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Music stealing is still stealing June 19, 2009

Posted by fetzthechemist in Uncategorized.

A Minnesota woman has been found guilty of stealing 24 songs and then distributing them through one of those file-sharing programs. The me-first generation says this sort of stealing is just progress and the music industry and artists ought to get over it, accept that nobody owns the music any more once it is out in any form, and just adjust.

This ignores the fact that somebody has to be creative in order to have the music there in the first place. Period. If an artist, through the talents and vision, does not dream it up, it does not exist. That artist creates music for a living. The more creative and in demand, the more that artist deserves to be rewarded.

If not, everybody ought to go out and create their own music. Oh, right, I forgot that they already did that and we got those everyperson forms we call rap and hip-hop. My mistake – everybody ought to just listen to their own self-created rap and hiphop.

I do think the 1.92 million dollar award is high, but this woman is an adamant unapologist. The music is out there to be stolen, so steal it. If the Internet created software that would neutralize burglar-alarm systems and erase identification numbers on your DVD player, iPod, cell phone, et cetera, this thinking would say “Well, adapt to the new technology. It’s not your stuff anymore.”



1. organikchemist - June 19, 2009

I agree, stealing is stealing. But, 1.9M? I hardly believe that is a fair judgement.

Have you ever driven a car? Yes? Then I suspect you have at one point gone over the speed limit. Speeding is speeding. If a speeder got a fine of $250000, there would be a little outrage, right? Regardless of whether she thinks the music should be free or not is not the point. The point is that this is highly unreasonable fine that makes a joke out of our court system.

2. fetzthechemist - June 19, 2009

Not having seen the judgement itself, I cannot say, but I think if it is like most, two-thirds to three-quarters of that figure are paying the legal costs of the prevailing side. Covil suits work that way. But even the remaining part of $500,000 to $600,000 seems high overall. There were 24 claims, so maybe it was only $$15,000 to $20,000 a piece, which is still high. The judge and appeals will knock this down and it might end up being a lot less.

Your speeding analogy cuts two way, though. The current societal acceptance level of what is correct is so low that there is little deterent value to it. Everyone who speeds say “Well, if I get caught, it will only be a hundred or two.” When a section of road has lots of accidents due to speeding, the fines can get doubled or tripled (at least here in California). Once those higher rates are announced and posted on those roads, speeding and accidents go way down.

3. organikchemist - June 19, 2009

I cannot believe you dislike the Hip-Hop! Come on! It is the voice of the New Generation (and I am not talkin’ by my generation…)! The chord structure, the melody, the harmony, the clear individuality… oh wait….

(yes, that was a Who reference…. I am dating myself slightly).

4. fetzthechemist - June 19, 2009

I have never liked the music forms aimed where more and more people could do them. Rap is the ultimate because anyone willing to try ends up with a product that is not that different than most others. That lack of a talent- and skill-based range makes the music less musical. In the past genres, improvisational jazz and bebop jazz fit that to some degree, as do a lot of jamming in rock. Unless it is really, really talented musicians doing these, it is just doodling with music. My crueler musician friends call it musical masturbation.

I dislike a lot of American fold music, especially from the 1950s and 1960s because nobody had to carry a tune, let alone sing well, they could just strum a guitar if they even wanted to look like a musician, some just beat a tambourine. Sheesh!

The beatniks had their bongo-playing improv, too. Lots of genres and eras have had music that I find not very musical.

5. Sinbad - June 23, 2009

Your argument that the artists need to be supported is true but your conclusion needs rethinking. Record sales benefit the recording industry far more than the artists. They have milked both fans and artists dry for years. I have no sympathy for their plight in trying to maintain a broken business model.

Consider this alternative. Nine Inch Nails (for e.g.) have started giving their music away for free. The fans appreciate the music and attend concerts – which, unlike record sales, is where artists really make money. That’s a business model that works for the artist – but no surprise the labels hate it.

Oh, and regarding the assertion that stealing music is stealing – yes perhaps, but copying music is not quite the same as stealing a car like the anti-piracy ads make out. I wouldn’t steal a car but if a friend could burn me a copy…

6. fetzthechemist - June 23, 2009

The business model comparison argument is a convenient way of ignoring that copyrights exist. I think the download model now in place is stupid, too. $ 0.99 in the US per song is way more than the record companies get from selling physical copies as CDs or LPs. I’ve written on that and think it ought to be a lot less.

Your concert alternative brings in behemoths in the business like Ticketmaster. Ticket handling companies make the record companies seem like amateurs. They have a virtual monopoly that even the most popular bands find difficult to fight. They even have been buying out or creating the re-ticketing sites so that they make tickets scarce and profit doubly by doing so. I do not think a $100 or more concert ticket is a good business model either. Bands seem to make more, but the fans pay way more.

Your alternative does not work for authors of books. With Kindle and other electronic readers catching on, it will only be two or three years where authors will get little income from writing. They cannot make that up by paid-for reading appearances at bookstores.

The NIN free downloads mimic Radiohead’s. A nice idea there. Pay what you want to. Yeah, a lot of cheap bastards and idiots paid nothing, but some fans appreciate good music and paid.

The point, as I say in my later post on Moby, is not downloading and enjoying the music. It is the unlimited filesharing that a lot of these dweebs then do. Filesharing is nice if it is something like funny video of your dogs playing, but music, movies, books, and other things created by people ought to be protected.

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