave religion to the churches/synagogues/mosques/etcetera.

     

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  44.  
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    Louis, Sep 15th, 2009 @ 10:05pm

    Re: Re: The Difference Between Reporting And Discussion

    I just don't understand why you keep referring to the theory of intelligent design as a theory. As it has no underlying proof, it is still only a hypothesis, nothing more. But it would be my guess that some people would like to give their arguments more weight by calling this as a theory, as opposed to the theory of evolution, which by the way, has quite a numbers of proofs validating it.

     

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    techflaws.org (profile), Sep 16th, 2009 @ 3:27am

    Re: Re: The Difference Between Reporting And Discussion

    "BTW, the world's leading evolutionist Richard Dawkins recently admitted that life must have been designed because it is very complex."

    Did he now? URL?

    Besides, it doesn't add any more validity to the ID suckers claims.

     

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  46.  
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    toby, Sep 25th, 2009 @ 1:58pm

    Re: How dare

    to be fair, one of the spokesmen was from the Musicians' Union, and he made the reasonable point that a few well off musicians from Pink Floyd and Blur don't necessarily speak for the large mass of their members.

    I'm professionally involved in music (DJ, club promoter, and soon indie label owner) and a lot of artists i know got hit really hard in the last few years. it is basically a voluntary activity now for a lot of people, and i think it does have some impact on quality.

     

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


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