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What are your thoughts on unauthorized file sharing of music?, I know this is a big one.
Unauthorized file sharing, is it good or bad for the music world?
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Soulster
post Apr 18 2010, 09:36
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So it's been some time since the invention of torrents, 2001 to be exact. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BitTorrent_(protocol) I know some would rather ignore this difficult subject, but it's one that constantly makes me debate myself on whether the benefits out-weigh the cons. It's obviously a touchy subject for many of us, especially those who are artists, work in the audio world in some capacity, or even if you're just a music lover.

By now I'm sure most everyone is familiar with what Torrents do and what they are mainly used for, also I'm guessing you've all heard the main points for and against the trend that is changing the music and even the entertainment world as we speak. In fact I'm sure there is a great deal of members who use or have used torrents for some purpose.

For a basis of pros and cons I will try to cover just the main points most commonly brought up whenever I hear discussion brew about the subject.

The main arguments I hear for it:

1) It levels the music playing field, allowing unsigned or small budget artists and better chance of getting their art to listeners.
2) As greater amounts of music potentially reach more listeners the artist can benefit through growing fans supporting them at concerts, merch. purchases, etc.
3) A great deal of fans that may have not otherwise heard of these artists, will also buy the CD, vinyl, or legit digital downloads to further support the artists.
4) It is helping to cut out the big industry labels, who typically take the lions share of the profits anyway.
5) It isn't really stealing as the music can be duplicated without any physical copy, an infinite number of times. Nothing is being stolen, it is only being duplicated.

Main arguments against it:

1) It's immoral to steal art, and point 5 from above doesn't hold water.
2) It hurts the growth and creativity of music in general, as musicians like anyone, need money to support their efforts.
3) Many people who used to buy and support music no longer do, since they can get it for free. (This is highly debatable, as to whether more or less people are buying music since the creation of torrents and torrent sites. Many studies have been done, but its impossible to accurately quantify.)
4) Since music can be stolen this lowers the "value" of music, making less people willing to support art and the artists.

So I want to hear your thoughts, have I left any arguments for or against it out? Does the poll need re-wording? Should I post this somewhere else? I know if any place can be civil and discuss this complex topic it's this forum. I look forward to hearing what everyone has to say. I encourage you to really think about it from both sides before replying. This poll should be very interesting. What do you think, is torrenting a good or bad thing?

This post has been edited by greynol: Apr 20 2010, 01:41
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Alexander Ostuni
post Apr 18 2010, 11:03
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I can't vote in that poll...

I say yes to torrents, but only for things that are not available commercially.
For example I download lots of live concerts via torrents (Dime).

But I say strictly no to torrents of official CDs/LPs etc etc.

This post has been edited by Alexander Ostuni: Apr 18 2010, 11:03
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Akkurat
post Apr 18 2010, 12:08
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Why torrents in the subject? Why not P2P/P4P ("tomorrow")/darknets? uTorrent/Emule/DC++/whatever? Blogs with RapidShare links? IMHO, the whole topic/poll is flawed, I'd replace torrent words with piracy since that's what your topic is about.. though the arguments you listed have things about marketing/distributing/etc.

Sorry. You wanted to hear my thoughts. smile.gif


EDIT: I'd have to say that piracy is a bad thing. Though it helps me to check out new artists/albums that can't be found in free services (e.g. Spotify). I don't consider myself as a pirate if I download albums (not randomly, only when I get a tip from somewhere else), test listen to them max 3 times and after that erase them from my HD. AND if I liked what I heard, it goes to my shopping list. How I use piracy is only helping artists/labels. I've a feeling that I'm in the very little minority. smile.gif

This post has been edited by Akkurat: Apr 18 2010, 12:24
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2E7AH
post Apr 18 2010, 12:49
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QUOTE (Akkurat @ Apr 18 2010, 13:08) *
if I download albums (not randomly, only when I get a tip from somewhere else), test listen to them max 3 times and after that erase them

scout's honor biggrin.gif

if you are leecher you won't have time to listen the album 3 times, so nature already took care of things, like always tongue.gif
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Lorem Ipsum
post Apr 18 2010, 13:52
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As Akkurat has posted above, the topic as presented in the original poster isn't "torrents" at all - and it is being addressed as such due to the term gaining meaning far and beyond its technical meaning, and totally unrightly so.

'Bittorrent' is a technical protocol. Means. The arguments 'for' are first and foremost that the 'means' should never be confused with any kind of gained-public-attenetion-use: It would be similar to ban all motor vehicles because many robbers use them in order to get away with their loot, therefore they must be the work of the devil.

The means to transfer files between a group of people is not limited to, aimed at or originally sought after the use of piracy - and yes, there are many legitimate companies who put it to practical use. Many Unix releases are being released using the bittorrent protocol; many small applications have an option to download them via bittorrent; and yes, I have seen at least two independent artists who put their albums to download via the bittorrent protocol. This goes along the argument of 'helping getting the artists spread their art around', without the apologetic connotation of it being "even though it's piracy" - no, it isn't, no more than a legitimate, law-fearing citizen buying a Black BMW needs to apologize for choosing a vehicle associated with the Mafia. He might just happen to like black, and may just have shelled every penny he paid for it with hard-earned labour.

The means cannot be "wrong". Therefore there is nothing wrong with Bittorent, nor with eMule, nor with Rapidshare nor with Usenet. Those who don't know enough and have only heard about it from the media might connect all of those to piracy, and from there to hackers, and from there on to "getting viruses through them" and on goes the rubbish - well, I happened to be around before such forums existed, and such theme-based discussions thrived over Usenet.

In such discussion I always remember a short animated film I've seen some twenty-odd years ago, where "cars have been put on trial for being dangerous to civilians". At a certain point, the defendant portrayed the same "dangerous vehicle on the road" scene sans the car: the driver was still acting like a lunatic. It's not the car that drinks and drives, it's the driver that gets high and loses control over himself. And the point is, that he's just as dangerous losing control of himself behind the wheels or not: there isn't a shortage of stories of whackos losing their wits and starting to shoot all around them, or kill someone with their fists, or rape a girl in the park. It's not the car's blame, it's not the gun or knife per se, it's not the park's fault: it's how people chose to take advantage of them.

Piracy is not something invented by Bittorrent, by eMule, by Rapidshare or by the Internet as a whole: there are tons and tons of fake CDs being produced and sold everywhere. It seems way too convenient to point the finger at each new method someone develops that can be used in a 'problematic' way, rather than address tested and proved methods that are being used for years and which were all too easy to cover their true culprit's asses without being caught.

-- L. Ipsum
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Akkurat
post Apr 18 2010, 14:10
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QUOTE (Lorem Ipsum @ Apr 18 2010, 15:52) *
The means cannot be "wrong". Therefore there is nothing wrong with Bittorent, nor with eMule, nor with Rapidshare nor with Usenet. Those who don't know enough and have only heard about it from the media might connect all of those to piracy...

Exactly. Example, I can't even remember how many times I've heard that P2P = illegal/piracy nonsense. Here's some interesting facts for those misguided people: are you using Skype? Spotify perhaps? Those are P2P applications. And perfectly legal. Yes, when you use Spotify, you're in fact streaming/downloading from other Spotify users (and/or straight from Spotify), as well as possibly uploading to other users! Amazing! smile.gif
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Canar
post Apr 18 2010, 16:34
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QUOTE (Akkurat @ Apr 18 2010, 07:08) *
I'd replace torrent words with piracy since that's what your topic is about..
Ohoho! Them's fighting words. This topic is not about piracy, it's about unauthorized reproduction or copyright infringement. The term "piracy" has all sorts of negative connotations and obscures the deeper legal reality of the situation. There is absolutely no parallel between unauthorized reproduction and robbery/criminal violence on the high seas.


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Akkurat
post Apr 18 2010, 16:42
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I should have known that this would come up. I know that some of you don't accept Wikipedia as a source at all but: pirate/piracy. Also it's a common & adopted term today.. that's how our language is shaped. My 2c's.

EDIT: Oxford English Dictionary:
QUOTE
piracy
• noun 1 the practice of attacking and robbing ships at sea. 2 the unauthorized use or reproduction of another’s work.


This post has been edited by Akkurat: Apr 18 2010, 16:45
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Canar
post Apr 18 2010, 17:13
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"Marijuana" is also an accepted term for cannabis, but the origin of the popularization of the term has its roots in racism. Because of this, I try to avoid using the term.

"Piracy" is a term being used by the Music And Film Industry Associations of America (MAFIAA) in an ongoing propaganda battle. The long-term result of this propaganda battle could very well be the destruction of the freedom of information on the Internet. Consequently, I do not accept the term as a synonym for "copyright infringement" and I strongly advise anyone reading this to do likewise. Don't fall into corporate newspeak.

Here is a helpful picture:



This post has been edited by Canar: Apr 18 2010, 17:23


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Lorem Ipsum
post Apr 18 2010, 18:19
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Excuse me for bulging in yet again, but while we're turning this [back?] into a discussion about the origin and choice of wordings and whether or not "piracy" is a proper or improper choice of words and what's its etymology's in talking about copyright infringements, I would very much like to quote a short explanation I read somewhere in one of the discussions about piracy vs. file-sharing vs. the morals behind it vs. the fight against those evil music industry corporations vs. the socialists communities of file-sharers that bring the music to the masses and free the art to their proper place, in the (again) community:

A group of people sharing something they own are called a community.
A group of people sharing something they do not own are called pirates.

-- L. Ipsum

P.S.
Practical ideas, morals and arguments set totally aside.
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Canar
post Apr 18 2010, 18:37
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I don't agree with that at all. Piracy, in the traditional sense, involves forcefully removing property of others. Unauthorized reproduction removes nothing.

Drawing analogies between information duplication and transfer of physical property is intrinsically flawed. There is no such analogy that can be made accurately, as they break down very trivially under analysis.

This post has been edited by Canar: Apr 18 2010, 18:38


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Soulster
post Apr 18 2010, 18:50
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QUOTE (Alexander Ostuni @ Apr 18 2010, 12:03) *
I can't vote in that poll...

I say yes to torrents, but only for things that are not available commercially.
For example I download lots of live concerts via torrents (Dime).

But I say strictly no to torrents of official CDs/LPs etc etc.


You bring up a good point, maybe I should reword the poll to include or specifically not-include legal torrents?

Akkurat, also brings up a good point. I do agree I should replace torrent to somehow include P2P, etc. But it does stand to reason that if you are for torrents, then you are most likely for P2P, Mirror sites, Blogs, etc. sharing "unauthorized musical content".

This post has been edited by Soulster: Apr 18 2010, 19:04
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greynol
post Apr 18 2010, 18:56
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It seems the only way artists are able to get compensated for their work these days is to spend all their time on the road touring. I don't think this is necessarily a good thing for them.


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gaekwad2
post Apr 18 2010, 19:14
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QUOTE (greynol @ Apr 18 2010, 18:56) *
It seems the only way artists are able to get compensated for their work these days is to spend all their time on the road touring. I don't think this is necessarily a good thing for them.

Of course for most that's always been the case.

[obligatory link to The Problem With Music]
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greynol
post Apr 18 2010, 19:19
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You don't you think that copyright infringement has made it worse?


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Canar
post Apr 18 2010, 19:28
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Cory Doctorow, a published and reasonably well-known SF writer, expounded upon his perceptions of copyright at some length here: http://www.locusmag.com/2006/Issues/07Doct...Commentary.html

I can't find the original source, but he cites William Gibson as saying: "We may be at the end of the brief period during which it is possible to charge for recorded music." Musicians existed and made a living for centuries before it was possible to charge for recorded music, and they will continue to do so. Nowadays, the paradigm shift seems to be towards donating to artists for their music if you enjoy it. I do so regularly.

This post has been edited by Canar: Apr 18 2010, 19:29


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greynol
post Apr 18 2010, 19:34
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I don't buy into the "since they always have they always will" argument. It must fall into some category of logical fallacy.


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Akkurat
post Apr 18 2010, 19:39
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QUOTE (Canar @ Apr 18 2010, 20:37) *
Piracy, in the traditional sense, involves forcefully removing property of others.

Yes, but it's time to move on with the changing world.. the "world's most trusted dictionary" makers agree. Forget MAFIAA and their stupid propaganda.. or fight against it.. but IMHO presenting that silly (other side) propaganda picture is not the right way to go.

I think that Oxford English Dictionary is spot on; "noun 1 the practice of attacking and robbing ships at sea. 2 the unauthorized use or reproduction of another’s work.". It's nothing like MAFIAA "stealing" propaganda misusing the piracy term. I think that they should be denounced, not me or e.g. Oxford English Dictionary.

QUOTE (Soulster @ Apr 18 2010, 20:50) *
I do agree I should replace torrent to somehow include P2P, etc. And so I will do that.

Please don't, that was not my point at all. This isn't about the "means" as Lorem Ipsum nicely put it. It's about music piracy. (sorry Canar, I disagree with you)

QUOTE (greynol @ Apr 18 2010, 20:56) *
It seems the only way artists are able to get compensated for their work these days is to spend all their time on the road touring. I don't think this is necessarily a good thing for them.

Or to us as music collectors/lovers. I agree 100%.
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Canar
post Apr 18 2010, 20:39
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You miss the point, Akkurat. By your/OED definition, fair use is also piracy, as it is unauthorized. Playing a CD at a coffee-shop is piracy. Using the OED here for definitions is not necessarily valid.


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Canar
post Apr 18 2010, 20:42
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QUOTE (greynol @ Apr 18 2010, 14:34) *
I don't buy into the "since they always have they always will" argument. It must fall into some category of logical fallacy.

A: Musicians made a living before it was possible to sell recordings.
B: Musicians made a living when it was possible to sell recordings.
C: Musicians made a living after it was possible to sell recordings.

A and B cannot be made to show implication of C. However, given A and B, it seems pretty likely that C will also be true. Are you making the claim that C is unlikely?


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greynol
post Apr 18 2010, 21:05
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C does not follow from A and/or B; hence my statement of the logical fallacy that was presented. Since it is you who made the claim, it is up to you to prove it, not up to me to disprove it.

Furthermore, we live in an entirely different world from that of A. I would submit that there were many jobs through which one could have once made a living in a modern society which are now extinct. Suggesting that being a full-time musician might be added to that list isn't that huge a leap.

I suspect that musicians may still be able to make a living in some places in the future, but I don't expect them able to make a living too far past the edge of poverty in a modern society and I don't see piracy as helping. Note: I could give a flying fuck about the large corporations involved in distribution.

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greynol
post Apr 18 2010, 21:19
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QUOTE (Canar @ Apr 18 2010, 12:39) *
By your/OED definition, fair use is also piracy, as it is unauthorized. Playing a CD at a coffee-shop is piracy.
Yes, this is correct.

QUOTE (Canar @ Apr 18 2010, 12:39) *
Using the OED here for definitions is not necessarily valid.
Sure it is, or do you have a more definitive source for the English language, since this is all that is being argued here is language/semantics? I get that you don't like that the word is loaded but that doesn't invalidate a widely accepted definition.

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Lorem Ipsum
post Apr 18 2010, 21:22
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QUOTE (Canar @ Apr 18 2010, 23:39) *
You miss the point, Akkurat. By your/OED definition, fair use is also piracy, as it is unauthorized. Playing a CD at a coffee-shop is piracy. Using the OED here for definitions is not necessarily valid.


Actually, both your examples have been indeed proved as problematic, as far as the copyright holders go.

From what I remember from the published 'Fair Use' booklet printed in the UK some dozen years or so ago, the whole idea behind it is that it's a set of terms agreed upon by the [theresigned] copyright holders to be of 'fair usage' and which will not be prosecuted about, even though from a perfectly legal point of view they are and may be. So on the occasion a copyright holder may feel that someone has extended their 'fair use' rights well and beyond what they may perceive as 'fair use' and refuse to withdraw from such usage, it may well indeed be taken to court and the 'fair use' act may prove to have very little grounds, as it has no legal basis.

That as far as your abstract example goes.

As far as your specific example goes - at least here in Israel, several coffee shops have indeed been prosecuted by the "Composers, Authors and Publisher's Union" (Israel's member of CISAC) for not paying royalties for their background music.

This act was indeed successful in annoying many coffee-shop owners, and gained laughable reactions with the public. It was also successful in getting the attention of both the public, the coffee-shop owners, the artists and the legal system to the fact that public places who use background music do so in order to draw customers and to enhance their pleasure, thus providing service by the merchant in order to gain more customers and revenue - and thus, paying royalties for those artists which their work is being used to do so, is quite the proper thing to do.

-- L. Ipsum
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greynol
post Apr 18 2010, 21:30
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So long as those who broadcast (or perform) copyrighted material are paying royalties up-front or have some other binding legal agreement, there should be no problem.

This post has been edited by greynol: Apr 18 2010, 21:36


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Soulster
post Apr 18 2010, 21:35
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Hey great conversation guys. You've already brought up many sides of the debate I didn't think about or include.

Hey Canar you're moderator. Since I've added the poll I can no longer edit the Subject and poll. I was wondering before it goes much further can you edit it for me to include not only Torrents but P2P, Blogs, DC++, etc. Basically any "unauthorized duplication of musical art" within the digital realm of the World wide web.

Specifically I want to leave out CD, Tape, or Harddrive duplication for focus purposes and allows posters to comment on those topics in a reply if they like, as we have been doing so far.

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