Hide Techdirt is off for the long weekend! We'll be back with our regular posts tomorrow.

Recording Industry Thick Headedness Not Limited To The US Alone

from the definition-of-thick dept

Mark Cuban recently wrote a rant about how the recording industry’s unwavering belief that suing their customers would solve their problems, despite plenty of evidence that (1) their problems weren’t caused by file sharing and (2) the lawsuits weren’t having any real impact was the definition of insanity. While it might not be insane, exactly, it sure does seem thick headed. Of course, this is the same group of folks who refuse to believe any academic research that suggests they could do much better by embracing file sharing. However, it seems that this thick headedness is being exported around the world. While file sharing use continues to be on the rise in the US, despite thousands of lawsuits, both the recording industry in the UK and the recording industry in South Korea have decided to follow the exact same strategy. You might have thought that folks in those countries would look at how such a policy has failed in the US and conclude it wasn’t worth it elsewhere — but apparently that thought process is a bit too complicated.

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Recording Industry Thick Headedness Not Limited To The US Alone”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: No Subject Given

I think to say that these tacticts are not having any impact is seriously incorrect. It seems fairly obvious that the average person finds it to be very complicated to download songs they want for free, and that is only because of the record industry’s actions. I think they’re actually doing a great job keeping most people away from free music downloads. Otherwise, how could anyone explain the success of non-free download services?

It seems that their foreign counterparts are actually noticing the success of making free song downloads very hard here in the US. Whether or not this is a viable long-term strategy is a different argument, but it seems that it’d be tough to argue the point that all these restrictions are not having any effect on the amount of music that gets shared in the US.

thatguy says:

Re: Re: No Subject Given

If I felt like the money I spent on a CD actually went to the artist, I’d pay for music with the rest of them. I’d much rather send a dollar bill directly to the homes of my favorite musicians. A dollar is probably more than most artists get from a CD sale anyway.

We don’t need you RIAA. Die off already.


Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: No Subject Given

If I felt like money I spent on cauliflower went directly to the farmer, I’d pay for caulflower with the rest of them. I’d much rather send a nickel directly to the homes of my favorite growers than pay a buck for a head of this stuff and watch my money go to the grocery stores, shippers, aggregators, packagers and distributors. A nickel is probably more than most farmers get from a sale of a head of cauliflower anyway.
We don’t need grocery stores and roads. Die off already.

malhombre says:

Re: Re: Re:2 No Subject Given

File swapping (and I am a swapper) is ripping everybody in the process off, including the artist. Its that simple. Any BS that says “if they did what I want with the purchase price, I might pay it” is crap. By any legal standard, it is theft, pure and simple. That realization may hurt (or not) but it is the plain truth.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 No Subject Given

Except… no. It doesn’t equal theft by “any definition.” In fact, the Supreme Court itself has said it is not theft:

“(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.”

So, it’s hard to see how it fits by “any definition” when the most basic definition doesn’t seem to apply. For it to be “theft” then something needs to be lost, but there’s nothing lost here — and I say that as someone who does not use any file sharing programs.

malhombre says:

Re: Re: Re:4 No Subject Given

Good reply, but this sounds like semantics to me…if I am obtaining intellectual property at no cost, SOMEONE is getting ripped off (IMHO). I just think people should face who and what they are, not rationalize themselves into being justified (re: “borrowing” your neighbors Wi-Fi on the grounds that they only use it “10-20%” of the time). They still paid for it, you didn’t.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 No Subject Given

I’m still confused as to how someone is getting “ripped off” if there are no losses. I don’t deny that many people are trying to rationalize their actions — but there is a certain truth to some of those rationalizations.

As for WiFi… we’ve gone through that argument before. Considering it’s simply radio waves… and the person who owns the WiFi lets it go onto someone else’s property, it’s hard to see how that’s illegal at all. In fact, it’s no different than listening to your neighbor’s radio and enjoying the music.

malhombre says:

Re: Re: Re:6 No Subject Given

Ok, perhaps I’m naive or something, but here goes:

“ripped off”: The loss in this instance comes as a result of someone obtaining a virtually identical (I know, mp3 is not PCM or even analog, but still) retail product without purchasing it. Since the discussion is intellectual property (recorded music) perhaps a reasonable analogy would be a book…you can borrow my book, read it, etc…but you can’t make a complete copy of it (with some exceptions as to reasonable use) nor give the copies away because that is the duplication of property without compensation or permission. If it is not theft, then perhaps we should simplify the legal world and rid ourselves of trademark infringements, copyrights, etc. (I believe they qualify as being in the same vein). You might make the argument that you do not intend to resell the product nor even give out copies…but that does not prevent the loss of a possible sale by the rightful creator/owner.

Another way of looking at it (artist’s standpoint): you have a pretty good garage band that practices in an area where I can clearly hear you. I pull out my state-of-the-art super mini-corder and record you guys. Then, I simply start giving copies to all my college buds – hey! you guys rock but unfortunately, when you go and pay for studio time, CD production (or whatever), you discover that 80% of your potential consumers already have your product. It’s not as good as your CD, but it’s good enough. Back to the day job.

WiFi…It’s simply radio waves, but radio waves that someone is paying to access. And unlike your neighbor’s radio, if you tap into it you could very well slow down the bandwidth/transfer rate/load speed of the person who is paying for the service.

That being said, (and IANAL), I concur with those who feel that copyright law in the U.S. is broken, and there should be a time limit to exclusive ownership of intellectual property (no hypocrisy here, I also do garden variety commercial art from time to time). In addition, I agree that the RIAA business model is obsolete and that to fight inevitable advances in media format, distribution methods, etc. is folly and doomed to fail.

What I am saying is: if you are receiving a product or service that is normally and legally acquired by paying, and you don’t pay, then yes, in the moral (if not precisely legal) context, that is theft. The law may need changing or whatever, but rationalizing it won’t make it right.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 No Subject Given

Hmm. You seem to be relying on the premise that “loss of potential sale” is a crime… but that’s hard to square with the nature of capitalism. If I am standing in front of two pizza places next to each other and one offers a free drink with a slice and the other doesn’t… if I choose to go with the one that has a free drink then the other one has experienced “loss of a potential sale” due to free stuff at the other one. Did the first pizza place do something illegal? Did I do something illegal in eating there?

No, it’s all about convincing people that what you have to sell is worth the value. So, any argument based on “lost potential income” is bogus.

As for the example of the band, that doesn’t fly at all. Again, you’re basing stuff on “potential sales,” which is meaningless. In fact, if you talk to many struggling artists today they would LOVE IT if people went out and gave out their music because it would get them more attention and they could sell tickets to real shows which is where they actually make their money anyway.

On the WiFi/bandwidth argument… you’re bringing in a specific case: one where bandwidth is slowed down. Then deal with *that specific case* and don’t generalize it to all use of open WiFi because it simply doesn’t apply.

So, once again, I fail to see how it’s theft. In many cases, I fail to see how it’s “immoral”. Especially with WiFi, in cases where there’s no loss to anyone, I fail to see how that can be considered problematic on any rational basis.

malhombre says:

Re: Re: Re:8 No Subject Given

Your response to the example of the band displays a forgone conclusion on your part not only that the band wants you to copy and spread their work without permission, but in fact “they would LOVE IT”. Nice rationalization (with a dash of altruism to boot).

All of my arguments about WiFi refer to “borrowing” the service from a paying subscriber who may not be techie enough to understand the complexities of securing their net – I am not referring to purposely open networks that invite public use. I mistakenly assumed that would be somewhat obvious, as you can’t steal what is given to you.

And you are saying that bands don’t make money from recorded music, only from shows? Interesting. I will have to investigate that, I had no idea!

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9 No Subject Given

The way most recording industry contracts are structured, the artists makes almost no money from the sale of the album. It all goes to the record label. The artists get some money as an advance, but then through fun accounting tricks that advance is never made up, as all sorts of “expenses” get added onto the bill. The number of artists signed to a major label who actually get any money for each CD sold is tiny.

However, the artists do get touring/merchandise money.

This is part of the reason why free music scares the recording industry more than many musicians. The musicians realize that having the music free only increases their ability to earn money touring.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...