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When Pigs Fly: The Death of Oink, the Birth of Dissent
boombaard
post Oct 29 2007, 21:30
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perhaps an interesting/entertaining read: (not by my hand, found it yesterday)
http://www.demonbaby.com/blog/2007/10/when...k-birth-of.html

QUOTE (article introduction)
For quite a long time I've been intending to post some sort of commentary on the music industry - piracy, distribution, morality, those types of things. I've thought about it many times, but never gone through with it, because the issue is such a broad, messy one - such a difficult thing to address fairly and compactly. I knew it would result in a rambly, unfocused commentary, and my exact opinion has teetered back and forth quite a bit over the years anyway. But on Monday, when I woke up to the news that Oink, the world famous torrent site and mecca for music-lovers everywhere, had been shut down by international police and various anti-piracy groups, I knew it was finally time to try and organize my thoughts on this huge, sticky, important issue.


edit2: thanks for editing the title, kind (and anonymous) moderator smile.gif

This post has been edited by boombaard: Oct 29 2007, 23:57
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neomoe
post Oct 29 2007, 22:58
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very nice read! thank you for sharing this!


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Fandango
post Oct 29 2007, 23:17
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"so this is why CDs cost $18..."

Haha, priceless!
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seanyseansean
post Oct 30 2007, 00:19
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If you disregard their 'illegal' status, both Oink and allofmp3 showed two perfect ways of running a music site. The latter for cash but with all the transcoding options etc, and the previous for being the best site to discover new and old music ever.

If it wasn't for Oink I wouldn't have BOUGHT music by Jack Johnson, Brad Paisley, Rick Moranis, Leftover Salmon and tonnes of others. If I ever get to meet Alan, i'll buy him a beer or 3.

No DRM, no 'featured content', no shitty bitrate rips and a genuine community feel, the music industry has a lot to learn from Oink.
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LANjackal
post Oct 30 2007, 02:02
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Interesting. I was wondering just how long it would be before a thread about the pink pig popped up on HA. Last time I saw the site mentioned, mods were handing out warnings ...

This post has been edited by LANjackal: Oct 30 2007, 02:03


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Canar
post Oct 30 2007, 03:23
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Mentioning an illegal site that no longer exists is not linking to or mentioning a site that provides illegal content. smile.gif


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plnelson
post Oct 30 2007, 18:25
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I certainly don't disagree that the music industry is a stupid dinosaur deserving only our contempt.

But, it's legal to be a stupid dinosaur.

And even if stealing music leads to actual sales, as it did with "seanyseansean", companies also have a right to decide what marketing and promotions to use for their products, even if you think you know a better one. Here in the Boston area a local furniture chain offered its customers 100% rebates for furniture purchased in April if the Boston Red Sox won the World Series. The Red Sox won and the customers have netted an estimated $30 million on the deal. The company had the deal underwritten by insurance so it turned out to be a great marketing ploy benefitting both the customers AND the company, but my point was that it was their decision to make. It would not have justified stealing a couch.

No amount of rationalization gets around the fact that stealing is stealing. There are plenty of other legal ways to get back at the record companies. Buy directly from indie artists, for example. Buy MP3's from eMusic (~25 cents apiece, 192 VBR) Or do what I do: Buy used CD's - this is perfectly legal, it's cheap, and the record companies never see a penny of it. This also gives me the option of ripping/encoding it any way I want.

QUOTE
if I filled my shiny new 160gb iPod up legally, buying each track online at the 99 cents price that the industry has determined, it would cost me about $32,226. How does that make sense?
How would WHAT make sense? That you bought a 160G iPod without any thought to how you would fill it up with MP3's? Why is it the music industry's job to "make sense" of your purchase decision? If you bought a city parking garage and tried to fill it up with your own personal car collection and blew through your million dollar retirement nest egg before even one level was full would this justify stealing cars? You knew what music cost BEFORE buying your iPod (which, incidentally is 160G because it was designed with video in mind).

The bottom line is that a sense of entitlement is not the same as having an actual right to something. The European settlers who took over North America felt entitled to it, and, just like music pirates, they had the technology. We have people on this forum from all over the world, so if you happen to live in a country where the government bends the laws for "national security" reasons, remember: they are exercising their powers of rationalization the same as music pirates. Anything can be rationalized.
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Fandango
post Oct 30 2007, 19:31
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*rofl* Why is it always the stealing cars analogy that comes up... why not stealing apples or eggs or stealing ships[i] or [i]airplanes for a change? As if anyone would care about such a hilarious analogy anyway.
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plnelson
post Oct 30 2007, 19:46
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QUOTE (Fandango @ Oct 30 2007, 14:31) *
*rofl* Why is it always the stealing cars analogy that comes up... why not stealing apples or eggs or stealing ships[i] or [i]airplanes for a change? As if anyone would care about such a hilarious analogy anyway.

Obviously YOU care enough to post about it. rolleyes.gif


I liked "cars" because, like major-label music and 160G iPods, they represent market-driven consumerist acquisitions. Ships, eggs and airplanes don't have that quality of American consumer-driven excess.

American automotive culture and American big-label music culture share many of the same properties of heavy, glitzy promotion, status-seeking, and conspicuous consumption - the chrome wheels, the white earbuds, the promises of sex and coolness, etc. You just don't get that with eggs.

And I also liked the absurdity of buying a city parking garage and then complaining that AFTERWARDS that it was too expensive to fill. At least when I bought my 80G iPod this summer it was based on my projections for how much space I would actually need.
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Canar
post Oct 30 2007, 20:30
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An MP3 is a very long number. Likewise, a track on a CD, and indeed, the data on the entire CD are just very long numbers. Making analogies to physical objects is meaningless. I am describing here what we are actually dealing with, free of abstraction or metaphor.

It is absurd to say that you can own a number, yet the record companies are trying to do exactly that. What's more, they're laying claim to large sets of numbers that happen to sound similar to humans when interpreted to be representations of audio and played back accordingly.

There is no upper bound to how many copies of a number a person can have. A person can make a copy of a number and give it to a friend. That number does not cease to exist.

When you side with the record industry, you proclaim that numbers can be owned. There is absolutely zero abstraction or analogy in that statement. It is a direct logical consequence of current copyright law. This raises a great many ethical questions, yet becomes no less true. So, then, we enter into the next meaningful stage of debate: Should numbers be ownable?

This post has been edited by Canar: Oct 30 2007, 20:34


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plnelson
post Oct 30 2007, 21:31
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QUOTE (Canar @ Oct 30 2007, 15:30) *
An MP3 is a very long number. Likewise, a track on a CD, and indeed, the data on the entire CD are just very long numbers. Making analogies to physical objects is meaningless.

The money in your bank account is also just a number.

QUOTE
It is absurd to say that you can own a number
Absurd or not, it's still the law. There are perfectly legal means of changing the law if you disagree with it.

And why is it absurd to say numbers can't be owned? Do you own your identity or your likeness? If Coca Cola created a digital simalcrum of you - its appearance, voice, and mannerisms and had it endorse Coke, would you have a problem with that? It's just a number.

Your DNA is also a number. Sure, at the moment it happens to printed in base-pairs but it doesn't have to be. At Cornell they've already taken pure digital files of virus genomes and constructed living viruses out of them. And DNA sequences can be patented.

What's your opinion about owning property in Second Life?

The idea that only a physical object can be owned is so 20th-century. The world is virtual - practically ANYTHING can be a number and as time goes on the distinction you are trying to draw between the digital and the physical will become more and more archaic. In any case ownership is a legal concept, not a property of the physical universe like mass or temperature, thus it is prescriptive, not descriptive, so philosophizing about it like it is a pint of sand is pointless. Something can be owned if the law says it can be owned.

QUOTE
When you side with the record industry, you proclaim that numbers can be owned.

They can - that's the law. If you don't like it then change it. Until you do, legally you have no case.

And then there's the moral reciprocity issue - if you steal some music you are enjoying the efforts of the musician, not to mention the sound engineer, producer, etc, not to mention all the time and effort they all put into to developing their professional skills, without compensating them for the enjoyment they have given you. Is it right to enjoy the fruits of someone's labors without compensating them? The musician gave you something - what have you given him for his efforts?

So far you haven't provided any evidence that you aren't just rationalizing stealing. The European settlers who took over North America rationalized it partly by saying that the native Americans had a different concept of property than the whites so it was OK to take it. (this is similar to your idea that you can't steal what can't be owned) In South America that didn't work because they did have a more familiar concept of property, so the Europeans had to resort to a different rationalization. But in both cases it was the same as you: they felt entitled to take what they wanted so they crafted some rationalizations to suit their purposes.

This post has been edited by plnelson: Oct 30 2007, 21:37
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neomoe
post Oct 30 2007, 21:34
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numbers are interpreted by a program, so they are more like words. can words be owned? sure they can when put in the right order.
take goethe's faust for example. that's what intellectual property is all about.

This post has been edited by neomoe: Oct 30 2007, 21:35


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plnelson
post Oct 30 2007, 21:51
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QUOTE (neomoe @ Oct 30 2007, 16:34) *
numbers are interpreted by a program, so they are more like words. can words be owned? sure they can when put in the right order.
take goethe's faust for example. that's what intellectual property is all about.

Exactly. I'm a published writer and photographer, not to mention a software engineer. All of those expressions of my labor and creativity can be encoded digitally and copied perfectly an infinite number of times. But they are still all mine and if someone misappropriated them I would have both the legal and moral right to take action against them.

The world economy is increasingly based on knowledge and symbol manipulation - the fruits of millions of people's labor are "just" numbers. We're not living in Victorian England where a good day's work depended on sweating limbs and clanging hammers. The long term legal trend is to strengthen rights for abstract property, as well it should given that more and more people's livelihoods depend on it.
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Canar
post Oct 30 2007, 21:54
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neomoe, at the basic level, words are numbers as well. They're just in an encoding that you can interpret without requiring math.

plnelson, I said nothing about rationalizing stealing. There is no stealing happening. What is happening is unauthorized reproduction, nothing more. According to Mirriam-Webster's dictionary, steal means:

intransitive verb
1: to take the property of another wrongfully and especially as a habitual or regular practice
2: to come or go secretly, unobtrusively, gradually, or unexpectedly
3: to steal or attempt to steal a base

transitive verb
1 a: to take or appropriate without right or leave and with intent to keep or make use of wrongfully <stole a car>
b: to take away by force or unjust means <they've stolen our liberty>
c: to take surreptitiously or without permission <steal a kiss>
d: to appropriate to oneself or beyond one's proper share : make oneself the focus of <steal the show>
2 a: to move, convey, or introduce secretly : smuggle
b: to accomplish in a concealed or unobserved manner <steal a visit>
3 a: to seize, gain, or win by trickery, skill, or daring <a basketball player adept at stealing the ball> <stole the election>

Furthermore, to clarify intransitive definition 1, we need to clarify "take", which in almost all definitions means transfer, which implies that the original party no longer has it.

Call it whatever you like, but unauthorized copying is not stealing by any normal definition of "steal".

I spend what I can on music. However, given modern technology, it is going to be very difficult to prevent people from transferring numbers to and from each other.

We may be at the end of the short period of time wherein it is possible to charge for recorded music. Music was in no threat of dying out before recorded music could be sold, and it will be in no threat after recorded music dies out.

You're right that it's contrary to copyright law, but that doesn't make copyright law, the ownership of numbers, any less absurd.

I firmly believe that only physical objects can be owned. If you would not like a certain number made public, do not publicise it. There's nothing 20th century about this belief. For that matter, I believe that in the ideal case, there would be no concept of ownership, although in the status quo it is required. What exists ideally and what exists presently are two extremely different realms.


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boombaard
post Oct 30 2007, 21:57
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QUOTE
An MP3 is a very long number. Likewise, a track on a CD, and indeed, the data on the entire CD are just very long numbers. Making analogies to physical objects is meaningless. I am describing here what we are actually dealing with, free of abstraction or metaphor.

It is absurd to say that you can own a number, yet the record companies are trying to do exactly that. What's more, they're laying claim to large sets of numbers that happen to sound similar to humans when interpreted to be representations of audio and played back accordingly.

'Money' also is a social convention, as are governments, kinship bonds (at least the rules and ideas that come with them), and pretty much everything else.
Stating something is 'nothing' just because it's somewhat less tangible to me seems rather trivial.
QUOTE (Protagoras @ a long time before Al Gore invented the Internet)
“Man is the measure of all things, of the things that are that [or how] they are, of the things that are not that [or how] they are not.”

Music has value because we attribute it, whether it is recorded onto vynil or onto your pc.


Anyway, the whole point the article writer is making is that 'music' is not considered a luxury good anymore, and as such, the prices are rather out of this world.

yes, downloading music could be considered 'stealing' in some respects..
OTOH (and i'd say equally importantly) 'music' is considered one of the necessities of life by a lot of people.

As the writer states, We live in the iPod generation - where a "collection" of clunky CDs feels archaic - where the uniqueness of your music collection is limited only by how eclectic your taste is, a point i agree with as it indeed does seem that we consider it thus these days.
And if indeed music has become like bread, does it seem reasonable to have to starve in a society where bread is freely available in large quantities, but you are unable to buy it because the prices are kept artificially high?

This post has been edited by boombaard: Oct 30 2007, 22:21
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krabapple
post Oct 30 2007, 22:10
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from the rant:

QUOTE
because you can all but guarantee two things about most college kids: They love music, and they're dirt poor.


Yeah, riiiight. blink.gif
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plnelson
post Oct 30 2007, 23:22
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QUOTE (Canar @ Oct 30 2007, 16:54) *
plnelson, I said nothing about rationalizing stealing. There is no stealing happening.

What is happening is unauthorized reproduction, nothing more. According to Mirriam-Webster's dictionary, steal means:

intransitive verb
1: to take the property of another wrongfully
...
1 a: to take or appropriate without right or leave and with intent to keep or make use of wrongfully


You know as well as I do that you're just rationalizing. Copyright law is very clear on this - the artist or copyright owner is the only one with the legal right to authorize reproduction, therefore it is being taken wrongfully.

QUOTE
Furthermore, to clarify intransitive definition 1, we need to clarify "take", which in almost all definitions means transfer, which implies that the original party no longer has it.

"Almost" isn't good enough. If someone steals your identity you still have it but it's still stealing.

QUOTE
I firmly believe that only physical objects can be owned. If you would not like a certain number made public, do not publicise it. There's nothing 20th century about this belief. For that matter, I believe that in the ideal case, there would be no concept of ownership, although in the status quo it is required. What exists ideally and what exists presently are two extremely different realms.
It doesn't matter how "firmly" you believe it - you are still doing what I described centuries of invaders and conquerors as doing - you have a firm sense of entitlement so you are trying to paper over taking something you have no right to with transparent rationaliztions. All you're trying to do is play semnatic games to justify what you already know is wrongdoing. You wouldn't have to resort to semantic games if your argument held water.
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greynol
post Oct 30 2007, 23:26
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Didn't we already have this discussion a short while ago?

Where's the smiley that indicates boredom?

This post has been edited by greynol: Oct 30 2007, 23:28


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Axon
post Oct 31 2007, 01:14
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The bigger question is how the overall flow of money in the intellectual property trade influences what IP is developed. Remember, the whole point of copyright wasn't that IP rights were inalienable, but that allowing IP to be treated like physical property gives a much stronger economic incentive to develop it. The recent trends towards considering IP an inalienable right may be right or wrong, but even if it's not, the general question is the same.

Clearly, music as a whole will get along fine without big music labels, or any sort of DRM or IP enforcement. But nobody's proposed (or identified) a system where so much money can be focused into the industry. Without that much money, would we see as much expense being paid towards good recording studios, or sound mastering practices, or any other musical item requiring a large investment? Would it ever become profitable to publish recordings of new classical music, for instance? Would as many experimental acts be published if the risk involved in producing them would not be offset by large amounts of guaranteed income?

What I really fear is that music as a whole will become more amateur, and ultimately more conservative, as IP rights degrade. When the money stops flowing, only the people who don't care about money will continue to play - but that doesn't mean that the music will be any better or any more authentic; just that it will require less investment to produce, and that it will be harder to earn a living doing studio recordings.. Those people that do enjoy music that required great investments will only find it in the music of the past, when the industry could support it. Therefore, because music listeners would predominantly listen to the past, genres (notably rock) would stagnate.
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digital
post Oct 31 2007, 02:13
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.

.
You cats need to take a stiff shot of your favorite eye-ball reddener and trip on over to:

http://fingertipsmusic.com

"The Intelligent Guide To Free & Legal Music"

Andrew D.
www.cdnav.com

.
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Light-Fire
post Oct 31 2007, 03:54
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QUOTE (plnelson @ Oct 30 2007, 15:51) *
...I'm a published writer and photographer, not to mention a software engineer. All of those expressions of my labor and creativity can be encoded digitally and copied perfectly an infinite number of times...


That means you can "express your labor and creativity" once. An then make inexpensive copies of "it" and sell them at "expensive" prices and abuse your fellow man or neighbor. And you call it moral?!!!
We, people that work in honest jobs should combine forces and pressure politicians worldwide to LEGALLY change those immoral abusive copyright laws so the "creative "people" out there can be forced to work more often for their money.

QUOTE (plnelson @ Oct 30 2007, 15:51) *
The world economy is increasingly based on knowledge and symbol manipulation - the fruits of millions of people's labor are "just" numbers...


We. People that WORK for our money have to act quickly before our blood is completely sucked by the people above mentioned.
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Fuchal
post Oct 31 2007, 04:06
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How long do you think before the labels are out of business?

Trent Reznor: I mean, who knows? I remember a time when it felt like, being on a major label, our interests were aligned. At times, it's a pretty well-oiled machine and the luxury is that I feel like I've got a team of people who are taking care of the shit I don't want to think about. I don't care about the radio guy, I just want to make music. But those days are gone. Because, mainly, that infrastructure is broken at the moment. How long before [record companies] are irrelevant? Who knows? They seem to be doing everything they can to make sure that happens as quickly as possible.

http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2007/...l_williams.html

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LANjackal
post Oct 31 2007, 04:29
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@ plnelson: Aren't you the same guy who started that immensely pointless thread about the legality of ripping CDs in which you asked the same questions and made the same points repeatedly under the guise of soliciting advice? Some of use have had enough of your evangelizing, really.

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Canar
post Oct 31 2007, 04:35
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Let's take a look at the people who are providing these numbers, shall we? There are a few fields out there:

1) Software. Nowadays, it is quite common to see people releasing software and its source code at no cost.
2) Music. Nowadays, it is quite common to see people releasing music at no cost.
3) Writing. Likewise, via blogs and the Internet. Wikipedia is a proof-of-concept that a professional quality resource can be created without compensation for its writers.
4) Web development, which is designed around cost-free content.
5) Photography. There is no shortage of free stock photo sites.
6) Games.

Am I missing something? Is there some purely virtual field in which some do not provide content without cost? Not that I've seen recently...

The change has not happened across the board yet. It is happening though. There are many who produce this content and release it for everyone, rather than hoarding it and using our monopoly on a number to benefit ourselves and not society as a whole.

However, you do me wrong to say that I do not work, and that I am not paid for creation. As a matter of fact, I spent the summer being paid to update and maintain a local civic website, and have been paid for previous content creation in the past. Here again we see yet another way to commoditize the creation of free content: create a need in those you are mandated to serve.

There are still significant opportunities for custom software development, and for the analysis and configuration of systems. These opportunities keep increasing! Customization requires skilled individuals, as does the adaptation of existing software and content to meet new needs.

You keep saying I'm somehow rationalizing unauthorized reproduction (not theft, I'm not depriving anyone of anything). I am not. I feel no need to rationalize my behaviour, even in light of particular unfounded ad hominem attacks.

I could easily drop any and all copyright infringement and not look back. As it is, I purchase those products that I enjoy most, when I can afford to do so. I am not rich, and my infringement of copyright in the instances where I do infringe does not appear to make a significant difference in the success or failure of the products I infringe on.

Call it what you will, it is simply impossible to prevent the unlicensed propagation of a number, no matter how much law you try and throw at it. Why? Because the only way to enforce that law is to remove the right to transfer numbers.

I'm not arguing that numbers are not valid because they are not tangible. I'm saying that attempting to claim ownership of numbers is silly.


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Artemis3
post Oct 31 2007, 07:27
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My, my, this topic is also here wink.gif
Quoting myself at some other site...

QUOTE
You can not steal what you canít touch. Stealing involves taking a physical item away from its owner; the owner loses the item forever. A copy, authorized or not, never destroys the original. If you make an illegal photograph of a famous painting, the painting remains intact. We could argue why it is illegal to take a picture on the first place, and who is benefiting. If i show the picture for free outside of the gallery, am i depriving the gallery of funds because the people are no longer going in and paying the fee? Should we defend the gallery owner at the expense of not letting the masses free access to the culture? Those with money will go to the gallery anyway, because its not the same experience. Same occurs with music; if your band is worth it, people will buy the disc and go to their concerts no matter if its available on the net for free, or if they sold their souls to a major label.


Current laws in USA are made by and for the benefit of large corporations. The people at large is irrelevant.

The original intent of copyright was the opposite of what people think of it today. It was meant to put an end to the unlimited control english printer guilds used to have of written works. By fixing a limit, of 14 years i think, after which, the work had to go into the public domain. This allowed a reasonable time for authors to profit, while at the same time ensured continued access for the masses.

Enter the 20th century: corporations changed this and turned it upside down, repeating what it was meant to destroy.

This of course has led to the questioning of the need to preserve an "intellectual property" concept at all, with many advocating its complete dissolution. Others are simply asking to change the laws, to allow copies without permission for non-profit uses (Countries like Spain already have this).

The shameful behavior of the American cartels (RIAA, MPAA, etc) suing young girls and elderly women, forcing them to pay with all their savings plus half their income for life; rather than set an example as they had hoped, has only fueled a big worldwide anger against them and the system they try so desperate to maintain.


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