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Music Piracy Your Rights Online

A Composer's-Eye View of the Copyright Wars 973

Posted by timothy
from the so-you're-saying-there-are-living-composers dept.
bonch writes "As an experiment, composer Jason Robert Brown logged onto a site illegally offering his sheet music for download and contacted hundreds of users, politely asking them to stop listing the material. Most complied, some were confused, and a few fought back. Brown chronicles a lengthy exchange he had with a teenage girl named Brenna, which provides an interesting insight into the artists' perspective of the copyright debate. He also responds to several points raised in comments to the article and says, 'I don't wish to be the enemy; I'm just a guy trying to make a living.'"
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A Composer's-Eye View of the Copyright Wars

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  • simple math (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 04, 2010 @09:50PM (#32795374)

    3.99 for sheet music to song....
    0.99 for mp3 of song...

    hrmm

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 04, 2010 @10:00PM (#32795408)
    If you can make a 1:1 copy of my sammich without degrading the original, then please, share away.
  • Re:Indeed (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kenja (541830) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @10:03PM (#32795418)
    You can walk into any supermarket, 711, etc and get a pre-paid credit card. Sorry, the "its just to hard to bu a legal copy" excuse doesn't fly.
  • by White Flame (1074973) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @10:03PM (#32795420)

    You fail to grasp what the word "copyright" is: The right to copy. The capability to copy something easily does not automatically grant you the legal right to do so.

  • by martas (1439879) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @10:05PM (#32795432)
    what if making that sammich took you several weeks' (months? years?) of work, as is probably the case with most musical compositions?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 04, 2010 @10:06PM (#32795438)

    This composer clearly believes that when someone downloads a copy of his music, it somehow deprives him of something by the examples he gives.

    NEWSFLASH: Not having a screwdriver or a book is not the same as having a copy of your music pirated at all.

    To make his example work, here's how you'd have to phrase it:

    A friend is building a house. He needs a screwdriver. I know a store with only one left at 80% off. I also need that screwdriver. I face a dilemma:

      - Do I let the friend know where he can get that screwdriver for 80% off so he can save the money?
      - Do I buy the screwdriver for myself first, then let him know and lead him to believe he "just missed" it?
      - Do I lie by omission and tell him he'll just need to buy it at full price at a different store?

    You see, that's the problem with suggesting you are deserved future profits. You can't get blood from a stone, and this girl schooled you on that.

    That being said, it is your right to deny her your music. I'm certain she'll find a different composer to idolize (one who either gives away their sheet music free, or one from whom she can pirate) and there's only a small likelihood her "career" will take off so you really don't need to worry that in the future you might have just cut yourself off from an even bigger revenue stream. She obviously isn't going to buy your stuff, because she can't.

    Of course, if you were a little bit smarter, I think you'd have offered to email her a copy if she sent you $4 in an envelope (or even a money order). But your ego is bruised. So sad. In business (and that's what copyright is therefore) there's absolutely no room for feelings; hell, there's barely even room for MORALS nowadays.

  • A Little Too Late (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 04, 2010 @10:08PM (#32795450)

    The problem is that small time composers/musicians/artists want to play both sides. They align with the large distribution channels when it suits them. They don't speak out when the RIAA sues everyone and their brother. They don't stop licensing their music through ASCAP. They don't get involved when their historical distributors fail to adapt to changes in technology. They continue to feel they "own" their creation (vs. actually owning a very specific, limited, license granted voluntarily by governments). They don't stand up against DRM. They don't stand up for consumer's rights.

    So, essentially, I don't believe for a second, that he is "just a guy trying to make a living." He is manipulative; he is self-centred, and, now that is suits him, he is trying to play the role of the innocent bystander.

    You made your bed, now lie in it. You had a chance, back when Napster was new, to change things. You failed to act then. Now, you are reaping the rewards -- or lack thereof -- of you short-sightedness. You (in collaboration with your fellow musicians) could have made easy, legal, inexpensive, distribution of music the standard. Instead, you chose to split it between expensive, legal, and restrictive and cheap, illegal, and easy.

    So, in summary, fuck off; where were you 10 years ago, when you could have *actually* changed things.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 04, 2010 @10:09PM (#32795460)

    No biggie. I didn't make the sandwich with the intention of being a gigantic twat and keeping it to myself or gouging people for copies of it, I was just hungry.

  • Re:simple math (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @10:09PM (#32795462)
    Yes, so shouldn't the sheet music be cheaper?

    How many people does it take to make sheet music? One, maybe two. How many people does it take to make an MP3? About 5 or more. With sheet music do you need to hire a bassist/keyboard/vocalist/guitarist/etc. along with an editor and producer? No. Does making sheet music take days of editing to get it to sound just right? No.

    Sheet music is basically a one or two person affair, it takes a lot more people (and a lot more equipment) to make an MP3 even for "indie" bands.
  • Re:No. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by blackraven14250 (902843) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @10:09PM (#32795470)
    "I'm a part of the problem, yet since I'm not the only one, I don't feel bad about screwing you over."

    -Securityemo, paraphrased
  • Re:Indeed (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @10:11PM (#32795490) Journal

    Why do you deserve it if you can not pay for it? If you were to get a job and do work for someone, you would expect him to pay you right? What would you do if he refused to pay you saying he couldn't afford it?

    Basically, that is what you are doing every time you make an unauthorized copy. You are telling the person that did the work that he does not deserve to get paid because you can't afford to pay him.

  • by Kitkoan (1719118) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @10:12PM (#32795494)

    You are allowed to share, as long as it is the original copy. That's how libraries work. You are allowed to buy a piece of sheet music and give it to a friend. But you are not allowed to buy a piece of sheet music and give your friend a replica. Then there are 2 copies and you only paid for one. Without DRM, it is nearly impossible to share music or sheet music legally on the internet. To share it legally would mean deleting your copy when you send it to a friend.

    With DRM, its nearly impossible to share music or sheet music legally amongst your own friends/family, original or not.

  • Re:No. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @10:15PM (#32795504) Journal

    This does not mean I don't feel sad if a hundred thousand creativity leeches like me lead to your ruin

    No, you are wrong, that is exactly what it means. That or you are just an evil, selfish, sadistic asshole.

    You are like a person who says "Don't hate the player, hate the game". Well, skippy, the game doesn't exist without the players.

  • Re:simple math (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rekoil (168689) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @10:20PM (#32795528)

    Sheet music is basically a one or two person affair, it takes a lot more people (and a lot more equipment) to make an MP3 even for "indie" bands.

    Economies of scale. Far, far more people will buy the mp3 than will buy the sheet music.

  • by mrcaseyj (902945) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @10:23PM (#32795556)

    I like how you have the right to share other people's material.
    HEY DUDE IM SHARING UR SAMMICH THX MAN DONT WANNA GIVE UP MAH RIGHTS EITHER

    Nearly all the value of nearly all copyrighted works comes from ideas that the author learned from people who came before and who the author didn't pay. If you got the ingredients to your sandwich from a charity, and you begged for someone else to assemble it for you, and somebody else invented the methods of producing the ingredients, and some volunteer soldier protected you from having your sandwich stolen by invaders, and all you did was specify the layout of the ingredients between the the bread, I still wouldn't steal it from you. But if I did I would feel a lot less guilty about it. I support copymonopoly, but only for the minimum length of time needed to incentivise people to produce it. Fifteen years, like our first congress authorized, is plenty for the vast majority of works. Even less would be appropriate for most works. To let copymonopoly extend for 150 years like current law is a violation of the constitution's requirement that copymonopoly not go on forever. More than 100 years is forever for all practical purposes and is totally unnecessary to incentivise production. It's very damaging to humanity to restrict access to all that old information.

  • Re:Indeed (Score:3, Insightful)

    by IANAAC (692242) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @10:24PM (#32795558)

    I had my first debit card at 14.

    You most likely had your parent's or other guardian's authority to have one.

    I'm not sure if this is regulated at the state or federal level, but kids under 18 need either the primary cardholder's approval or in the case of a youth checking/savings account, the parent's.

    The girl in the article (Eleanor) didn't have her parents' approval for her musical activities and probably restricted her spending for the purpose.

  • by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @10:24PM (#32795562) Journal

    Sebastian,

    No, copyright isn't an inalienable right. It is a legally granted right. It is therefore, still a right and only the government granting said right can revoke it. You nor anyone else besides the owner of a copyright, has the power to revoke a copyright.

    The rest of your post is now irrelevant because you are reasoning from a fallacy, namely that you somehow have the right to violate other people's legally granted rights.

  • by smpoole7 (1467717) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @10:25PM (#32795566) Homepage

    For those who don't want to click the link to Glynn Moody's reply, the gist of it is this: the young girl in question argues that:

    1. Yes, she downloads the sheet music (illegally).

    2. But she then performs the song, exposing it to a lot of other people.

    3. These other people then go out and buy the albums, or other sheet music by Mr. Brown, or buy tickets to Mr. Brown's shows.

    Therefore, the argument is made that Mr. Brown should just ignore the trading/sharing (whatever you want to call it), because he comes out ahead in the long run. "Spot on," says Ms. Moody.

    What she misses is that Mr. Brown owns the copyright, and it is HIS CHOICE whether to permit it or not. If he chooses to miss these sales, then maybe he's worse off for it, but that's his decision.

    Copyright is copyright. The *reason* why the GPL has standing in court is because someone has copyrighted that code, and chooses to permit usage and distribution under the GPL. Copyright is copyright, and if I choose to distribute under some free and unencumbered license, or if I choose to make it so restrictive that only one copy will ever be sold at auction to the highest bidder, it's MY choice as the copyright holder.

    One cannot consistently argue for one, but not the other. (And I say that as a full-fledged supporter of open standards, open software, and the elimination of so-called software "patents.")

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 04, 2010 @10:26PM (#32795574)

    (I'm OP)
    No, instead, you didn't even MAKE a goodamn sammich. You don't even know how.
    You just talk about it as if you could, and take other people's sandwiches because you're too lazy to make your own.

  • by Nadaka (224565) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @10:28PM (#32795590)

    Copying is a right. Just one that is restricted by law.

    Copyright law is a misnomer, it would be more appropriate to call it copy restriction law.

    A right is something you can do without the hindrance or the requirement of assistance from another. Copying information available to you is such an act.

    Copyright restriction is not a right of the creator, but an entitlement bestowed temporarily in exchange for publishing creative work. Once information has been handed to another, only physical force can stop that person from making copies.

  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @10:28PM (#32795592)
    This guy can't even give coherent examples on why "piracy" is bad because he treats them like physical property.

    Friend of mine is building a house. He drew up the plans, he chopped down all the trees, he's got it all together. He doesn't have a screwdriver. He calls me up, says, "Dude, I need a screwdriver." I happen to have a screwdriver, so I give it to him, but I say, "Hey, I need that back later today, I have some work to do." He looks incredulous. "I have to build a house, my man. I'm not going to be done in a day. And what if someone likes my house and wants me to build one for them? I'll need the screwdriver to build their house too, yo." So I suggest he get his own screwdriver. "Why can't I just use yours?" he says. I tell him he can use mine, but then I need it back, it's my screwdriver, after all. He insists that he has the right to take my screwdriver, build his house, then keep that screwdriver forever so he can build other people's houses with it. This seems unfair to me.

    But when I copy something, I'm not depriving someone of an original. If someone said "Hey, can I take your screwdriver for a few seconds, scan it in my computer and have my 3-D printer make me a replica?" I'd say sure. That is the closest thing to "piracy" in the physical world.

    The screwdriver he wants is a tool that he is using to further his own aims. I went out, I bought a screwdriver, now I should just give it away to someone? Now let's say I wrote a song - it took a lot for me to write it, and it has been my full-time job for over twenty years to make sure that the songs I write go out into the world to be heard and sung. The way I support myself and my family is through the sale of those songs, on CD's, in sheet music, in tickets. Sheet music represents almost half of my yearly income. You seem to be saying that you should be able to take that song, that screwdriver, just take it for free, and go build your career and your happiness without ever compensating me.

    ...And to that I say, don't release it if it is -that- valuable to you. Seriously, there used to be a time not too long ago that if you published something it automatically pretty much became part of the public domain. One only needs to study where Shakespeare got the ideas for his plays to see that (and the majority of his stories would -not- be in the public domain today that he adapted)

    If you don't want people using your stuff, don't release it. Don't write it down, don't publish it.

    I collect first edition copies of the works of Thornton Wilder. I've been doing so for a long time, he's my favorite author in the world. Friend of mine comes over to the house, sees my collection, and says, "Wow, I've never read any of this stuff. This one looks cool." He takes down "The Bridge of San Luis Rey." "Can I read this?" Sure, I say. It would be rude of me not to let him borrow my book to read, after all. You might even say it would be "nasty." Two months go by; there's a big hole on my bookshelf where "The Bridge of San Luis Rey" is supposed to go. I call my friend, ask him for my book back. He comes over and says, "I love this book, yo. Make me a copy!" I look at him strangely. Why would I do that? He can just go to the bookstore and get a copy of his own. "No, dude, I love THIS book, you should just make me a copy of it." But the publishing company won't be able to survive if people just make copies of the book, I say, and the Thornton Wilder estate certainly deserves its share of the income it earns when people buy the book. He says I'm a jerk because I won't make him a copy of this genius book that I shared with him. I tell him he's a prick and he should get out of my house, and that's the last time I see him for years.

    First off the guy is wrong in saying that the estate "deserves" to get a share of the profits. The book in question was published in 1927 just a decade or so shy of 100 years old. You don't "deserv

  • by bky1701 (979071) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @10:28PM (#32795604) Homepage
    There is a difference between morality and legality. Learn it.
  • by ben_kelley (234423) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @10:32PM (#32795626)

    The same argument goes for climate change presumably.

    Why should I inconvenience myself by paying higher prices for green electricity just to save your planet?

  • by symbolset (646467) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @10:34PM (#32795634) Journal

    At present the holder of copyright has the public feeling on his side. Those who invade copyright are regarded as knaves who take the bread out of the mouths of deserving men. Everybody is well pleased to see them restrained by the law, and compelled to refund their ill-gotten gains. No tradesman of good repute will have anything to do with such disgraceful transactions. Pass this law: and that feeling is at an end. Men very different from the present race of piratical booksellers will soon infringe this intolerable monopoly. Great masses of capital will be constantly employed in the violation of the law. Every art will be employed to evade legal pursuit; and the whole nation will be in the plot. On which side indeed should the public sympathy be when the question is whether some book as popular as Robinson Crusoe, or the Pilgrim's Progress, shall be in every cottage, or whether it shall be confined to the libraries of the rich for the advantage of the great-grandson of a bookseller who, a hundred years before, drove a hard bargain for the copyright with the author when in great distress? Remember too that, when once it ceases to be considered as wrong and discreditable to invade literary property, no person can say where the invasion will stop. The public seldom makes nice distinctions. The wholesome copyright which now exists will share in the disgrace and danger of the new copyright which you are about to create. And you will find that, in attempting to impose unreasonable restraints on the reprinting of the works of the dead, you have, to a great extent, annulled those restraints which now prevent men from pillaging and defrauding the living.

    - Thomas Macaulay, 1841 [baens-universe.com]

    This fine composer is the victim of the theft of the commons. He seems a reasonable guy. Unfortunately for him copyright is no longer a square deal and since people are now ignoring all copyrights, they're ignoring his too. That's not fair, but what is there to do? We as individuals have no power to make copyright back into a square deal again and to research every author and contributor to a work for each use to determine if there's net sanity there is just too high a burden. The public seldom makes nice distinctions. His loss is no greater than ours: he's lost some potential income; we've lost our culture.

  • by Jawnn (445279) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @10:37PM (#32795654)

    With DRM, its nearly impossible to share music or sheet music legally amongst your own friends/family, original or not.

    Quite so. And your point would be, what? That this inconvenience justifies the theft of IP? That's just stupid. Not quite as stupid as punishing people who have legally paid for a DRM encumbered work, but stupid nonetheless.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 04, 2010 @10:37PM (#32795664)

    It's share. And we have that right, should we decide to enforce it. Or we can placidly give it up, like so many of our other rights.

    Wrong!

    What makes you think you have a right to "share"? You can lend the physical printed sheet music, but you can't make a copy of it and give the copy to someone else. That's not sharing. That's copyright infringement.

    This is one of the many excuses people make for ripping off the creative talents who make the music.

    Please do try to "enforce" your "right" to "share" - let me know when and where, because I'd enjoy seeing you get slapped down.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 04, 2010 @10:41PM (#32795708)

    I mean AC not OP.

    Trying to make a living doesn't make you a twat. Sure the RIAA is greedy to sue people for millions, that's not what I'm referring to. I'm referring to you taking without paying ninety nine cents.

    Do you even think, or do you just imagine everything the way you want it to be?

  • by Kitkoan (1719118) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @10:43PM (#32795710)

    With DRM, its nearly impossible to share music or sheet music legally amongst your own friends/family, original or not.

    Quite so. And your point would be, what? That this inconvenience justifies the theft of IP? That's just stupid. Not quite as stupid as punishing people who have legally paid for a DRM encumbered work, but stupid nonetheless.

    My point would be that it's not justifiable to purposefully cripple a product just because someone can do something wrong with it. It would be like making sure no car can go over 10mph because someone could get drunk and kill someone if allowed to go faster, you can't allow a knife to be sharp because someone can kill with it...

  • by mentil (1748130) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @10:47PM (#32795736)

    Mr. Brown owns the copyright, and it is HIS CHOICE whether to permit it or not. If he chooses to miss these sales, then maybe he's worse off for it, but that's his decision.

    Copyright law exists for the advancement of society, not for the arbitrary whims of creators. His desires are moot compared to the overall effect on society.

  • by kc8apf (89233) <kc8apf@k[ ]pf.net ['c8a' in gap]> on Sunday July 04, 2010 @10:48PM (#32795738) Homepage

    Seems like we already have: top speed limiters, safety scissors, plastic butter knives....

  • Re:simple math (Score:4, Insightful)

    by GreatRedShark (880833) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @10:48PM (#32795742)

    ... but surely the transcription process is quite easy for any talented musician.

    If you play a song in a band, and are a decent musician, the sheet music is just a minor inconvenience, a bit like writing out the steps to a math problem that you've done in your head. Why would a by-product be 400% higher than the finished product? Does it make any sense that the nails, boards, etc. in a shed would cost 400% more than the finished product?

    Spoken like someone who has probably never gotten very far in music. Try finding a "talented musician" to transcribe all the parts of a symphony for a full orchestra. In a reasonable amount of time.

    And comparing nails of a shed to sheet music is ridiculous. More realistic would be comparing the assembly instructions for the shed to sheet music. To someone who has no idea how to build a shed, the instructions are VERY valuable. Your shed instructions analogy is appropriate to compare to beginner's music. For more complex music, simply pick assembly instructions to a more complex structure.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 04, 2010 @10:48PM (#32795744)

    the worst part of the USA is YOU!

  • Re:short story: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mr_walrus (410770) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @10:49PM (#32795752)

    the producer lives or dies from his choices, however they are his choices not yours or anyone elses.

    trying to sugar coat the behavior as "helping the creator" of a work
    is just that sugar coating. it is still shit you are doing.

  • by BrokenHalo (565198) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @10:49PM (#32795758)
    The capability to copy something easily does not automatically grant you the legal right to do so.

    ...Which is exactly what the article is about. From the teenager's perspective, she's grown up in an environment where virtually all content is available at the click of a mouse, without having so strain a single neuron in consideration of the implications of that.

    And it is easy to sympathise with her point of view as a teenager without a credit card and without family supportive of her theatre. But nonetheless, the composer has a perfectly valid point - in fact, several.

    One area where he could have made his case a bit better is that the teenager was apparently offering his work for "trade" (whatever that might mean), which actually does not fit quite so conveniently with the image of a struggling artist in need of sheet music.
  • Re:simple math (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kimvette (919543) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @10:49PM (#32795760) Homepage Journal

    Does making sheet music take days of editing to get it to sound just right? No.

    Really? Have you ever written staff notation, or plotted it out in cakewalk, rosegarden, etc? Sure you can use a MIDI keyboard for some of the work but you're not going to use the generated MIDI file for the final product; you will be tweaking the notation by hand - quite a bit. It does take days to weeks of editing. Some musical works have taken much longer.

    It's not even just the "editing" - it's composing. That's what composers do. Take Beethoven's 9th symphony; that work is the result of six years' worth of "editing" as you put it.

    You are a programmer/developer, right? So, can I say all you do is "edit code?" Even better, I could say all you do is "push buttons" in the right order and don't deserve more than minimum wage for your unskilled labor. That of course ignores all of the architecting/engineering you have to put into it, and it belittles your talent, just as you belittle the composers.

    Does that put it in perspective?

  • by Kitkoan (1719118) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @10:50PM (#32795764)

    DRM usually works on a license. You can copy the file as many times as you want, but you can only authorize a finite number of copies. If that number was 1, you can give a copy to your friend and then deauthorize your own. Then it is legal.

    Thats DRM on paper, but it rarely if ever works out that way. My friend has games on Steam and last thing I knew, he couldn't transfer one to me and deauthorize his own. Same issue with anything bought from iTunes. Greed mixed with DRM typically turns out to be a bad combination. This also doesn't take into consideration of DRM issues with server checks. Servers are shut down (or in the case of the newer Ubisoft DRMs, servers can have connection issues) and then it doesn't matter how well care you give your purchase/'investment', it can and will be taken away from you regardless if it was legally purchased and your the original purchaser, all without your consent.

  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @10:51PM (#32795774)

    There are very few inalienable rights. I do not see why this is relevant

    Because you have the right to thought, speech, life, liberty, etc. those are inalienable, the right to have a monopoly on your work is not natural in the least. It is artificial, in short, it is propped up not by nature but by government.

    For someone trying to cite history in your argument, you sure know little about it. All of the inalienable rights as we know them today derived from the Enlightenment which was centuries after the Renaissance. The term "inalienable right" was coined in the 1600s.

    ...Mostly because of two major things.

    A) Before the enlightenment, the majority of the world had to keep on working just to eat. The rest of the world that had time to think and experiment would be better off if they didn't think about the legitimacy of tyranny because if they proved that it was contrary to nature/religion they would be out of a job.

    B) Communication, literacy and science increased, people could actually question the need for their current form of government because they could see past the lies of the sovereign.

    Yes, and the playwrights were dirt-poor.

    Not if they were good at what they did, look at Shakespeare

    Yes, the Catholic Church wanted censorship. But copyright has nothing to do with censorship. The Catholic Church was trying to stop the spread of new ideas, ideas that might threaten them. Copyright law allows the spread of new ideas, but does not allow the unauthorized replication of old ideas.

    ...No. Copyright doesn't allow the spread of new ideas. One needs only to look at all of the information cut off to students and professionals locked away in scientific journals because of copyright and their -expensive- fees.

    Also, look at all the "treaties" the third world has signed with wealthier nations, provisions usually include "respect" of those nations copyrights, meaning that valuable information, especially up-to-date medical information could be locked away from doctors.

    It is true that no one can own ideas like they can own a screwdriver. That is why copyright law was invented. The idea is to give incentive to create. If no one paid for ideas, then no one could make a living off coming up with those ideas. The only composers would be rich people who could live off of their savings. The music industry would be tiny. Etc.

    Right. Because I forgot about how before copyright law no literature was written, no artists painted, no composers composed, no singers sung and no one played any instruments. Because of the lack of financial incentives nothing ever got done before humanity came up with copyright law. No philosophy, no science, nothing. Right?

    Yes, you are right. And that is why copyrights expire, just like children grow up.

    Copyrights don't really expire anymore. It used to be when we had sane copyright that it expired in 20 years, something that was sane. But now we have copyright laws that are longer than some people's lives! Copyright no longer really expires.

    Your friend put so much work into making that design for the house. He spent hours and hours. Time that he could have spent building houses and making more money. Now you come along and take his design without compensation. You didn't have to spend all of those hours creating the design. It doesn't cost you a penny, but it cost him a lot (remember, time is money). Now is that fair?

    Yes. If you don't want people to use your ideas don't publish them, don't use them, etc. I'm not a complete dick, if I made something that I think is interesting, I have no problem with other people using it and making it better and the like.

  • by bky1701 (979071) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @10:55PM (#32795794) Homepage
    Legality without morality is simply oppression.
  • by Totenglocke (1291680) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @10:56PM (#32795808)

    Sorry, but I don't blame people for pirating $1,000 software because unless it's software that allows you to print money, NO program is worth that much.

    The only reason insane prices like that exist for software is because the people running businesses are morons. If all businesses told MS "Sorry, we're not paying $500 per user for Office 2010 - we're willing pay $150 per user and if you don't like that, we'll switch to Open Office", you better believe the price of Office 2010 would drop real quick. The problem is that the idiots making decisions think that they "need" software XYZ and if they don't buy the newest version of it that they'll somehow be uncompetitive.

  • by MagicM (85041) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @10:59PM (#32795838)

    do we want to live in a society where money is what motivates art?

    I want to live in a society where the artist decides whether he/she is motivated to make art. I also want to live in a society where there are many different ways in which to motivate artists, since that results in more art. If the only art that's left is art motivated by non-financial reasons, there will be less art. And since great art != non-financially-motivated art, in the end less art is less good.

  • Re:short story: (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Psychochild (64124) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `dlihcohcysp'> on Sunday July 04, 2010 @11:04PM (#32795874) Homepage

    As others have pointed out, it was the record producer's decision to make. Obviously the friend knew the value of free samples: he gave the CD to your son; I think he also knew that letting copies be made freely might not help him achieve his goals. I'll also point out that there are other ways to share music besides making a copy of a CD: lend the CD out, play the CD in a music player while friends are visiting, or even buy a copy of the CD for friends if it's available for sale. All legal, all ways to share the music without breaking the law in most jurisdictions. When I was a kid I recommended a lot of console games to my friends using these methods, back in the dark ages before emulators and widespread piracy on consoles.

    You know, fans are great and I love all my fans, but it takes money to pay the rent and eat. Half a dozen *potential* fans who won't fork over cash even on a friend's recommendation aren't necessarily all that valuable, even if it is uncool to say "no, please don't freely distribute my work."

  • by gomoX (618462) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @11:05PM (#32795876) Homepage

    Missing option:
    - You buy the screwdriver at 80% off and sell it to your friend at full price making a healthy profit in the process.

  • by Petersko (564140) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @11:06PM (#32795884)
    This thread has crystallized what I suspect is the "Slashdot-approved" stance with regards to protecting material. Correct me if I get any of these points wrong.

    1. If you want to make a living creating works that exist in a data format (music, books, video) just accept the fact that nobody owes you a dime for your time. If some people choose to drop some money in your hat, that's awesome - but don't count on it.

    2. If your music is so great, tour and make money that way. If you get moderately successful locally, each band member might be able to clear $80 a night! Of course you'll need a huge cash infusion (i.e. debt) to start touring big, but I'm sure the banks will be happy to help you with loans for such a riskless endeavour.

    3. Always remember - costs like studio time, special effects, actors, musicians, props, sets, insurance, essentially every cost involved in the production of your work magically disconnect from the work itself at the moment it is finalized. A ripped copy of that work has absolutely no moral, legal, or implied connection to any of those costs.

    As the entity "Slashdot" I hereby decree that the whole idea of "Professional Artist" is forever banned. You have been demoted to busker.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 04, 2010 @11:06PM (#32795892)
    If that's how you feel, then he should get a "fucking job" - not making art, then you won't have any to enjoy. And you'll have nobody to blame but yourself.

    Wait, no - I've got a better idea: you quit your job and create the content instead and give it away for free. You can get your food from the dumpsters, there's plenty to go around. The rest of us will appreciate it, so thanks.
  • by Roger W Moore (538166) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @11:07PM (#32795896) Journal

    The capability to copy something easily does not automatically grant you the legal right to do so.

    Clearly not the legal right but what about the moral right to do so? Creative works used to be funded by either patronage or live performances so clearly copyright is not required for composers, singers etc. to make a living. So is it morally right to prevent people from sharing simply because creators want to earn more money or be supported in a particular way? Perhaps a case can be made if the current copyright system could be shown to produce a larger variety of higher quality material than its predecessor but I've yet to see that argument made, or at least made convincingly.

  • by Coward Anonymous (110649) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @11:07PM (#32795902)

    "And I say to you that just because technology makes doing a bad thing easier doesn't mean it's suddenly not a bad thing"

    To me this quote embodies the disconnect between "pro" copyright individuals and reality.
    Copyright came into existence *because* of technology and is an artificial means of creating what is meant to be a temporary monopoly on an idea. Copyright infringement is not a "bad" thing, it's just a violation of current law which happens to be outdated. The law is outdated because technology has continued progressing to the point that everyone, including Mr. Brown himself I'm willing to bet, is in violation of the law. When a law makes everyone a criminal, it's not a practical law.
    Copyright came into existence because of technology and will continue to be shaped by technology over the long term. All the moralistic nonsense is myopic bombast.

  • by slashqwerty (1099091) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @11:07PM (#32795910)

    Put simply, people choose the path of least resistance, which is usually the path of least cost.

    If Eleanor needed some music for an audition, any reasonable music would do. She wouldn't pay money if a popular work were available for free

    He's not going to argue that point either. If copyright law were reasonable copyrights would expire in a reasonable timeframe. The result would be a huge public domain where Eleanor could take her pick of free popular songs. Her instructors and mentors would point her to the rich public domain and that would not help Mr. Brown at all.

    Really, copyright debate boils down to free-loaders demanding free access to everything, and copyright holders demanding restrictions on everything. So long as either side refuses to acknowledge the flaws in their arguments we are not going to see reasonable debate about where copyright ought to be.

  • by kfogel (1041) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @11:08PM (#32795918) Homepage

    Considering how many great composers lived and wrote before copyright was even invented or could affect them (*cough* J.S. Bach *cough*), it would make more sense to call this "one composer's view of copyright". Especially given how much every composer -- Brown included -- is indebted to other composers.

    http://questioncopyright.org/minute_memes/all_creative_work_is_derivative [questioncopyright.org]

    (See the embedded video there.)

  • by White Flame (1074973) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @11:12PM (#32795940)

    A right is something you can do without the hindrance or the requirement of assistance from another.

    I'd disagree with that. First, the right to socialized systems like military protection and even civil systems like due process definitely requires the assistance of another. A right is an agreement among society that a behavior will be allowed, or a service will be available/performed. And just because you can do something without repercussion doesn't mean that you have a bona fide right to it. Financial burden can prevent you from doing many things you'd otherwise do without hindrance, and you cannot demand a right to continue doing what you cannot afford.

    So how is copying a "right"? Rights are established by governments as acknowledged and enforced (legal rights), or held and enforced as social/religious/cultural norms within subgroups of people. Now, you might classify the "right to copy" as a right claimed by some growing social convention, but if it clashes with how the government views that field of behavior then trouble brews. There are no legal rights without legal infrastructure, and "innate/natural rights" are the realm of philosophy and theology with no single answer and serious conflicts between differing cultures.

    And again, the fact that only physical force can stop you from making copies does not mean that it you have the right to make such copies, when the laws of the land specifically grant the right (yes, the right) to control copying of their work to the author.

    Sure, you can claim that the government's stance on IP needs to change, but you cannot claim any authentic right to copy whatever you want, at least not here in the USA and similar western countries.

  • Debit cards? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by LongearedBat (1665481) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @11:13PM (#32795950)
    Would a solution be to allow teens to have "credit cards with zero credit limit"? (Not sure what that would be called.)
    ...meaning that it can only have a positive balance, and that overdrafts can't happen.

    - Zero risk for overspending, meaning zero risk for banks and zero risk for parents.
    - Electronic transfer of pocket money.
    - Perhaps parental overview of transactions.

    Perhaps it might also help teens with early budgeting of pocket money, if the "kids" look at their online statements.
  • Debatable (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Roger W Moore (538166) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @11:15PM (#32795962) Journal

    Copyright law exists for the advancement of society

    Copyright law was created for the advancement of society. It currently exists because of a historical precedence. Whether copyright law still benefits society is a debatable point.

  • by rotide (1015173) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @11:18PM (#32795982)
    To be fair, you don't get to set the price for anyone else's goods. You, and the rest of the consumers can choose not to pay his price. That's your choice. The sellers choice is to then drop the price or stop selling it. Again, that's _their_ choice.
  • by rotide (1015173) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @11:24PM (#32796010)

    Interesting, but you seem to have assumed something HUGE in your first sentence of which _needs_ a citation provided.

    "Nearly all the value of nearly all copyrighted works comes from ideas that the author learned from people who came before and who the author didn't pay."

    How in the world can you make that claim?

  • by GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) <almafuerte@@@gmail...com> on Sunday July 04, 2010 @11:24PM (#32796012)

    No, I am not a Nazi. I am not racist either. I hate no one on any racial basis. Of course, I do have the right to oppose any particular political agenda. I reject the Nazi agenda. I also reject the jewish one. I don't reject either of them on any racial basis, I just oppose their worldview and their ideas. Nobody would call me a racist because I don't agree with Republicans or with Democrats. So, why should it be any different regarding Jews? I don't oppose their race. I only oppose the political ideas of their group. The fact that their group restricts allowance on a religious and racial basis makes THEM racist, not me.

    Also, I don't see why I can't call out people on a religious basis. You can't choose your race, therefore, discriminating against you on that basis is unfair. But you do choose your religion. It's no different than political affiliation. Opposing a specific religion is no different that opposing a specific political party.

  • by clarkkent09 (1104833) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @11:27PM (#32796042)
    I don't understand why do you feel that you have that right. For example, I downloaded a major video editing application. I really needed it but I know I wont use it very often, and I can't justify paying the high price. Ok, so I did it but if I think about it I feel a bit guilty and I don't at all feel like I had the "right" to use that software without paying for it. I know that the company that makes it hires 100s of engineers and spends millions annually just on their salaries and if everybody had the "right" to get it for free then how could they possibly continue developing it?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 04, 2010 @11:29PM (#32796050)

    Darkness404 - you are exactly what he meant when he says that arguing with teenagers is a zero sum game.

    Just because you think stealing non-physical stuff is OK doesn't mean its legal (I'm sure that just because you don't deprive others of the material, you don't consider it stealing).

    You might not like the laws. Instead of trying to change them, you just ignore them. This line especially is priceless:

    If you don't want people using your stuff, don't release it. Don't write it down, don't publish it.

    Sure, and if you don't want people beating you up, don't step outside your house. So your suggestion to a professional artist is basically - don't want to get robbed, don't do what you do for a living?

  • by GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) <almafuerte@@@gmail...com> on Sunday July 04, 2010 @11:48PM (#32796178)

    Well, the idea of property itself isn't unnatural.

    The idea that Native Americans didn't believe in ownership is a myth. They did believe in ownership of everything they could actually use. Of course, nobody thought they could own the wind, because it was just there, they just breath the air and let it go, there was no purpose in owning air. In the same way, the myth comes from hunters-gatherers that had no use for land beyond sitting there. They were semi-nomads, and therefore, land wasn't important. No, they couldn't come into anyone's tent and take whatever they wanted. They did OWN their stuff. They just didn't own land because they didn't knew how to use it. That was only true for some primitive Natives, and that's where the myth originated. If you look at more advanced societies like the Incas, they did have a concept of land ownership. They had a kind of communism (that worked great for them), the society owned the land, and all of them practiced communal agriculture.

    Other civilizations had different concepts of ownership, but they all had them. Even animals have a primitive, instinctive concept of ownership.

    Now, translating that natural concept into the uncanny valley of owning ideas is just far fetched, and is just as unnatural as owning the sun.

  • Re:short story: (Score:4, Insightful)

    by xigxag (167441) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @11:57PM (#32796218)

    Did you read the whole post, even? He had his son ask the producer's permission, and then they respected the foolish choice the producer made. So what shit was done?

    The moral of the anecdote, in case you missed it, is this: There's no denying that those who choose to disobey the law will hurt the artist in the short term, but the really bad news is that those who choose to obey the law may hurt the artist more in the long term.

  • by davide marney (231845) * <davide.marney@ne ... org minus author> on Sunday July 04, 2010 @11:58PM (#32796222) Journal
    I'm a small-time composer, and I think $4-5 for a single copy of sheet music is ridiculously over-priced. I have always believed that all this huffing and puffing over copyright law just clouds the basic business problem: the music industry is not giving its public the products it wants, in the forms that they want it, for a price they are willing to pay. Here are some things I think people are looking for: - $5 for a single piece of sheet music that is downloaded is $4 too high. The cost of the sheet music shouldn't be five times (!) the price of the song itself. That feels like gouging. Which it is. - When people buy more than one copy of something, they should get a bulk discount. That's the way they do it at Costco, and that's the way it should work for sheet music. - When I buy something, I don't want any stupid restrictions such as trying to prevent me from printing more than one copy, or printing to a file, or anything else like that. I've got a $50 printer with a 1200 dpi scanner; you think I can't make a perfect copy? It's just insulting, and the user experience is horrible. Just give me the bleepin' file! I'm gonna convert it into a PDF anyway. The push-back to all this will be "oh, but we'll lose all our money!" Not so. If something's only priced at 99 cents, it's not worth my time to steal it for my friends. It's the price of a small fries at Micky-D's. Get your own, cheapskate. Likewise, if you're going to give me 15% if I buy 5 copies for everyone in my band, I'm going to take the 15%. Duh. And lastly, if you make it drop-dead simple to buy something online (see: amazonmp3.com), I'm going to buy from your online store because it is easier and a heck of lot safer than trolling illegal sites. -
  • by joe_frisch (1366229) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @11:59PM (#32796226)

    For normal physical goods like say cars, money and goods are a reasonable exchange. If I have money and you have a car, after the transaction, I have a car but no money, you have money but no car.

    For information the transaction is different. If I have money and you have information, after the transaction, I have information but no money, you have money AND still have the information. It is a fundamentally different sort of transaction. This difference is at the heart of most discussions on information sharing / stealing / selling. We want to make it look like a physical good, but it isn't!

    This might require a radical solution. For instance Charles Strouse in "accelerando" suggests a "reputation exchange". where there is a way to track someones reputation / cred on various topics. Reputation acts sort of like information: I can boost your reputation without losing any myself - assuming that the boost was deserved. There are of course a huge number of obstacles to this, but maybe we need to think about more radical ideas.

  • by yyxx (1812612) on Monday July 05, 2010 @12:00AM (#32796234)

    Really, copyright debate boils down to free-loaders demanding free access to everything, and copyright holders demanding restrictions on everything. So long as either side refuses to acknowledge the flaws in their arguments we are not going to see reasonable debate about where copyright ought to be.

    Really? How does it boil down to that? I thought there were lots of other parties to the debate, like librarians, archives, artists, etc. Many copyright holders (myself included) also don't like current copyright at all and would much prefer a different kind of copyright.

    In fact, most of our copyright issues would vanish if we went back to traditional US copyright laws: 14 years + one 14 years extension if the author is still alive, with a registration requirement. I have yet to see an argument why traditional US copyright isn't the right choice.

  • Re:simple math (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 05, 2010 @12:12AM (#32796308)

    Creation of sheet music is not the same as composing the original work. If someone 'composes' a pop song, they may or may not write it down. If I want to write it down, then there's nothing they can do about it.

    If the 'composer' wants to write it down in advance to save me the hassle, then great. But, don't pretend that the act of the composer writing down the composition is the same as the act of composing it. For pop music, it seems that composing and transcribing are completely unrelated concepts. For orchestral music, the score needs to be written down for the instrumentalists to be able to play it. But, again, that doesn't stop someone from separately transcribing the music.

    I have a friend that transcribes music all the time. It takes her about as long to write down a melody line and chord progression onto paper as it does for me to write in the lyrics.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 05, 2010 @12:17AM (#32796324)

    Actually in those terms copyright is an innovation. This is the old model for artists find a nobleman and get him to support you. Of course today noblemen are in kind of short supply. So I guess if you want to be a musician you get to wait tables, or be like Borodin who did music on the side (he was a chemist) A few jobs exist then teaching music as others did in the past. Basically it becomes not a career but a side passion. So we go back to the future with music without copyright.

  • by xigxag (167441) on Monday July 05, 2010 @12:28AM (#32796368)

    If I could mod him down as "troll", I would. Anti-Slashdot-groupthink has been done better before, and cynicism for cynicism's sake can become its own form of groupthink, of a sort tired and whiny, not insightful.

    There is no single "Slashdot-approved" stance, as is evidenced from the back and forth in this thread. What's more, even among Slashdot's anti-status quo group, there's considerable divergence in opinion, from the more extreme idea of abolishing all copyrights on principle to the "accept reality and change your business model" crowd to those in favor of lessening the period for copyrights to pre-Berne convention levels, or those who simply don't want that period to be extended any further than it already has. (Technically I suppose that last would be pro-status quo, except that they're against the prevailing status-quo legal framework of extend ad infinitum.)

  • by White Flame (1074973) on Monday July 05, 2010 @12:28AM (#32796372)

    No. According to the law as I understand it, your right to free speech/expression ends in cases of slander, libel, national security, copyright violation, threats, child pornography, and others. Just as your right to freedom ends where your jail term starts, your right to pursue happiness ends when that pursuit involves illegal acts, etc. Freedom is something that's relative and defined for particular cases; "absolute freedom" is an undefinable term.

  • by Sean Hederman (870482) on Monday July 05, 2010 @12:37AM (#32796420) Homepage

    Completely wrong. The fact that copying is free does not make it okay to copy. That was his point. He was discussing HIS property that was being taken without recompense. The fact that he still has a copy is irrelevant. Getting pendantic about his examples and coming up with completely incorrect strawmen is fudging the issue.

    I love the fact that Slashdotters all say that the reason they steal stuff is because they support the artists, and want to protest the big corps. Here we have a real example of an artists struggling to make a living because his work is being stolen, and the comments attack him, revealing the truth, despite all the protestations to the contrary: the reality is hypocrisy, you use the corporations and other excuses to justify outright theft. When your excuses are stripped bare, as in this example, instead of reevaluating your position honestly, you instead attack the complainant.

    I have always despised the MPAA and RIAA, but the comments on this article have done more to convince me that they may have a point than anything else in 10 years.

  • by internic (453511) on Monday July 05, 2010 @12:38AM (#32796428)

    While I'm somewhat sympathetic to this composer's viewpoint, like others here I cringed upon reading the bad analogies between copyright infringement and stealing physical objects. It's not surprising if the girl he was talking to didn't find them convincing, because they are fundamentally really bad analogies.

    However, reading this really crystallized for me how to express the nature of the error: when someone infringes on your copyright they're not stealing from you but they are cheating you. Copyright infringement doesn't fit neatly into the analogy to stealing, which is a convenient one because it's something everyone understands. Instead, copyright is a sort of social contract between society and creators, which says that we will respect an artificial scarcity on those creative products because we recognize the value in them and want to incentivize creativity (or you could look it as trying to internalize positive externalities). When someone infringes copyright he is violating that social contract, going back on the agreement and cheating the creator.

    Although I'm sure it's possible to think of a better analogy, one that comes to mind is if you built a sports stadium and convinced a vendor to spend a bunch of money to build and stock a hotdog stand, on the promise that those would be the only concessions available in the venue. Then the next week you started having free hotdog night, and consequently the vendor ends up loosing out on his investment. While that might not be a particularly moving analogy, I think people arguing against copyright infringement would be much more convincing if they stuck to some such analogy that had a sound connection to the actual problem. Analogies about screwdrivers and the like are never convincing because they are horrible analogies. I suppose a large part of the problem is that while property is a natural right that has been intuitively recognized for ages across many human societies, copyright is more of a pragmatic strategy that our society has adopted, which is not universal and is relatively recent (on the scale of human history); there is no reason to expect that copyright infringement should seem intuitively wrong. Indeed, the notion that spreading the wealth of information is wrong makes little sense if not considered in the context of the particular social contract we have established.

    The other half of the battle (at least among those who are aware of the issues) is that copyright, as a social contract, is a two-way street. While it was once a contract between the creators and the people at large that was limited, reasonable, and clearly mutually beneficial, copyright has grown and changed and is now the product of laws that are bought by corporate money with little input by (or, indeed, even knowledge of among) the public. In effect, first the artists broke their side of the deal (or, at least, the organizations purporting to represent them did), and now the people have ceased to honor their side. Each party feels wronged, and there is a lot of bad blood. It would seem to me that the best way forward would be new alliance between moderate, pragmatic groups on both sides that seeks to establish a new compact that will again be limited, reasonable, and one both parties can recognize as mutually beneficial. Unfortunately, I think the popular but fallacious of "intellectual property" only hinders this goal.

  • by mwvdlee (775178) on Monday July 05, 2010 @12:45AM (#32796480) Homepage

    Many people actually tried doing that, but were forcibly stopped.

    Where would you find the land to start your own country? All land on earth is currently claimed by some existing country, and they won't sell it to anybody trying to make a new country.

    Not to say that I agree at all with the racist GP, but your counter argument is flawed too.

  • by Sean Hederman (870482) on Monday July 05, 2010 @12:49AM (#32796504) Homepage

    If you don't want people using your stuff, don't release it. Don't write it down, don't publish it.

    And this is exactly why we have copyright and patents.

    To ensure that when a creative person dies, they don't take their "trade secrets" with them. In the Middle and Dark Ages, it was common for tradesmen who came up with a new process to keep it secret, often taking it to the grave with them.

    This resulted in continual reinvention of the same ideas, the inability to "stand on the shoulders of giants". The fact that you consider that a better solution than copyright is mindboggling.

  • by Zerth (26112) on Monday July 05, 2010 @12:56AM (#32796540)

    You are allowed to buy a piece of sheet music and give it to a friend. But you are not allowed to buy a piece of sheet music and give your friend a replica.

    Really, so now I have to lobotomize my friend after he gives me the sheet music back to prevent him from retaining a copy, in his mind </Izzard>.

  • by mrcaseyj (902945) on Monday July 05, 2010 @12:56AM (#32796542)

    Good. Go create your 'magnum opus'. I agree with you, all artists, software developers, etc, stand on the shoulders of giants. But don't minimize the creativity of said artists. If creativity is just a commodity; a product of regurgitating input...then where is your ground-breaking application? Your musical 'magnum opus'?

    An author has to add something unique to a work for it to be worth buying, and it seems like a good idea to reward that with a copymonopoly for a limited time . For the vast majority of successful works, fifteen years will probably bring plenty of profits. If a work isn't expected to make plenty of profit within fifteen years, the author will probably either be willing to do it for free, or won't do it at all. There are a few exceptions to this, such as encyclopedias. But nothing needs a 100 year copymonopoly.

  • by mwvdlee (775178) on Monday July 05, 2010 @01:01AM (#32796576) Homepage

    Why don't you be a patron and pay a composer a few thousand bucks to create a public domain work?

    In the end, being a composer is just a job, and they can either earn money from it or stop being a composer.

    If you want to start a conversation about the maximum amount of money composers should be allowed to earn, then say so.

  • by afabbro (33948) on Monday July 05, 2010 @01:09AM (#32796620) Homepage

    Rights are established by governments

    Epic misunderstanding...on the Fourth of July no less.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 05, 2010 @01:17AM (#32796670)

    I guess you don't need specialized software.

    Is Mathematica worth $2500 a copy? Without hesitation, I can say yes. It allows me to be much more productive and even allows me to do things I couldn't do without it.

  • by adamofgreyskull (640712) on Monday July 05, 2010 @01:21AM (#32796686)

    Sorry, but I don't blame people for pirating $1,000 software because unless it's software that allows you to print money, NO program is worth that much.

    Sorry, but if they're using his software in a professional capacity and are in the black as a result, that's as close to "printing money" as you can legally get. If they couldn't make a living without his software then they should just suck it up. It's a business expense and they should pay the price. They could even try and negotiate with him on the cost of licensing if they felt that $1,000 was too much. After all, a window cleaner wouldn't balk at the cost of a ladder and a courier wouldn't balk at the cost of a truck....

    You say "NO program is worth that much". Spoken like someone with no concept of economics. You are wrong. If you're using a $1,000 software product and your use of it generates more than $1,000 in sales, savings or increased productivity then it obviously is worth that much. If you don't think AC's software product is worth $1000, then why not just pay someone to re-write it?

    Your MS example is valid, in that collective bargaining could force a producer to reconsider the cost of their product, but it's a straw-man and is therefore irrelevant in the context of this discussion. If there's a free and legal alternative to AC's software then people have the choice to use that instead, and why aren't they? It's AC's prerogative to charge what he likes and if a competitor can write an alternative and sell it/support it for less, then AC can deal with the consequences. However, he shouldn't have to deal with a bunch of obnoxious "professionals" who are happy to make money off the back of his work without compensating him at all. If the professionals pirating AC's software don't really need it, then why are they pirating it?

    The only reason insane prices like that exist for software is because the people running businesses are morons.

    I really don't think that's the only reason, do you? There are very many software products for which no appropriate free alternative exists, and there are many software products for which people are willing to pay in order to get additional functionality or support that does not exist in the free/cheaper alternative. E.g. Photoshop/Gimp, Maya 3D/Blender, Oracle/MySQL Enterprise/MySQL Community edition. You can whine that MySQL Community does everything that Oracle 11g does until the cows come home, but it doesn't necessarily make it so. Does choosing Oracle over MySQL make someone a moron if they really do need the additional features/support? No.

  • by NotQuiteReal (608241) on Monday July 05, 2010 @01:40AM (#32796796) Journal
    Things are getting muddled a bit here. Perhaps there is no "right" to "copy", but don't toss the whole idea of "certain unalienable rights". The idea of those rights, and founding a government based on protecting those rights (and not granting them) seemed to work well for quite a while...

    Simply dismissing "innate/natural rights" [as] the realm of philosophy and theology... may sound good to you, but when you think that way you come up with thoughts like A right is an agreement among society and Rights are established by governments...

    Which leads to where it would be OK if society and government start taking away your "theoretical rights". Some cultures suck. The trick is to maintain a culture that only metes out punishment fit for a crime, lest it become one of the cultures that suck too.
  • Re:short story: (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PitaBred (632671) <(slashdot) (at) (pitabred.dyndns.org)> on Monday July 05, 2010 @01:46AM (#32796834) Homepage

    His choices end when they impinge on my right to participate in our shared culture. Disney created an icon with Mickey Mouse. As did Shakespeare with Romeo and Juliet. Only one of them continues to evolve, though, and the other we are disallowed from using at the point of a gun.

    Sure, it's "his choices", but what if my choices are that nobody should drive on the street in front of my house? Do I have that right? If he wanted to keep his music in his control, he shouldn't release it.

  • by crmarvin42 (652893) on Monday July 05, 2010 @01:54AM (#32796892)

    Nearly all the value of nearly all copyrighted works comes from ideas that the author learned from people who came before and who the author didn't pay.

    I don't know where you are from, but 'round here teachers don't work for free. My wife is a musician and she paid a hell of a lot of money for her education. She payed for the knowledge she acquired (as I feel it is safe to assume the composer in question did as well). However, even if you are from this magical land where teachers work for free he is not trying to be payed for the work of his instructors. He took the knowledge he acquired and then CREATED something with it. The musical compositions that he wrote did not exist before he created them, which is what's important. It is very rare that any creative endevour is achieved without some outside influence. If your reasoning is taken to its logical conclusion, then no creative person should ever expect to be paid for their arts, no matter how popular they become, unless they created their art in a vaccume.

    The fact is, if a composer had taken previously published work (maybe something in a text book from a college class he took, so he therefore owns a copywright to limited use of it) changed a handful of notes, and then sold it as a new work he could be sued for copywright violations. However, he can take a small portion of a copywrighted work and design an entirely new piece that is influenced by the original and then copywright that. The fair-use provisions of copywright law allow for some LIMITED use of others work as long as the later composers chages are sufficiently transformational that the new piece is truely novel.

    Ultimately you are confusing two different issues. I too agree that the duration of copyright is excessive now. But excessive duration does not make violation of copyright legally or, as some above have suggested, morally acceptable.

    P.S. I got a real thrill out of seeing this on /. because my wife had just finished reading some of TFA to me 5 min before. It is rare that her interests and mine intersect like this.

  • Re:Debatable (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BoberFett (127537) on Monday July 05, 2010 @01:58AM (#32796926)

    People can't live without 150 year copyrights?

  • by ukemike (956477) on Monday July 05, 2010 @02:04AM (#32796964) Homepage

    Nearly all the value of nearly all copyrighted works comes from ideas that the author learned from people who came before and who the author didn't pay.

    I wonder why you think this is the case. This guy is a famous broadway composer. I would expect that he went to school to learn composing. That was very far from free. I would also suspect that he's gone to lots of live musical theater. That certainly wasn't free. I would also guess that he has bought lots of music and paid for it. In fact I wouldn't be at all surprised if he, like many music fans, had spent a huge quantity of money during his life just buying records/cds/etc. So please explain exactly what ideas has he failed to pay for?

    Now he's out there in the world trying to make a living writing music that has added value to the lives of countless people and all he wants is a lousy $3.99 for a copy of the sheet music of an original piece of music that he wrote. If he sells three or four copies, he can go buy a CD to listen to. If he sells 20 copies (and assuming he gets 100% of that $3.99) then he can buy a matinee ticket to go see a broadway show. A few thousand copies and he can pay his rent and bills for a whole month during which he can write a few more songs that you might like so much that you want a copy of the sheet music for them. It seems like a totally reasonable request to me.

    I agree, and he probably would also, that the 150 year copyright duration is crazy, that was done essentially at the request of Disney because Mickey Mouse was about to enter the public domain. But hell this poor guy is alive right now and trying to make a living writing music. Cough up the lousy $3.99.

  • by TOGSolid (1412915) on Monday July 05, 2010 @02:07AM (#32796994)
    And it's also an assumption that it'll result in increased sales, just like it's an assumption that piracy is a lost sale. For all you know everyone that heard that performance would just go home and fire up bit torrent to yoink this guy's stuff. The whole argument is pointless because both sides are just endlessly talking out of their asses about hypothetical situations.

    Does the media industry in general need to change? Yep. But I'm getting kind of tired of pirates that get on their high horse as if they were protesting the god damn Vietnam war.

    And it's what, 4 bucks for that sheet music? She couldn't compromise with him, scrounge up some couch change and mail it to him? It's not going to kill you all to actually pay for some of the stuff out there.
  • by White Flame (1074973) on Monday July 05, 2010 @02:14AM (#32797048)

    We have rights because the founders settled on a shared opinion of their view on how a union would work best.

    I never said anything about it being "OK" if rights were removed, but these are the processes by which rights are declared, enforced, and revoked.

    The "certain unalienable rights" were the opinions and beliefs of the founding fathers, nothing more, nothing less, peers to any other view of rights that anybody here has; those particular beliefs, however, were codified into American law. Other cultures & countries have completely different ideas of what the natural rights of humans are; the American view is not some universal truth about the morality of human society, but that which we prefer and view as beneficial to our ideals.

    All rights start off as philosophy, theology, and idealism, and may be agreed upon and codified into legal rights. However, it's only the legal rights (not the "moral" or other arbitrary "rights") that people may claim in terms of legality of action, which is the subject at hand. Unless that codification and authoritative sanctioning has happened, any other rights you might claim or believe in are impotent.

  • by crmarvin42 (652893) on Monday July 05, 2010 @02:19AM (#32797090)
    I'm sorry, but I have to call "BS". What categories of products are you refering to?? I can think of:

    Music (AFAIK, everything on iTunes and Amazon are DRM-free)
    Software (MS office vs. Open Office)
    ??

    What categories exist where DRM is the only way material is available??

    If you are complaining that some SPECIFIC works are only available with DRM included, well tough. You have to decide whether the hassle of DRM is worth the advatages to you of owning/using what ever it is. Just because you want a DRM-free copy of something does not make it necessary for the copyright owner to make ti available to you.

    A decent food analogy would be if you want a sandwich from your favorite restaurant, but they don't deliver and you don't want to leave the house. You need to decide if the hassle of getting in the car and driving is worth the sandwich.

    Maybe a better fit would be a restraunt that does deliver, but you live outside of the range in which they are willing to deliver. They are not obligated to deliver to every house in town simply because they do deliver to some houses. Similarly, copywright holder are not obligated to make their works available in all media formats simply because they make them available in some media formats.

    And since this is /. and the level of commentors has been slipping, I feel it is necessary that I point out that I believe the current term of copyrights to be excessive. I can see the point in them lasting as long as the author is alive, but not +150 years, and I believe that a fixed amount of time would be better (15-30 years maybe). I also feel that DRM is stupid, because it treats me "a PAYING customer" like a crook and does little if anything to prevent the actual crooks from violating their copyrights. However, my OPINION does not superscede the law, and therefore I don't violate copyrights and aviod DRM when I can.
  • by PrecambrianRabbit (1834412) on Monday July 05, 2010 @02:23AM (#32797120)
    Talk like what? Grammatically, with few spelling errors? That's an awfully low bar. Surely on a site like this one full of reasonably intelligent people we can believe that at least a few teenagers are capable of writing coherent sentences. lolkthxbye

    (Sorry, had to do that :)
  • by robbak (775424) on Monday July 05, 2010 @02:37AM (#32797180) Homepage
    I would argue that, if a work still has value and currency after 15 years, then it is an important piece of cultural property that _Desperately_ needs to be in the public domain.
  • GPL (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Otis_INF (130595) on Monday July 05, 2010 @02:46AM (#32797232) Homepage

    It's shocking how much people here bash this composer, as this is a site which always has taken the stance against GPL violation.

    If a person X writes a piece of code and licenses it under the GPL, it's X' decision. If I take that code and embed it in my own code, not giving credits to X nor open my own code, I thus 'stole' X' work. It's the same thing as with this sheetmusic: the composer asks money for his work, that's HIS choice, not anybody's elses. If someone else wants to use / have the sheetmusic, that person has to pay: obey the rules the creator of the work has stated.

    It's strange that on a site where every GPL violation is big news and a lot of people show their support for the GPL etc. etc. it's apparently 'ok' to violate the rules some composer has stated for HIS work. It's not YOUR work, it's HIS work. Don't want to pay? don't download it.

  • by BoberFett (127537) on Monday July 05, 2010 @02:46AM (#32797236)

    Interesting. I quit reading when he said

    "the Thornton Wilder estate certainly deserves its share of the income"

    Really? His estate deserves income? Do I deserve income because my ancestor may have nailed a shoe to a horses foot?

    If you want to provide your ancestors with income, invest. Don't expect my grandchildren to pay your grandchildren just because you thought you were something special.

  • Sorry? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Otis_INF (130595) on Monday July 05, 2010 @02:51AM (#32797256) Homepage

    I write software for a living. I have worked for 2 years full time on a new version and I sell that version for money. I can do so because copyright law exists: I _own_ the work I created.

    I therefore fail to see why this is a bad thing. Who are you to say what *I* should do with the software I worked on for over 2 years full time? (mind you: I payed my bills from my own pocket) Copyright is a right given to people who create stuff to make THEM decide what they do with it, instead of the people who want to USE it. You for example are not in charge what should happen with my work, I am. And I think that's fair, as I wrote it, spend all my time on it and payed for it from my own pocket, you didn't do a thing for it, so why should you be entitled to use it freely? How am I then going to pay the bills?

  • by Maeslin (1739760) on Monday July 05, 2010 @02:51AM (#32797260)
    You do realize he's a COMPOSER, not a PERFORMER? The whole "go perform your music and be paid for it" thing doesn't quite work here.
  • by countertrolling (1585477) on Monday July 05, 2010 @02:54AM (#32797278) Journal

    ...According to the law as I understand it, your right to free speech/expression ends in cases of slander, libel, national security, copyright violation, threats, child pornography, and others.

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    I posted the law here for your convenience. Can you show where it stipulates any limits on free speech? See, because I understand "no law" to mean no law. Yeah, I understand the judges disagree with me, but I believe they are mistaken.

  • What, exactly... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rix (54095) on Monday July 05, 2010 @03:13AM (#32797340)

    Do you think all those photocopiers in libraries are for?

  • by bruce_the_loon (856617) on Monday July 05, 2010 @03:31AM (#32797398) Homepage

    Utter bull. Your right to life for example. Without a government willing to protect it by enforcing punishments, pleading "I have a right to live" to the chap with a gun is utterly meaningless.

    Your famed right to free speech. Again, without a government to protect it, you'll probably end up dead because you dared to speak out about somebody with a weapon lording it over you.

    Your rights are there and protected because a group of people representing society decided it is better that way and society agreed with that decision. Whether that group is a small number of people or an corrupt, massive, money-wasting bureaucracy, it is still government.

  • by Eivind (15695) <eivindorama@gmail.com> on Monday July 05, 2010 @04:07AM (#32797528) Homepage

    He's not discussing "his property".

    He is discussing his copyrighted work. The two concepts are not the same, infact they are not even similar in any sense I can think of. So meaning one, and naming the other, serves no purpose other than to muddle the waters.

    This particular muddle, pretending that an expression or an idea can be "property" is particularily popular among those who would like the law to extend the same rights as it does for property.

    Unlike property - ideas and expressions can be copied effortlessly. Unlike property, control of an idea or expression EXPIRES, after a certain (currently way too long) time. Unlike property, I can take your idea, without depriving you of it.

    He is -not- discussing his "property". He *is* discussing his copyrigthed work.

  • by bryonak (836632) on Monday July 05, 2010 @04:07AM (#32797532)

    He was discussing HIS property that was being taken without recompense.

    It is not his property.
    Let's go step by step.
    If we're in a flood and I discover a way (idea) of keeping my house dry, how should you not be allowed to do the same after seeing it?
    If I say something smart/funny (art), there is no natural mechanism that prevents you from tell it to others in order to get them to like you (~profit).
    If I conceive a cool tune (music), you don't have any natural right to control how people think and communicate about it (one person singing it to another).

    We have instead created an artificial one (which is a good idea really), allowing you a limited, government-granted licence to be the sole distributor of this work. But keep in mind, this has absolutely nothing to do with property. Copyright, patent and trademark laws behave orthogonal to property laws (buying, stealing, lending, etc.), they are treated differently in the courts and in day-to-day life. You simply cannot unify them.

    Music, art and ideas are, despite what the "big corps" want to make you believe, explicitly non-property.

    Now it's obvious that many regard the copyright system (after all that "big corp" lobbying) as broken, bad and rotten.
    And with the notion that democracy is supposed to follow the will of the people, I'll leave you with a few quotes to ponder.

    "An unjust law is no law at all" - St Augustine

    "One who breaks an unjust law must do it openly, lovingly...I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and willingly accepts the penalty by staying in jail to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the very highest respect for law." - Martin Luther King

  • by ultranova (717540) on Monday July 05, 2010 @04:19AM (#32797590)

    In short: Your right to swing your fist ends at the tip of my nose.

    Only if you're richer than the fist-swinger. Otherwise you'll be charged for the soap to wash away the blood, and if he's much richer, for his pain upon having his delicate noble hand impact upon your thick peasant skull.

  • Re:simple math (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jafafa Hots (580169) on Monday July 05, 2010 @04:26AM (#32797622) Homepage Journal

    I compose music on the piano. I'm not saying it's GOOD necessarily, but I do compose.

    You know that? The idea that I OWN the music I write is insane. Just fucking insane. It's notes in someone's HEAD. Furthermore, while yes, I do work hard on composing, the reality is that composing is more a process of finding a nice combination of preexisting things. There are only so many notes, only so many chords. It's like piling up Tetris pieces.

    In fact, some of the tunes I've come up with I don't bother to record because even though I have NEVER heard a song with that melody, it just seems so damned obvious that I just know that it has to have been written, or damned close to it, MANY, MANY times before.

    I don't record them NOT out of fear of somehow copying someones "property" that I have no personal knowledge of its actual existence or not, but rather because I just don't like composing obvious stuff. I like to stretch.

    Meanwhile, you have the music industry and some colluding "artists" claiming that they not only own a piece of music - they "own" a particular bassline, or a simple chord progression, and not just that one, but any CLOSE to it.

    And then (sampling) you have people claiming they own a 5 second waveform from the midst of their recording.

    Copyright was essentially an incentive program, artificial monopoly to encourage creation of things that would eventually (in 14 long years, originally!) become public domain, their natural place (the way human culture developed from the caves in the first place)

    In no way is there someone who is not going to buy a CD because they say to themselves "well, I've already got a CD with that snare drum sound in it."
    In no way is an artist going to be discouraged from creating music merely because they think someone might take a 2 second clip and use it in a completely unrecognizable way in a completely different composition.

    But that is what copyright law has devolved into. You record a song, and nobody can use that 2 second bleep for anything until 75 years after you die. because you "own that bleep!"

    THAT is INSANE.

  • by mabinogi (74033) on Monday July 05, 2010 @05:29AM (#32797882) Homepage

    For information the transaction is different. If I have money and you have information, after the transaction, I have information but no money, you have money AND still have the information. It is a fundamentally different sort of transaction. This difference is at the heart of most discussions on information sharing / stealing / selling. We want to make it look like a physical good, but it isn't!

    and that is why his sheet music costs $3.99, not $39,000

  • by Kjella (173770) on Monday July 05, 2010 @05:33AM (#32797894) Homepage

    In fact, most of our copyright issues would vanish if we went back to traditional US copyright laws: 14 years + one 14 years extension if the author is still alive, with a registration requirement. I have yet to see an argument why traditional US copyright isn't the right choice.

    Not even close. For one, if we are to keep copyright I would want compulsory global RAND licensing. No more region codes. No more waiting for the DVD release, or iTunes to ever bother making TV series available here. No more making me pay 30% more because I'm on the wrong side of the atlantic. Have the free market work both ways, you are free to get labor where you want and I'm free to get the product where I want.

    What can I say, I have the "service" I want already. I just want someone to offer the same, legally.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 05, 2010 @05:34AM (#32797896)

    It is not his property.It is not his property.

    Yes it is, the law says it is.
    Everything else is irrelevant

    Don't like it? Change the law.

    Or choose to flaunt it, fully aware that you are breaking the law and that there are consequences for that.

  • by Nadaka (224565) on Monday July 05, 2010 @06:43AM (#32798146)

    Rights of one individual can conflict with rights of another. That does not mean that they are not rights.

    My right to shoot my gun conflicts with your right to live in some cases.

    My right to have property conflicts with your right to have the same property.

    A just society will have a set of laws that establishes the precedence of rights to deal with those conflicts.

    By law the right to life trumps the right to kill in (almost) all circumstances.

    By law prior possession trumps possession after theft in (almost) all circumstances.

    Rights can not be granted and can only be taken away by physical force. The law effectively limits the free expression of rights by the threat of just punishment (when one right conflicts with the rights of another). Thugs can limit the free expression of rights by the threat of unjust punishment.

    Copying is a right. Restriction of that right by the people is an entitlement for the author.

  • by Registered Coward v2 (447531) on Monday July 05, 2010 @06:45AM (#32798152)

    This thread has crystallized what I suspect is the "Slashdot-approved" stance with regards to protecting material. Correct me if I get any of these points wrong. 1. If you want to make a living creating works that exist in a data format (music, books, video) just accept the fact that nobody owes you a dime for your time. If some people choose to drop some money in your hat, that's awesome - but don't count on it. 2. If your music is so great, tour and make money that way. If you get moderately successful locally, each band member might be able to clear $80 a night! Of course you'll need a huge cash infusion (i.e. debt) to start touring big, but I'm sure the banks will be happy to help you with loans for such a riskless endeavour. 3. Always remember - costs like studio time, special effects, actors, musicians, props, sets, insurance, essentially every cost involved in the production of your work magically disconnect from the work itself at the moment it is finalized. A ripped copy of that work has absolutely no moral, legal, or implied connection to any of those costs. As the entity "Slashdot" I hereby decree that the whole idea of "Professional Artist" is forever banned. You have been demoted to busker.

    You forgot one:

    None of the above applies when dealing with GPL'd code - if you ignore the GPL you are the most evil of evil; you are taking our creation and using it without giving back your code when you distribute it. We are entitles to that; after all it's OUR work that you are using. Hooray for the EFF; who may just sue you into oblivion for violating our rights.

  • by Hognoxious (631665) on Monday July 05, 2010 @07:35AM (#32798420) Homepage Journal

    The "certain unalienable rights" were the opinions and beliefs of the founding fathers, nothing more, nothing less

    You have to admit, though, that sticking in that bit about "We hold these truths to be self evident" was the best marketing move ever.

    Other cultures & countries have completely different ideas of what the natural rights of humans are; the American view is not some universal truth about the morality of human society, but that which we prefer and view as beneficial to our ideals.

    Indeed. If those rights really were laws of nature as some claim then it seems strange that through the majority of known history the majority of people have not had them.

  • by AGMW (594303) on Monday July 05, 2010 @07:50AM (#32798490) Homepage

    I lose nothing when someone copies something I have made, whether it is a chair, a text or a piece of music.

    There ya have, in a nutshell, the problem the "creators" have in the internet age. This chair (or text or piece of music) you have made, may I ask why you made it? Is it a hobby or is it how you earn a crust to feed yourself and your family? If you sell these chairs for a living and someone copies them and gives them away in the market downtown you are going to be less well off. No one stole any of your chairs, but they did steal your business!

    I know many people who write (and perform) music as a hobby and they are (mostly) pretty happy if people copy it because it widens their audience and part of why anyone creates things is to share them with the world at large.
    If, on the other hand, you have been successful in your hobby and it has become your work, ie remuneration from your creative talents is how you put bread on the table, then while you are still happy for people to enjoy your work you are also hoping people will be willing to pay a fair price to do so. If they don't, if nobody does then you have to give up the creative work and go back to whatever it was you did before.
    It become the death of a thousand cuts. Oh it doesn't matter if I make a copy ... but if no one pays (a fair price) for creative works, be they films, music, chairs, whatever, then people will stop making them, or at least stop making the good ones. So, do you want a world without chairs? Once they're all gone it will too late to stand up and be counted, 'cos everyone will already be standing and no one will notice you!

  • by delinear (991444) on Monday July 05, 2010 @08:33AM (#32798766)
    Car locks are an enhancement - they prevent other people stealing the car, and certainly it's not as convenient for you as being able to own a car that has no locks so you don't have to remember your key, but most people are happy to accept the trade off, it's not crippled, just inconvenient. DRM-encumbered items, on the other hand, provide zero benefit to the owner, it's all negatives - increased cost, increased complexity, impossible to format shift in its DRM form, can potentially be deleted without your permission after sale, etc. It's all negatives from the consumer's perspective, hence it's crippled purely for the benefit of the vendor and to the detriment of the owner.
  • Re:Sorry? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by delinear (991444) on Monday July 05, 2010 @09:01AM (#32799008)
    Who are we? When you say "Copyright is a right given to people", WE are the ones who give that right. We are society, and we are legion. When society agrees that there should be copyright, you get copyright. It seems more and more of society no longer agree, and those of us who don't (or at least believe it should be a much shorter term) are starting to voice that opinion - most of what we see at the moment are the final railings of a bunch of industries that desperately need a new business model. Of course, as part of society you are entitled to voice your dissenting opinion, but as a developer relying on copyright (and there are other models than first sale - subscription or OSS and paid support for instance) you have no right to tell us not to voice our opinions. What you are doing is called biting the hand that feeds for a reason, bite long enough or hard enough and society might decide it doesn't want to feed you anymore.
  • by dfghjk (711126) on Monday July 05, 2010 @09:54AM (#32799420)

    "The girl should have asked if he would be willing to sell his product at 30 cents a pop if that meant he'd get 100x more sales."

    It's not the girl's place to challenge his business decisions. Who says competition is missing from the equation? Just because she wants it for free doesn't mean he has overpriced anything.

  • by The Yuckinator (898499) on Monday July 05, 2010 @11:11AM (#32800222)

    And what about composers like this guy? He composes scores for musical productions (likely among other things). Should he be like Tommy Dorsey and go get his own Orchestra to perform these songs? Or maybe he should also hire an acting troupe and rent out space at a theatre (perhaps just buy his own?) so he can produce entire musicals at night while he writes the music all day?

    The huge list of names at the back of your program when you go to the theatre aren't just there to make it look good. Hundreds of people are involved in putting together any single night's production. Same goes for TV or Movies - those names scrolling on the screen at the end of the show are called "credits" for a reason. Most of those people get paid (credit) for their efforts.

    Guess where the money comes from? (hint: it's not from people who are copying the sheet music/audio recordings/scripts)

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