File Sharers Aren't Stealing, But The RIAA Is…

from the good-arguments dept

There have been a number of opinion pieces showing up in newspapers across the country lately saying that the “sue your customers” strategy of the RIAA is the only sensible path to take. Here’s a phenomenal response to one such article that makes some wonderful points on copyright infringement vs. theft and who’s really being robbed. First, it says that (as we’ve asserted repeatedly here) not only is file sharing not theft, the Supreme Court has even said so. They clearly distinguished between copyright infringement and theft in a 1985 case, where they said, “(copyright infringement) does not easily equate with theft, conversion, or fraud… The infringer invades a statutorily defined province guaranteed to the copyright holder alone. But he does not assume physical control over copyright; nor does he wholly deprive its owner of its use.” Making matters even worse for the RIAA, the article points out that the record labels represented by the RIAA often don’t have the digital rights to the music from the artists they represent. However, they are collecting money (from fee-based services like iTunes and from these legal cases) and not giving it to the artists they represent. Thus, the argument goes, isn’t it really the RIAA who is stealing (used properly) from musicians?


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Comments on “File Sharers Aren't Stealing, But The RIAA Is…”

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9 Comments
Gerry Ho says:

Piracy = Theft (At Least in Singapore)

The law works a bit differently on the other side of the globe. I’m glad the U.S. Supreme Court has differentiated theft and copyright infringement, but the IP-governing body in Singapore, IPOS has stuck to its own version, and has launched in 2004 a “anti-piracy” campaign (Singapore is famous for government-led campaigns) with the jingle:

You wouldn’t steal a Car.
You wouldn’t steal a Handbag.
You wouldn’t steal a Mobile Phone.
You wouldn’t steal a Movie.
Movie Piracy is Stealing.
Stealing is Against the Law.
Piracy. It’s A Crime.

Toughened copyright laws come into effect Jan 1, 2005, and informants are encouraged to squeal on copyright infringers. The shame of it all.

(Full article: http://www.ipos.gov.sg/main/newsroom/media_rel/mediarelease1_270704.html)

Jkeentauna says:

Re: Who really loses.

Artists get their money from thier album sales. We all know this.
However, Cd stores also suffer from pirating.
Many on campus cd stores across america have gone under in the last few months, due to low cd sales.
Many new bands recieve money from these little stores to help them get started.
The percentage of signed bands is quickly falling each year.
The music industry will have problems.
Big problems.
Just give it some time.

Help the little bands.
If they are on the top 20 list pirate away.
But if they are not. i will support them.

Capt. Obvious says:

You're tools.

Comments 4-6 are just plain uninformed.

4) Woe for the college campus CD store, that can’t continue to rip off students. And woe for the lack of new bands getting ‘signed’ (wherever that fictitious statistic came from).

Bands don’t actully NEED large record labels. The cost of distributing and popularizing a band has fallen drastically. Yeah, you may never be on TRL, but at least you’ll get there without the taste of cock in your mouth.

5) That’s just plain stupid. Someone profiting off of a stolen novel (which took a shitty writer 10 years to churn out) and someone downloading your music because they like it are vastly different. Copyright Infringement damages are based on the degree to which the infringer profited. Selling someone else’s lifes work is not the same as uploading a video of you singing along to some shitty rapper to YouTube. Get a clue, and pull the iPod out of your ass.

6) I can’t even tell if you’re joking, your point is that bad.

Serriously…what the hell? Do you even think before you type?

shaggygoblin says:

aXXo?! Is that you?! ROFLMAO!

Captain Obvious,
I believe you hit the nail on the head with the above comments. Seriously! I have bought lots of “media” that I listen to/watch/read repeatedly. And I have bought “media” that I couldn’t/wouldn’t finish because I disliked it for some reason or another. Some would argue, If you go preview a movie, or browse a book, you should be able to decide weather it is worth your money. But what happens when you pay for it? It is yours. That’s your piece of warm apple pie with a scoop of ice cream on the side. You sit down and begin to salivate at the tought of that delicious piece of heaven dancing on your pallete. BUT WAIT! You notice the arroma is off, and you see the tell tale signs of mass produced, cookie cutter, store bought, tastlesness. Suddenly, you are disinterested in the pie. Possibly even insulted. You take your concernes to the manager. You are then informed, even though the pie and ice cream are in the same pristine condition as when they were first put on thte plate, there is no remedy other than to offer an identical slice of the same pie and ice cream in exchange for the first. So there you stand, bewildered. You think to yourself, I’ll never do that again…. But wait, you did the same thing the last time you saw the preview and decided you wanted to see the whole thing. And, sure enough, that one started like an action flick but quickly became your wife/girlfriends favorite feel good movie. So, we download. We watch a less-than-dvd-quality version. We mull over how we liked or disliked it. We then recover the wasted hard drive space and buy the DVD and recommend the movie to like minded family and friends, OR, we tell everyone how bad it was. We don’t download and SELL/RENT burned/digital copies. We share our interests with others of a like mind and in doing so economically promote/ADVERTISE the artists/actors/labels past/present/future works. Seems like a waste of time an money, all this hubbub about bittorrents and P2P.
This is just one Husband/Father/Soldiers opinion. I if anyone finds this offensive in any way. I am sorry that you have been so exposed, that the only comfort you get is through conformity and attempting to destroy those that would otherwise introduce previously unheardof progressions in everyday society.

shaggygoblin says:

aXXo?! Is that you?! ROFLMAO!

Captain Obvious,
I believe you hit the nail on the head with the above comments. Seriously! I have bought lots of “media” that I listen to/watch/read repeatedly. And I have bought “media” that I couldn’t/wouldn’t finish because I disliked it for some reason or another. Some would argue, If you go preview a movie, or browse a book, you should be able to decide weather it is worth your money. But what happens when you pay for it? It is yours. That’s your piece of warm apple pie with a scoop of ice cream on the side. You sit down and begin to salivate at the tought of that delicious piece of heaven dancing on your pallete. BUT WAIT! You notice the arroma is off, and you see the tell tale signs of mass produced, cookie cutter, store bought, tastlesness. Suddenly, you are disinterested in the pie. Possibly even insulted. You take your concernes to the manager. You are then informed, even though the pie and ice cream are in the same pristine condition as when they were first put on thte plate, there is no remedy other than to offer an identical slice of the same pie and ice cream in exchange for the first. So there you stand, bewildered. You think to yourself, I’ll never do that again…. But wait, you did the same thing the last time you saw the preview and decided you wanted to see the whole thing. And, sure enough, that one started like an action flick but quickly became your wife/girlfriends favorite feel good movie. So, we download. We watch a less-than-dvd-quality version. We mull over how we liked or disliked it. We then recover the wasted hard drive space and buy the DVD and recommend the movie to like minded family and friends, OR, we tell everyone how bad it was. We don’t download and SELL/RENT burned/digital copies. We share our interests with others of a like mind and in doing so economically promote/ADVERTISE the artists/actors/labels past/present/future works. Seems like a waste of time an money, all this hubbub about bittorrents and P2P.
This is just one Husband/Father/Soldiers opinion. I if anyone finds this offensive in any way. I am sorry that you have been so exposed, that the only comfort you get is through conformity and attempting to destroy those that would otherwise introduce previously unheardof progressions in everyday society.

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