Stop defending your theft
Posted by Hornpipe2 12 years ago
I don't care if you download music. What you do with your computer and your bandwidth is up to you. I mean, I occasionally download songs because it's free and I figure 'what the hell, I'll never get caught'.  
 
But you have to draw the line somewhere. I'd like to offer up a big 'stfu' to anyone who thinks that by downloading music they are  
* not stealing, or  
* helping the artist(s) in some way.  
 
I could start picking apart arguments at this point but I don't really see much of a benefit in doing so. The bottom line is this: If you're going to rip off your favorite bands, at least have the spine to admit that you're doing it. There's no grey area here: either you are stealing music or you aren't.
PS
Hornpipe2: I'd like to clarify a bit before anyone says anything:  
 
* if you download a song you already own on CD because it's a hassle to rip it yourself, you're not stealing  
* if you download a song you don't own, you're stealing  
* if you rip/burn a song and then re-sell or give away the only copy of the CD you own, that's stealing too
Soya: Not sure what the moral high road is here but I for one enjoy getting free music off the internet...it exposes me to music I might not otherwise hear. If I listen to something I've downloaded and like it, often I will then buy the cd. So, this is wrong? Seems like free music can be chalked up to advertising costs...and I really have no sympathy for corporate labels that are ripping off musicians left and right anyway.
FoolProof: lol
...
deathburger: That's not only assbackwards thinking, but it's wrong. The data shows that sales of music increased, and evil file sharing can be thanked for it. The reason is simple - people still like to have "stuff". A CD is "stuff". The only difference is now they can listen to the whole album if they want to before throwing $25 on the counter, thereby saving them from making a bad purchase - everyone has CDs or tapes that they got home and listened to and thought "Shit, this was a waste of money". So the change it's had is in how people buy their music, not how much of it they buy. The RIAA has made a killing, and they're lying through their teeth about it. I find it sad that you've bought into their bullshit, frankly.
Hornpipe2: So what you're saying is that you aren't stealing when you illegally obtain copies of intellectual property that aren't yours?  
 
Look, my point isn't to tell everyone to 'buy into' some RIAA marketing scheme. I think file sharing has really altered the way that content creation and distribution will be handled. And the current policy of 'sue everyone' clearly isn't really doing much to stop the flow of music.  
 
But there are some people who actually try to defend illegal downloading as if it isn't theft. I don't see how it helps anyone to deny that fact. File-sharers are not revolutionaries. They're not 'sticking it to the man' by downloading music. They are stealing (from someone), plain and simple. Call a spade a spade, you know?  
 
Honestly, I'm really tired of the "well I still support the artist" rhetoric that some people try to use to justify their theft. Did you attend every concert of every artist you ripped off? Did you ever get around to buying their CD, or using Paypal to donate them all a couple bucks for their effort? (An email to the artist saying 'I downloaded your CD, I loved your music, please record another one!' doesn't count.)  
 
My guess is, no, most people haven't taken all those steps. And every day, they fire up WinAMP and listen to the music of all those bands they stole from, and they turn around and tell everyone it's not stealing.  
 
Worst of all are those who think that all artists WANT their music pirated. Yes, some artists are in a position to benefit more by building an audience (giving away music) than by selling CDs. And they tend to be pretty vocal about it. But for those who sell CDs from their own website, those who can't tour and don't produce tee shirts, those on small record labels (in short, those who aren't actually being managed by the RIAA) - don't assume they want you to rip them off.  
 
As far as my take on it, I think the industry is on the right track when they let people buy a song or two for 99 cents. It's a great option for those who want just a song or two, they want it cheap, and they want it now.
deathburger: oi...  
 
So what you're saying is that you aren't stealing when you illegally obtain copies of intellectual property that aren't yours?  
 
That's rather baited, don't you think?  
 
Look, my point isn't to tell everyone to 'buy into' some RIAA marketing scheme. I think file sharing has really altered the way that content creation and distribution will be handled. And the current policy of 'sue everyone' clearly isn't really doing much to stop the flow of music.  
 
That's because it's the same thing as making a copy of a tape for your friend down the street, just faster. They can't fix it because it aint broke.  
 
But there are some people who actually try to defend illegal downloading as if it isn't theft. I don't see how it helps anyone to deny that fact. File-sharers are not revolutionaries. They're not 'sticking it to the man' by downloading music. They are stealing (from someone), plain and simple. Call a spade a spade, you know?  
 
Stealing from the RIAA, who steals from the artists. They take the lion's share of money generated by CD sales. Much of that money apparently is getting funneled directly into lawsuits against old ladies who don't even own computers.  
 
Honestly, I'm really tired of the "well I still support the artist" rhetoric that some people try to use to justify their theft. Did you attend every concert of every artist you ripped off? Did you ever get around to buying their CD, or using Paypal to donate them all a couple bucks for their effort? (An email to the artist saying 'I downloaded your CD, I loved your music, please record another one!' doesn't count.)  
 
The artists make next to nothing, if not actually nothing, on CD sales. Their income comes from hitting the bricks and doing live shows. Downloading an album or buying it at a store, both of those things help out the artist equally - that is, not at all. You want to support your favorite band, buy a ticket to a show.  
 
My guess is, no, most people haven't taken all those steps. And every day, they fire up WinAMP and listen to the music of all those bands they stole from, and they turn around and tell everyone it's not stealing.  
 
Ban WinAMP! ;)  
 
Worst of all are those who think that all artists WANT their music pirated. Yes, some artists are in a position to benefit more by building an audience (giving away music) than by selling CDs. And they tend to be pretty vocal about it. But for those who sell CDs from their own website, those who can't tour and don't produce tee shirts, those on small record labels (in short, those who aren't actually being managed by the RIAA) - don't assume they want you to rip them off.  
 
Then the industry needs to adjust, plain and simple. Times change, if industry can't change with it then that industry dies. It's not the fault of the people who joined modern times that those industries failed any more than it's the fault of people sharing music over the Internet that the music industry's model is failing.  
 
As far as my take on it, I think the industry is on the right track when they let people buy a song or two for 99 cents. It's a great option for those who want just a song or two, they want it cheap, and they want it now.  
 
Agreed, but the rest of their business model is self-defeating in the extreme. One of the symptoms of that is this file sharing witch hunt.
Hornpipe2: Then why does anyone bother to make a CD if it won't make them any money? Obviously there's at least a little money to be had or nobody would do it in the first place. Or they'd just burn CDs and print their own covers and sell them out of their homes.
deathburger: Or they'd just burn CDs and print their own covers and sell them out of their homes.  
 
People do do that, actually. But the exposure isn't there with that method. The purpose of selling CDs nationally is pretty much to gain exposure so people will attend concerts so the artists can make money. And music sharing over the 'net accomplishes that goal even more efficiently.
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fabulon7: I completely don't agree with you.  
 
OK, I agree that in pure black and white terms, downloading music is a form of theft. (Except of course, where the music is freely available to download.)  
 
But so was maxing mixed tapes and giving them to your friends. So was copying movies you rented on your VCR so you could watch them later. These things did nothing but help the music/movie industry. (Interestingly, Metallica became famous largely because of the tape-trading circuit.)  
 
The CRIA (Canada's RIAA) just released a study (contradicting their previous claims) that shows that avid music downloaders buy more music than people who rarely download music.  
 
Also, there is a big, big difference between Locke-style property and intellectual property. This is a difference that is barely ever addressed in all these arguments about file-sharing. When I steal your car, you have no car. When I steal your band's album, you still have that album, plus I might come to one of your shows and buy a t-shirt. This happens more often than the RIAA would lead you to believe.  
 
There is no benefit to the victim of convential physical-property theft. Conversely, there is plenty of potential upside to the victims of music downloading.  
 
The main problem the music industry has with filesharing is not that music is being given away. They do that all the time anyway. The problem they have is that they can't control it. It makes it harder for them to decide what you are going to listen to, which makes their business more risky. It screws with their business model of spending ungodly amounts of money on a select few seemingly arbitrary groups and beating you over the head with them until they become famous. (I'm looking at you Ashlee Simpson).  
 
Hell, look at what they did with radio. There was a time when DJs decided what they wanted to play. What did the record companies do? Start illegally paying off DJs so they could control which songs became hits. This is not really that much different -- they don't want to lose that power, because they have modelled their business based on having it.
fabulon7: And for the record, just so you know where I am coming from, I pretty much never download anything I am not allowed to download. I don't have a single p2p program installed on my computer. (Well, I guess Opera has built-in BitTorrent, but otherwise.)  
 
Conversely, if people want to download any of the music I have made, I'm happy to let them.  
 
thatmikeykid: gimmie! and i'm not paying!
fabulon7: I will try to remember to put some of it somewhere so you can get it. Remind me.
Fluffy: werd.