Teenager And Composer Argue Over File Sharing

from the fight-it-out dept

Early last week, reader dcm sent over an interesting blog post by Jason Robert Brown, a somewhat well known theatrical composer where he posted a debate he had with a teenager concerning file sharing. Since then, it appears the story also appeared on Reddit and some other sites, and now everyone is submitting it to me (that'll teach me not to leave interesting stories to write up over the long weekend...). Anyway, the basics of the story aren't too surprising: Brown is upset that the girl isn't paying him, the girl tries to explain that she wouldn't buy his work otherwise (she doesn't have the means), but is trying to promote his work because she likes it and thinks more should know about it. And, from those two very different viewpoints, nothing approaching agreement is ever reached.

It's definitely an interesting discussion, in that both sides mostly remain friendly throughout the debate. Brown starts off with a simple request to various users of some file sharing system to please stop sharing his works because it's "totally not cool" with him. Thankfully, he doesn't threaten anyone or break out any legalistic cease-and-desist type language. There is some back and forth at the beginning where the girl doesn't believe that "THE" Jason Robert Brown is really emailing her, but then the conversation gets a bit more interesting. She starts out by asking him a simple question about why he's spending so much time asking everyone to take down his scores:
I'd like to ask you a question. Why are you doing this? I just searched you on this site and all of the stuff that people have of yours up there say that it's "Not for Trade Per Composer's Request." Did you think about the aspiring actors and actresses who really need some good sheet music? If you're really who you claim to be, then I assume you know that Parade, Last Five Years, 13 The Musical, etc. are all genius pieces of work and that a lot of people who would love to have that sheet music can't afford it. Thus the term "starving artist." Performers really need quick and easy ways to attain good sheet music and you're stopping a lot of people from getting what they need. It matters a great deal to them that they can get it for free. Why does it matter so much to you that they don't?
Brown takes a while to actually get around to responding to the questions (there are some emails in between), but he finally says:
I should think the answer is obvious: I think it's annoying and obnoxious that people think they're entitled to get the sheet music to my songs for free, and I'd like to make those people (you, for example) conscious of the immorality, illegality, and unfairness of their behavior.
The teenager, Eleanor (sometimes referred to as Brenna, but that's not worth discussing), points out that many artists have no real means of obtaining his works, but by being able to download the scores for free and use them, they're making many more people aware of his works. She presents a hypothetical that describes the value of word of mouth marketing for those who might not be aware of his works, even highlighting how many of those people will likely end up making transactions that help his bottom line. He, not surprisingly, is not buying it:
That same scenario could take place exactly the same way if you paid for the music. And that's how that scenario is SUPPOSED to take place. You assume that because a good thing comes from an illegal act, it's therefore mitigated. That's nonsense. I'm glad people want to sing my songs, and I'm glad that when other people hear them, they enjoy them -- that doesn't mean I surrender my right to get paid for providing the sheet music.
This is a point that is raised quite often, but misses the point, which Eleanor is quick to point out: that the scenario won't happen, because many up-and-coming artists will simply shift to music from composers who do allow it to be traded for free:
You think the same scenario could have taken place exactly the same way? Funny. Most of the teenagers I have met who are into theatre would do the free song before they would do the one for $3.99 unless they had a really good reason. It could theoretically take place the same way. The question is would it? And the answer is probably not. I never said that it was an amazing thing happening and I never said that it doesn't start with what I'm sure seems to you as a bad thing. I "assume that because a good thing comes from an illegal act, it's therefore mitigated"? .... Yes. I assume that because something that good comes from something so insignificantly negative, it's therefore mitigated.
Brown comes back with a few comments about how it's not worth arguing with a teenager who thinks anyone who tries to correct her is "the enemy," but then comes up with three "stories" of his own about why file sharing is wrong -- even though none of them actually show that. Instead, there are two that are about borrowing a physical item, and one about fair use. What's most amusing here, however, is that Brown seems to have no problem with the kind of fair use where you rip a CD, but doesn't seem to think that Eleanor's use of his music could possibly be fair use. Then he concludes with four paragraphs where he tries to convince her she's wrong and tells her she should take his works out of the library instead:
Now you're frustrated because even if you wanted to do the right thing, the ethical and legal thing, you still need a credit card to buy the sheet music and that isn't going to happen. Listen, Eleanor, I'm frustrated on your behalf. It really sucks to be a teenager. I'm not being sarcastic or ironic, I really get it. I wrote a whole show about it. But being able to steal something doesn't mean you should. If your parents really won't pony up the four bucks to buy a copy of the sheet music, then you can ask them to take you to the library and you can take out all the music you want, free, and pick the song you want to use for an audition or a talent show, and you can keep borrowing the book from the library until you're done with it or until the library demands it back. My song may not be in your library -- you could ask them to get it from another library, through an interlibrary loan (this is common, standard library practice), but if you're in a time crunch, that's not practical -- so you may have to just pick another song. It may not be the perfect song, but if you're a talented girl, it won't matter all that much. As long as it shows off what you can do and who you are, it will suffice because you are a teenager and the people who you are auditioning for will cut you slack on that account.

That's the end of my jeremiad, and I'd be surprised if it persuaded you in any real way, but it is the truth and it is your responsibility as a citizen, as a member of the theatrical community, and as a considerate human being to pay attention to the laws, ethics and customs that make it possible for you to do the thing you love. I'm very much impressed by how passionately you've stood your ground, and how articulate you've been in doing so, and I can't tell you how excited I am that you didn't misspell anything, not once in this entire exchange. (Well, you wrote "you're" when you meant "your" once, but I'll let it go.) But being able to argue a point doesn't make it right -- lots of lawyers lose cases all the time.

I'm sorry if you still think I'm a jerk, but what I'm talking about here is not "insignificant." The entire record business is in free-fall because people no longer feel the moral responsibility to buy music; they just download it for free from the Internet, from YouTube, from their friends. When I make a cast album or a CD of my own, I do it knowing that it will never earn its money back, that I'm essentially throwing that money away so that I can put those songs out in the world. That shouldn't be the case, and I suspect in your heart you believe that too. All of us who write music for the theater are very much concerned that the sheet music business will eventually go the same way as the record business. I'm doing my little part to keep that from happening.

If you want me to talk to your parents and ask them to buy you the sheet music, just have them write me an email. You know how to find me.
Not surprisingly, I side more with Eleanor than with Brown in this debate, but I do think it's a good thing that the two sides engaged in a civil discussion on this topic, and think it's a bit unfortunate, as Brown notes in his "update" that he's hearing from "hostile" men who are trying to "educate" him on this subject. I would bet, of course, that many of the people trying to educate Brown are not, actually, hostile at all, but I'm sure some of them certainly are. And it's unfortunate, then, that he automatically lumps all such responses into the "hostile" camp.

The simple fact of the matter is that Brown is, in fact, wrong on many of his key points, though it's not surprising that he is. For example, his claims that "the entire record business is in free-fall because people no longer feel the moral responsibility to buy music," is quite an incorrect statement. First of all, since when has there ever been a "moral responsibility to buy music?" There hasn't been. And, of course, while certain major record labels may see their business in free-fall, the actual music business is doing incredibly well -- in fact, it's having quite a renaissance in terms of the number of albums released, and the amount of overall money that people are spending on it. It's just that they're not spending it on recordings (or sheet music) directly.

That said, Brown has made his living this way for a while, so you can see why he'd be upset that the old way of making money has been disappearing, but I doubt that a significant portion of his earnings came from teenage girls buying his sheet music in order to perform it at talent shows. In fact, since most of his work is for the theater, there are numerous business models available to him that have little, if nothing, to do with direct recordings, and for which file sharing -- like the kind Eleanor cites -- could help attract more revenue if he'd learn to adapt, rather than demand that the rest of the world adapt to him.

In the end, though, Brown did not go legalistic (even if he did go moralistic) and seemed at least willing to engage with Eleanor. I doubt he's going to change his mind any time soon, but we've seen a lot worse and a lot more obnoxious from folks who were a lot less informed. Brown strikes me as the kind of guy who, if actually given more evidence on this subject might actually come around to recognizing that, perhaps, it was he who made the wrong assumptions, rather than Eleanor, even if it might take quite some time before he realizes this.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Richard (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 5:19am

    Who would want to

    Consider this qutoe from Brown's Wikipedia entry.

    He is cited by Mark Shenton as one of the new theatrical composers (a list that includes Michael John LaChiusa, Adam Guettel, Andrew Lippa, and Jeanine Tesori, among others).[14] "They're all smart writers and excellent musicians with lots of interesting ideas for shows. But they don't write take-away tunes." writes New York Post theatre columnist Michael Riedel.[15]

    In other words he is no more than a journeyman - so there will always be an alternative.
    Then we get to the real reason why he doesn't want anyone having his sheet music..

    Brown has many trademarks in his composing style. His piano music is often extremely rhythmically challenging; his sheet music is released in a mostly unmodified format, posing many challenges to anyone who tries to play it. His songs are by no means easy to sing, either, with his choral music including many complex and unconventional harmonies and his songs (for men, in particular) covering a very wide vocal range.


    In other words for amateur musicians it will be a struggle to perform so that $3.99 is probably a waste of money.

    There is no good reason to patronise this guy. Leave him to the inevitable obscurity that he deserves.

     

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    Yogi, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 5:24am

    A Race

    Basically we are in a race: will people like Brown and his colleagues (RIAA, MPAA) be able to shut down the internet and turn it into a broadcasting medium before they completely die out, or will people like Eleanor manage somehow to keep the internet alive and well and most importantly - useful.

    My bet is on Eleanor.

     

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    kameraadpjotr (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 5:27am

    Moral high ground

    As long as authors/songwriters/... continue to defend copyright terms of 70y after their death, they have no right whatsoever to claim a moral high ground.

     

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    iceman, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 5:38am

    It's 2010

    What people fail to realize is that the old business model for making money has changed with technology. If you can't change the way you think and change the way you expect to make money your going to end up broke. Word of mouth is free advertising. Advertising is very expensive. I know from my experience I would get a song or movie from a p2p and if I liked it. I would most definitely buy it or actually go to the theaters and watch it. Try before you buy is the way things should be. If not offer a refund if the person does not like what they have purchased. Thats the old way of doing business. Thats why most stores are successful at selling appliances, clothing, etc. If you spend your money you should be able to take it back if it's not up to your standards. In 2010 since many of the new "goods" are virtual or can be pulled down off the net. Our society has become greedy. Now no one wants to offer refunds. People want that cash regardless. So when people are presented with the option to buy or take. Most would take. Even car dealerships are now offering some sort of return policy. That was unheard of in the past.

     

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    Dag, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 5:40am

    Illegal is Illegal

    No matter how one slices it or attempts to justify actions, what is illegal is illegal. You cannot simply say the business model is changing and expect that to be a panacea for illegal activity. It is wrong to take someone's work, regardless of the medium, if it is expected it should be purchased. Stealing is stealing, whether a physical item or a digital copy. Modern electronic media simply makes it easier to commit the crime. What the Brown's blog post shows is that digital file sharing and transfer is not a victimless crime.

    I don't appreciate the RIAA and MPAA tactics, but the law is on their side... as well as the ethical and moral grounds. There is no way to get around the facts of law. Trying to do so simply shows a person as unscrupulous.

    (I am not a shill RIAA or MPAA... but I am someone who had his property stolen by many people through electronic means and was never compensated for nine months of intense labor. It was basically a statement by others that I should work for free... and they were wrong, are wrong and always will be wrong.)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 5:42am

    Both made some wrong assumptions in their arguments. Both are right, and both are wrong.

    Morally, he's right. It is wrong to use someones work without asking. If it should be illegal is a completely different issue though, and I believe it shouldn't be. His is flawed because he's fighting a losing battle, he even alludes to the fact in his text. If you're fighting a losing battle, you retreat, regroup, rethinking what you're doing, and find a different way to win(get paid). No matter how morally right you are, the only answer otherwise is to be slaughtered.

    Her argument is that by hearing his work, people may become interested in it, and pay for other recordings and sheetmusic of it later. Technically possible, but improbable because as you assert later on down in the article, that side of the business is dieing because of actions like hers. The way to capitalize on that shifts to him figuring out how to get people to pay, but that isn't her argument, hers is that hopefully somewhere somehow people will pay for what shes taking for free.

    Both arguments are flawed to some degree. His because he's fighting from a position he knows he can't win from, but keeps trying because he has a "moral high ground" that's meaningless. Hers because she didn't take the thought process to its logical conclusion which would invalidate a couple of her assertions.

     

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    Donna, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 5:49am

    I'm just wondering how in the composer's mind it is completely ok if someone (a library) buys a hard copy of his work and shares it for free with anyone who wants it (he even recommends this as an avenue of getting access to his works), but completely wrong if someone (an individual) buys an electronic copy of his work and shares it with anyone online?

    Does the fact that less technology is involved somehow make it morally superior?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 5:49am

    So wait... his sheet music is freely available in the Library, and yet he is mad that it can be had off of a p2p site? I quite honestly can't see the difference of downloading the work from p2p vs. driving out to the local library to get it for free, or hell, using the library photocopier to take a copy of the sheet music. Well, I guess it deprives the oil companies a few bucks in gas revenue.

    So... if my math is right, p2p could have prevented the oil spill in the gulf!! :)

     

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    tom, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 5:52am

    Re: Illegal is Illegal

    i am sorry you had something stolen from you so that you no longer have it. Stealing is wrong.
    But a digital copy is not stealing because you still have the original. Its copying.
    Maybe they will do something that will promote your work and you may gain from that. Maybe they won't do anything with it and would never have paid for it in the first place in which case it makes no difference to you. So, if somebody copies something of yours there is either a slight positive gain for you, or no loss. (roughly anyway)
    Try considering it as advertising.

     

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    juliejulie (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 6:00am

    Sure

    Illegal is Illegal
    by Dag, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 5:40am

    No matter how one slices it or attempts to justify actions, what is illegal is illegal.

    ----------

    So simple isn't it? All people should do what's legal. MLK should have obeyed the law. All people should. No? You just want people to obey the laws you agree with? OK I won't use MLK. You always drive 25 in a 25 zone? Either do I. It's just not as simple as "the law's the law".

     

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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 6:02am

    Re: Illegal is Illegal

    I don't appreciate the RIAA and MPAA tactics, but the law is on their side... as well as the ethical and moral grounds.

    A bad law *should* be ignored, and if you *honestly* believe _any_ group of corporate lawyers has the ethical and moral high grounds, you are a very, very misguided person.

    The **AA is, in one stroke, taking *far* more money from artists (around 85%+ of album sales) than a file sharer ever could *and* locking up your and my culture for the better part of a century. Moral and ethical high grounds? Please.

    Also, as has been noted, you sound more than a little touched in the head when you can't tell the difference between stealing and infringement. If "stealing is stealing" then the RIAA et al. would be going after people for theft, would they not? Exactly.

    What the post from "THE" Jason Robert Brown shows is that he is just as misguided as Metallica: When the gravy train starts to become obsolete, lash out at the symptom instead of the cause. Yet, he has the moral high ground? Ha.

     

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    Hoeppner, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 6:02am

    This is messier than people are willing to admit because they are "in the tubes".

    After all you have someone who suddenly has to compete with their own work. This instantly means this isn't going to be as "no issue" as "Internet People" would like to think.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 6:04am

    Re: Illegal is Illegal

    "Stealing is stealing, whether a physical item or a digital copy."

    This is true, but copyright infringement is in no way theft.


    "I don't appreciate the RIAA and MPAA tactics, but the law is on their side... as well as the ethical and moral grounds."

    How exactly do you have the moral right to a monopoly? Oh that's right, you don't.

     

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    reboog711 (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 6:04am

    I read through that exchange. It's a good read.

    Something to note; he did say that 50% of his income comes from sheet music. I have no idea how many of those buyers are teenagers, of course.

    He also specified that "the entire record business is in free-fall" which you point out and then switch to "music business" in your response. The record business is in a free-fall; however the record business just makes up one portion of the music business.

     

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    Not Me, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 6:08am

    Really???

    So these "starving artists" can't afford $3.99 for some sheet music, but they can afford to pay internet fees to download it. As well, I'm sure as $80 a month iPhone bills, $7 a cup Starbucks coffee, $8 a pack cigarettes, etc, etc.

    Get a friggin' job and pay for what you want! How is that such a difficult concept?

    I bet if little Eleanor worked, she would expect to get paid!

     

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    Matthew, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 6:08am

    If one agrees that the composer has the moral high ground (I do; you may not), then the opposition's position becomes clearer. I value a moral argument above an economic one. If it is morally wrong for me to do something that is economically beneficial to myself (whether or not it is legal to do so), I will try to avoid doing that thing. For me, it comes to this: The creator/licensee of the work is asking a price for its use. Either I pay that pay that price or I do without the work. (Note that I am not talking about fair use of bits and pieces; or academic applications, but about the widespread distribution of the work in its entirety.)

    Can you make the argument that the content creator is harming himself? Sure. Can/should you choose free sources over those that charge? Sure. Should you use the content without paying for it just because you can? Abso-friggin'-lutely not.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 6:24am

    Re: Illegal is Illegal

    Appeal To Authority: The Shill's favorite fallacy.

    Just because some senile, fat, bribed-to-hell-and-back men wrote it on a piece of paper and sat around and nodded at each other does not make it right, moral, ethical, or even logical.

    Back-of-the-busers like you just need to sit and read before spouting off about obeying the law no matter what. People are fallible. People write laws. No surprise when a few bad laws come out.

     

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    eclecticdave (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 6:26am

    Re:

    > The way to capitalize on that shifts to him figuring out how to get people to pay, but that isn't her argument, hers is that hopefully somewhere somehow people will pay for what shes taking for free.

    Well yes and no. Certainly there is an element of "give it away and pray" to Eleanor's argument, but it isn't entirely without merit.

    At first glance it isn't obvious why anyone would pay for a copy when they already have one they downloaded - do they have money to burn? Nevertheless some *do* pay.

    The reason they pay is not so much that they are paying for the existing work, but more that they implicitly understand that they are paying to fund the artist's *next* creation.

     

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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 6:27am

    Re: Really???

    Well, Troll McTrollerson, if you'd have followed the link and read the article you'd know that she can't purchase the sheet music because she has no credit card, and her parents don't approve of her theater aspirations, so they refuse to buy it for her. (I'm not sure I believe it, but that's all we've got to go on.)

    All that nonsense about Starbucks, etc., is just silly.

    Furthermore, if Elenor worked, I bet she'd expect to get paid *once*, as do most people without entitlement issues.

     

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    NAMELESS.ONE, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 6:30am

    I htink its more obnoxious

    that some lazy shill prick wants to sit and taxationize society for 50+ years and sit on his BUTT doing nothing but whine about needing more money and dont even say it art.

    ANY so called artist that teh first whine out of his mouth is about money ...is NOT AN ARTIST and SHOULD LOSE ALL COPYRIGHTS

     

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    AJ, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 6:30am

    It's really simple ......

    File sharing is a direct result of technology advancement. With the exception of a giant solar flare or nuclear war, we are not going to go backwards. It’s here to stay guys, you can either make your underserved customers criminals, or you can find a way to use them to promote the aspects of your product that can not be copied. You cannot change the mind of your customers, they know what they want. Argue, make laws, take them to court, send in the IP Police… if you continue to make your potential customers hate you, you will continue to lose the opportunity to make money.

    If the person downloaded your sheet music, odds are they never intended to buy any music in the first place. They grabbed the best “free” sheet music they could for the need they were trying to fill. Would you rather it be yours or someone elses.

    If they play your songs at a school play, suddenly hundreds of potential customers are now exposed to your music, if they share it online, your talking millions. Get them hooked, get them excited, then offer them something they cannot copy. Such as signed CD’s, personal appearances, hell… even lunch with the composer, there are hundreds of other streams of revenue you could tap. I think you would be surprised how much money one can make that way and still give the “pirate” customer what they want.

     

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    Anonymous Coward (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 6:31am

    Market failure

    I'm a huge Jason Robert Brown fan, and I actually ran into a similar situation where I wanted his sheet music to sing at an event. I was willing to pay for a full book just to get one specific song, but I needed it within a day. I could find the sheet music no where online, even from illegal sources. I went to the library as Mr. Brown suggests, but the only copy of this book was in the research section of library. The librarian told me I was not allowed to make copies of this music - only 10% (I forget which law states this). Not of the entire book, but of each song, regardless of my use of the material. Other Jason Robert Brown scores were in the general collection and could be easily copied unsupervised, but this special collection somehow had special fair use rules. So I could not pay for the music nor could I check it out or copy it from the library, so I had to sing something else entirely, exactly what I believe is happening in many situations where content providers simply refuse to make their content easily and cheaply available.

     

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    Matthew, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 6:34am

    Re: It's really simple ......

    Here's what I have never understood about the argument you are making: Why do we want the content creator to make personal appearances, sign CD's, have lunch with fans, etc. when all of those things leave the creator with less time to do what is ostensibly what makes him or her valuable in the first place: creating content?

     

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    chris (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 6:34am

    Re: Illegal is Illegal

    I am someone who had his property stolen by many people through electronic means and was never compensated for nine months of intense labor.

    if someone broke into your computer and took your stuff, it's probably up on the net somewhere and you can just download it from there and get it back.

     

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    chris (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 6:41am

    Re:

    Does the fact that less technology is involved somehow make it morally superior?

    yes. the internet is scary, and it's a tool for disrespectful teenagers to disrespect things.

    libraries are old fashioned. that automatically makes it good. the internet is modern. therefore, it is bad.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 6:42am

    Re: Re: Illegal is Illegal

    But they stole my ones and zeroooooooosssss!

    For those of you watching from home, digital content is simply a string of 1s and 0s, which actually represents a number. You can no more "create" content that you can create the number 10768532029100.

     

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    CJ, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 6:47am

    Re:

    "Morally, he's right. It is wrong to use someones work without asking."

    Here, I'll quibble. It is sometimes moral to use someone's work without asking- for example, comment, criticism, news, transformation.

     

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    CJ, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 6:49am

    Re: Market failure

    The librarian was probably (mi)sapplying a fair use guideline. Please feel free to direct him or her to ALA's copyright website. :)

     

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    ofb2632 (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 6:51am

    Brown is entitled to his opinion. In fact, i wish there were more people like him. He explained his opinion and did not resort to bashing the teenager, as most adults tend to do when a teenager asks question after question. He knows that his opinion will not change her mind but still tries and explain his side. He actually listened to her side.

    Grats Brown! Keep up the good work

     

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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 6:52am

    Re: Re: It's really simple ......

    Creating content is not the point. Creating content and getting it to as many people as possible, *that* is the point.

    A bargain was made in the belief that content creators needed incentive to create, so we limit *who* can distribute it in an effort to have *more* to distribute.

    The bargain has been changed repeatedly in such ways that it no longer performs its original function. (in fact, the exact opposite)

     

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  31.  
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    eclecticdave (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 6:54am

    Re:

    > I value a moral argument above an economic one

    > The creator/licensee of the work is asking a price for its use. Either I pay that pay that price or I do without the work

    The problem I have is the second statement is an economic argument but not necessarily a moral one.

    Suppose we define "morally wrong" to be some action that benefits me at the expense of someone else (in this case the creator). Then you certainly might argue that if I had the means to purchase the work but chose to download it instead, then that would be morally wrong.

    However suppose I lacked the means to buy the work, but I believed that by helping to promote the work via p2p it would result in someone else attending a concert that they would not otherwise have considered? Does it then make it morally wrong for me *not* to share the work?

     

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  32.  
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    chris (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 6:56am

    Re: Re: Illegal is Illegal

    Try considering it as advertising.

    or consider the fact that there is nothing you or anyone can do to stop it, and that any time, effort, or money spent trying to stop file sharing is time, effort and money that is not just wasted, but actually invested in ill will against you and your product.

     

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  33.  
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    robert p, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 6:58am

    technology is not the artist's work

    i believe we are missing a major point about art and its distribution. until recently art came in a 'one single representation' package because of the lack of distribution methods that we have today: print, digital, etc. former buyers paid millions on paintings and such because they robbed the general public from ever viewing such art. that doesn't happen today, furthermore, the fact that technology advanced and such wide distribution is permitted, is not the work of and should not be profited by the artist. whether one person or a billion sees mr. brown's work does not affect his creation process, therefore he should not be paid for it. given the beneficial effect of art on society, i believe the wider the public, the better. the artist should enjoy such thought changing behavior caused by his works and rejoice.

     

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  34.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 7:11am

    Re: Re: Illegal is Illegal

    "No surprise when a few bad laws come out."

    Have you read any of the laws passed recently, they are all bad laws targeted at helping corporations make money.

     

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  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 7:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Illegal is Illegal

    Well, yes, but I was trying to make it slightly less polarizing to the shill.

    Big Ole Grin

     

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  36.  
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    Designerfx (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 7:16am

    Re: Who would want to

    I read his comments. I found them douchebag-ish, honestly.

    It's the same lines that are trotted out by any musicians that think that ASCAP and RIAA are out to protect the artists interests.

    Same thing I've gotten from every musician I've ever asked about the situation - they don't care about file sharing, but oh! it's amoral! it's stealing!

    even when they themselves know it's not.

    It's quite similar to the apple cult.

     

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  37.  
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    What is wrong with this?, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 7:26am

    unknown

    Just to clarify the point. It is illegal to p2p this stuff. As for the library he is suggesting that you can get a copy of the music from the library. Yes you can but he did not suggest that you keep that copy or make copies of it. The library has paid for the music already. If you can get a cd full of stuff for 3.99 I don't think that is too much.

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 7:28am

    Who is he?

    Is he important? Did he have a hit? Never heard of him!

     

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  39.  
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    ChronoFish (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 7:30am

    Re: Illegal is Illegal

    I tend to agree with Mike most of the time. However there are two things about this story that irk me.

    1. $3.99 - even for a teenager - is not much cash. That's what - half hour work at McDonalds? I bet the the ultra-slushy coffee drink they have in their hands costs more.

    2. Regardless of the inability to grasp the "new business model" Brown has rejected it (at least for now). That is his choice. Just as there should be venues for allowing artist to thrive without the need for RIAA, there should also be venues that allow artist to be more restrictive with their art if they feel it's necessary.

    My beef is never with the artist. My beef is with RIAA (et al) who aggressively protect profits (through legal bullying, protection rackets, congressional lobbying) in the *guise* of protecting artist.

    I think in the end it is the wrong move for the Copy Left folks to lump the two camps (artist and recording associations) together.

    Doing so gives the recording groups a "see I told you so" opportunity (RIAA can claim that Copy Left groups don't care about the artist - they just want the art) - where as the true motive should be to protect the artist choice of distribution - even if that means the individual artist chooses to keep his art distribution limited.

    In other words fight RIAA - but don't fight the artist.

    -CF

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 7:33am

    why should he change his mind? only one of these people is creating something new, the other is riding coat tails, with a huge sense of entitlement. sort of clearly explains the problem there mike, punish the truly creative so the duplicators and retreaders can have an easy life.

     

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  41.  
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    out_of_the_blue, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 7:35am

    EASY way around the "facts of law" is to change the "law".

    Copyright can be changed by legislators. It's an *optional* area of law, doesn't proceed directly from the general interest and necessary for civil society. If you benefit from it, then to *some* degree you are privileged to live in a complex society that can afford to support luxury.

    But I doubt that "legalizing" theft of your work would console you, any more than legalisms consoled slaves who had their entire lives stolen. -- Oddly, though, your work can be "stolen by many people through electronic means", and yet you can still have it. What a strange world.

    I'm only demonstrating that you're mistaken on "illegal is illegal". That's simply *not* true in this area. -- The central problem is that it's *not* settled: some are leveraging privilege into encroaching on everyone's liberty, while I'm for rolling copyright back to the 1950's or so.

     

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  42.  
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    Clark Sorley, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 7:35am

    Worth the pennies?

    Last year I did a marathon session in my studio, recording 37 songs in one day with a dozen or so singers. One of Jason's songs was in the repertoire and it stood out. I'd say he's more than a journeyman. A major talent maybe.

    I'm not sure whether the sheet music the accompanist used that day was paid for. Unsurprisingly I didn't think to wonder! No permissions were requested or fees paid to record the material. And I suppose I am asking for trouble by having the work up on my website which I put there only as an example of something I considered worth hearing.

    The recordings were made purely for educational purpose by a vocal tutor in order to let her students hear their progress. No one made any money other than the usual small charge paid to the studio for facilities hire.

    I hadn't heard of Jason Robert Brown before then but on account of the free and easy way music is circulated in my environment (nothing new there) I have now. The few people who clicked on my web post to listen will also know of him when they hadn't previously. No doubt our actions will be in breach of something sacred. Is it wise to deny a little exposure for the sake of a few pennies. I think not.

    Credit to the guy however for the respectful way he conducted this discourse. Although I am partly understanding of his position my overall sympathies are with Eleanor and the intelligence of her case. It is her generation who will take things to a new and enlightened place.

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 7:35am

    If you read Brown's responses to the comments, it becomes fairly clear that he isn't too thrilled with the high prices set by his publisher and doesn't think recent term extensions to copyright were a good idea. Which puts him well to the copyleft of the ASCAP that represents him.

    (Others of his commenters point out that you can easily buy prepaid credit cards with cash in retail stores; but if this teenager couldn't even figure out how to download Brown's complete sheet music from bittorrent once he's stopped the sharing of his stuff on this site...)

     

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  44.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 7:35am

    PianoFiles

    Sounds like the site they're discussing is PianoFiles, where (unlike most recorded-music sites) the sheet music isn't actually shared on the site. You just sign up for an account and upload a list of what you have, along with an email address and if someone wants one of your pieces, they e-mail you privately and arrange a trade.

    Even though I prefer to pay for what I want, I've ended up using the site quite often, because what I'm mostly interested in are film scores. The actual recording scores for most films are never released anywhere. You can find piano arrangements of the "Star Wars" theme or the "Raiders March", for example, but the actual orchestral scores that John Williams used to record the music in the films have never been published. They're locked away in a vault somewhere and mostly likely will be forever. The studios almost never allow them to be commercially published. They don't even deposit a copy of the scores in the Library of Congress as they're technically required to do.

    Thanks to some enterprising insiders over the years, a lot of this material has been copied and scanned and leaked and is only available for trade among fans of the genre on sites like PianoFiles. I would *love* it if 20th Century Fox would take John Williams' scores for the entire Star Wars saga and professionally engrave them and publish them in nicely bound volumes. I'd pay a lot of money for such a thing. But since they won't do that, I have no moral problem obtaining bootleg versions of the handwritten manuscripts.

     

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  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 7:38am

    Let M describe a Turing Complete machine which takes in an input X (an integer) and produces some output X' (another integer). The mapping from X to X' is 1-to-1 and onto.

    Let Z be an integer such that when M is given Z as an input Z' produces an integer which can be interpreted as "Rhapsody in Blue".

    Prove there is a value for Z' for which no Z exists as a literal constant.

    You. Cannot. Invent. Numbers.

     

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  46.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 7:39am

    Re:

    Like Andy Warhol?

     

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  47.  
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    ChronoFish (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 7:40am

    Re:

    I think it's the fact that the item that is borrowed is

    1. Not duplicated

    and therefore

    2. Can not be in two peoples hands at once.

    Not saying the logic isn't flawed. Just saying that I would hypothesis that this is his reasoning.

    -CF

     

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  48.  
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    Dalane K. Braunschweig (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 7:42am

    Re: Illegal is Illegal

    Dag,
    What you "illegal is illegal" types always forget is that the law can and does change. In the last twenty years it has unfortunitly changed to harm the consumer and help the corperation.

     

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  49.  
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    chrobrego (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 7:49am

    Re:

    You need to find a girl. That was so sad.

     

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  50.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 7:51am

    Re: Re:

    Getting married on Friday. You can send her sympathy cards.

     

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  51.  
    identicon
    RD, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 7:54am

    WHO??

    Who is this guy? I have never heard of him. Now, thanks to Eleanor, I know who he is. Now, thanks to Eleanor, I know that I dont care to know who he is. He had an opportunity (much more so now that this entire affair has become "public") to really increase the amount of people who know him and who then might become interested in his works, with some of them possibly even interested in patronizing him and buying. But like the Big Label behemoths who just dont understand (and dont care) about how sharing has been a part of our culture for thousands of years before copyright, he is only (and ONLY) interested in money, and in people paying up for the privilege of enjoying his music. Well Mr. Brown, you have own-goaled yourself. I didnt know who you were before, due to obscurity, and I dont CARE who you are now, due to arrogance. I cant get the last 20 minutes of my life back that I spent reading this and a quick bio of you, but I can make sure to never bother with anything you do ever again.

     

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  52.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 7:56am

    Re: Re:

    Whats sad is I actually laughed. Thats rather funny.

     

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  53.  
    identicon
    RD, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 7:58am

    Re: Illegal is Illegal

    "(I am not a shill RIAA or MPAA... but I am someone who had his property stolen by many people through electronic means and was never compensated for nine months of intense labor. It was basically a statement by others that I should work for free... and they were wrong, are wrong and always will be wrong.)"

    Well, maybe you didnt make anything worth buying? History is littered with the failures of those who made a product no one deemed worthy of buying. You arent "owed" a living just because you chose to make and sell a product. Perhaps it was a "statement" that you wasted 9 months on something no one wanted. Sorry, thems the breaks.

     

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  54.  
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    chrobrego (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 7:59am

    Hey Mike,

    How would you like it if someone decided to create a competing nonprofit website to techdirt.com and did so by just copying your articles verbatim? How would you feel if this website which copied your articles resulted in a loss of revenue to you and to those that work with you? Would you sue? If so, then don't play the hypocrite with other people's revenue. When the money comes out of your pocket because someone else is ripping off your work, then it hurts.

    If you stand by your argument, then please publish a blanket authorization that removes all techdirt articles from any copyright protections whatsoever.

     

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  55.  
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    ChronoFish (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 8:01am

    Re: Sure

    It is actually that easy.

    MLK broke the law knowing that there would be consequences in hope of bringing attention to the injustice colored people (primarily) where experiencing.

    Most people who speed (myself included) are doing so out of ignorance (not paying attention), complacency, or just a flat out disregard for the rules of the road.

    There is really no comparison between the two scenarios.

    One could argue that copying copy-righted material is done as hope of being caught so that attention can be brought to the "injustices" of the RIAA and the laws they purport to operate under. But in reality most people who copy are not trying to change the world - they are trying to get a piece of art that they don't want to pay for.

    Regardless of the reason, illegal is illegal.

    -CF

     

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  56.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 8:03am

    "Why are you entitled to get the sheet music for free? "

    http://www.jasonrobertbrown.com/weblog/2010/06/fighting_with_teenagers_a_copy.php

    No one is entitled to the air they breath but they have a right to it. But what Brown is not entitled to is a monopoly on anything. Perhaps legally but certainly not morally. I have a natural and moral right to whatever music I want to download for free.

     

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  57.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 8:08am

    Online Libraries

    Where are the Online Libraries? I need to sign up and get my free library card and then order the sheet music or e-book or CD or movie I want from their enormous (because it's online it covers the world) catalog and then download it. Sound wrong? Why? I can go to my local library like Jason whatever his name is and do what he suggested. So why can't I do the same thing online? The cost is small compared to a physical building with lots of paper that cost lots of money and killed lots of trees and has enormous costs to maintain. The library staff is already mostly voluntary because the they can't pay for it as it is.
    I have said over and over: As a copyrighted artist/composer and a user of information on the internet. I would gladly pay a small monthly fee to be able to access copyrighted material and either view, listen or read on my computer. What is the problem? They can charge for everything else but they can't levy a simple library access fee.

     

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  58.  
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    Nina Paley (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 8:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Illegal is Illegal

    any time, effort, or money spent trying to stop file sharing is time, effort and money that is not just wasted, but actually invested in ill will against you and your product.

    Investing in ill will. Well said.

     

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  59.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 8:16am

    Re:

    There is no copyright protection. You can do what you wrote. Go ahead. Do it. No one is stopping you.

     

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  60.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 8:16am

    Re: Re: Illegal is Illegal

    The RIAA is authorized by the artists to do these things. (Via the record contacts). I don't see how you can separate them.

     

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  61.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 8:17am

    Re: Online Libraries

    THE INTERNET IS TOO SCARY!!!

     

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  62.  
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    JEDIDIAH, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 8:18am

    The sadness of academia.

    That's just graduate level Computer Science or Mathematics.

     

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  63.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 8:19am

    Re:

    mike doesnt give a crap, because he knows that most of his content loses its value very quickly. in fact, the only value is the discussions here, because many of the posts are poorly researched (if at all) and recently seem to contain misinformation or incomplete information.

    mike has said over and over again to copy his material. he knows that there is no value in it, except possibly for himself.

     

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  64.  
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    out_of_the_blue, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 8:19am

    $3.99 is a *lot* to merely audition a piece!

    How will anyone know they wish to spend their "half hour" of work (less taxes) on this guy's song *unless* they've heard it? There *must* be some degree of freedom to audition songs before purchase, it's even to his advantage, because few are so rich as to be able to *buy* dozens at random. I think it required morally to purchase the sheet music *if* found suitable for performance -- possibly merely sitting around on that basis -- but to merely give it a listen or even try to play, no. The risk that people won't buy it is entirely his, that's business; he simply misses some income by way of advertising.

    I think the increase of auditioning *without* purchase is largely what upsets the biz, because I've bought a good deal of just plain crap back before it was possible to give a listen first. I'd say they're definitely missing the portion that used to be bought just based on the album cover art in an actual store.

     

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  65.  
    identicon
    RD, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 8:20am

    Re:

    "How would you like it if someone decided to create a competing nonprofit website to techdirt.com and did so by just copying your articles verbatim? How would you feel if this website which copied your articles resulted in a loss of revenue to you and to those that work with you? Would you sue? If so, then don't play the hypocrite with other people's revenue. When the money comes out of your pocket because someone else is ripping off your work, then it hurts.

    If you stand by your argument, then please publish a blanket authorization that removes all techdirt articles from any copyright protections whatsoever."

    Hey jerkwad, maybe you are new here or something, but Mike has REPEATEDLY said he has no problem with someone doing this. His stance is, if someone were to do this, eventually people would realize which site was the TRUE originator of the material, and the copy site would be seen for what it was: a poor copy of the original. He isnt a hypocrite, so you can just STFU now.

    And he cant remove copyright protections, because thanks to your Big Corp Buddies bribing...I mean, lobbying, the US Congress, copyright is now AUTOMATIC upon creation, and cant be revoked (1976 copyright act, at the behest of Big Media. You reap what you sow).

     

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  66.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 8:21am

    Re: Re:

    warhol? is that your best trolling possible? mike will take you off the payroll if you keep slacking!

     

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  67.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 8:25am

    Re: Re: Sure

    And illegal ain't necessarily immoral.

     

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  68.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 8:27am

    Re: Re: Re:

    You don't see it, do you? But keep accusing me of trolling and being on a payroll.

    And you wonder why people call you a moron?

     

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  69.  
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    RD, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 8:28am

    Re: Re: Sure

    "Regardless of the reason, illegal is illegal.

    -CF"

    Wow, really? You dont see the revolution happening right before your eyes? You honestly believe the Law is the Law and is sacrosanct? I'm sure the Founding Fathers would be thrilled to see what has become of their ideals embodied in people like you. They were traitors, you know. Treasonous traitors to The Crown. What they did was highly illegal.

    I'm sure that argument would have worked perfectly at the Nuremberg trials, right? Oh wait, thats right, it didnt. I'm sure if a superior officer ordered a lower rank soldier to shoot his bunkmate in the head without a trial, it would be OK with you because its "the law" to follow the orders of a superior regardless.

    And no, I am NOT comparing file sharing to a fight for freedom (only in general terms). I am highlighting the absurdity of The Law being absolute, just because its The Law. Its not, and has ALWAYS been subject to revision or civil disobedience. The CONSTITUTION ITSELF calls for OVERTHROW of the Govt if deemed necessary. So, please, stop the absurd rhetoric about The Law being above all.

     

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  70.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 8:28am

    Re: Re:

    Two legs good, four legs bad.

     

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  71.  
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    ChronoFish (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 9:21am

    Re: Re:

    "...Does it then make it morally wrong for me *not* to share the work?..."

    Nope. But nice try on crafting an argument that attempts to make you *obligated* to share art work against the wishes of the artist.

    -CF

     

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  72.  
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    AdamBv1 (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 9:32am

    Re: Re: Illegal is Illegal

    One thing I think its important to consider is that while $3.99 is not that much cash who wants to pay that up front to look at this sheet music only to find out they can't preform it? What if they have to do this a half dozen times before they finally find something that does fit their abilities?

    At that point you have two choices, you download (illegally) copies for free to check them out or move to use work that is in the public and can be used for free. Honestly I would prefer the second option and let the artist that would lock up their works rot in obscurity but they have to realize they really are not losing sales to downloads when things are getting used for non-profit things like a simple talent show when they would not of been a sale anyways and do end up acting as a form of advertising.

    I in some ways compare this to a bunch of my friends who have downloaded hacked versions of Photoshop when the silly image editing they do could be done just as easily in Gimp legitimately for free but they would never spend money on something to do simple image editing anyways. Even all the illegal uses of Photoshop simply reinforce its market dominance and public mindshare. Everyone I know that actually uses Photoshop to make money is more than willing to pay the (to me the rather outrageous) cost for it because they do know exactly how valuable it is.

     

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  73.  
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    Jupiter (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 9:53am

    Re:

    Except that sheet music isn't a final product. It's something for another artist to use to create art. It requires a composer and a performer before there is anything tangible to call art. She is not riding his coat tails any more than he is riding hers.

    If the performer isn't getting paid for her art, why should the composer get paid as well? She's using the music for an audition or talent show with no remuneration. She's a student, this is her education, and it's entirely fair use.

    It would be different if she were selling tickets and collecting revenue. Then by all means she should share with the composer - much more than the $3.99 cost of a measly score.

    I wished he hadn't had the conversation with a student but with a professional performer. Then it wouldn't seem so one sided, and her arguments about free promotion would make a lot more sense.

    I know about Jason Robert Brown because I buy tickets to see people perform his plays and music, not because I buy his sheet music. A composer is nothing without performers.

     

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  74.  
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    NAMELESS.ONE, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 10:09am

    "I'm sorry if you still think I'm a jerk, but what I'm talking about here is not "insignificant." The entire record business is in free-fall because people no longer feel the moral responsibility to buy music;"

    NO they are tired of the long terms that shuold not exist and pver p[ricing and gouging going on. YOUR a communist if you dont allow the free market to rock n roll

     

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  75.  
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    Bengie, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 10:09am

    Moral

    It's only immoral *if* you can't afford it or you make money from it.

    It's illegal no matter what because laws are bought and paid for and the people who can't afford the content, can't afford to pay for the laws.

    Actually, "Copyright" isn't even a "right", it's an exception to the Public's rights. ANY and ALL ideas/content, no matter how created, are no ones sole possession. All people have the right to use any idea. BUT, since our society is immorally greedy, we made an economic incentive via a *temporary* exception that is marginally greater than our right.

     

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  76.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 10:17am

    Re:

    How would you like it if someone decided to create a competing nonprofit website to techdirt.com and did so by just copying your articles verbatim?

    Many people have, and that's great. They are free to do so.

    How would you feel if this website which copied your articles resulted in a loss of revenue to you and to those that work with you?

    That seems unlikely because we have designed our business model such that the more people who know about our content -- even if they don't see it on our site, the more money we make.

    There is no "loss of revenue." What you might be saying is that what if another site presented our content in a better way such that our traffic went there. This seems unlikely, but if it happened it would be free market research for us and we would need to adapt.

    Would you sue?

    What?!? Sue someone for promoting our work? Hell no!

    If so, then don't play the hypocrite with other people's revenue. When the money comes out of your pocket because someone else is ripping off your work, then it hurts.

    You seem to have ascribed to me views I do not have. Please retract them and admit you were wrong.

    If you stand by your argument, then please publish a blanket authorization that removes all techdirt articles from any copyright protections whatsoever.

    Sure. I have done so many times, but since you apparently missed it, here's one:

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

    All of our work is in the public domain. If you would like to use it to promote us for free, please do so. Thanks!

     

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  77.  
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    Gwiz, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 10:18am

    Re: Really???

    Like most people she would expect to be paid for her work....once. I don't expect to be paid for my work today over and over and over and over again for the the next 70+ years.

     

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  78.  
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    hxa7241, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 10:24am

    Re:

    > if it is morally wrong for me to do something that is economically beneficial to myself

    How can that possibly be? Benefiting yourself economically is doing yourself good -- that can't be bad. It could only possibly be bad, hence immoral, if that good act necessarily also did harm somewhere/somehow else.

    If we look at the act in question -- copying -- purely in itself, prior to any system like copyright, does it seem bad/immoral? Copying removes nothing, it only adds, so, assuming the item copied is good, it only does good -- whatever good was originally there, the copy adds to the sum, and it does so at virtually no expense, in itself. Copying art seems very much moral: really it is your moral duty to spread such things.

    One might say the original creator has rights to control copies, does that not affect the moral status of copying? I would say, marginally, and overall, insufficiently. The good done by spreading copies of good art is substantial, and also, the act of copying is entirely within the copiers scope of personal freedom. Yet the possible harm done by going against a creator's wishes seems significantly less substantial -- it is a feeling that might even be no more than convention. Also for a creator to stop a copier is to materially impose on their personal freedom, which seems unjustified merely by an emotion.

    So copying can only be immoral within a wider system like copyright. But then its immorality is entirely dependent on the morality or not of copyright. So first you must show that copyright is moral. And that is very dubious . . .

     

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  79.  
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    Nick Dynice (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 10:37am

    Re: Illegal is Illegal

    The laws are put into place by lobbyist who's clients have commercial interest. Just because something is legal or illegal does not mean it is immoral. Slavery was legal. Interracial marriage was illegal. Gay marriage in some states is illegal. And I won't even get into the laws of some Middle East countries.

    Find me a majority of people outside of the business that think predatory lawsuits for file sharing is ethical and moral. The RIAA and MPAA need to take a look in the mirror.

    I'm sorry you were not able to create business plan that gave people a reason to buy. You should not work for free. No one pays the entrepreneur and hourly rate when they are in development. The reap the rewards later. The community here at Techdirt are willing to help. You can contact Mike directly.

    "When your conscience says law is immoral, don't follow it." —Jack Kevorkian, MD

     

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  80.  
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    Nick Dynice (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 10:46am

    Re:

    Here is the logic people over 40 seem to use:

    The library is an old concept, to it is morally ok to use it.

    P2P is a new concept, so it is immoral to use it.

     

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  81.  
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    hxa7241, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 10:50am

    Re: Re: Re:

    > nice try on crafting an argument that attempts to make you *obligated* to share art work against the wishes of the artist

    I would say there is strong case for that obligation, certainly prior to a copyright-like system, and possibly even with it -- that it is your moral duty to share, even against the creators wishes.

    Because the good done by the copy outweighs the harm done to the creator, indeed the creator may not be even aware of the copy, in which case no harm is even possible. Also, how can it be justified that a copier have their personal freedom constrained by someone else? Surely such a material imposition needs more than the creator's feeling of offense, or mere wish to control, to justify it.

    There is a sense that something like politeness is due, but hardly more, and that leaves plenty of latitute for differences of opinion, and doesn't give the final word to the creator.

     

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  82.  
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    Matthew, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 11:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I can see the case that you're making but I wouldn't call it a "strong case." If the current situation too much favours creators over the public good, what you're describing (an obligation to distribute freely, regardless of the creator's wishes) too much favours the public over the creator.
    The ideal often expressed here is that creators need to figure out a business model that allows them to profit from their works. I'm not much of a creator (although I hope to be eventually) so I really value and admire that creative effort. I'm willing to pay for content, even though it is infinitely abundant, because I want to reward the N hours that went into producing it. Say it takes a year for a band of 4 people to produce an album. That's 8,000 or more man-hours of work. From my perspective, that's the SERVICE that the band provides. The music is what makes that band valuable and I want to reward them FOR THE MUSIC. I could care less about the band's t-shirt, the liner notes in the CD case, or having lunch with the band. Those are goods that don't interest me. Buying CD's or downloads, even if they're "infinite," rewards the service itself.

     

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    net625, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 12:07pm

    Re: Illegal is Illegal

    It's called Civil Disobedience, why would I pay for something if I could get it for free and with less restrictions? Supposedly copyright law is to protect artists works and allow them to profit. The current problem is that copyright law has been twisted by large corporations who are hanging on to an old and outdated business model, I would love to give some numbers but the RIAA wants me to pay them for updated statistics. So now instead of protecting artists and being beneficial to the consumer, how I have no idea. large corporations are holding on to copyrighted works, long after they should have been released into the public domain, so they can keep squeezing money out of them, free Mickey! I would like to add that if we just followed the law then the internet would be locked down and the government would be able to exert total control over our lives. You must be one of the most boring individuals in the world.

     

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  84.  
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    Richard (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 12:10pm

    Re: Illegal is Illegal

    but I am someone who had his property stolen by many people through electronic means and was never compensated for nine months of intense labor. It was basically a statement by others that I should work for free... and they were wrong, are wrong and always will be wrong.

    If your work was of real value I'm sure that those who made the copies you complain about would have wanted to pay you. If your work wasn't good enough to make them want to pay - then it wasn't good enough - end of story.

     

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    ollie willoughby, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 12:11pm

    Re:

    For one, the library bought a copy of his works and share only that one copy. You are assuming she bought a copy (I doubt) but she shares on a permanent basis (read gives away) to any one that wants it. First off, if this is sheet music, someone had to copy or scan a printing of the work and convert it to a file to be shared for the express purpose of sharing this work. If this was a book, we wold not be having this discussion as we all know you may not scan/copy copyrighted works for distribution with out the owners permission. Just because she is supposedly doing it for free (not if she has adds on her library - then she is getting paid for distributing stolen works). Now, all will think I am for RIAA and the like, I am not. I think they are stupid and lazy. They should find a way to make money off electronic distribution in ways such as what LaLa.com was doint till bought by apple. I also think that this author should look into making his works available for download for perhaps 99 cents via his own website or create a leagal website for distribution of sheet music. I see this done for books (which this is the same as but with music). Some even give away samples and charge for the following as a way of bringing in business (Bane.com). All this does not lessen the fact that he is right and she is wrong. I would like to see her get the part in a play and find that although she is performing, and the theater is getting bucks for her performance, she will not be paid because they want to SHARE her performance with the folks in the audience. I dont think she will stay in the business very long working for nothing.

     

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  86.  
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    redwall_hp (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 12:17pm

    In the golden age of music, back before there was recording technology, the primary means of music distribution was sheet music. The composer didn't make any money off of it. Performers would learn to play each others' folk songs and be paid by towns or taverns to play for a night. There was no concept of someone "owning" the music.

     

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  87.  
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    Richard (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 12:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Sure

    Founding Fathers would be thrilled to see what has become of their ideals embodied in people like you. They were traitors, you know. Treasonous traitors to The Crown. What they did was highly illegal.

    and they were also freeloaders trying to benefit from the British military expenditure which had cleared their western frontier of other European settlements without paying for it. Without those earlier British military actions the Northern half of America would resemble the southern.

     

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    Matthew, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 12:25pm

    Re: Moral

    It isn't because our society is immorally greedy. It's because we want to free up the time of people who are particularly good at creating good ideas, good content, etc. to create more. If there's a Mozart among us, I don't want him to worry about signing autographs or even about filling concert halls. I want him composing. If he chooses to sign autographs or to give concerts, great. Power to him. If he doesn't, I still want to see him rewarded because his creations are valuable to society.

     

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  89.  
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    Richard (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 12:30pm

    Re:

    If one agrees that the composer has the moral high ground

    He absolutely doesn't. There can be no moral right to have your cake and eat it (sell something and still have it).

    Unfortunately copyright was invented long after the time of those who have set our moral codes (Moses, Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed) so nowhere is there a definitive answer - however as a Christian I believe that all creative abilities are given to us by God, they do not belong to us in the first place and it says in Matthew (10: 8) "Freely you have received, freely give."
    This doesn't mean that it is morally right to infringe copyright - but it does mean that it is morally wrong to impose it.

     

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    Jason Lotito, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 12:32pm

    Re: Illegal is Illegal

    What's amazing is Jason Robert Brown himself is violating copyright on his own website in that post.

     

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  91.  
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    hxa7241, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 12:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    > too much favours the public over the creator

    That only stands if one assumes a copyright system. Freedom of copying makes no necessary implication that the creator cannot be fully paid for all the effort and resources needed for production.

    And if you want to pay, as you say, *for the music*, funding production projects more directly (however that might be) makes more sense than paying for copies. That would seem the ideal form, morally and economically, though the actualities of implementation I cannot judge.

     

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  92.  
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    Richard (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 12:42pm

    Re: Re: It's really simple ......

    Why do we want the content creator to make personal appearances, sign CD's, have lunch with fans, etc. when all of those things leave the creator with less time to do what is ostensibly what makes him or her valuable in the first place: creating content?

    Before technology he would have had to do exactly that for all of his income. The issue is who gets to benefit from technology? Since the artistic community didn't create the technology they don't have any automatic claim on it's fruits.

    My observation is that composers from the pre-technical age continued to write better and better music till the ends of their lives - whereas modern musicians (if they enjoy popular success) seem to stop producing anything of value past their early 30's. (That is if they haven't contrived to kill themselves through excess at the age of 27.)

    I wonder what would have happened if we had had an instant transition from no tech to current tech - without going through the era of the printing and record presses.

     

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  93.  
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    BruceLD, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 1:00pm

    whatever

    Maybe this "artist" should actually go out and get a real job and actually WORK for their money.

    It sounds like this "artist" has gotten very comfortable just sitting around being lazy and watching their bank account balance magically increase.

    The vast majority of us actually have to work hard for our money. Thusly, we will choose to support artists that deserve our hard earned money.

    Most content out there is crap these days, and maybe one day when artists are forced to work harder to earn a loving, then we'll decide if they deserve our money.

    If you're a starving artist, get off your lazy ass and get a real job. You're obviously not doing very well if you have no choice but to try to force people to pay for your crap.

     

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    Dohn Joe, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 1:21pm

    He Doesn't Compete

    It was interesting to note Brown's inaccurate comparison's in his screwdriver example...clearly a piece of sheet music doesn't "disappear" and prevent HIM from using it just because somebody's downloaded a copy. I agree with artists being compensated but there is no way they should have "control" over how these works are used once they're purchased.

    I noticed the site he linked to uses proprietary formats and DRM. I have emailed them asking if I could download the music in a standard and unencumbered format since I'm paying in standard and unencumbered cash. Maybe we should invent DCM (Digital Cash Management) where the person paying controls how the recipient can use or invest the cash once they're paid. Wouldn't that be a fair exchange for a DRM-laden product?

     

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    Gwiz, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 1:28pm

    Re: Re:

    Ummm...I am over 40 and I don't subscribe to that logic.

    I think it's more of a technophobe vs tech savvy thing than age.

     

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  96.  
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    Anonymous, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 1:42pm

    Unstoppable

    I agree with the teenager on this one. You can't fight how things are going, and for a lot people who are in the music industry the internet has provided them with countless options to distribute their music and get their name out there. I think the clash is generational though, as I can understand how someone who has made a living from the sales of their music as a product is now having difficulty accepting the shift in business.

    I had to stand before a moral (versus technology) choice not too long ago, even though it's far from the good ol' music vs p2p. The company I work for were looking to make things more effecient, and we had about 50 people we were looking to "cut". Technology made it possible for us to "let them go". Was it morally justified? No. Was it unstoppable? Yes. And I am certain we can let go of even more workforce in the future. So I guess some will benefit more than others from technology depending on the context, but in the music industry, a lot of people will; both consumers and actors from "within".

     

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  97.  
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    AW, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 1:45pm

    Okay, since no one seems to be understanding something. This girl is probably not old enough to work and since banks don't usually take people without money nowadays, she doesn't have a debit card which she could use to purchase the music.

    Secondly, he advocates breaking the law by circumventing copyright law and copying music to multiple formats. What exactly is the difference between an automated conversion of format from one form to an mp3 and a form to sheet music? Both could theoretically be played via a computer and ripped from a cd via mechanical means.

    He is also fairly condescending to the girl, he admitted she took the shares off then berated her for doing ever being interested in him. It's ridiculous.

     

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  98.  
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    SteelWolf (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 1:59pm

    Re: Re:

    Disrespectful, maybe, but in no way immoral. Using somebody's work without asking may annoy them, but it doesn't hurt them. What's immoral is holding culture captive and trying to control how people interact with it.

     

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  99.  
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    Nina Paley (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 2:25pm

    Re: Re: Moral

    If there's a Mozart among us, I don't want him to worry about signing autographs or even about filling concert halls. I want him composing.

    That's what the "donate" button is for. Brought to you by the Free Internet.

     

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  100.  
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    Nina Paley (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 2:27pm

    Re: He Doesn't Compete

    Maybe we should invent DCM (Digital Cash Management) where the person paying controls how the recipient can use or invest the cash once they're paid. Wouldn't that be a fair exchange for a DRM-laden product?

    Beautiful. Yes.

     

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  101.  
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    Richard Hack (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 2:39pm

    I've had a major argument

    with Gavin Bonnar, Sharon Corr's husband, who is a Belfast tort lawyer and rapidly against file sharing. Sharon, who is the violinist with The Corrs Irish rock group, has long been against file sharing. The Corrs themselves have been spokespersons for the European equivalent of the RIAA.

    I had a couple long arguments with Gavin on Twitter - which is a bit hard to do in 140 characters! He had no new arguments, or any arguments at all basically, other than accusing file sharers of "theft, theft, theft" and complaining that file sharing is killing the industry and all the industry people he knows hate it. All of which, of course, simply isn't true.

    There's no arguing with people who are fearful of their livelihood (or in his case, his wife's livelihood, since he's a rich tort lawyer himself.)

    The problem with the "theft" argument is that the promoters don't realize that they're basically conflating the notion that they have a right to be compensated with the notion that they have a right to a SALE - which is not the same thing at all.

    If I buy a hammer, then loan it to my neighbor to solve his problem, I have deprived the hammer manufacturer of a SALE. But I have NOT stolen his PROPERTY. He can still sell his property to someone else and be compensated. If everybody who buys a hammer loans it out, his business will be severely impacted. But is it theft? Hardly.

    This is something nobody seems to comprehend. The issue of intellectual property is an attempt to extend the concept of contract law over the more basic concept of property. It is by definition an attempt to control the behavior of people. And when coded into state law, it is by definition a coercive limit on freedom. One could argue that if it were done by explicit contract, it would be valid. But it's not done that way - it's done by legal fiat. I have no valid contract with anyone when I download a file. The person who originally bought the file I downloaded has no explicit contract with the author to not loan out the purchaser's property.

    It might be useful to counter those yelling "theft" by yelling back "dictator" since their intent is to control your behavior for their benefit without compensation to you and in the absence of any rational contract. This is coercion plain and simple as much as stealing a CD from a store!

     

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  102.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 2:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Illegal is Illegal

    Seeing so many of the recently passed laws it sure seems that they are all bad laws targeted and helping labor unions extend their entrenchment of power and influence. AKA, make money.

     

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  103.  
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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 2:48pm

    Re: Re: He Doesn't Compete

    Not just beautiful, but poetic.

    Seconded. All in favor say "Aye". :)

     

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  104.  
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    Karl (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 3:05pm

    Re: Illegal is Illegal

    Hi, Dag.

    Stealing is stealing, whether a physical item or a digital copy.

    Except it's not stealing, it's infringement. Legally, they are very different. For example, a coyright infringer cannot be charged with selling stolen goods.

    Morally, they are even more different:

    I don't appreciate the RIAA and MPAA tactics, but the law is on their side... as well as the ethical and moral grounds.

    The law may be, but not the ethical and moral grounds. Not by a long shot.

    Stealing isn't wrong because "people get stuff for free." People getting stuff for free is fundamentally ethical. If we can allow people to get stuff for free, we are ethically bound to do so.

    What makes stealing wrong is when it deprives others of things. If I steal your car, it's not wrong because I get a free car, it's wrong because you no longer have your car.

    So, copyright itself is closer to "theft" than infringement is. You are depriving others of copyrighted material, even though you would still have that material if you let them copy it.

    I am someone who had his property stolen by many people through electronic means and was never compensated for nine months of intense labor. It was basically a statement by others that I should work for free... and they were wrong, are wrong and always will be wrong.

    If that's what the "thieves" actually said, then that's too bad, but it would mean your customer relations might be a bigger problem than infringement.

    Regardless: you seem to be giving a "sweat of the brow" argument, and that argument does not hold water, legally or morally. The reason is that nobody "owes" you for the work you do. It's not anyone else's job to pay you. It's your job to convince them to pay you.

    Now, does this mean that you should work for free? Of course not. Working for free is not some sort of moral imperative. You can, and should, find an ethical way to convince others to pay for your labor. But if you can't, that's nobody's business but your own.

    ...But ethics aside, the law certainly is on Brown's side. And if you do want to prevent file sharing, then what he did is absolutely the best way to go about doing that. And cudos to both parties for actually being civil.

     

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  105.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 3:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: He Doesn't Compete

    Aye!

     

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  106.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 3:50pm

    Re: Moral

    It's only immoral *if* you can't afford it or you make money from it.

    Copyrights and patents are immoral.

     

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  107.  
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    whatever, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 5:30pm

    Re: Online Libraries

    HAHAHA ... typical "everything that's online is free" attitude.

    Who the hell is going to pay for the staff time and the equipment to locate, scan, taxonomize, organise, store, backup, and provide seamless but protected (and legal!) access to this material? Volunteers? pffft. You can't give proper library work to volunteers. A project like that is massive, and would need to be done by professional people with an eye for detail and a "get it right" attitude that volunteers do not possess.

     

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  108.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 5:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Moral

    So, in the old days there would be one patron donating to an artist, but in the new days, it can be many patrons donating to an artist. I wonder what we should call these patrons? Perhaps, fans?

     

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  109.  
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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 5:54pm

    Re: Re: Online Libraries

    Yeah, you definitely can't make money organizing a bunch of data and making it searchable.

    That would just be financial suicide, doomed to failure.

     

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  110.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 8:46pm

    Brown strikes me as the kind of guy who, if actually given more evidence on this subject might actually come around to recognizing that, perhaps, it was he who made the wrong assumptions, rather than Eleanor, even if it might take quite some time before he realizes this.

    As I read this I am left with the conviction that you will only accept as a legitimate position one that agrees with you, and that upon the composer doing so he will have finally left the dark side and entered into the light of enlightenment.

    There is a likelihood you will respond when I say that the position you espouse and apply to the composer represents self-satisfied arrogance.

    My daughter likewise is a musical theater stage performer, and whenever she is in need of sheet music she obtains it either through the public library of by payment and download from authorized websites. If it cannot be found by these means, she simply moves on and finds something else.

    Something seems terribly wrong when doing that which is right and consistent with law is viewed by some as foolish and unwise.

     

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  111.  
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    Chris Hughes, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 9:26pm

    Intangible Goods Sold As Single-Use Goods

    Content is the fuel of technology--the physical object (tv, PC, phone) involved in its use is a receptacle for it. Like fuel, the content is meted out in fee-based increments (sometimes more valued content is broken off and a further fee is required for access--premium cable networks, HD channels, pay-sites, etc...). But the content stream is generally undifferentiated, and if you come across something interesting, there's generally a way of preserving it for future use (DVRs, plug-ins like Download Helper for saving YouTube vids, etc...). The trend, though, is towards treating individual items within the content stream as single-use goods, like a hamburger--you eat and digest them, if you want another you pay again. This despite the fact that there is no tangible good lost from inventory with each sale. The cost of digital content is measured in bandwidth-use, not labor. The era of "intellectual property" has cast a shadow over the basic exchange of a single amount for a physical good or a service--once an artist has sold a painting, once a fast-food restaurant has served a meal, etc...there is the understanding that more labor will be required to produce another good for sale. The most stringent use-restrictions apply to the least tangible goods, often ones with the lowest per-unit production costs--software, movies, music, etc...When it comes to content, one does not technically own what one purchases. I find the evolution of internet file-sharing networks to be an extreme, yet understandable reaction to the concept of "intellectual property" and non-ownership. By allowing everyone free access to these least tangible of goods, they underscore the idea that frightens the rights-holders the most: there is no way to own these things. They can not be owned, because content is often an experience versus a thing: a DVD is a plastic disc with the film as its content, much as a burger is a thing which is a content vehicle for flavors. The various industries at war with internet file sharing want to charge for experiences as if they were single-use goods. That mindset allows the same item to be sold indefinitely without the need to replenish stock, the need for further labor.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 10:09pm

    Re:

    As I read this I am left with the conviction that you will only accept as a legitimate position one that agrees with you, and that upon the composer doing so he will have finally left the dark side and entered into the light of enlightenment.

    As I have stated repeatedly, if there is evidence to prove me wrong, present it. Otherwise, I make my position clear based on the data I have at hand. And based on that, it appears that Brown is on the wrong side of the argument and I will state that. It is clearly my opinion.

    Would you really expect me to say that someone who blatantly disagrees with what all the evidence suggests must be right because he says so without presenting any evidence?

    My daughter likewise is a musical theater stage performer, and whenever she is in need of sheet music she obtains it either through the public library of by payment and download from authorized websites. If it cannot be found by these means, she simply moves on and finds something else.

    Good for her. That has nothing to do with anything, of course, but you must be very, very proud. I too do not purposely violate copyright laws at any time. I have never used a file sharing program to download (or upload) an unauthorized work. So what? That doesn't mean I cannot still point out the problem with these laws, does it?

    Something seems terribly wrong when doing that which is right and consistent with law is viewed by some as foolish and unwise.


    No one said that doing what is consistent with the law is foolish, but nice doublespeak.

     

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  113.  
    identicon
    hxa7241, Jul 7th, 2010 @ 5:32am

    Re:

    This is about questioning the orthodoxy, instead of just accepting it.

    Let us examine the example you give. If you got a copy by unauthorised means when otherwise unavailable, you would gain: you get something useful you didn't have before. But on the other side, since it was a copy and not a physical item, and since the copy was otherwise unavailable, there was no subtraction anywhere, nor even the vaguest sense of 'potential loss'. Overall there was a significant gain, and and no loss at all.

    Now the question you should ask is: why should the law make this wrong, when it clearly does good? and further: even if the creator did make less money, is that outweighed by the public benefiting from more access to copies? or: would the whole system work better if the creator makes the copies free and sells something else?

    If you honestly think through the ramifications of those, you will reach an inevitable conclusion. The current laws and system are on shaky ground. Copyright needs modification, or maybe abolition, or just obsolescence, and that there are gains to be had from adapting and improving ways of doing business.

     

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  114.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2010 @ 7:16am

    Re: Re:

    I do not deny that there are published studies upon which you rely, but I tend to view those studies (including studies proferring opposite views) with some degree of skepticism in view of the fact that even they are focused on correlations that are equivocal because they do not establish correlation. "May", "might", "could", etc. permeate their contents, terms that are anything but definitive.

     

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  115.  
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    McC (profile), Jul 7th, 2010 @ 8:18am

    Just curious...

    ... about how many people on TechDirt would consider themselves artists? I don't know of any creative person who would consider their work as fast food meals or screwdrivers or hammers, as some posters have compared.

    Temporal works, like songs and movies, lose their value over time and exposure. Hammers, on the other hand, can be "owned" and used over and over again without devaluation. Also, making a fast-food hamburger requires less time, creativity and talent than composing.

    (BTW TechDirt is not a creative work. It's simply Mike M commenting on someone else's journalistic efforts. It's a lot easier making that free for the taking than a multimillion dollar movie.)

    The essence of the original debate is NOT that file sharing ain't a form of stealing (it is, simply because the rules under which we're supposed to live by say it is--all else is rationalization); it's that an intellectual property can no longer be "owned," as Chris pointed out, and creative people are threatened because the familiar ways of earning a living are quickly becoming obsolete.

    For the artists out there, how are you making a living? t-shirts? Lunch with fans? Custodial work (alongside the hard working BruceLD)? Are you producing hammers, burgers or something else?

     

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  116.  
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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Jul 7th, 2010 @ 8:49am

    Re: Just curious...

    I don't know of any creative person who would consider their work as fast food meals or screwdrivers or hammers, as some posters have compared.

    The "creative" person who had the arguement with the teenager compared his work to a screwdriver.

    Temporal works, like songs and movies, lose their value over time and exposure. Hammers, on the other hand, can be "owned" and used over and over again without devaluation.

    I think you have that backwards, my friend. I can listen to a song or read sheet music over and over and over without it falling into disrepair. However, there is a finite amount of time I can use a hammer before it breaks, oxidises or becomes otherwise unusable.

    Furthermore, I can copy a digital good nearly infinitely without the need of many resources, however if I were to attempt to copy a hammer, I would need its raw matierals and a way to process them every time. (This is the root of the IP vs Real Property issue, btw)

    (BTW TechDirt is not a creative work. It's simply Mike M commenting on someone else's journalistic efforts.

    Your opinion is noted. However, as far as copyright law is concerned, Mike's posts are copyrightable, even though he chooses to release them to the public domain.

    The essence of the original debate is NOT that file sharing ain't a form of stealing (it is, simply because the rules under which we're supposed to live by say it is--all else is rationalization)

    The laws we are "supposed" to live by say that theft and copyright infringement are different-- otherwise the **AA would be going after people for theft, yes? Calling it stealing is simply a cheap way to link a negative idea to another action. Like saying that strip miners are raping the earth. Well, they're *not* actually raping the earth.

    it's that an intellectual property can no longer be "owned," as Chris pointed out, and creative people are threatened because the familiar ways of earning a living are quickly becoming obsolete.

    There was a time when people were actually paid to bring ice to people's homes. When at home refrigeration became affordable, those men and women suddenly found themselves facing unemployment. Should those businesses have formed a group called the Retail Ice Association of America (RIAA) and lobbied to outlaw refrigerators because they "deserve" to get paid? Of course not. So why is it different with a song, a book, or a movie? (Hint: it's not.)

    For the artists out there, how are you making a living? t-shirts? Lunch with fans? Custodial work (alongside the hard working BruceLD)? Are you producing hammers, burgers or something else?

    This, I can't answer for you. The reality is that there is no one size fits all answer. As it turns out, it is going to take creativity to make a living being creative. :)

     

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  117.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2010 @ 9:11am

    Re: Re: Online Libraries

    A project like that is massive, and would need to be done by professional people with an eye for detail and a "get it right" attitude that volunteers do not possess.

    Yeah, anyone who would think something like that could work would probably also think that free software could work.

     

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  118.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2010 @ 9:15am

    Re:

    My daughter likewise is a musical theater stage performer, and whenever she is in need of sheet music she obtains it either through the public library...

    Oh, so she STEALS it! Libraries are just a form of legalized theft!

     

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  119.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2010 @ 9:32am

    Re: Just curious...

    Also, making a fast-food hamburger requires less time, creativity and talent than composing.

    I could create a rap song with far less time and effort than it would take for me to make a hamburger. Are you just trying to prove that you don't know what you're talking about? Congratulations, then.

    BTW TechDirt is not a creative work. It's simply Mike M commenting on someone else's journalistic efforts.

    You IP trolls are really a wacky bunch.

    It's a lot easier making that free for the taking than a multimillion dollar movie.

    I could make a multimillion dollar movie in a day, maybe less. Don't believe me? Give me a few million and I'll prove it.

    The essence of the original debate is NOT that file sharing ain't a form of stealing (it is, simply because the rules under which we're supposed to live by say it is--all else is rationalization)

    The rules we live under are called "laws", and the law says it isn't. Of course, IP trolls live to lie.

     

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  120.  
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    vivaelamor (profile), Jul 7th, 2010 @ 10:10am

    Re:

    "Something seems terribly wrong when doing that which is right and consistent with law is viewed by some as foolish and unwise." Who takes that view?

     

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  121.  
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    SteelWolf (profile), Jul 7th, 2010 @ 10:45am

    Re: Re: Re: He Doesn't Compete

    Aye!

     

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  122.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 7th, 2010 @ 10:50am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I do not deny that there are published studies upon which you rely, but I tend to view those studies (including studies proferring opposite views) with some degree of skepticism in view of the fact that even they are focused on correlations that are equivocal because they do not establish correlation. "May", "might", "could", etc. permeate their contents, terms that are anything but definitive.

    Apparently you are unaware of how studies work.

     

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  123.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2010 @ 1:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I have to ask if you understand how studies work since you appear to rely on those helpful to your views almost as if they demonstrated causation.]

    Before crafting a rebuttal, please reflect upon how many times you have offered to readers of this site that these studies prove patents/copyrights hinder progress. While you may later say "but I have an open mind that will entertain contrary conclusions", it seems that this qualification is generally lost on readers who jump on the initial statement with a cacophony of "Right on! Tell it like it is!".

     

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  124.  
    identicon
    McC, Jul 7th, 2010 @ 1:50pm

    Re: Re: Just curious...

    "As it turns out, it is going to take creativity to make a living being creative. :)"

    Well said, Infamous Joe.

    Regarding the screwdriver comment: I don't know that guy. He cheapens his work to say it.

    Regarding the hammer: I bought one in 2002 and it still works. I saw The Bourne Identity in 2002 but now don't care to see it. It was worth it to pay $$ to see Bourne in the theater, but not now. I wouldn't take the time to watch it for free. And I wouldn't have paid anything in 2002 if I saw it for free. A film has a limited time to be valuable.

    Regarding stealing: Yeah, you're right -- it was a cheap way to link a negative idea. But all over TechDirt people are making cheap links between art forms and non-art forms to rationalize their argument. Everything from hammers to hamburgers to strip mining.

    File sharing seems more like kids who peek their heads under the circus tents for a free performance. They know it's wrong but the technology (tent fabric) allows them to do so. Only here they don't claim that it's wrong -- rather, it's an infringement, not a crime; it's not moral issue; everybody's doing it; it's greedy management's fault; nothing physical was stolen; my word of mouth will generate more viewings; etc.

    Yeah, yeah -- circuses will go the way of the ice handlers (another non-art form comparison btw) and so will our current copyright system. That's why I wanted to hear from artists. How are they being creative to survive?

     

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  125.  
    identicon
    McC, Jul 7th, 2010 @ 1:52pm

    Re: Re: Just curious...

    I don't know what an IP troll is. But I do know what an anonymous coward is.

     

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  126.  
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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Jul 7th, 2010 @ 2:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Just curious...

    I bought one in 2002 and it still works. I saw The Bourne Identity in 2002 but now don't care to see it.

    A film has a limited time to be valuable.

    Yes, but a *very* quick look online shows that thousands of people are still sharing that movie, so not only is it still worth watching to them, but it's worth breaking the law to share it with others. We, in the sane world, call those people True Fans. Not even the threat of legal action will stop them from making it easier for more people to enjoy that movie. From your side of the coin, they are "pirates" or "thieves". I don't care what business you're in, if you turn on your most enthusiastic fans, you will fail. (with the possible exception of Apple fans, who seem to get shit on by Apple at every turn and come back for more. Maybe Steve Jobs poops ice cream or something, I dunno. :P )

    But all over TechDirt people are making cheap links between art forms and non-art forms to rationalize their argument.

    I can't speak for everyone, but I know that I am not focusing on the micro-level of art vs. non-art because it doesn't matter. I am drawing parallels from other businesses that have been made obsolete (or, perhaps, just more efficient) because of advances in technology. I know it sucks to be on the pointy end of this technology advancement, but rest assured it will be better for society as a whole. That's basic economics.

    Right and Wrong have very little to do with economics. It's wrong to lay off an employee who has been working for the company for 20 years only to replace him with a recently-graduated kid for half the pay. But it makes since, from a business standpoint. Although clearly not *everyone* is doing it, the fact remains that copyright infringement is not going away. It's just not. Ever. So, you can alienate your fans and sue them until you're out of money, you can use file sharing to your advantage, or you can get a new job doing something else. Thems the breaks.

    How are they being creative to survive?

    Techdirt has shown many examples of artists experimenting with new ways to make a living in the digital world (in fact, as I type this twitter popped up and told me they are having a seminar on exactly this subject) however, I don't know if there is a simple search to hunt them down, or if you have to scroll through past articles manually.

    I have to say, it is nice to have a civil discussion about this topic. :)

     

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  127.  
    identicon
    McC, Jul 7th, 2010 @ 3:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Just curious...

    "I have to say, it is nice to have a civil discussion about this topic. :)"

    Same here, Infamous. Overall, I think it's going to be a not-so-horrible future for artists. Less money but more opportunity. Right now, though, I rely on current copyright laws to prevent my work from being pilfered. Credit is everything. I get nervous when it seems that the people who insist the loudest on making changes have relatively few risks. I think of the actor, writer or inventor who dies in poverty while everyone enjoys their work.

    Anyways. I'll keep digging in TechDirt.

     

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  128.  
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    Nick Dynice (profile), Jul 7th, 2010 @ 4:52pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    lol, just being sarcastic, mate.

     

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  129.  
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    Gene Cavanaugh (profile), Jul 7th, 2010 @ 7:12pm

    Brown and the teenager

    "Brown strikes me as the kind of guy who, if actually given more evidence on this subject might actually come around to recognizing that, perhaps, it was he who made the wrong assumptions, rather than Eleanor, even if it might take quite some time before he realizes this."
    If he had, or had simply sent her a copy as a favor, he wouldn't be getting all this publicity, would he?
    For that matter, I wonder about Brown and the fact that he "just happened" to email an unknown teenager??? Unknown by whom; Brown? Doubt it.

     

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  130.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2010 @ 7:15pm

    the composer is right, the girl has the mentality of most internet teens and other adults, freeloaders, I want it free, I don't want to pay for it, her own words prove it

    You want his music, fine, pay the 3.99 and download it, but what does she say?? that's right, we wont pay for it, but we wanted it, so we will just download it illegally, which is "insignificantly negative"

    The freeloader mentality has no regard for law or other peoples hard work, they feel entitled to get it for free

     

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  131.  
    identicon
    Chris Hughes, Jul 7th, 2010 @ 8:59pm

    Solution? Return to a economy based on tangible goods.

    The solution for creative professionals? Concern yourself with the money you make from employing your skills in a physical sense to produce and sell tangible goods (creating a painting, selling a script, performing a musical concert, etc...), not "potential revenue" lost after point of sale when it is distributed outside of your ability to govern it (there is an actual organization dedicated to ensuring artists receive a percentage of the sale price every time one of their works changes hands after the initial purchase). There is the habit of privileging creative work above other forms, and to that end we reward the time-frame of initial labor with an echo of income in perpetuity--at what point would we define that a creative professional has been properly compensated? Should, say, the royalties from a single hit song provide for an individual for the remainder of their life, or should we formulate a sort of wage standard based on (for example) experience, fan-base, and the time investment? Other forms of labor are subject to wage restrictions, why are creative professionals exempt? It's because they divorce themselves from the notion of a single good or service for a single fee, and those are the wage rules that the vast majority live according to. I think "entitlement" is very active on both sides of the fence in this issue.

     

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  132.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2010 @ 10:14pm

    Re: Re: Re: Just curious...

    I don't know what an IP troll is.

    Go look in a mirror.

     

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  133.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2010 @ 10:23pm

    Re:

    The freeloader mentality has no regard for law or other peoples hard work, they feel entitled to get it for free

    Did she somehow make him do something?

    Oh, and you do realize that no proof of "hard work" is required for a copyright, don't you? So that's totally irrelevant anyway.

     

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  134.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 8th, 2010 @ 5:07am

    Re: Moral high ground

    To be fair, Brown agrees... he admits he feels the copyright terms to be too long.

     

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  135.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 8th, 2010 @ 6:31am

    Re: Re:

    TAM Wormtongue speak with forked tongue!

     

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  136.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 8th, 2010 @ 7:14am

    Wrong Assumptions

    As the owner of his work, he has the right to set a value for it. The value he assigns to it may be completely wrong, but it's also wrong for someone else to force their valuation on him. He doesn't believe that the value of random people promoting his work is worth the money that he would get by insisting that people pay a fee. Whether he's correct in that assessment is irrelevant.

    If I see a print of some artwork I like and it's marked out of my price range, I could ask the artist if he would give me a print and in exchange I would display it prominently and hand out his business card to everyone that looked at it. Shouldn't he be free to say "No, I don't think what you're offering is worth it"? Am I entitled to steal it from him just because I can't afford it? Making bad or unpopular business decisions isn't evil. I'm not going to perish without a copy of that print and the teen in question isn't going to have her life destroyed if she doesn't get the sheet music she wants.

    If something is available for free, legally or illegally, it changes its market value. Some people who might have paid for it will take the free copy. Other people who wouldn't have purchased it will try the free copy and decide they like it enough to pay for it. It is incorrect to assume that offering a particular item for free will always result in a positive result for the seller.

    In some cases, limited availability makes items worth more, for example Transformers DLC code. It turns out the company was going to release that content eventually in an add-on anyone could purchase. Is there any doubt that the price of that add-on will have to be significantly less than $100 to make any money? If the composer's sheet music wasn't available anywhere for free, could he charge $10 for it instead of $4 and still sell enough copies to make a living?

     

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  137.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 8th, 2010 @ 8:39am

    Re: Wrong Assumptions

    As the owner of his work, he has the right to set a value for it.

    No, he doesn't. In a free market system it's up to the market to set a value.

    it's also wrong for someone else to force their valuation on him.

    Sorry, that's the way free markets work.

    Considering your demonstrated lack of understanding of even basic free market economics, I'm going to ignore the rest of your tripe comment.

     

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  138.  
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    july1962 (profile), Jul 8th, 2010 @ 9:19pm

    infringement

    I wonder why no one is up in arms about recipe "sharing?" When people buy cookbooks, recipes get shared like wildfire if they're good, but few seem to cry "COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT!"

     

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  139.  
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    Jay (profile), Jul 10th, 2010 @ 10:17am

    Re: Re: Moral high ground

    Where did he say that? I got the impression that he just wants to have his work left alone.

     

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  140.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2010 @ 8:11am

    Re: Re: Wrong Assumptions

    Fair enough, I should have said "set a price for it" instead of "set a value for it". Items are worth what someone will pay for it. However, the owner of an item shouldn't be forced to exchange something for a price they have no control over. It's their decision if they want to sell it (or not sell it if they price it far above its value).

    Your pedigreed potbelly pig may in your view have a price much higher than the going market value for ham and bacon. Should you be forced to sell your pedigreed piglets for meat value instead of breeding value? One of the houses in my neighborhood was on the market for two years because the owner priced it way over its value. Of course they had to drop the price to sell it, but it was their choice to do so.

    You could argue that the composer's music isn't his property, but if you agree that it is his property, it follows that he has the right to decide under what conditions that property is exchanged. In some circumstances, it may be necessary to force someone to give up their property for a price they don't set, but "I want it and can't afford the price you're asking" isn't one of those circumstances. "You've got the cure for AIDS and hundreds of thousands of people will die unnecessarily if you don't offer it for a fair price" might be one.

     

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  141.  
    identicon
    David, Jul 27th, 2010 @ 6:26pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    The burden of proof is on you. Copyright is a government-granted Monopoly and a breach of people’s property rights (for example, I may take my own property and transform it into a copy of a copyrighted book). The Constitution specifically requires copyright laws to promote the Progress. All these studies show one thing well: copyright laws have not been promoting any Progress. Indeed, they have been slowing it down. Even if these studies could not definitively prove causation, it does not change the fact that the burden on proof is on you to prove causation for your side (that current copyright laws promote the Progress). Pro-copyright take it on faith that copyright is good, but these studies have show quite adequately that that is all that it is: faith, with no supporting evidence whatsoever.

     

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  142.  
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    sprearson81 (profile), Jun 8th, 2012 @ 6:36pm

    Man this was a popular thread.

     

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


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