You would think, given the reaction to Lars Ulrich and Metallica from when he went all crazy on people who shared files, that other famous acts would be a bit more clued in. Not so with Scott Ian, the guitarist for Anthrax. In a recent interview, he spends a big chunk complaining about "theft"
and how many more records the band used to sell in the past. And he keeps building up steam until it's a full on rant, complete with falsely claiming it's "theft" (over and over and over again) and comparing it to drunk driving... including claiming that if you're caught downloading unauthorized music, you should lose your internet access completely:
You lose your Internet. That's it, no more Internet for you. Seriously! Like you drive drunk, you lose the privilege of driving. You download illegally, you lose the privilege of having the Internet. The punishment fits the crime. Why these service providers don't stop the torrent sites and put a consequence on this, I have no idea. Everybody complains about the trillions of dollars being lost, but nobody does anything about it. Believe me, if I could do something about it, I would.
First off, downloading a single song and losing your internet access permanently is "the punishment fits the crime"? Really? As for why service providers don't stop torrent sites, it's because (a) the law is a bit more complex than Ian seems to understand, (b) censoring the internet because some search engines might possibly be used for bad things (while they can also be used for legal things) is a dumb idea and (c) because stopping torrent sites won't do anything, since they'll just pop up elsewhere.
Ian doesn't seem to have any interest in thinking through the logical fallacies of his argument. As far as he's concerned, there is nothing to discuss:
There is no argument. I'm not even going to get into that conversation. You're stealing! It's stealing, that's what it is. It's not free for us to make these records. These records are on sale in many, many places where you can pay your money to buy the product that we are selling. Anything outside of that is stealing. There is no conversation to be had. There's no, "Well, I just wanted to check it out, and then I liked it so I bought the record." I don't give a fuck. It's stealing. Everyone can say that, "I just wanted to check it out," or "There's no way for me to get music where I live." That's bullshit. It's fucking bullshit! I've been doing this for way too long. I sold records in the '80s and '90s before there was an Internet, and no one seemed to have a problem going out and buying a shit ton of records back then. The whole record industry has collapsed because people are stealing. That's the end of the story.
Except, that's wrong. Pretty much all of it. It's not stealing. It may be infringement, but that's different than theft. And anyone who's being intellectually honest in this debate can at least admit there's a pretty big difference. And, no, no one said it was free to make the records, but that's really beside the point. It's not free for me to make Techdirt either. But does that mean that I'm being "ripped off" if no one pays me directly for it? Of course not. Because I'm using a smarter business model. Ian might want to try that, rather than blaming all of his fans. The fact that he sold records in the "pre-internet" days is kinda meaningless. I sold magazines in the pre-internet days, but times change. Business models change. Get with the program.
Anyway, since Ian seems so unwilling to adapt, I thought why should we let that stop folks here from coming up with some suggestions on what he should
be doing. Over at Step2, I've kicked off a discussion on how Anthrax might better deal with downloaders
, while still being able to make more money. Head on over to join that discussion.