Is Music Trading The Prohibition Of Our Age?

from the is-it-really? dept

This analogy is becoming increasingly popular. This is at least the fourth or fifth article I’ve seen use it in the last month. More and more people are saying that music sharing is the Prohibition of our age. Just like at that time, the millions and millions of people who are “breaking the law” even as they think what they do shouldn’t be illegal at all, are moving increasingly underground to continue sharing music. Again, this isn’t a surprise, but the end result is (as was predicted) that the music industry has done nothing to actually help their business. The question is whether or not the analogy holds. People like to tie the newer file sharing applications to the old speakeasy setup, and talk about how Prohibition “created” organized crime – and wonder what the RIAA’s attack on file sharing will bring us. I think the analogy sounds nice, but I doubt that the file sharing lawsuits will have nearly the same sort of impact on our culture that Prohibition did.

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Comments on “Is Music Trading The Prohibition Of Our Age?”

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dorpus says:

What if certain prohibitions do work?

We do not hear loud voices about how smoking bans are “unenforceable”, or that they give rise to organized crime; instead, bans are popular and increasing.

Music does have harmful health effects upon people: it ruins children’s hearing; it creates noise pollution; it contributes to a speakeasy culture of nightclubs, rap or metal concerts, where violent crimes and drug dealing are prevalent.

dorpus says:

Re: Re: Music Listeners are murderers

We live in a culture where we have been brainwashed since birth to believe that music is good. To say that one does not like music is to commit an unthinkable faux pas, akin to expressing pedophilia.

Generations of young people have been walking around with electronic machines strapped to their heads to induce violent behavior or destroy their hearing. Last I checked, the percentage of hearing people who say they like music stands at well over 99.9%.

There is a subculture of a sound-free world that lives in the shadows of mainstream society, with their own language. To compare these two groups, music lovers are 140 times more likely to commit violent crimes, 37 times more likely to be infected with the AIDS virus, and sexually abuse 54% of deaf boys and 50% of deaf girls.


dorpus says:

Re: Re: Re: Great Music Haters

Charles Babbage, the father of modern computing:
“Lady Lovelace wrote that Babbage hated music. He tolerated its more exquisite forms, but abhorred it as practiced on the street. “Those whose minds are entirely unoccupied”, he wrote with some seriousness in Observations of Street Nuisances in 1864, “receive [street music] with satisfaction, as filling up the vacuum of time”. He calculated that 25% of his working power had been destroyed by street nuisances, many of them intentional. Letters to the Times and the eventual enforcement of “Babbage’s Act”, which would squelch street nuisances, made him the target of ridicule.

The public tormented him with an unending parade of fiddlers, Punch-and-Judys, stilt-walkers, fanatic psalmists, and tub-thumpers. Some neighbors hired musicians to play outside his windows. Others willfully annoyed him with worn-out or damaged wind instruments. Placards were hung in local shops, abusing him. During one 80-day period Babbage counted 165 nuisances. One brass band played for five hours, with only a brief intermission. Another blew a penny tin whistle out his window toward Babbage’s garden for a half and hour daily, for “many months”.

When Babbage went out, children followed and cursed him. Adults followed, too, but at a distance. Over a hundred people once skulked behind him before he could find a constable to disperse them. Dead cats and other “offensive materials” were thrown at his house. Windows were broken. A man told him, “You deserve to have your house burnt up, and yourself in it, and I will do it for you, you old villain”. Even when he was on his deathbed, the organ-grinders ground implacably away. “

westpac says:

Re: Re: Re: Music Listeners are murderers

Do you have a source for these “statistics” or did you just pull them out of a dark and dank smelling place? What is the size of this “subculture” you refer to? Somehow I have the feeling that if it exists it’s too small to be statistically significant when trying to extrapolate against society as a whole.

Blaming music for crime is just as stupid as blaming movies or TV. Does Stravinsky cause violent crime? Strauss? Beethoven? Comparing music lovers to non-music lovers in relation to crime statistics is just asinine.

dorpus says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Music Listeners are murderers

>What is the size of this “subculture” you refer to? Somehow I have the feeling that if it exists it’s too small to be statistically significant


The National Center for Health Statistics places the number of profoundly deaf in the U.S. at more than 400,000, while people classified as hard-of-hearing number over 20 million, or about 8 percent of the total population. Within the actual ranks of deaf people, more than half reportedly use American Sign Language (ASL) on a regular basis.

>Blaming music for crime is just as stupid as blaming movies or TV.

Is blaming drug addiction for crime stupid?

>Does Stravinsky cause violent crime? Strauss? Beethoven?

What we need is more research to determine which kinds of music cause which crimes, to better regulate them. I have a feeling the composers you mention cause a high degree of sociopathic behaviors, including introversion, superiority complexes, and hysterical tempers.

I have to go to math class now, so I’ll find the statistics on crime by hearing vs. deaf people later. Though, is it that hard to believe that deaf people are less likely to be violent criminals?

LittleW0lf says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Music Listeners are murderers

Dorpus may have a different view than most people…

Come on, this is getting really stupid.

Dorpus is a troll, he normally throws out a rediculous statement and then tries to back it up with “research” from the internet even though he has told me and others that he doesn’t trust facts spouted on the internet. I guess every site he gets his information from is not some “quack” site on the internet, though everything anyone else points him too is.

Lets not feed the troll, and he’ll go away.

I agree with Oliver Wendell Jones, Techdirt needs user controllable filters so that we can block Dorpus (and the anonymous cowards that have nothing better to say most of the time, and wish to troll behind the AC name,) out. It isn’t that he doesn’t have anything to say, it is that he is in serious need of a clue and those who have tried to give him one suffer his immature onslaught of misinformation.

Maybe Dorpus is the Iraqi Information Minister? I wondered where that guy went, but I thought he had gotten a job with Microsoft…

westpac says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Music Listeners are murderers

I thought my response out quite adequately considering how ludicrous the post I replied to was. Saying that music causes criminal behavior etc… is just idiotic. Backing it up with an obscure internet source doesn’t make it legitimate. Pierre Salinger cited an internet source when he trumpeted that TWA 800 was brought down by a missile without checking the journalistic credibility of the source.

Dorpus is a troll. I’m amazed anyone here takes him seriously anymore. If you think his commentary is thought provoking then you’ve never had an original thought before.

Brooke says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Music Listeners are murderers

Music is the shit… Maybe not the stuff most people listen to but try listening to someone like Ben Harper or Bob Dylan who encourage peace. Personally I think the reason deaf people are less likely to commit violent crimes is because what there are 8% of them so that leaves what 92% of America is not deaf so it is uncomparable. Plus who would commit a violent crime if you couldn’t hear the cop sirens? Music is an inspiration a poem are you against literature also???? Maybe you should quit dissing music and listen to something worth your time. Music makes a difference in peoples lives and I think it is very important. Have you ever played an instrument? Maybe if people played more instruments or got musical hobbies they would be off the streets commiting all these crimes… Certain types of music are absolutely beautiful they speak words that you feel. Sometimes listening to a certain song will help you make it through the day. I love music and I have never even been it a fist fight. Music is from the soul, It makes the quality of life better. Could you imagine a twelve hour drive in a car without any music it would horrible.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: What if certain prohibitions do work?

Music does have harmful health effects upon people: it ruins children’s hearing; it creates noise pollution; it contributes to a speakeasy culture of nightclubs, rap or metal concerts, where violent crimes and drug dealing are prevalent.

You forgot your &lt sarcasam &gt tags. Rather funny tho.

anonymous coward says:

Filesharing as Prohibition?

“The question is whether or not the analogy holds.”

I don’t think so — Prohibition was about political restrictions on what you could do with your own body. It still holds today, with restrictions on cannabis, firearms, certain words from people of certain ancestry.

In “filesharing” you’re using someone else’s work without their permission, so it’s probably closer to (brace yourself!) Slavery than to Prohibition.

Yes, the big record companies have been more like plantation owners, true, but that “we can ‘share’ your bits” line just changes who Massa is. We need emancipation and self-determination for the creative minority.

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