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The Forum > Article Comments > Music pirates can be deluded no longer > Comments

Music pirates can be deluded no longer : Comments

By Stephen Peach, published 30/9/2005

Stephen Peach argues downloading music from the Internet is theft.

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Copyright infringement is not theft. Theft, stealing, larceny all involve taking away something with the intent to deprive the owner of that property. You can't deprive someone of intellectual property unless you repeal copyright law or delete all copies.

The networks are not infringing copyright, the owners were authorising that infringement, but that can be avoided, just as selling VCRs etc. don't necessarily constitute authorisation (although a recent ad I saw by Panasonic would've). And almost every single person using an iPod is infringing--even if they don't know it, because it is illegal to copy from a CD that you've already bought.

"Key among them is the suggestion that all recording artists have the ability and financial resources to produce high-quality recordings and music videos without the support of a record company or other financial backer: many of them don't and many of them don't want to."
The cost of producing high quality recordings is going down, and while record companies do have people of greater skill to help improve music their main role is one of distribution and promotion. The main cost it would seem is that of taking the risk with a specific artist, something that the internet can make less necessary. People are less likely to copy whole CDs of local and less successful artists, compared to those that are already making lots of money. Perhaps if it weren't for the huge profit margins on those songs (DVDs too) then people would be more willing to buy them.

"The music industry is an enthusiastic supporter of new legal online distribution businesses. It is committed to doing all that it can to create an environment in which such businesses can establish and prosper to the benefit of both creators and consumers of music."
Prove it, why are we still waiting in anticipation for the Australian iTunes store? The industry is looking out for the owners of music copyright: themselves. Consumers do not benefit from DRM and other technological protection measures, and creators don't get any additional benefit from online stores; they have little control over the contracts.
Posted by Deuc, Friday, 30 September 2005 1:48:54 PM
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The vast majority of people have a simple concept of stealingósomebody has something and after the theft they donít have it any more. Downloading music is not regarded by the vast majority of people as theft because nobody has been deprived of anything tangible. When you steal an actual CD--the CD is gone.

The music industry should perhaps be grateful that most people are remarkably sensible in deciding what is a crime is and what is not. The music industry encourages the broadcasting of their products into the public space, a fact painfully apparent when taking a stroll in any shopping centre in the country. If we were talking about the dumping of chemical sludge in a public place rather than the playing of music it could be called an environmental crime. But we are not talking about chemical sludge and fortunately for music industry exectuives most people feel that real pollution has to be tangible and though loud music in public can be annoying it is not regarded as real pollution, no more than copying or downloading music is regarded by most people as real theft.

The music industry can continue to win court case after case, but people will still not see downloading music as a crime --this is a hard cold fact that the music industry had better come to terms with.
Posted by JB1, Friday, 30 September 2005 1:51:36 PM
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For one, I couldn't care less about this "theft." Those behind the court actions are greedy, bloated corporations that terrorise children and extract money out of their parents to avoid court cases.

Civil disobedience everyone: it's time to disregard stupid laws and protest against draconian copyright and IP laws. If the fact that record companies' CD sales have actually gone up wasn't enough, they now want valuable police and other resources on their thought crime teams. Tell them loud and clear to get stuffed, and that you won't be bullied.

People reject stupid thought crime laws; we reject the copyright and DRM measures of Microsoft and the "entertainment" industry. Share everything you have on the P2P networks and do your part to stick your finger up at the corporate fascists.
Posted by ConspiracyTheory, Friday, 30 September 2005 4:17:24 PM
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Music is art and art is for everyone. But not everyone can afford a CD.

Anyone else see a problem already?

As a musician myself, I would be most flattered if people paid money to see a show/buy an album, but if they download it instead, fine. At least my creation is being heard and appreciated. Itís just money. Art will always be more important than money. Try to think of downloading as a library for sound.

I buy as many albums as I can afford, but thereís more I want to hear and so I download music. Am I stealing? No. Because I didnít download INSTEAD of buying, if the download didnít happen, I still wouldnít have made any purchase. Therefore my downloading has absolutely zero effect on the industry, money wise. The change that HAS been made, however, is that I now have heard some new art, and if I am impressed enough, will probably go buy a ticket if the artist came to town (an unexpected benefit of music sharing is that it has shifted the emphasis back on to live performances, which can only be a plus).

Iím not saying downloading is a great thing and everyone should do it. In fact I definitely agree itís done too much. Buy a CD if you can afford it, but if you canít, you still deserve to hear it. Borrow from a friend. Request a song on the radio. Record the video clip off the TV. Or download it. Itís your right, because art is for everyone.

Many artists are struggling, yes, and itís because the labels treat them like dirt. Have you ever seen a contract for when an artist gets signed? It is unbelievable how unfair it is on the artist, but they have to sign because they may never the chance again. That sort of treatment has a far more detrimental effect on the industry than music downloading does.

How about this: download the music by huge artists that donít need any more cash, and spend the money youíve saved on a struggling artists work.
Posted by spendocrat, Friday, 30 September 2005 4:55:32 PM
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Mr Peach,

Firstly, out of curiosity, how many songs have you written? Don't try and tell me that the "livelihood" of artists such as Jet is affected by people downloading music. Oh no! They can buy only three houses this week instead of four.

I buy a lot of CDs, but your fantastic buddies in certain record companies have put Copy Protection on these now. Too bad if I want to listen to these songs on my iPod (for which I can't legally download music anywhere because your mates over at Sony won't sign a piece of paper because they want more money. I'm curious to see how much money from each "legal" download actually goes to the artist.

The only way for me to get music on my iPod is to "steal" it. Even if I've bought the bloody CD, I still have to "steal" the music from the internet. Why is there not some form of mp3/aac/wma on albums, so that people who have purchased the albm can listen to it on their portable music players without having to resort to such drastic measures as "stealing".

The last thing in the world that I would want to do is reduce the living standards of a record exec...
Posted by matt42, Friday, 30 September 2005 6:54:15 PM
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The recorded music industry in Australia is reaping the rewards of its own behaviour, loyalty wise.
Why do they fight for so long and so hard against paralell imports? to protect a nice little earner.
APRA act like mafia standover men, eager to wring every penny out of well, anywhere you hear music.
The enormous beurocracy and fancy offices have to be paid for as does the cocaine.
The people who put in the hard work i.e. the artists are way down the pecking order, many artists can eke out a living but not many make the big bucks.
So support live music and download to your hearts content.
Sure, the admission price will rise, but the money has a better chance of getting to those that earn it. And by listening to heaps of music, people will make better choices. The quality of music will improve as the scene becomes more competetive.
At last something has broken the big sevens stronghold (oops, may only be five!)
all the best.
Posted by The all seeing omnipotent voice of reason, Friday, 30 September 2005 10:09:54 PM
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