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Harvard Study Says Weak Copyright Benefits Society 326

Posted by samzenpus
from the free-is-good dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Michael Geist summarizes an important new study on file sharing from economists Felix Oberholzer-Gee and Koleman Strumpf. The Harvard Business School working paper finds that given the increase in artistic production along with the greater public access conclude that 'weaker copyright protection, it seems, has benefited society.' The authors point out that file sharing may not result in reduced incentives to create if the willingness to pay for 'complements' such as concerts or author speaking tours increases."
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Harvard Study Says Weak Copyright Benefits Society

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  • Pointless (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Razalhague (1497249) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @04:03AM (#28371169) Homepage
    These kind of studies are largely pointless. We already know this, and the media industry will not believe it regardless of how many studies come to this conclusion.
    • So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MrEricSir (398214) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @04:09AM (#28371203) Homepage

      The media industry is not society. Why would they care if society benefits if their bottom line does not also benefit?

      • Re:So what? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Joce640k (829181) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @04:13AM (#28371233) Homepage

        But ... their bottom line *could* benefit if they add value to the physical items they sell (eg. if their CD comes with an official t-shirt, sew-on patch, etc).

        • Re:So what? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Opportunist (166417) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @04:30AM (#28371335)

          You know, that's something I just simply don't understand: Why don't they bundle some crap with the CDs? Cheap trinkets that cost close to zero but make the fans happy?

          You needn't go fancy. How about the "official, signed photograph"? Of course the signature is printed, but who cares? You can ONLY get it with THIS CD! (sure, others may exist, but THIS very special autograph picture is only available that way)

          It's not like this would break the bank. But then again, they don't even include booklets anymore in CDs, why would I assume they could spend half a buck for a cheap crappy picture print?

          • Re:So what? (Score:4, Interesting)

            by CarpetShark (865376) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @05:13AM (#28371539)

            Personally, I couldn't give a crap who the artist is, much less about having their signed photograph. To paraphrase a common saying, "It's the information, stupid." People want information, because they know information is power. Anything that gets in their way will be mown down. It's really that simple.

            What can big media distribution companies do for money now that the internet has replaced their distribution model? Well, it's simple: they do the same thing spinning wheel operators did when the industrial revolution made it easy to get quality thread. They retrain, and get a new job --- one that's relevant and useful to the newer, more evolved society. They could become specialist, old-school, niche-market distributors for a select few, much like you can still go to a craft store and find hand-woven fabrics etc., but in that case, they'll need to be happy with their niche status, and their much reduced income. Not least, because people in hobbyist niche markets expect their suppliers to be decent people doing it for the love of tradition, rather than hate.

            • You probably don't care about picture autographs of a star, but I'm talking about the main target market, teenagers and their craze for overhyped one hit wonders. You only have to market it that way that it's uncool to copy the song instead of buying it, because you wouldn't have that superspecialawesome only-with-the-CD picture to show off how much of a fan you really are.

              C'mon, they're masters of PR and marketing, at least they used to be. Fire some of those lawyers and hire some markedroids!

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by R0UTE (807673)
            This is one way the game industry have attempted to over come piracy I think but to a slightly larger extent and I think we will see more and more of it.

            Look at games like Guitar Hero, excellent, fun games that could quite easily be pirated but what is the point of having the game without the nice guitar to play it with. Same goes for rock band etc. More bespoke controllers and extras that make the game worth playing and consumers are quite happy to pay through the nose for it and not bother trying to pi
          • Re:So what? (Score:4, Insightful)

            by gaspyy (514539) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @05:47AM (#28371711)

            Years ago we've done some work for a record label to promote an artist. When the job was over, we received a few "special" complimentary CDs - a lot better packaging, hand-signed, lots of extras. It was really nice and it succeeded in making us feel, well, special. It was probably a short-run that was given to press and so on as part of the promotion.

            So they CAN do it. If, instead of a cheap plastic holder and some paper they'd add something of value, people would have an extra incentive to buy the CD as opposed to download the mp3 (legally or not).

          • by Jesus_666 (702802)
            Dsft Punk did this with Discovery - you got an access code to the (initially horribly DRM'd) Daft Club website where you could download remixes. Of course someone could de-DRM the remixes but share them but people with the code got new stuff earlier.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Jason Levine (196982)

            They could even look to the cereal industry for ways of doing these promotions. Cereal boxes all the time will offer something only to require that the person mail in a request form and pay some small shipping and handling fee. They could, as you said, include a code for a free 4x6 photo and then, when the photo is shipped to the person, toss in a mini-catalog with other band items the person can buy. Posters, hats, t-shirts, etc. Heck, it could just be a small card with the URL to the band's Zazzle.com

          • Re:So what? (Score:4, Informative)

            by mcvos (645701) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @08:48AM (#28373167)

            You know, that's something I just simply don't understand: Why don't they bundle some crap with the CDs? Cheap trinkets that cost close to zero but make the fans happy?

            Don't you already get that? Most CDs come with a booklet with lyrics and photos of the artists, and they're often little works of art in themselves. It's one of the reasons why I prefer real CDs over downloads.

            But then again, they don't even include booklets anymore in CDs,

            They don't? Since when? I admit it's been a couple of month since I've bought a new CD, but usually it's only the really old albums that don't come with a booklet.

      • Re:So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Daengbo (523424) <daengbo@@@gmail...com> on Thursday June 18, 2009 @04:39AM (#28371387) Homepage Journal

        I read the first ten or so pages of the PDF before posting, and the intended audience was obviously not the media companies. I would guess that that audience would be law makers. The paper clearly states that social welfare for artists is not the intended consequence of copyrights, but that encouraging production is.

        I found most of the arguments in the front section (which were probably more general and less supported than ones later in the paper) to be logical and well-reasoned, except for the part about authors generating income through speaking tours, which I doubt would be effective for any but the most famous.

        I'll definitely read the rest of the paper this weekend.

        • by jedidiah (1196)

          Considering the current nature of media production, "touring" is about the
          only way the smaller act is going to make ANY money. That's just the nature
          of the business and it is clear across many forms of media. You just have to
          bother to pay attention.

          Most bands or authors don't really get any support from their label or publisher
          and are forced to market themselves. They don't end up making much of any money
          from physical media distribution or end up in debt to the label. This leads to
          "touring" of some form or

      • Re:So what? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by mcgrew (92797) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @07:48AM (#28372493) Homepage Journal

        Their bottom line DOES benefit. Their problem is that their indie competetion, who don't have radio and empty-v, also benefit. The mainstream recording industry doesn't want to keep Metallica out of your ears, they want to keep indie music out of your ears.

    • Re:Pointless (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Rogerborg (306625) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @04:10AM (#28371209) Homepage

      the media industry will not believe it

      Indeed, since the media "industry" - the guys that buy the lawyers and Senators - have no interest in "creating" anything. Their job is to exploit other peoples' creations. Whether the creators get rewarded or not is utterly irrelevant to them.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Vintermann (400722)

      They will learn. They will learn, or they will die.

      The recent Virgin/Universal deal [slashdot.org] that was covered here on slashdot is an example of things moving in the right direction. In case you don't remember: A UK ISP will offer something very close to Magnatune, for Virgin/Universal's music. You can make a monthly payment for an all-you-can-eat buffet. Yeah, there are still some minor issues (they still want to disconnect people without any trial, and they still won't let you give a friend a copy), but it's a huge

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by rundgren (550942)

      These kind of studies are largely pointless. We already know this, and the media industry will not believe it regardless of how many studies come to this conclusion.

      You're right, but the important part is convincing society in general, and of course politicans. And at least some of them _do_ listen to/read academic papers.

    • by smchris (464899)

      Yes, Harvard has caught up with the Grateful Dead. But I'll bet the Harvard study publishes in approved form and cites references.

    • by schon (31600)

      the media industry will not believe it regardless of how many studies come to this conclusion

      "It is impossible to get a man to understand something when his livelihood requires that he not understand it."

      The media industry already knows and understands it. They refuse to admit it because it means acknowledging their own obsolesence.

    • Re:Pointless (Score:5, Insightful)

      by erroneus (253617) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @07:59AM (#28372611) Homepage

      The media industry DOES believe it. In fact they have known it for a long time. This is easily demonstrable in that people listen to their radios and then turn around and go to concerts and other things. Radio play does not necessarily equate to CD sales unless the buyer is more or less a fan. On the radio the music is already effectively free. (Yes I know it is paid for by advertising and that the radio stations pay the music publishers for the right to play. But to the listener, it's free.)

      The music publishers only have music to publish. That's what they sell. They don't do concerts. They might have the rights to sell t-shirts and other things as well, but their primary income is selling music. If the study says free music is better for society, they already know that. If the study says free music is better for artists, they already know that. The study effectively says that the music publishers are bad for society and are holding everyone back with their business model. Do you expect them to care? I don't.

      This study is for legislators to listen to, not "the enemy."

    • Equally Pointless (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Main Gauche (881147)

      These kind of studies are largely pointless. We already know this, and the media industry will not believe it regardless of how many studies come to this conclusion.

      It is equally pointless to post a summary of this economic paper to slashdot. Everyone here "already knows" the answers.

      Let me explain what it means when an economist says "society benefits". (By the way, I am one.) If a policy change causes Person A to lose $1 and Person B to gain $2, then "society benefits". If a policy change causes Persons A and B and C each to lose $1,000, but Person D gains $5,000, then "society benefits".

      If you RTFpdf, you'll notice one argument they make: While file sharing may

  • Media Frenzy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Techmeology (1426095)
    Now, where's a media frenzy when you need one? Anyone on here work for a major news corporation?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Joce640k (829181)

      You want media companies to run stories on how copyright might be bad?

      Email me privately, I've got an offer you'll be interested in.

    • by mcgrew (92797)

      The same people who own the record companies also own the newspapers - it's all corporate. Don't hold your breath waiting for the MSM to pick up on this, they'll do their best to bury it.

  • in today's America (Score:5, Insightful)

    by joeyspqr (629639) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @04:11AM (#28371223)
    laws are not passed to benefit society, laws are bought to protect business models.
  • by Boetsj (1247700) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @04:15AM (#28371247)
    A similar study has been conducted before in the Netherlands: [weblogs3.nrc.nl] Downloading benefits the Dutch economy (in Dutch, Google Translation [74.125.77.132]). This study had been ordered by the department of Education, Culture and Science, the department of Economic Affairs and the Justice department.

    A downloaded movie, CD or game is not equal to a product not sold, say the researchers. Also, "Amongst downloaders of music and film, the percentage of buyers is as high as with non-downloaders, in games, the percentage of buyers even higher. Music downloaders are also more likely to concerts and buy more merchandise. Downloaders buy more games than gamers who never downloaded and movies downloaders buy more DVDs than non-downloaders."
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jonaskoelker (922170)

      Did the study consider questions of causality?

      Meet Alice. She buys two games per year. Now meet Bob. He downloads five games per year, and buys five.

      If Alice started downloading two games per year instead of buying, would she start playing more games? At the current state, why isn't she playing more games?

      If it's the price, letting her download wouldn't seem to change things. If it's her lack of interest, offering her something she doesn't want for free isn't going to change things.

      It seems that the ob

  • Err.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by 4D6963 (933028) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @04:17AM (#28371275)
    What if you're an artist but only want to create art and not tour all over the place just to make money? I realise that most musicians seem to like doing concerts, but what if that's not what you want to do and just want to record albums?
    • Re:Err.. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Daimanta (1140543) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @04:29AM (#28371325) Journal

      The same question would be: What if you are a painter and you paint only for a niche of the market? You make less money. But if you love the art, that's where your hart lies and that's what will make you happy.

      Sure, you can go commercial and make more money, but that would probably negatively affect your happiness so you will have to choose and possible compromise.

      • by 4D6963 (933028)
        Yeah, the only difference is, like it or not, right now the studio artist makes $1-2 for each album sold, without it, well, he'd make nothing.
        • by sorak (246725)

          I saw that mentioned on the website linked to in the summary. That is missing the forest for the trees. If the artists are getting screwed on digital downloads, then they have a right to demand compensation, but this is just one more aspect of the current RIAA business model that needs to be changed.

          Sure, the shuffle in business models will give those in power a chance to screw artists a little harder, but we can't keep making buggy whips forever. We'll have to adapt eventually.

        • Re:Err.. (Score:4, Interesting)

          by BlueStrat (756137) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @08:04AM (#28372683)

          Yeah, the only difference is, like it or not, right now the studio artist makes $1-2 for each album sold, without it, well, he'd make nothing.

          That's actually not so true today. Check out the distribution one can buy these days:

          http://gc.guitarcenter.com/tunecore/ [guitarcenter.com]

          The problem is there are too many stupid artists, and I say this as an artist myself. Most seem to not take any time or trouble at all to even learn about basic copyright, never mind researching the various types of contracts available or that could be demanded from labels if they bothered to organize and put collective pressure on all the labels. More are beginning to adopt online distribution, however there are still plenty of pitfalls for the unwary & lazy.

          Most are too self-centered around their art and ego. The big "Gold Ring" they drive for is to "get signed", and most of them are without any real clue as to what that can actually mean when you're talking about dealing with a record label.

          Those kinds of artists get chewed up and spit out, ending up as burned-out cynical husks touring crappy venues in a crappy bus, living on less income than they'd make at a burger joint, trying to pay off what they "owe" to the record label after the third album, which the label didn't really promote much anyway, while still tied contractually to the label and unable to break free without paying the label tons more money on top of the mint they've already made the label.

          Here's a piece I post a link to when this topic comes up. It's a bit cynical and also dated, but the situation he describes here is generally pretty accurate in how labels tend to treat bands/artists, which is generally as crappy as the band/artist lets them get away with.

          http://www.negativland.com/albini.html [negativland.com]

          Until artists make more effort to educate themselves about the business/legal end of the music biz and stop throwing themselves into the big-label roasting pit carrying their own bucket of BBQ sauce, not much will change. As long as the labels have lambs begging to be slaughtered and handing them the axe while shoving the previous lambs' remains off the block to make room, why would they want to change?

          Strat

          • by 4D6963 (933028)

            Great insight, thanks. Although I must clarify that when I was thinking of artists making some money for their studio albums I didn't think of any particular mode of distribution or anything, just pointing out that your studio work can (and should) still bring you money.

      • Simple, sell the original for a lot of money .... it is unique, and if someone values it then they will pay for it ...

        Don't keep the original and try and sell copies for the same cumulative value

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by sorak (246725)

        The same question would be: What if you are a painter and you paint only for a niche of the market? You make less money. But if you love the art, that's where your hart lies and that's what will make you happy.

        Sure, you can go commercial and make more money, but that would probably negatively affect your happiness so you will have to choose and possible compromise.

        Well said. I was going to say something along the lines of:

        What if you're a food critic. You love traveling to exotic locations and sampling new food items for free, but you don't like having to write about it later. How do we, as a society, make your wishes profitable?

    • Re:Err.. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by richie2000 (159732) <rickard.olsson@gmail.com> on Thursday June 18, 2009 @04:31AM (#28371337) Homepage Journal

      They can still do that.

      I swear to God, sometimes it's like people equate "loss of some monopoly privileges" with "absolutely forbidden to sell a disc ever again".

      Yes, some people will download instead of buying the CD or paying for it on iTunes. Others will find the artist through file-sharing sites and buy something to either support the artist, own the physical CD or just to feel good inside. On the whole, these effects evens out pretty well, except for the minority of really big artists who lose a bit of income and the majority of really small artists who gain from being more exposed. This is, generally speaking, a good thing since the incomes in the copyright industry is very uneven compared to other industries.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by grenthar (1488647)
      Carve a statue. Nobody forced you to create with a medium that can be digitally reproduced.
    • Re:Err.. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Yvanhoe (564877) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @05:03AM (#28371497) Journal
      Well I only want to play video games and roleplay with friends, but I can't make money this way...

      By the way, just record music, distribute music and ask donation to make another album. If people are unwilling to pay you for that, well, maybe it is better for you to stop. Or not. Not very long ago, most musicians did not expect to earn any money at all. Those surviving thanks to their art only had music-hall pays. Records were a new thing, that changed the landscape completely and now it changes again. Now even a novice artist can reach millions of people if he manages to make ONE good tune. But he lost the ability to win millions of dollars once he established a trademark.
      • by 4D6963 (933028)

        Well I only want to play video games and roleplay with friends, but I can't make money this way...

        What the hell does it have to do with anything? I'm talking about artists getting a cut of the money on albums they sell. If the market will buy, it means you created value, value which you should get.

        Not very long ago, most musicians did not expect to earn any money at all.

        Bullshit. If you knew anything about classical music you'd know that all these guys whose compositions you heard were being paid for

        • Re:Err.. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Yvanhoe (564877) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @06:25AM (#28371925) Journal

          What the hell does it have to do with anything? I'm talking about artists getting a cut of the money on albums they sell. If the market will buy, it means you created value, value which you should get.

          But if the market won't buy, what does it mean ? That you didn't create value or that someone steals from you ?

          Bullshit. If you knew anything about classical music...

          I'm talking about the 1900' before the record industry went up. But yes if we go further back in time, we find composers (not musicians, musicians just had a regular salary when part of an orchestra or were itinerant artists if not) that are paid for commissioned work. A model that worked well enough to provide us with Mozart's and Bach's music. Why could this model not be used today ? Instead of some rich aristocrat, you would have donation from thousands or millions of people asking for new songs, et voila...

          • by 4D6963 (933028)

            But if the market won't buy, what does it mean ?

            No if, the market DOES buy. And it gives good money. Ask Steve Jobs.

            you would have donation from thousands or millions of people asking for new songs, et voila...

            Yeah sure, imagine what would have happened to Axl Rose when people would have got tired of waiting for the Chinese Democracy they'd paid for a dozen years earlier. Or when artists would decide to retire. Or when artists would have announced to retire but came back. Either way that idea doesn't wo

            • by Yvanhoe (564877)
              That's called donation work, I know at least one small game company [bay12games.com] that works fine this way.
              • by 4D6963 (933028)
                OK, but why on Earth would you want to do that when you can SELL your work and that you'd make more money this way?
                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by Daengbo (523424)

                  Copyright in the U.S. was not created as a social welfare device, but as an incentive to create. The question this research paper raises is whether strong copyright actually creates that incentive or not.

                  You keep calling other people dense, but I think it's you that doesn't get the argument that's occurring.

                  • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                    by 4D6963 (933028)

                    Copyright in the U.S. was not created as a social welfare device, but as an incentive to create. The question this research paper raises is whether strong copyright actually creates that incentive or not.

                    You keep calling other people dense, but I think it's you that doesn't get the argument that's occurring.

                    At last a comment that makes a bit of sense. You're right about copyright, its use is questionable. The problem with other people's comment that I deemed 'dense' was that they said artists shouldn't get a dime for their studio work. The problem at hand is copyright, not the actual sale of albums. Even without copyright you can sell albums. In that sense, the comments in question are indeed quite retarded.

    • Get a job. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by remmelt (837671) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @06:31AM (#28371959) Homepage

      Get a job like the rest of us? You can't just label yourself an artist and go around whining about loss of income if you don't want to go the extra mile. I'm terribly sorry for people's overly romantic view of stardom, but it just sucks, especially if you're not a star (yet).

      By the way, pretty much any artist has a side job. In my experience, the more serious the job is, the less serious the artist is about being an artist and vice versa. There is only a very limited subset of artists that can make a living from their art.

    • by johannesg (664142)

      What if you're an artist but only want to create art and not tour all over the place just to make money? I realise that most musicians seem to like doing concerts, but what if that's not what you want to do and just want to record albums?

      What if you are a programmer but only want to work on things that actually interest you? I realize that most programmers enjoy sitting in cubicles all day long... Wait, there's something wrong here.

      Being an artist doesn't exempt you from having to work for your money. And if your chosen line of work provides too little income, you will have to do something else to supplement it.

      • by 4D6963 (933028)

        You're all saying the same thing in this thread, but it doesn't make any sense. These people ALREADY make money by selling albums. Why should that stop?

        What if you are a programmer but only want to work on things that actually interest you?

        That's what I did. I'm making a living off writing on my own the program that interests me most. Should I not get any money for that?

        Basically what you're all saying is "artists should work to get money" but for one thing they already work, even if it's not work that yo

    • by mcgrew (92797)

      What if you're a grocer and you only want to sell cucumbers?

      If you want to make money, you go where the money is. BTW, there are very few recording-only artists. Recordings are to get your music in front of people so they'll go see you live. If you can't make a living doing what you're doing, you need to be doing something else.

      • by 4D6963 (933028)
        Well, I don't see the problem. So we've established that if they don't do concerts, they won't get the money they would have gotten if they had done concerts. OK, I'm not sure how that helps, although I can't disagree with that.
  • I think the primary concern is the different views on society that citizens, politicians and corporations have. A report that says that something is good for society isn't so clear cut as you'd like.

    For corporations, long copyrights are good for society - they couldn't make quality music otherwise and people want quality music!

    Lobbyists persuading politicians means that long copyrights are beneficial for society as well. After all, how would artists make a living otherwise? Very common argument these days a

    • by siddesu (698447) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @05:33AM (#28371633)

      Nope, it is not a differing view on "society", but rather a differing view on "good".

      For the society outside of the corporations, "good" is, generally, more creativity, i.e. less copyright. Less copyright means less monopoly, and less monopoly provides generally a better allocation of the resources of society. Of course, it'll make those lawyers, who want to succeed in the creative business work harder, but ain't that the American way anyway? Incidentally, this freedom may make people who invest in art more focused on the art itself as opposed to taking the easy way out -- owning copyrights and doing a failed remake after remake.

      For the corporations, "good" is exactly the opposite. A corporation doesn't give a damn about what is good for society, as long as it benefits the corporate bottom line. Monopoly is the best way to insure a bottom line, especially in the view of the corporate owners (see, e.g. concepts like "economic moat"). So, a corporation will allocate resources not for new art, but for protection of lucrative copyrights, and for politics. Neither of which is good for art, or society.

      If you take a look, you'll see that's exactly what's been happening in the decades since the ifpies and the wipos of the world came about.

      • by mcgrew (92797)

        GP: "For corporations, long copyrights are good for society - they couldn't make quality music otherwise and people want quality music!"

        Nope, it is not a differing view on "society", but rather a differing view on "good".

        I have a differing view on the color of the sky. I say it's blue, they say it's pink with purple polka dots. The GP's statement "they couldn't make quality music otherwise" is patently false.

        But like you say, they don't care what's good for society. Corporations by their very nature are soc

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 18, 2009 @05:00AM (#28371483)

    Copyright was invented to allow creators to get an income from their creations before the creations are released to the public domain. The state should have stood firm in keeping the copyright protection short. However they didn't, but instead succumbed to the "industry" interests. This resulted to turning every creation in a cash-cow with no expiry date, which obviously hinders innovation and creation: there is little incentive to create a second good work since the first one you created will provide you and your descendants with a steady flow of cash for the next 200 years.

    I understand that the above is a bit simplified because it omits the role of the "industry" in the flow of cash. The "industry" pimps will absorb much of the cash intended for the creator (after all, they forced him to sell them for pennies the copyright of his work). This will keep the creator going because he doesn't really earn that much to retire. But it will also degrade his output because he knows that even if he does really-really good with his next creation, it is the "industry" pimps that will get the most out of his work.

    Still quite simplified, but I think you get my point: You can't grant quasi-perpetual copyright protection (google "The Mickey Mouse Protection Act") and still expect the same amount of innovative creations.

  • Flawed logic (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gnupun (752725)
    The study says "Piracy (filesharing) was the driving force behind increased creative output" -- more movies, songs etc., which is complete nonsense. The real reason is the cost of producing and distributing art has dropped due to new software for creating the art and using the web for distribution.

    The study encourages artists to use complements -- "speaking tours, concerts, t-shirts etc." to make income. Well, that only works for famous, top 5% artists. What about the remaining 95%? They are not famous
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      They are not famous enough to make any income from such "complements."

      Why is that my problem?

      If 95% of [insert poor helpless group] can't make any income from [insert some lifestyle choice they want] it is not society's problems. Its theirs. If they can't make it as an artist then don't quit your day job.

    • by Draek (916851)

      The remaining 95% doesn't make any income from selling CDs either.

    • The study encourages artists to use complements -- "speaking tours, concerts, t-shirts etc." to make income. Well, that only works for famous, top 5% artists. What about the remaining 95%? They are not famous enough to make any income from such "complements."

      But they still are famous enough to make more than pocket change from royalties?
      I'd guess far more artists make money from tours, gigs etc. than royalties.

  • by ls671 (1122017) * on Thursday June 18, 2009 @05:35AM (#28371645) Homepage

    I am not trying to defend pirates at all here.

    But I was just telling somebody about that possibility last week.

    I had just watched an interview with an old theater actor which is pretty wealthy today. He said he made most of his money acting in theaters almost everyday, 2 or 3 shows a day. He said: "That was real work, there was almost no TV or movies in those times."
    He added: "Pay was god, because not that many people would be crazy enough to do it, but we had a lot of fun and I enjoyed every minute of it".

    I then envisioned things like a return of the pendulum, which sometimes seems like something natural in society. Nowadays, a limited set of actors get work making movies/TV shows and get paid the big bucks. Either you get famous and make millions or you starve. A lot more actors/musicians would get work if they had to do live shows. I can see how more diversity, thus availability would benefit society. Of course, the big names would lose but this is another story already largely covered here before..

    I guess the point I am trying to make is that even if technology is involved, like with nature, society seem sometimes driven by a magical hand that cause a return of the pendulum at some point when we have reached a breaking point in one direction ;-)) Like nature, society sometimes seem to tend to come back to an equilibrium by itself !!

    • by malkavian (9512)

      I always thought as society more like an elastic band than a pendulum (as it the backlash is faster and more fierce the more you stretch it past the 'neutral' point). Still, it's not usually the equilibrium that's reached, certainly in today's polarised political times. When something gives and 'snaps back', like your pendulum, there's usually a good degree of overshoot in the other direction as people have been pushed past their tolerance for being entirely rational about a subject, and they push en mass

  • by Demonantis (1340557) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @06:24AM (#28371909)
    Most of the people working in the record industry are just there to get the media to the stores. Since it costs very little to put songs on the internet, the business model of selling the songs in stores doesn't make sense. The record industry is dieing slowly because of this. Fortunately. artists are not in the same predicament. They have more then just that one way(which wasn't that much either) of making money.
  • by EEDAm (808004) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @06:38AM (#28371997)
    It is truly crippling to see the mental fails that keep being propogated by the press and even supposedly academia here. "Piracy (filesharing) was the driving force behind increased creative output". It's simply not true that one caused the other. There isn't an artist or an amorphous group of artists who are outputting more per artist because they are thinking ex-ante "shit I'm going to get paid less than I used to so I better produce more". That might work for widgets and industry but for artistic output? Total rubbish. I'm not entering into the debate about the pros and cons of filesharing by the way but this sort of causative fail is just depressing and so utterly prevalent.
  • Copyright Clause (Score:4, Informative)

    by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @07:22AM (#28372297) Homepage Journal

    "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."

    I wish people would actually read the constitution.

    "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts," : not to promote the interests of monied pockets of power.

    "securing limited Time to Authors and Inventors," : limited time (we've gone over this time and time again), but *Authors* and *Inventors*

    The people that wrote the constitution were damn smart people. Too bad we stopped listening. Copyright is supposed to benefit all of us so of course a limited copyright span that balances the rights of *Authors* (not Corporations) vs. the public is the best. Here's to another study that didn't need to be done.

  • by TheP4st (1164315) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @07:27AM (#28372321)
    From the first page of the of the paper

    This working paper is distributed for purposes of comment and discussion only. It may not be reproduced without permission of the copyright holder.

  • The Harvard Business School working paper finds that given the increase in artistic production along with the greater public access conclude that "weaker copyright protection, it seems, has benefited society."

    Wait! Don't tell them that yet!

    Look at the explosion of user generated content on the Internet. People everywhere are creating their own media and cutting out the traditional copyright CABAL precisely because the traditionalists are broken. As long as the buggy-whip manufacturers continue to believe th

  • its really all in the eye of the beholder.

    However, being the nice person I am, you get to experience my world.

    So if I hear a band that I really like (it doesn't happen often as i'm a blues rock fan and todays music.... uhmm... sucks) chances are that i'll download a song or two... although I can't remember the last time I downloaded a song by a new band

    I digress... So if I were to do that, and enjoyed the song, I might enjoy 3 other songs max on the album... most CD's now days are just horrid vs

Thufir's a Harkonnen now.

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