Piracy hurts the producers and the consumers. It stifles creativity and promotes lawsuits.
Piracy hurts the producers and the consumers. It stifles creativity and promotes lawsuits.

At the Libdem conference last week there were fringe meetings on music piracy and some not very helpful news on what they were going to do about it. Whilst most people accept that the game is over and that no matter how much time and money you spend creating music people are allowed to steal it and give it away for free there is still resistance.

Ten years ago people used to moan about majors ripping bands off but at least they handed over some money, the new model is that torrent website take the music and give it away and get applauded for being outlaws. Labels are going bust, 60 per cent of bands are now rich kids and music is changing fast into a posh kids hobby…

Piracy hurts the producers and the consumers. It stifles creativity and promotes lawsuits.
Piracy hurts the producers and the consumers. It stifles creativity and promotes lawsuits.

Christine Kane sent us this interesting blog on Pirating…

Loading the latest hit song can be as easy as pressing a button. With no investment necessary, any song or movie or even program can be found on person to person file sharing networks such as Limewire, Frostwire or BitTorrent. But is this downloading of free stuff really free? What does it cost us in the long run?

Copyrights ”“ Historically, copyright laws have protected intellectual property, such as music. A copyright is a form of legal protection provided to the authors of original works of authorship, whether books, music, film or other creative works. Its aim is to allow authors, musicians, directors, etc., (and the companies that back them and distribute their work) to profit from their creativity and so encourage them and others to produce other works in future.

Stealing ”“ When ”˜free’ stuff is downloaded, you are actually stealing that persons/groups intellectual property. Trading MP3s is just like stealing a CD from a store. MP3s may not be tangible, but they can be stolen. This means that you can be fined, sued, and even go to jail.

Sharing ”“ There are certain rights protected for the purchasers of copyrighted music, such as the right to make unlimited copies for their personal use and the right to share what they buy with their friends and family. But how far do these rights go? If one person purchases a song legally, do they then have the right to distribute that song to an unlimited amount of people? If that person shares a legally purchased song with you, without you having to pay anything, is the copy you have still legal? No. Sharing is like borrowing, you have to give it back. Keeping something someone else gave you, even if they paid for it, is still stealing.

Viruses ”“ Nearly all the music that is shared and downloaded is highly commercial. Free file-sharing sites often transmit viruses and ad-ware. Legal online file-sharing services exist at fair prices and are much safer. Pirated software can carry viruses or may not function at all. Plus, unlicensed users do not receive quality documentation and are not entitled to receive technical support or product upgrades, patches, or updates.

Prices ”“ Online free file-downloads have damaged legitimate sales. The media industry might have to compensate for a lack of sales by raising prices of goods; which means more stealing, which means higher prices. See the cycle? Plus the cost of fighting off the piracy has to come from somewhere, right?

Quality ”“ Unregulated file-sharing could reduce the appeal and quality of related industries. Software piracy stifles innovation. The cost of combating software piracy, plus lost revenues, could be spent on research and development to benefit users. That means that quality suffers. If you have no money to get better equipment, fresh people with new ideas, then how can the quality improve? Answer: it can’t.

Effort ”“ Musicians and music companies spend significant time and energy creating and promoting new music. It seems unfair that, after all this hard work, the product of their efforts is subject to a free-for-all with no obvious flow of money back to the producers. What’s the incentive of putting forth all that effort if you don’t reap any benefits?

Global Economy ”“ Illegal distribution of software affects the worldwide economy. “With an estimated 36% piracy rate globally, the economic effects are significant.” In 2001, according to the Business Software Alliance, piracy cost the global economy over $13 billion U.S. dollars in lost tax revenues that would benefit local communities. Hundreds of thousands of jobs in software and related industries were also lost.

There you have it. So the next time the urge strikes you to get the newest song or movie, please take the time and money to actually purchase it. You’ll be thankful in the long run.

19 COMMENTS

  1. Piracy cost the US economy £13bil that never existed and never will, it’s a totally spurious statistic.

    Artists earn more through concert revenue than they do through any record deal, so it could also be argued that music being made available for free serves as a useful marketing tool: look how successful Radiohead’s In Rainbows tour was, and I can’t imagine the likes of LCD Soundsystem or Animal Collective would have had anywhere near as much success without file sharing.

    Finally there is absolutely no difference at all between downloading a song from Pirate Bay and recording it off the radio as so many people did in pre-internet days.

  2. Also your point about copyrights is rubbish. You suggest that because people download music for free they are somehow plagiarising an artist’s work: this is just wrong, and obviously so.

    You also go on to suggest that making a mix tape for a friend is wrong: whilst this may technically be illegal, I think you’re the first person to ever suggest it’s morally wrong and damaging to the music industry. Again, I’ve made mixtapes for friends who have then gone on to see the artists live and discover the rest of their music.

  3. What a croc, d’you just download this off the riaa site? It’s better music and money have less relation means musicians can focus on music than moneyz. Quoteunquote are releasing some of the most interesting music atm and it’s donation based, it’s risky music that wouldn’t get promoted by epitaph or any of that shizz. And that comment about virus’s? Lolocaust!
    Quality wise it’s open source stuff like mozilla that forces other devs to up there game, physical formats are already dead anyways so it’s only a matter of encoding which is more software, paid websites have been pretty stingy with quality to save bandwidth.
    I do agree with the class issues but that’s mainly in mainstream white music anyways, 15 on your manifesto ‘we are punk’ so fuck that.

  4. Another side effect of copyright theft is that the recoed companies, Artists and Music Publishers are aggressively targeting revenue streams form’easy targets’ such as shops and clubs that consume music. Our very small and poor sports club has to pay over £400 to PRS, largely down to the fact that we have a TV. Next year PPL are allowed to charge sports clubs 1% of their turnover, not profits, turnover to go to the record companies.
    These costs have to be passed on to the end user so that means more inflationary pressure to consumers, but not actually consumers of music. Which makes little sense as this time next year every time I buy a pint at the club, 3p goes to record companies. What has that got to do with music?

  5. You can’t expect to have an article on the evils of piracy taken seriously when you completely ignore the evils of the music industry that have existed for decades. The economics of the industry are a joke with vastly disproportionate sums of revenue going to middle men and marketing rather than to the people creating the product in the first place. The industry has shafted artists for years.

    Is piracy fair to artists? Of course it isn’t. Is the legally-sanctioned finance structure of the music industry fair to artists? Absolutely not, and it hasn’t been for decades.

  6. You are so awesome! I don’t think I’ve truly read through something like this before. So nice to find someone with some unique thoughts on this subject. Really.. many thanks for starting this up. This site is one thing that is required on the web, someone with a bit of originality!

  7. Sorry for the huge review, but I’m really loving the new Zune, and hope this, as well as the excellent reviews some other people have written, will help you decide if it’s the right choice for you.

  8. I think other site proprietors should take this site as an model, very clean and fantastic user genial style and design, as well as the content. You are an expert in this topic!

  9. Unfortunately you lost all moral high ground by opening with “At the Libdem conference last week”! If anyone should not grumble about intellectual property theft it is them vote-stealing-on-behalf-of-an-unelected-Tory-government bastards. But what are you gonna do about it eh? Try and guilt trip people like me who have been overpaying for music for decades? Or form the most draconian invasive-of-privacy police force the world has ever known (and it still won’t work)? I speak by the way as someone who has music illegally shared on the internet. Do I care? Well even if I did what would be the point? If you have any options other than whining or enforcing legislation which would as a side-effect destroy all internet freedom let us hear them! O LIB DEM!

  10. “Sharing is like Borrowing”
    Who says so. Sounding like a parent telling a child how to conduct themselves. If i share something with someone, i don’t expect it back.

  11. How the Fuck did you come up with ‘60% of bands are now rich kids’? That is unsubstantiated drivel & anyway, just because someone is from a relatively priviledged background, does that instantly exclude them from making good music? – I think not e.g Joe Strummer!!
    What I want to say most is that home taping, free downloading etc doesn’t hurt the music business to anywhere near the extent that greed does. Greed on behalf of management, record company shareholders, promoters etc etc – just look at the extortionate price of most gig tickets these days, or the price of tour merchandise!! I know that someone will argue that gigs would be cheaper if the bands were making more from sales – it simply isn’t true. The musicians very rarely benefit – even when very successful – but the parasites around them do. How many times do we hear stories of musicians generating large sums of money but ending up with virtually nothing – because they are often young, gullible and inexperienced.
    Tough shit pop stars!! For the rest of us who are involved in creating music, regardless of the rate of success, uploading and downloading of music on the net has finally provided a forum for us to get our music out there to anyone willing to find it and listen. The whinging about damage to the music industry makes me sick as it’s so fucking conservative.

  12. Ya it really hurts. The artist can not get that gold fountain they have been jonesing for. Fuck you idiots. Way to go Pirate bay.

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