Lowestofthekeys' Favorite Techdirt Posts Of The Week

from the hollywood-run-amuck dept

Reading through the menagerie of Techdirt posts this week led me to develop a better understanding of how some of these media companies work as well as to increase my disdain for Hollywood and their view of the consumer.

First up, we have the article regarding HBO's lack of foresight:

It's awesome to run a business; I don't attempt to run a business because pop music already gives me high blood pressure. I do understand certain fundamentals though, like planning for the long-term. HBO apparently doesn't understand this, and as bob so brilliantly brought out (Black Swan wins again!), the industry has set itself up into a position where it has to maintain revenues at a specific level or it will collapse. Because of this, the consumer suffers because HBO expects us to adapt to their needs.

Second, we have the article about Disney's presentation on copyright and creativity:

The pattern of shortsightedness continues, though here we have a company that built itself on two things: copyright and public domain, but seems to be very focused on the copyright aspect. I haven't seen the presentation, but if I were the gambling type, I'd place my bets on the fact that it will be geared towards stronger copyright law and it's relation to creativity. If this proves true, then it just adds insult to injury with Disney's already stellar record of denying the public domain, and by extension creators everywhere, the content it needs.

My third favorite was Zach Knight's (vampire detective?) article on focusing on why people don't buy:

To me, this article focuses on two things: foresight and analysis. These two aspects are key to marketing effectively, but yet Hollywood is focused on preventing stage six, which basically means their time and effort is spent trying to prevent people from taking things for free instead of nipping the process in the bud by seeing what they can change earlier on to make people want to buy. Frankly, the latter seems like it has a more sustainable, long-term effect while the former just sustains the current model. This is, once again, an example of why Steve Jobs was an awesome businessman, and Hollywood is a terrible child.



Reader Comments (rss)

 
To your question: "Why under the same system 30 years ago did we not see piracy as an option?", I have to say... you're very, very wrong. Unlike you, I was actually alive & sentient 30 years ago (I assume you're a young'un?) and we didn't have the concept of "piracy" as a definition for sharing media because everyone was free to do as they pleased without these insane and hyper-controlling laws that are being passed, as long as no money changed hands. It seemed like life was a lot freer back then, with many fewer draconian rules. The people who are passing these laws seem to be incredibly rich people who are using their great wealth to get even more incredibly rich, and there doesn't seem to be a lot of sense in their behavior. Are they making all this extra "lost sale" money in order to spend it on politicians and more draconian laws, only to drive away their customers?

When I was a pre-teen, we taped songs off of the radio with our parents' tape recorders. When I was a little older, my friends and I used to borrow our older brothers & sisters' LPs to make mixtapes of our favorite songs. I had an Aiwa stereo set up where you could play a record and tape it at the same time, and the sound was perfect! So my friends would come over and make their mixtapes and I'd get to pick all the songs I liked to make my own. Everyone all across the nation did this, "mixtapes" are referred to in several rock songs of the 60s and 70s and everyone knew what they were and made them. Once we got older & got jobs, we spent lots of money going to music shows and all of us amassed huge record, then CD, collections. So I've personally paid for a lot of music twice. I have boxes & boxes of CDs and it was a real pain to rip them, but I did rather than pay a third time.

I discovered a small band called Grey Eye Glances by downloading their songs for free on Napster (just before it was shut down) and then went to more than a dozen of their live shows over the years, bought every CD they had as well as their book of lyrics (sold by the band directly to me), and introduced about six or eight people to their work, who also went on to buy their CDs. Several of the people I intro'd to GEG used their music for artistic music vids (a gray area in the law, but it'll get you yanked from youtube) and introduced a lot of new people to their songs.

Nobody called it piracy back then unless money changed hands, like the guys on street corners in NYC who sold bootleg media; "piracy" is a pejorative term that was only recently modified to include freebie copying with no money changing hands. Seriously, once upon a time, piracy only meant the guys who made money on bootleg, not people who shared! I remember reading that the Russian mob made millions selling bootleg tapes, CDs and DVDs to people on the streets in cities up & down the east coast. They don't anymore because no one pays for downloads, so there's no market for their bootleg physical media anymore. Sharing stopped piracy.

With regard to movies & TV shows, everyone I knew under the age of 30 had tape-to-tape VHS set ups so that we could dub videotapes of our fav shows for one another. (This is why I still have WKRP in Cincinatti with its original music.) In the case of non-USA shows that didn't make it to the US (like Dr. Who did), we'd have friends in England photograph directly off of TV to make tapes of The Professionals, Blake's 7, etc. for us. Blakes 7 eventually made it to PBS (and they're currently filming a reboot) because we made terrible-looking, over-copied VHS tapes for one another and did PR for the show by mailing them around. I doubt the people who own Blakes 7 would be doing a reboot without our so-called "piracy" in the 80s, because they have an eye on the US market now that they've seen how popular rebooted Dr. Who is over here. We figured out ways to get impossible-to-buy British tapes because they were made in England in PAL, which did not work with our NTSC players--a workaround for the dreaded "Region" mode of controlling sales! Currently, we all own cheap region-free DVD players that also have USB ports... and huge DVD collections! People who share media demonstrably have the largest purchased collections of media.

We also duplicated a lot of Japanese animation and passed it around in the late 70s & 80s, as it was both terribly expensive and impossible to find even if you did find it in the odd Japanese book store, or had it shipped from Japan. I had a friend whose brother was stationed in Japan and he was a major source of shows for about 100 to 200 people as he'd mail tapes out to his sister and we'd duplicate tapes for it seems like everyone on the North American continent. With what would now be called "piracy", we created the US market that helped the people who make anime sell it over here.

Also, you could say that libraries are piracy: many read the same book with only the one sale made to the publishing houses that sell books. There have been a number of people throughout history who have not supported libraries and tried to close them down for this reason, despite the fact that they are great equalizers for education for less advantaged people. We've been conditioned to think of libraries as beneficial to society, but it's really just institutionalized piracy!

YMMV! But that's a good 40 years of so-called "piracy" right there from someone who lived it.
—Anonymous Coward

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    RD, Sep 15th, 2012 @ 12:19pm

    Almost, but not quite

    "If this proves true, then it just adds insult to injury with Disney's already stellar record of denying the public domain, and by extension creators everywhere, the content it IS OWED"

    FTFY

    Good points all, but we need to remember what the copyright bargain comprises: A deal with the public, to secure exclusive LIMITED rights for a LIMITED time, in exchange for ALL creative output to be returned TO THE PUBLIC.

    And yes, the capital letters ARE necessary, because there are too many shills/trolls/stupid people in the world who still JUST DONT GET IT.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 15th, 2012 @ 3:18pm

      Re: Almost, but not quite

      I wonder if infringement doesn't void the limitations on exclusivity.

       

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        Beech, Sep 15th, 2012 @ 4:54pm

        Re: Re: Almost, but not quite

        I wouldn't say it "voids" the exclusivity, just makes the times it is secured for that much more LIMITED

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 15th, 2012 @ 7:21pm

    "To me, this article focuses on two things: foresight and analysis."

    Actually, it focused on justification and excuse making. Why under the same system 30 years ago did we not see piracy as an option? The widespread availability of pirated material on the internet is a cause, not a result.

    All he did was come up with the standard list of excuses used by people to justify piracy. He forgot " - I am an impatient child who cries until they get their binky".

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 15th, 2012 @ 9:21pm

      Re:

      I guess the RIAA didn't consider cassettes as piracy, then. Clearly the campaign of "Home Taping is Killing Music" never existed!

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2012 @ 1:06am

        Re: Re:

        Umm, wow, talk about revisionist history.

        Piracy wasn't much of an option in the past because there was always a need for an original to make a copy - the copy of a copy sucked balls. Nobody wanted a hissy, lossy, compressed crap third generation tape recording. Piracy then was an issue at it's own level, but nothing like what we see today.

        I mean, if you think about it, you could have copied a wax disc as well. In the same manner, photocopy machines could copy a book, but people rarely did it.

        Piracy existed, it was just not an option that most people considered. Now it's step 1 in any decision to obtain content.

        You would be ignorant to think that cassette copies are the same as today's rampant piracy.

         

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          Rikuo (profile), Sep 16th, 2012 @ 2:54am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Yes...so what are you going to do to convince me to buy? Shoving layers of DRM, calling me a thief and saying you'll sue the very house out from under anyone who even consumes your media whom you suspect (but don't ever bother actually proving!) of not paying is NOT how you convince people to pay.
          I admit - when I want something in a digital format, I do look for the free option first (here's a hint - try offering it for free yourself, and work out ways to make money on that). I have learned many times that the pay for route only harms me in the end (looking at you Ubisoft, and your badly programmed DRM that left major holes in my security).

          Yes, infringement levels in the past are nothing like they are today - that is because today, most people have at least one device that can copy data. You are fighting a losing battle here: everyone can copy and thus, expecting everyone to obey a law that says "Do Not Copy" is nonsensical. To obey this crazy law, everyone would have to give up their devices and several freedoms, which is a price no-one wants to pay.



          Now you have two choices. You can stomp your feet and cry "Piracy!" "You can't have it now! Only when I say so!"
          Or you can work with us, and find ways to make money off of us, that don't involve destroying people's lives.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2012 @ 5:20am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            ".so what are you going to do to convince me to buy? "

            Nothing beyond making the most desirable product. Buy if you want, don't if you don't want to. Just don't pirate it.

            When you start to understand that nobody is forcing you to buy, then you will start to understand why your pirating actions are self-serving and self- justifying.

             

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              Rikuo (profile), Sep 16th, 2012 @ 6:02am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              So you're going to make a product that is basically free for anyone to copy, that anyone can copy and are charging me to copy...but are not going to do anything to convince me to pay that price?
              You're right, nobody is forcing me to buy...except for copyright cartels who just love slapping piracy tariffs on products they have nothing to do with, such as blank CDs.

              Read this post, and then have a response.
              http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120815/18483620066/stupidity-just-go-without-argument. shtml

              I'll copy and paste the key section
              "But let's look at this in a more realistic way. What exactly does "doing without" do for the content creator? How does "not purchasing" (or not having the option to purchase) the disputed content do anything for the creators? Because the bottom line in both scenarios is that $0 has made its way from the potential customers to the people desiring the income.

              If everyone just "does without," how does this improve the situation for either the content creator or the customers? Once you've taken the piracy out of it, all you've got left is a set of lousy options that do nothing for everyone involved. If rights holders are happier merely saddling up their high horse and riding to the nearest moral peak, so be it. Riding that horse won't make you any richer, though. All it does is further separate you from your potential income.

              A bit of the old infringement, on the other hand, gets your work into the eyes, ears, brains, etc. of potential customers. Sure, not all of them would buy if they had the chance, but at least in this scenario, you're building a bit of a fanbase that may decide to reward you whenever the distributor finally pulls their head out of their legacy and starts meeting customers, at minimum, halfway."

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2012 @ 6:41am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                You are confusing someone's opinion and their self-justification for being fact.

                It's not. That post got debunked about 10 times in the comments.

                 

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                  Rikuo (profile), Sep 16th, 2012 @ 7:06am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  I read the comments. It was not 10 times. And of those debunks, they were themselves debunked by even more people.

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2012 @ 8:03am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Can you explain why you think opinion is fact?

                     

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                      Rikuo (profile), Sep 16th, 2012 @ 8:24am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      When did I say that? I linked to that opinion piece because Tim had a better response to your Do Without argument than one I might have written. I know it's opinion. It's an opinion piece that MIGHT AS WELL be fact because it's very well written, logical and easy to follow.

                      God...this is why you guys are so hard to deal with. You argue with things WE NEVER SAY!

                       

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                      Leigh Beadon (profile), Sep 16th, 2012 @ 9:16am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      Can you explain why you think opinion is fact?

                      Can you? You do realize that "copying is morally wrong" is an opinion, right?

                       

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                  JMT (profile), Sep 16th, 2012 @ 3:40pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  "You are confusing someone's opinion and their self-justification for being fact."

                  That quote is based entirely on facts, even if they're facts you don't like. From an artist's point of view there is no difference in income between piracy and "doing without". It's zero in both cases. That's a FACT. Piracy also puts content in front of more eyes and ears that doing without, which is always beneficial to the artist. That's a FACT. You may strongly prefer payment over non-payment, and that's understandable, but you can't honestly claim that artists prefer obscurity to piracy.

                   

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              JMT (profile), Sep 16th, 2012 @ 4:19pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "Nothing beyond making the most desirable product."

              Great idea! When does that start?

              "When you start to understand that nobody is forcing you to buy..."

              What a nonsense statement! Nobody actually thinks they're being forced to buy anything. Why would we start to understand that when it's completely self-evident? Pure straw man.

              "...then you will start to understand why your pirating actions are self-serving and self- justifying."

              And again, why would we start to understand something completely self-evident? Whether you buy or pirate, it's always self-serving. You listen to music because you enjoy it. You watch a movie because you enjoy it. These are self-serving acts. The decision you make is whether you also do something for the content creators. It's up to the content creators or rightholders (rarely one and the same) to convince consumers to give them our money or spend it on something else.

               

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              RD, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 5:17am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "Nothing beyond making the most desirable product. Buy if you want, don't if you don't want to. Just don't pirate it.

              When you start to understand that nobody is forcing you to buy, then you will start to understand why your pirating actions are self-serving and self- justifying."

              Ok, so where can I buy Song of the South again? Or the John Larroquette Show? Oh thats right, these are NOT AVAILABLE in any format, at any price, and never have been. So...what part of this makes me a pirate if I "acquire" it when the copyright holder has never even offered it for sale? Who is being "stolen" from again? What, exactly, is the harm if I were to do so?

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 4:15pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Where can you buy "Song Of The South"? I bought it on DVD a while back from a company called onlyclassicmovies.com but I'm not sure they have it anymore. There are other sites on the net selling it, however.
                And the statement about it having never been available in any format at any price is not true. "Song Of The South" has been released on videocassette in Europe and laserdisc in Japan, for example.

                 

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            Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2012 @ 6:11am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I admit - when I want something in a digital format, I do look for the free option first

            Shoving layers of DRM, calling me a thief ...


            So you admit to being a thief and then resent being called a thief. Interesting.

             

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              Rikuo (profile), Sep 16th, 2012 @ 6:26am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              For me to be a thief, I'd have to have BOTH taken something AND deprived you of it.
              You still have your digital file. Therefore...not a thief.

              Plus, great job, with not responding to WHY I prefer looking for the free option first.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2012 @ 6:43am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                You unjustly enrich yourself by illegally appropriating content that has market value. That is both wrong and stealing in my book. That you chose to parse words to make yourself feel better about your wrongful actions is your issue.

                And it is apparent that you seek the free option because you are a cheap fuck without a moral compass. You're are simply a self-entitled loser.

                 

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                  gnudist, Sep 16th, 2012 @ 7:02am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  You have confused getting something for free with theft.

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2012 @ 7:12am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Unlawfully taking content that is offered for sale is not the same thing as "getting something for free". The rights holder is offering the content for sale/rent. There's no voluntary action on the part of the rights holder to convey that item of value for free. Taking it and failing to pay for it is an unjust and unlawful enrichment. It is no different and no less right than sneaking into a theater or sporting event without paying. I honestly don't understand why you are able to simply dismiss the wrongful nature of this act.

                     

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                      Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2012 @ 7:12am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      *no more*

                       

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                      Rikuo (profile), Sep 16th, 2012 @ 7:30am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      Sneaking into a theatre/sporting event causes a loss of sale of a scarce product - the seat. THAT is what a theatre or sporting event sells: a finite amount of seats. (FYI, I have NEVER once sneaked in, I am happy to pay the price to get in. In fact, I am now making plans to go see the new Judge Dredd movie with a friend. We could download the movie, but we feel like paying to get in to a cinema).
                      We are able to dismiss the "wrongful nature" of downloading simply because by our moral compass, no harm is being done. Whether or not we see the movie in a theatre or for free, you have to convince us to pay. If you fail to make a convincing argument, you go home with empty pockets. As I and others here have stated many times, RtB. Give us a REASON to BUY, other than being "morally superior" (in quotes because my moral compass says you are not in fact morally superior) or screaming "Unjust!"

                       

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                        Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2012 @ 8:05am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        Unless the theater was full, you didn't cause a loss of sale either.

                        It's called justification. You can keep making it, but it doesn't change the situation.

                         

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                          Rikuo (profile), Sep 16th, 2012 @ 8:20am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          Did you not read the above comment? I don't see movies in theatres for free! I always pay! So why are you going on about how I'm justifying sneaking in?

                          Last time I downloaded a movie that was still showing in theatres...must have been that live-action Dragonball. And I'm glad I didn't pay to see it, because it was god-damned awful. Wish I had done the same with Marvel's Avengers, I literally fell asleep half-way through that, it was so bad (who is Loki and why is he doing what he's doing? Who are the alien invaders? Why is it that the good guys say several times that if Bruce Banner transforms into Hulk, they've automatically won?)

                           

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                            Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2012 @ 5:30pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            I pay to see movies in the theater as well. However, I don't buy concessions there. I smuggle my own.

                             

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                            Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2012 @ 5:45pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            If you had stayed awake, you'd have known that Loki is Thor's brother and he does what he does because he's a bad guy.

                             

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                              Rikuo (profile), Sep 16th, 2012 @ 7:32pm

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                              So...in other words, Loki has zero motivation to do what he does? Simply saying "I do bad things because I'm a bad guy" is the worst thing you can do to a story. Not showing the villain's motivation only works in extremely rare circumstances, like in Lord of the Rings - in the movie, we never learn why Sauron wants to conquer the world (then again, we rarely encounter Sauron in person, unlike Avengers).

                               

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                          gnudist, Sep 16th, 2012 @ 8:24am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          You don't get to decide rikuo's morality any more than I can tell a religous jew that eating bacon is moral or that circumcision is eveil.

                           

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                        Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2012 @ 5:28pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        A new Judge Dredd movie? Maybe there will be a new Tank Girl movie as well. Hope!

                         

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                      Leigh Beadon (profile), Sep 16th, 2012 @ 9:12am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      There's no voluntary action on the part of the rights holder to convey that item of value for free.

                      Sure there is. They released that content into a world where all content is infinitely replicable and available for free with in seconds. Unless they've been living under a rock for 20 years, they absolutely knew that when they put their work out there it would become available for free.

                      It's like if I plant a rose garden in my front yard and try to charge people to come look at it. Passers-by on the street will turn their head and look without paying. "But I took no voluntary action to make my roses visible from the public street right next to them!"

                       

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                  Rikuo (profile), Sep 16th, 2012 @ 7:24am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Just to make you look like an idiot.
                  The vast amount of games that I download for free...I then go on and buy. In fact, just checking my Steam library now...
                  60 games bought and paid for. Now, let me see if I can remember how many I downloaded for free first before I then went on to buy...at least eight. The rest I didn't need to download for free first: I either had already played them on other platforms (e.g. Broken Sword II) or had researched them extensively before buying, or were cheap due to Steam sales (e.g. Alan Wake) and so, even if I was burned, I wasn't going to be burned that much.


                  Now try harder on your insults. None of what you said applies to me. I am hardly cheap, given what I've spent on Steam alone. I do have a moral compass, one I have honed over the years.
                  Besides, your response just VALIDATES what I wrote above, about being called a thief (and not just thief). You would make content and then, if I happen to see it for free, proceed to insult me. Well, guess what? If you do that, I won't give you money AT ALL. You've got to be awesome, you've got to be willing to engage with us. Simply making the content and then looking down your nose at us, is not enough to convince me to buy.

                   

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          Leigh Beadon (profile), Sep 16th, 2012 @ 9:07am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Umm, wow, talk about revisionist history.

          Piracy wasn't much of an option in the past because there was always a need for an original to make a copy - the copy of a copy sucked balls. Nobody wanted a hissy, lossy, compressed crap third generation tape recording. Piracy then was an issue at it's own level, but nothing like what we see today.

          I mean, if you think about it, you could have copied a wax disc as well. In the same manner, photocopy machines could copy a book, but people rarely did it.

          Piracy existed, it was just not an option that most people considered. Now it's step 1 in any decision to obtain content.

          You would be ignorant to think that cassette copies are the same as today's rampant piracy.


          Right. The difficulty of making quality copies, and the price of making quality copies, dropped from extremely high to effectively zero -- but the price of copies-for-sale did not drop accordingly, thanks to artificial monopolies. Thus, massively increased piracy.

          Again, you guys want to make this a moral argument because that's the ONLY argument you can win. You know perfectly well that the industry has brought this on itself, and that the industry is failing to do the practical things it could do to fix the situation. You know that piracy is a reality and it's not going away and the only way to combat it is to compete -- but that involves work, and you don't want to do work, so you'd rather be lazy and take solace in the fact that you are "morally correct"

          So, er, congratulations? Maybe pirates are all going to burn in hell one day, and you can sit on a cloud and laugh. I'm sure that belief brings you comfort. In the mean time you can gibber like a mad prophet and try to convince everyone of your great moral superiority. But it's not going to change a damn thing here in reality.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2012 @ 9:20am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Even on the moral arguement the anti-piracy folks don't win because morality is subjective.

            They "win" only until they start talking about how the pirates "know" what they're doing is wrong.

             

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              Leigh Beadon (profile), Sep 16th, 2012 @ 9:56am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Even on the moral arguement the anti-piracy folks don't win because morality is subjective.

              True - I guess what I actually mean is that they can't lose, for the same reason of subjectivity. They are allowed to think it's wrong and no-one can "prove" otherwise.

               

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2012 @ 11:50am

      Re:

      To your question: "Why under the same system 30 years ago did we not see piracy as an option?", I have to say... you're very, very wrong. Unlike you, I was actually alive & sentient 30 years ago (I assume you're a young'un?) and we didn't have the concept of "piracy" as a definition for sharing media because everyone was free to do as they pleased without these insane and hyper-controlling laws that are being passed, as long as no money changed hands. It seemed like life was a lot freer back then, with many fewer draconian rules. The people who are passing these laws seem to be incredibly rich people who are using their great wealth to get even more incredibly rich, and there doesn't seem to be a lot of sense in their behavior. Are they making all this extra "lost sale" money in order to spend it on politicians and more draconian laws, only to drive away their customers?

      When I was a pre-teen, we taped songs off of the radio with our parents' tape recorders. When I was a little older, my friends and I used to borrow our older brothers & sisters' LPs to make mixtapes of our favorite songs. I had an Aiwa stereo set up where you could play a record and tape it at the same time, and the sound was perfect! So my friends would come over and make their mixtapes and I'd get to pick all the songs I liked to make my own. Everyone all across the nation did this, "mixtapes" are referred to in several rock songs of the 60s and 70s and everyone knew what they were and made them. Once we got older & got jobs, we spent lots of money going to music shows and all of us amassed huge record, then CD, collections. So I've personally paid for a lot of music twice. I have boxes & boxes of CDs and it was a real pain to rip them, but I did rather than pay a third time.

      I discovered a small band called Grey Eye Glances by downloading their songs for free on Napster (just before it was shut down) and then went to more than a dozen of their live shows over the years, bought every CD they had as well as their book of lyrics (sold by the band directly to me), and introduced about six or eight people to their work, who also went on to buy their CDs. Several of the people I intro'd to GEG used their music for artistic music vids (a gray area in the law, but it'll get you yanked from youtube) and introduced a lot of new people to their songs.

      Nobody called it piracy back then unless money changed hands, like the guys on street corners in NYC who sold bootleg media; "piracy" is a pejorative term that was only recently modified to include freebie copying with no money changing hands. Seriously, once upon a time, piracy only meant the guys who made money on bootleg, not people who shared! I remember reading that the Russian mob made millions selling bootleg tapes, CDs and DVDs to people on the streets in cities up & down the east coast. They don't anymore because no one pays for downloads, so there's no market for their bootleg physical media anymore. Sharing stopped piracy.

      With regard to movies & TV shows, everyone I knew under the age of 30 had tape-to-tape VHS set ups so that we could dub videotapes of our fav shows for one another. (This is why I still have WKRP in Cincinatti with its original music.) In the case of non-USA shows that didn't make it to the US (like Dr. Who did), we'd have friends in England photograph directly off of TV to make tapes of The Professionals, Blake's 7, etc. for us. Blakes 7 eventually made it to PBS (and they're currently filming a reboot) because we made terrible-looking, over-copied VHS tapes for one another and did PR for the show by mailing them around. I doubt the people who own Blakes 7 would be doing a reboot without our so-called "piracy" in the 80s, because they have an eye on the US market now that they've seen how popular rebooted Dr. Who is over here. We figured out ways to get impossible-to-buy British tapes because they were made in England in PAL, which did not work with our NTSC players--a workaround for the dreaded "Region" mode of controlling sales! Currently, we all own cheap region-free DVD players that also have USB ports... and huge DVD collections! People who share media demonstrably have the largest purchased collections of media.

      We also duplicated a lot of Japanese animation and passed it around in the late 70s & 80s, as it was both terribly expensive and impossible to find even if you did find it in the odd Japanese book store, or had it shipped from Japan. I had a friend whose brother was stationed in Japan and he was a major source of shows for about 100 to 200 people as he'd mail tapes out to his sister and we'd duplicate tapes for it seems like everyone on the North American continent. With what would now be called "piracy", we created the US market that helped the people who make anime sell it over here.

      Also, you could say that libraries are piracy: many read the same book with only the one sale made to the publishing houses that sell books. There have been a number of people throughout history who have not supported libraries and tried to close them down for this reason, despite the fact that they are great equalizers for education for less advantaged people. We've been conditioned to think of libraries as beneficial to society, but it's really just institutionalized piracy!

      YMMV! But that's a good 40 years of so-called "piracy" right there from someone who lived it.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2012 @ 6:37pm

        Re: Re:

        "nlike you, I was actually alive & sentient 30 years ago (I assume you're a young'un?) and we didn't have the concept of "piracy" as a definition for sharing media because everyone was free to do as they pleased without these insane and hyper-controlling laws that are being passed,"

        Welcome to revisionist history, version 62.

        First off, I am old enough not only to remember it, but I lived it. It's really key to understand that even Mike isn't old enough to have truly lived it, and most of the idiots wandering around with the cassette tape scull and cross bones shirts never owned a recording tape in their life.

        So, now that I have proven your assumptions wrong, let's work on the meat of your argument.

        "When I was a pre-teen, we taped songs off of the radio with our parents' tape recorders. When I was a little older, my friends and I used to borrow our older brothers & sisters' LPs to make mixtapes of our favorite songs."

        Yes, but at the time, the ratio of pirated copies to originals was about 1 to 1. Even under the best conditions, a single original album wouldn't be responsible for more than a few copies, because of the time required (1 to 1 with the length of the record), and because there was no sane way to dupe tapes that didn't turn the second copy into sonic mush.

        Therefore (and this is key) if there were 1 million pirated versions out there, there was also (shock) probably at least a million PAID versions out there too.

        Today? 1 paid version is enough to feed the entire system. The ratios are literally infinite to 1. Your digital copy is not only a copy, but also an original, for purposes of future copying, and the copies you give away are PERFECT.

        "Nobody called it piracy back then unless money changed hands"

        Of course not. It wasn't really much in the way of piracy, because there was no simple way to perpetuate it. If you want to look at it that way, consider it the "fair use" of it's day, because there was no benefit in trying to stop it. Some tried, but it was meaningless. Even if you stopped all of the cassette tape "piracy" on a personal level, it's unlikely you would have increased the market. Remember, this is 1 to 1 stuff, so there wasn't that much market to lose.

        Calling it piracy (or theft, or obtaining goods through fraud, or whatever you want to do) is just a name for what happens: you get something you should have paid for, and you got it for free some someone who didn't have the right to give it to you.

        "We also duplicated a lot of Japanese animation and passed it around in the late 70s & 80s, as it was both terribly expensive and impossible to find even if you did find it in the odd Japanese book store"

        Yup, and all that is an excuse for what you did. If it wasn't available at a reasonable price, living without it would be the better option.

        "Also, you could say that libraries are piracy: many read the same book with only the one sale made to the publishing houses that sell books. "

        No, libraries get back to that old low ratio issue: only one person can have the book out at a time. The average person takes the book for a couple of weeks, then it sits for a few days, another couple of weeks, probably doesn't go out all summer... so the book might get read 10 to 15 times in it's library life (if you can find a library with a card system still in place, you can see that most books go out only once in a while). Piracy would be if the library was making photocopies and handing them out without a return date.

        "There have been a number of people throughout history who have not supported libraries"

        There are a number of people who thought the earth was flat, or that Obama is a Muslim. They are wrong, it happens. It's hard to point to a small, ignorant minority and try to paint the rest of us with that board brush.

        Sadly, your 40 years of piracy is lacking in technical understanding. When you understand that your original vinyl record and cassette tape system was really too low a volume to matter, you will understand why the current situation is entirely different, and why the laws need to adjust to deal with the situation.

        Congrats on 40 years of ignorance, may you have 40 more!

         

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          Rikuo (profile), Sep 16th, 2012 @ 8:21pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "
          First off, I am old enough not only to remember it, but I lived it. It's really key to understand that even Mike isn't old enough to have truly lived it, and most of the idiots wandering around with the cassette tape scull and cross bones shirts never owned a recording tape in their life."

          Yep, an assumption with absolutely nothing to back it up. You assume that 1) we are idiots 2) we've never owned tape. I'm only in my early twenties and I remember as a kid fooling around with tape cassettes. This wasn't something restricted to the 1970s.

          "Today? 1 paid version is enough to feed the entire system. The ratios are literally infinite to 1. Your digital copy is not only a copy, but also an original, for purposes of future copying, and the copies you give away are PERFECT."

          Yes, which is what we here at Techdirt have been saying for years. Only the reasons we say it for are thus: the market has CHANGED. In the past, even in the hey-day of tape recording, copying content was a relatively hard task. If you wanted something, you more or less had to pay to get it. That was how the market of yester-year worked. Only a small percentage of the population had the ability to make perfect copies, which took time and money for them to do. If you wanted a copy of something, you had to pay them to do so, same as in any other market.
          However, the market has changed. Nowadays, everyone has a copying device and can copy with ease. Therefore, the cost of obtaining a copy of something has dropped to zero. However, the price of legal copies has not dropped, defying market economics (when supply becomes infinite, the price of a unit becomes zero).

          ""We also duplicated a lot of Japanese animation and passed it around in the late 70s & 80s, as it was both terribly expensive and impossible to find even if you did find it in the odd Japanese book store"

          Yup, and all that is an excuse for what you did. If it wasn't available at a reasonable price, living without it would be the better option."

          I love how you completely ignored the rest of the statement about bootleg Japanese animation - how, if it had never occurred, there would be no English dub anime market at all. That statement shatters your world view of piracy is always evil: it is unambiguous and cannot be denied, but somehow you deny it anyway.

          Also...why is it you simply don't understand? Yes, copying is far more widespread now than it was decades ago, and yes, the law should change. But it should change in the direction of NOT criminalising vast swathes of the population. Are you seriously arguing in favour of a law that criminalises what practically everyone does everyday?

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 3:21am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "Yes, copying is far more widespread now than it was decades ago, and yes, the law should change."

            By your logic, because cars can go faster today than 50 years ago that the laws on speeding should be removed.

            Failed logic at it's best.

            If you are only 20 and were playing with cassettes, then you were really behind the times as a kid. Ever records an 8 track tape? ;)

             

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              Rikuo (profile), Sep 17th, 2012 @ 4:01am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Yup, when you have nothing else to say, bring out the stupid car analogies. What does speeding have to do with copyright laws?
              And no, I don't consider myself behind the times as a kid. My father had a hi fi with tape and CD player. I regularly got new technology: I had most of the consoles as they were released and every few years, we got a new desktop computer. Tape was and still is an awesome format. Why does me saying that I fooled around with tape in the 90s automatically mean that I also didn't have access to other technologies?

               

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              Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 6:26am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "By your logic, because cars can go faster today than 50 years ago that the laws on speeding should be removed."

              Actually, as I pointed out in another article, the laws on speeding make no sense from a safety standpoint. It is proven that the laws on speeding are created not to save lives but to generate revenue.

              It has been proven and documented in countless studies that speed limits and the laws concerning them are causing more harm than good. A minor speed limit increase would save vastly more lives on the road.

              However, such a speed limit increase would decrease revenues for state law enforcement agencies, as well as decrease revenues for insurance companies who can charge higher rates for people with speeding citations on their driving record. As such, speed limits are kept low, and the safety of motorists be damned.

              You sir are the king of failed logic. Also, if you want evidence of that see your reply to what you quoted. In fact, I think it is readily apparent that the person you replied to didn't say that because copying is easier and more widespread now that copyright should be done away with or the laws concerning copying removed, but merely changed and updated to keep up with the times and advancing technology.

              The failure I speak of on your part to assume that that means complete and total removal of the law(s).

               

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Sep 16th, 2012 @ 6:34pm

    Trace Cyrus/Ashland High gives current album away free!

    Ashland High (Trace Cyrus' current musical project) is letting people download the album "Geronimo" for free! To get it, visit http://www.AshlandHigh.com

    I met Trace back in 2009 after a Metro Station concert. Cool dude!

     

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