Making people take responsiblity[sic] for themselves is a very good way to encourage people to take the legal and correct course.
You operate from the incorrect assumption that people are willing to take responsibility for themselves. The majority of people in the world today care for little more than themselves, their next meal, and their next good time. Unless you plan to re-educate the entire world on the benefits of responsibility then your argument here is entirely untenable.
If policing normal users was cost beneficial to the entertainment industry, why don't they offer to foot the bill? Since they are "losing" so much money due to piracy and since they believe that eliminating piracy would force users to purchase content and thus bring them back to their former profit levels this should be the obvious solution.
1) I don't think Mike or any of the serious commenters here have ever suggested BitTorrent is all sunshine and flowers. It is a great technology that can and has been used for good business purposes.
2) BitTorrent is full of file traders because that is what it is for.
3)All analogies break down, but your blaming BitTorrent for copyright infringement is like blaming interstate highways for drug abuse because people use them to smuggle drugs.
"Why shouldn't these musicians make money on their music?"
Turn the question around. "Why aren't these musicians making money on their music?" Show the inquisitor the creative accounting systems that labels use to ensure musicians do not get any money.
Then say to them " The real question should be 'What can musicians do to make more money?'" and bring out examples of not only big name acts like NIN, but medium sized acts like Jill Sobule et al, and then the many smaller local acts that use technology to really connect with their fans and build a loyal fan base that supports them.
Of course, you always trot out Metallica (Napster, Bad!) who is just now recovering from their misguided attack on technology.
I somewhat agree. If the average internet user can do these things then a simple search would reveal the photo and video evidence. Unfortunately this is not aimed at the average internet user. Those under 30 are very capable in this regard, however this demographic doesn't go to the Washington Post for their news.
The demographic served by the Washington Post (and most traditional newspapers) is the one that was accustomed to going to these papers when that was all that was available. This demographic tends to be less capable in search techniques and thus any help a website or newspaper can provide to get these people to the source of information should be given.
Newspapers which are led and driven by those who believe that newspapers are the final arbiter of truth cannot point their users outside themselves without failing in their own eyes. Until they realize this they will continue to descend into irrelevance. Those who point this out are, to varying degrees, helping these newspapers regain their dominant position by pointing out their flaws. When the old guard either changes or is replaced the many voices crying for change from these behemoths will prove to have been helpful.
IF you could build a better site that still used all of TechDirt's free content, you would get neither a mea culpa nor a lawsuit. You would get traffic - that is, until the folks at the content originator figured out what you were doing that was drawing their audience away and did something better to draw them back. It's called competition and it's how the business world operates under capitalism.
The eyeballs got there long before the music did. YouTube's success came initially from people uploading videos of themselves. Only later did those same users decide to use it to share music they liked. Hence, the eyeballs were there before the music, and because of those preexisting eyeballs, the music profits. You should really research your points before you assume an untenable stance.
The main difference here is that YouTube makes it's money off user eyeballs, which it pays for, not recording companies' music, which fans upload. YouTube isn't profiting off the backs of the recording industry, rather the recording industry is profiting off the back of YouTube. By you're own logic, the record companies owe YouTube substantial money.
YouTube is all about people. After all, the name means "YOU on the Tube". It is record companies that try to hold YouTube hostage. YouTube doesn't charge it's users to view the videos, it charges it's advertisers to access its users. Why is this so difficult for you to understand?