20 thoughts on “Speaking of stealing and music

  1. But why should they object? I thought “sharing” music wasn’t wrong! Now all Sony is doing is just choosing to “share” these artists’ material without paying for it—exactly the same as those who “share” the record companies’ material without paying for it.

  2. In fact, Sony IS paying for it. They’re just not paying as much as the artists claim they should, because apparently a download is more like a licensing for a movie soundtrack than it is like a cd sale. (Who knew?)

    But I thought artists were just interested in SHARING their work—why, these artists almost give the impression that they want to make money. Doesn’t that make them soulless?

  3. You’re missing the point entirely, your sarcasm notwithstanding.

    This is about the big record companies, once again, screwing the artist.

    In this case the bands mentioned are not concerned that listeners are getting their music for free – they’re concerned with a multinational company reneging on a contract.

    If Sony wasn’t getting any money from the consumer, then the argument would be the same – they’d just be facilitating file sharing. But it is not. They plan on making a profit and not sharing the agreed upon amount with the artists.

  4. If there were any logical weight to the argument that a file sharing of a song is more similar to a licensing for motion picture use than to a cd sale, then there might be a plausible argument that the record companies negotiated the higher rate rather than the lower rate. But I, for one, find the characterization absurd. The similarity to a cd sale is obviously greater.

    And I still don’t understand why these pure, altruistic, musicians are concerning themselves with contracts over money. Why did they negotiate the contracts in the first place? I thought it was all about the music, not the money. Don’t they want Sony to share the music as much as possible? Why don’t they just share it with Sony for no money at all? That way Sony could distribute it even more widely, and the whole world would be filled with peace and love.

  5. Maybe if I change the context it’ll all make sense, ltbugaf.

    If I give away flowers from my flower-garden, I’m just a nice guy trying to brighten up your day.

    If you pick flowers from my garden and then sell them, I’m going to expect some form of compensation.

  6. You’re talking about an uncopiable resource. That’s what distinguishes intellectual products from others and that’s why copyright protections are necessary in order to incentivize creation. If I pick flowers from your garden, you run out of flowers. If I run three billion copies of your song, you still have the song. The only thing you’ve lost is the ability to make money with it. So if you want to brighten everyone’s day, then share your song for free. But if you want to make money, then protect your copyright. And if, to make money as a musician, you sell or license your copyright to a company that has the resources to distribute it widely, then don’t condemn that company for trying to make money, too.

  7. Wrong.

    You’re commodifying the wrong resource.

    It’s not the song that’s being sold. It’s the access to the song that’s sold (or given) to the consumer.

    I’m not condemning the companies for making money, I am condemning them for taking clear advantage of sweetheart deals they have in the distribution networks, in order to squelch artists’ options.

    It’s as much about fairness as it is about money.

  8. It’s the access to the product.

    If you have a flower garden and you invite people to come and view it for free, just to brighten everyone’s day, that’s your prerogative. You can choose to give unrestricted access if you want.

    If, on the other hand, you decide that running the flower garden costs too much to do for free, and that you might even like to make an income off it, you then have the right to control access. You can charge admission.

    But what happens when people start sneaking over the wall? Is it hypocritical to punish them? Is it unfair to deny access? What if the gardeners you hired to plant your flowers, or the botanists who developed new strains that are showcased there, really want their work to be shown off to as many people as possible. Should they be able to tell you that you have to stop charging admission? Should you set up a ticket booth but just ignore the hordes of people who walk past the booth and barge into the garden without paying? After all, you may still make enough money.

    Now suppose you’ve formed a contract with the botanist that he gets 5% of ticket sales but 30% of the sales of plants from the gift shop. The following week, a photography club offers to pay for the privilege of bringing in cameras and staging pictures of the flowers. The botanist wants a share of the fees. He claims that photos are just like plant sales, but you say they’re more like regular admissions. If you disagree with him, are you soulless? Are you just trying to “screw him” out of what he deserves?

  9. I wonder if the botanists’ association will simultaneously claim that those who sneak in to your garden without paying admission are “not burglars or trespassers.” I wonder if they will simultaneously sue you for a bigger share of the photographers’ fees?

  10. I think this metaphor has now ceased to be effective. =)

    So ltbugaf, you’ve never owned any mix-tapes or VHS tapes, right?

    You certainly wouldn’t use a TiVo or digital recording system either, right?

  11. I think the metaphor is quite effective. It’s apparent, though, that you hadn’t realized it works more against your point of view than for it.

    I don’t own or use TiVo. I don’t record anything on VHS tapes except where allowed by copyright law. I don’t make unlawful copies of copyrighted material on tape or CD.

    Any other questions on my personal conduct? Perhaps you’d like to leave that tangent and return to the topic at hand.

  12. Well, I suppose that my feeble attempt to distract you from the discussion has failed.

    You are perfect in every way, and my feeble construct of an argument is sub-par.

    The way you have executed logical jiu jitsu, and turned my own argument against me is telling.

    You have fundamentally changed the way I will think about a law that no Canadian is breaking.

    … and I still think sharing is ok.

  13. Think away. You can think to your heart’s content. Just don’t think that your misguided opinion will save you from the rightful remedies imposed by a copyright owner if you should ever be sued for putting your thoughts into action.

  14. …by the way, I’m not perfect in EVERY way. For example, I have this rather thin spot on the top of my head, and my waistline isn’t quite what it should be.

    Other than that…:)

  15. (I’ve been trying to come up with a name for what Rick did in #12. I think the best one so far is, “sarcasm in the fetal position.”)

  16. At what point in life did you determine that personal attacks were the socially accepted norm?

    I mean, I’ve always assumed that being an American that there was a degree of social awkwardness that you were simply unaware of, but even you must agree that underhanded swipes such as your previous comment are just not on.

  17. It’s a personal attack?

    It’s underhanded?

    I really didn’t think it was either. In fact, I just thought I was kidding with you. I’m sorry I created a different impression.

  18. Perhaps clarifying my comment would help.

    In comment 12, you simply disengaged from our debate, refusing to go on with any discussion of substance. At the same time, you nonetheless took the opportunity to throw a series of at least five sarcastic jabs my way.

    The phrase “assume the fetal position” is (I think) derived from the actions of those who are so overwhelmed that they simply give up and refuse to engage in whatever is confronting them. I jokingly combined this phrase with a reference to your energetic sarcasm.

    If there is some reason that comment has caused offense, then I don’t know what it is. But I apologize, nevertheless.

  19. I appologize as well.

    I think the term ‘fetal position’ must have a slightly more ringing connotation in my language group than in yours.

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