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Legal Issues Don't Bother American Downloaders 766

An anonymous reader writes "Ipsos-Reid has released its latest research on file trading. Bottom line, the great majority of users do not believe they are breaking the law. Only 9% feel there is anything wrong with their actions. With 40 million Americans identified as active file traders this is indeed stirring information, though not surprising. Another stat, 73% of US downloaders report that their motivation for trading was to sample music for later purchase. You can see the charts and original press release here."
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Legal Issues Don't Bother American Downloaders

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  • After submitting data, participants were rumored to have disappeared. When approached by reporters, Hilary Rosen stepped outside of her Mercedes sedan and emphatically responded, "The result of this survey was entirely unexpected and blatantly anti-American. Like, who would've thought?" Screams emanated from her automobile, but Rosen was quick to assure her interviewers that they were merely products of her favorite Mafia films. Jack Valenti was hesitant to comment.
    • Names.... (Score:5, Funny)

      by idontneedanickname ( 570477 ) on Sunday March 16, 2003 @11:30PM (#5526539)
      Please just fill out this form, it shouldn't take you long.

      Why do I need to put my name and adress? You said this was an anonymous survey?

      Oh, that's just for ehh ... our computer, eh... so he can list you in alphabetical order, and ehh geographical area... yes, that's it! *Scratches back of head nervously, looks away*

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 17, 2003 @02:49AM (#5527311)
      Laws are made by the people. If 93% of the people think this is right, maybe the laws should be changed.
      • Laws are made by the people. If 93% of the people think this is right, maybe the laws should be changed.

        RTFA. Just to be nitpicky, the number you're looking for is 91%. "US downloaders feel that file trading activities are benign. Only 9% thought that file trading was wrong." However, that's out of US downloaders, which earlier they stated to be "almost one-fifth of the US population over 12."

        Needless to say i would expect to see some correlation between people who choose to download music and people w

  • Prohibition ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by conner_bw ( 120497 ) on Sunday March 16, 2003 @11:25PM (#5526508) Journal
    All good, I'm pretty pessimistic about this.

    The majority didn't stop the US government from implementing back in Al Capone's day. Just because people don't think they are breaking the law, doesn't mean that the moral majority does. Back in the day it was Christian moral law, this has (unfortunately?) been replaced with money and corporate interests. Since corporations pretty much own the gov, expect popular consensus to mean nothing. Just like it did before.

    The past? We learn NOTHING!
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 16, 2003 @11:28PM (#5526529)
      56% of americans said "I get mp3s off kazza but I dont file-share"
    • by mauthbaux ( 652274 ) on Sunday March 16, 2003 @11:56PM (#5526664) Homepage
      It prettymuch was popular interest that ended prohibition as well. The book "Drug Crazy" by Mike Gray made that point pretty clear. According to his statistics, heavy drinking (which was a crime) and violent crime rates skyrocketted. Getting rid of prohibition helped the economy (in the hospitality industry) as well as helped decrease the amount of gang activities. Human civilzation has advanced when information and communication became more common. By promoting free access to information, society as a whole ends up benifitting (that is, unless your idea of an ideal world still has outhouses and no deoderant.) What the record and software industries need to understand is that prettymuch no matter how illegal they try to make file sharing, it will still be around. Big brother isn't going to get them out of the quandry they now face. What they really need to focus their efforts on is attempts to proffit off of it, or how they should abandon what they're doing and move into a new industry. When the automobile replaced the horse as the popular form of transportation, the people who sided with the horse-based businesses had only themselves to blame. The masses have spoken, and filesharing is going to be around until it gets replaced by better, more popular and convenient technology. Those who still try to stand on their soap boxes and stop everyone have only themselves to blame when their efforts fail...
      • by unixbob ( 523657 ) on Monday March 17, 2003 @01:21AM (#5527013)
        I agree wholeheartedly with your comments. My understanding of the RIAA argument is "Record sales are down, therefore that must be caused by filesharing". Perhaps they miss the point that the general public is bored and disinterested with the bland repetitive "product" which these companies provide. Today, the music industry is not about music but about product. When was the last time you saw a fat ugly woman with a beautiful voice in the Billboard charts. Pop music isn't my taste, but I'm not being snobbish about it - it has it's place. But the fact that it is mainly marketted to 11 year olds surely tells a lot about how adult interests aren't being considered.

        The RIAA was borne out of the fact that these companies were able to utilise vinyl record technology to fulfill a service which the general public wanted, to provide popular music to the mass market. Today they've stepped away from that original premise. Mainstream music today is bland because it is easier to sell music that everyone finds inoffensive than sell music which some people think is great (and obviously others will hate).

        For the record, I download mp3s from filesharing networks. And what I have found is that it has instroduced me to music I wasn't aware of before and I have purchased CD's off the back of those downloads. Those people who decry filesharing have obviously never used it. mp3 quality is ok for basic PC speakers, but usually sounds poor on a decent stereo. Downloaded mp3s are freqeuently incomplete. So it doesn't replace any other medium, but is an addition. I can't use my local radio station as a sampler for the sort of music I like. filesharing lets me do that.
        • My understanding of the RIAA argument is "Record sales are down, therefore that must be caused by filesharing". Perhaps they miss the point that the general public is bored and disinterested with the bland repetitive "product" which these companies provide. Today, the music industry is not about music but about product.

          I wouldn't argue that filesharing has little or no impact on the decline in CD sales. Instead, I'd say that this is a very good thing. A large part of society is basically saying that the

        • by caveat ( 26803 ) on Monday March 17, 2003 @09:58AM (#5528520)
          When was the last time you saw a fat ugly woman with a beautiful voice in the Billboard charts.

          You know, I never really though about it, but it's so true - hell, The First Lady [media.org] herself probably couldn't land a contract today. Oc course, leaves you wondering how Rosen got where she is...
    • The "minority" you speak of that caused prohibition was primarily women stretching their political muscles.

      As near as I can figure, the argument is something like this:
      Women's Sufferage movement: WE NEED TO VOTE!
      Everyone else: Why? Aren't things going okay for you?
      Women's Sufferage movement: WE ARE MORALLY OPPOSED TO ALCOHOL!
      Everyone else: I guess you've got your convictions (and a few mumbles of approval that win support to the sufferage movement)

      When it came down to it, the reason was mostly just an excuse to allow women to take the power they should have already had.

      The prohibition movement was a small push that turned the tide.

      I'd like to think that all of the women in America hold a lot more political power than media conglomerates, and unlike perhaps Christian moral law, women have *not* been completely replaced by money and corporate interests. But enough about that...

      The primary goal of politicians is to stay in office - which means convincing the majority of the public that they are helped, or at least not hindered by this politician, since politicians are elected. If they don't, they won't get reelected.

      The secondary goal of a politician is to make lots and lots of money - which is often in opposition to the first goal, since doing that may require that a politician attempt to legalize corporate crimes against his constituents.

      As I see it the fine line they walk is to pass all the laws they can which legalize crimes against the constituents, while enforcing as few of these laws as possible, so that said constituents will not find out, get mad, and boot them from office. Then the new guy will have to repeal the "crime is legal" law before he starts writing his own.

      Seems to me Congress is doing exactly that and will continue to do so as long as possible until they really anger the voters. Then they'll change whatever law made us the angriest, wait a few years, and write it again.

      I have a theory that this perturbation process actually results in corrections becoming more major as time goes by (because the problem gets worse at a more fundamental level). If I'm right, one day income tax will be repealed. :)

      Note to anyone arguing against this theory (a little note to help the argument-impaired here on /.): I did not substantiate it in any way, so you can't argue it's truth by presenting any flaw in its conception. The only thing that you might argue is that income tax is not a bad thing than angers voters.
  • haw haw (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 16, 2003 @11:25PM (#5526509)
    Piracy is a victimless crime, like punching someone in the dark.
    • Re:haw haw (Score:4, Funny)

      by gearheadsmp ( 569823 ) on Monday March 17, 2003 @12:00AM (#5526689)
      ...except for the fact that if you punch someone in the dark, so to speak, they are at the very least going to grunt, yelp, scream, etc.
      • by Tokerat ( 150341 ) on Monday March 17, 2003 @02:42AM (#5527285) Journal

        The RIAA has been yelping and screaming ( "OW! My profit!!!" ) ever since they (well, their affiliates) brought us fabulous new talent like 98 Degrees and Sum41.

        "Gee, Bob, I can't understand why people aren't buying the CDs, these bands are practically clones of the last big hits we signed... Ahh, must be those God-damned pirates again! Betty! Can you get my lobbying group on the line, please? We got some ass to kick!"
    • Re:haw haw (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Gossy ( 130782 ) on Monday March 17, 2003 @07:38AM (#5528007)
      (Yes, I know it's meant to be funny, But...)

      Perhaps a better analogy would be like flailing your arms around randomly in the dark.

      Almost all of the time you hit air and it's a victimless crime. Sometimes you end up hitting criminals, helping the people trying to stop you. Other times you hit regular people, and cause real damage.

      Most of the time you'd never have bought that MP3 you just downloaded. Some of the time you'll go buy an album after getting that MP3. Other times you'll download instead of buying, and they'll lose the sale.

      The morality of downloading music is not clear cut.
  • no (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Suppafly ( 179830 ) <slashdot@sup[ ]ly.net ['paf' in gap]> on Sunday March 16, 2003 @11:26PM (#5526512)
    Bottom line, the great majority of users do not believe they are breaking the law.

    I beg to differ. Its pretty apparent to anyone you talk to that they know they are breaking the law, they just don't care.
    • My take (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Raul654 ( 453029 ) on Sunday March 16, 2003 @11:46PM (#5526614) Homepage
      IF I could mod you to "+10, absolutely right", I would. You have hit the nail on the head. Most people realize (intuitively) that downloading music/movies/software is (at the very least) a victimless crime in that 99.99% of the stuff that is downloaded and not later bought would never have been bought anyway. I think the remainder is more than made up for by the increased sales due to increased exposure.
      • Re:My take (Score:4, Insightful)

        by IamTheRealMike ( 537420 ) on Monday March 17, 2003 @05:09AM (#5527711)
        Most people realize (intuitively) that downloading music/movies/software is (at the very least) a victimless crime in that 99.99% of the stuff that is downloaded and not later bought would never have been bought anyway. I think the remainder is more than made up for by the increased sales due to increased exposure.

        Yeah, you tell yourself that, if it makes you feel better. I'm sure there are some here on Slashdot that download a few gigs of music every month, then go out and buy CDs for music they already have. Ya know, 'cos they're moral sort of people.

        The vast majority of p2p pirates do not do this. I'm talking from personal experience. They don't download music to "sample" it, they download whole albums, sometimes even with artwork. Even worse, some of them have the gall to then burn them onto CDs and sell it on to people without broadband connections, sometimes for as much as 500% profit.

        They never buy CDs. Why bother, when downloading it is so much easier? The fact is, if there was no music piracy, CD sales would be higher, because all those people who never buy CDs (or who buy them for nearly nothing from "friends") would have lower music consumption but would actually pay for it, so the gross profit is still higher than zero.

        This "victimless crime" garbage has got to end. Music piracy is a victimless crime in the same way a war on Iraq would be a victimless crime - there are victims all right, you just can't see them, except in occasional glances the media gives as events rush past the window.

        • Re:My take (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Qzukk ( 229616 ) on Monday March 17, 2003 @11:57AM (#5529183) Journal
          Yeah, you tell yourself that, if it makes you feel better.

          Fine then, I'll tell myself that. Meanwhile, I'll be ordering another round of CDs from CD Japan [cdjapan.co.jp] pretty soon, for instance the SaiKano OST and the GitS:SAC OST which I "borrowed" from a friend since I wasn't a big fan of the show, only the music (amongst other CDs that I have mp3s from.

          Why bother, when downloading it is so much easier

          I only have one reply to this: snort. I'm really sure its "so much easier" to deal with the drek, people who never let you fetch stuff, and other crap on kazaa and the like. And thats if anyone else out there actually had my interests in music.

          Now, I'm completely against the people who do as you describe and resell the burnt CDs for 500% profit (at this point, I would call it "bootlegging"). But you have to face it: Today's US music industry relies on people not hearing the crap on the disc ahead of time, so that they might be fooled into buying it. Since they have managed to get their industry into such a run-down state that the only way they can manage to sell anything is by accident or deceit (wouldn't you call filling a CD with two good songs which get radio advertising time, and the remainder with remixes or other crap deceit?) they have to force people to not preview the music. So they push for laws against it.

          You know what really makes me feel better? It's not telling myself that I'm going to buy the stuff I like, because I know that to be true. It's that I look out and see civil disobedience performed against the gross misuse of a once-honorable law (copyright law, to be specific). Once upon a time it let people be creative and get money for their creations. Now, the music industry (amongst others) has shifted the power of the law from protecting authors to protecting the publishers. Once upon a time, an author granted permission to a publisher to publish the work. Nowadays, the publishers use work-for-hire loopholes and other tricks to take the work by force and leave the author with nothing but debt. For instance, if you read the text of the DMCA, you'll notice that there are no rights assigned to authors of a work. If I record a song in a DRM-enabled format, I have no right to remove the DRM from it, because the DMCA protects the DRM, not my work. (And before you claim "bullshit", take a look at this [cmu.edu] where legal threats were made against a person who wrote his own tool for fixing the "don't embed" bit for fonts he created himself. It hasn't gone to court, apparently, but given that the DMCA repeals rights of due process, that doesn't matter much, does it?)

          So do the American thing. Protest the commercialization of your government and download an mp3 today.
    • Re:no (Score:2, Insightful)

      by nfg05 ( 638727 )
      Or that they think the laws are flawed and unbalanced in the first place.
    • by wayne ( 1579 ) <wayne@schlitt.net> on Sunday March 16, 2003 @11:50PM (#5526637) Homepage Journal
      The statement that Ipsos asked people if they agree with is "Downloading free music off the Internet is wrong". Only 9% sgrongly or somewhat agreed.

      There is a difference between what is illegal and what people believe is wrong. Before the civil war, it was illegal to help a run-away slave, even if you were in the North. Many people worked on the "Underground railroad" anyway and didn't think it was "wrong" to help slaves.

      Now a days, the whole concept that you could "own" a person seems pretty strange. But then, some people today also think that the whole concept that you could "own" an idea is pretty strange.

      • by Ramze ( 640788 ) on Monday March 17, 2003 @02:33AM (#5527263)
        I totally agree.

        According to the Home Recording Act, I can record any signal I can pick up in my home from the radio or TV AND let any of my friends or family borrow or record from my recording.

        So, it's not illegal for me to get a radio tuner for my PC and encode songs to MP3 -- yet, it is illegal to download those exact same songs in mp3 format or to post them to the web, but it is legal for me to give my radio-encoded mp3's to any of my friends. Also, the same is true for any TV shows. I can record The Sopranos, burn it to a DVD, and give it to a friend, yet I can't download the episode of the Sopranos I missed last week even though I pay for HBO!!

        Anyone else think this is stupid? I can listen to any music on MP3 whenever I want -- so long as the original source was from either a CD I baught, the radio, or a friend or family member who gave it to me as long as they got it from the radio or TV -- but NOT from a stranger online... mmmkayyy. But, if I met a stranger online in person, and we were friends... they could give me a copy & that'd be legal.. so long as their source was from a the radio or TV.

        I fear that laws will change to where noone can copy anything (goodbye fair use), but I'd prefer that they'd change so that noone can enforce a copyright longer than 7 years. (after 2 years, most music and movies have made their serious dough anyway -- 'cept TV shows b/c they get their major money in sindication (sp). I think a fair compromise would be -- you can't copy anything for other than personal use, parody, news media, or some other variant of free speech/fair use ... unless it's 7 years old :-) (in other words, no sharing of an exact copy of a full work with anyone unless it's 7 years old)

      • by Snoopy77 ( 229731 ) on Monday March 17, 2003 @03:14AM (#5527387) Homepage
        If you read up on some of the ancient philosophers and how they defined law you will actually find that most, if not all considered unjust laws to be invalid. While in practice the lawmakers would probably disagree and charge you with breaking the law if you chose to do so, theoretically I have no problem with there claim. Slavery would in this case fall into the unjust area of law. I doubt the 'average man' would disagree with me there. But do copyright laws fall into the unjust area? I challenge anyone to explain to me how copyright laws are fundamentally unjust. You can't get everything for free.
        • by Politas ( 1535 )
          Well, I for one think it is unjust that people who spend their time writing, singing, playing music, etc, should be paid over and over again for the same original effort. If I build a chair and sell it to someon, I've (presumably) been paid for my effort. I don't expect to continue to be paid everytime someone sits on that chair, or sells it to someone else.

          Fair payment for effort taken, and quality of that effort is all well and good, and I do want the authors of the books I read and the music I like to
        • by Danse ( 1026 ) on Monday March 17, 2003 @01:27PM (#5529844)

          The unjust part of copyright law is the fact that it is no longer a balancing of the rights of the consumers and the rights of the creators. There is no such thing as a "natural copyright". In fact, given the obvious ease with with ideas spread, it would seem that nature is quite opposed to such a thing. Copyright was created to make sure that creators were compensated for their work, and that the work could be made widely accessible to the people of this country. Ideas that were good and that people liked would end up staying around and being changed and built upon. Now, over the years the scales have tipped WAY in favor of the copyright owners (who are rarely the creators anymore), giving them more and more control over much longer periods of time. What have we gotten in return? Absolutely nothing. That is what I feel is unjust.

          • by orichter ( 60340 ) on Monday March 17, 2003 @05:54PM (#5532136)
            The notion that an author has a right to a profit is a falatious notion. Copyright is purely a social contract in which I give up my natural rights of free speech to ensure that ideas are made available to the public. Creators have no right to profit, just like manufacturors have no right to profit. It's thier job to earn that profit. Copyright is not designed to ensure profit, but rather to provide an incentive. They only have an (artificial) right to control thier creations so long as they live up to thier half of the social contract. Furthermore, if less content is produced as a result of copyright violation, it is me, as a fellow member of society who has had my rights violated, not the content creator. This is a very subtle point, and I may not have expressed it well, but I guess what I'm trying to say is: Copyright is a mechanism designed to achieve the goal of wide disemmination of ideas. There is no goal of providing compensation to creators, that is simply a mechanism by which the goal is achieved.
    • Re:no (Score:5, Interesting)

      by lpret ( 570480 ) <{moc.liamtoh} {ta} {24terpl}> on Monday March 17, 2003 @12:02AM (#5526696) Homepage Journal
      Actually, I've found what this article said to be true. Most people I talk to don't feel it's illegal. Their reason why? "It's free." People who do not understand what is required to write programs cannot comprehend that a program should cost money. These same people would never steal a cd from a store, yet they don't understand that the music they download is the same.

      I would recommend the RIAA to work hard at making music, not the physical cd, but the actual song, what is being purchased. Once people realize that the song is what they own then they will respect it even when they see it is for "free".

      The other problem is that there is no crackdown on downloaders. If you started arresting people, it would actually sink in to 90% of the users that they are breaking the law. If you could walk in to a store, grab that cool shirt you've been wanting, and walked out without being stopped, you'd probably get into the habit of it. But not only because of our conscience, the detectors at the door and the security cameras help deter us from stealing.

      Obviously there would still be people d/ling mp3s, but it would be much less than the 20 million or so that do it now.

      Mind you, I don't necessarily agree with the law, but I'm explaining that people don't realize they're breaking the law, why they do, and how they could be stopped.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 17, 2003 @12:16AM (#5526762)
        Otherwise, every a new format comes out, people would demand to buy a new copy on that new format at cost. Instead, they can sell you the record album, tape and CD (and if the future DVD) all with basically the same content, but at full price.

        If you walk in to a store and take a CD or a shirt or whatever, that means someone else can't buy it. If you download a song, other people can still download it too. If you could clone physical objects (something like the replicators on Star Trek), then would it be a crime to clone yourself a copy of that t-shirt?
      • Re:no (Score:3, Insightful)

        by hyphz ( 179185 )
        > People who do not understand what is required
        > to write programs cannot comprehend that a
        > program should cost money. These same people
        > would never steal a cd from a store, yet they
        > don't understand that the music they download
        > is the same. I would recommend the RIAA to
        > work hard at making music, not the physical
        > cd, but the actual song, what is being
        > purchased.

        It's a good point, but I don't think that the RIAA could really help. I think that more of the problem is that
    • Up until recently I have had no moral qualms downloading to my heart's content from Kazaa, but lately I've been having a few guilty tugs at my morality whenever I double click on a semi-popular song. You see, viable solutions to mp3 freeloading are actually starting to pop up. In fact, this weekend I signed up for free trials on PressPlay and Rhapsody (listen.com). These services are cheap ($9.95 a month) and have a surprising variety of music. I have been impressed with the speed of the services, and e
    • Re:no (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonvmous Coward ( 589068 ) on Monday March 17, 2003 @01:29AM (#5527047)
      "I beg to differ. Its pretty apparent to anyone you talk to that they know they are breaking the law, they just don't care."

      Um why's it so apparent?

      - Music on the radio is free. Absolutely no fees attached. CD purchases are for the convience of hearing the songs whenever you want. Why not? Analog radio cannot possibly be an on-demand service.

      - Where's the warning on CD's about what you can/cannot do with them? Movies have that warning.

      - How many people are downloading music because they just want to explore what's out there? I'm sorry, but the 'buy to try, sorry no refunds' business model is not acceptable.

      - How many people are downloading Mp3 versions of songs they already have or have lost over time? CDs are scratchable...

      - What exactly is illegal about downloading the Mp3? The answer is not as black and white as some whould like to oversimplify it. The RIAA thinks that having the Mp3 at all is illegal. The average user says "uh no, not if I already have the CD." Unfortunately, the law's not so clear on that. That's one of the reasons the DMCA is so offensive.

      So yes, I do agree with you that people don't care. However, I don't believe they're being overly ignorant, nor do I believe it's their fault. The RIAA is guilty of not educating people properly. They're also guilty of flaming their customers instead of working with them.
      • Re:no (Score:4, Informative)

        by Twirlip of the Mists ( 615030 ) <twirlipofthemists@yahoo.com> on Monday March 17, 2003 @02:18AM (#5527205)
        Music on the radio is free.

        Music on the radio is free in the same way that over-the-air television is free. It's advertiser-supported. This is a well-understood concept.

        Where's the warning on CD's about what you can/cannot do with them?

        Where's the warning on books? And yet people understand the rules surrounding their use.

        I'm sorry, but the 'buy to try, sorry no refunds' business model is not acceptable.

        What do you think the radio is for? And before you even try, arguing that the music industry is flawed isn't going to get you anywhere. The fact that a system is flawed doesn't give you the moral right to ignore the laws related to that system.

        How many people are downloading Mp3 versions of songs they already have or have lost over time?

        If I were to lose a book, would I be justified in demanding that the publisher of that book send me another copy? Of course not. Nor would I be justified in breaking the law to download a digital copy of that book off the Internet.

        What exactly is illegal about downloading the Mp3?
        106: Subject to sections 107 through 121, the owner of copyright under this title has the exclusive rights to... reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords;

        501: Anyone who violates any of the exclusive rights of the copyright owner as provided by sections 106 through 121 or of the author as provided in section 106A(a), or who imports copies or phonorecords into the United States in violation of section 602, is an infringer of the copyright or right of the author, as the case may be.
        That part.

        In other words, if you make a copy of a copyrighted song without express permission from the copyright owner, you have broken the law and can be subject to civil action. If the total dollar value of the songs you have illegally copied during a 180-day period is greater than $1,000, then you can be brought up on criminal charges as well.

        Downloading a song from another computer is, incidentally, making a copy. So it's illegal, and on a sufficient scale, criminal.

        The RIAA thinks that having the Mp3 at all is illegal. The average user says "uh no, not if I already have the CD." Unfortunately, the law's not so clear on that.

        The law is, in fact, totally clear on that. If you buy a CD, then you can make copies of that CD for your own personal use. You cannot, however, make copies of somebody else's CD, even if that other CD is identical to your own. For example, if I were to buy a CD and then scratch it to make it unusable, and then to download the contents of the CD from the Internet, I would be breaking the law.

        Making MP3's or whatever from CD's you own: fine. Downloading MP3's or whatever that happen to correspond to songs on CD's you own: not fine.

        The RIAA is guilty of not educating people properly.

        It's not the RIAA's responsibility to educate people. The only party responsible for educating you on matters of law is you.
  • GenX (Score:3, Interesting)

    by soorma_bhopali ( 643472 ) on Sunday March 16, 2003 @11:26PM (#5526513)
    "this data clearly shows that current U.S. downloaders are interpreting both the motivations and legality of their actions on their own terms"

    Welcome to the 21st century!!
  • no fear here (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ciroknight ( 601098 )
    well, i think that they were stupid to think that the law would stop us anyways.. i mean if EVERYONE is doing it, then its sorta hard to ban it. Sorta like prohibition, so many people found other sources for alcohol that they eventually had to make it legal again (although they began to tax it). So in reality, the record companys should give up this fight they are losing and ask the government to levy taxes against file trading. (No I don't want to pay for it, but then again, I'de rather pay for it than
  • by swordgeek ( 112599 ) on Sunday March 16, 2003 @11:27PM (#5526524) Journal
    OK, most people don't REALLY plan on buying more than one album in 10, 20, 50, 100 that they sample. It's not that they're saying to themselves, "Well I'll listen to this song and the maybe buy the album." No, they say "I want to here some 'X' today." Sometimes 'X' blows them away, and they DO buy the album.

    The internet file sharing model isn't 'listen and buy,' it's just 'listen.'

    The question we should be asking ourselves is why exactly is this any different from the library?
    • by sweetooth ( 21075 ) on Sunday March 16, 2003 @11:40PM (#5526587) Homepage
      You return your books to the library. If you don't they send you a big fat bill in the mail.
    • by PhxBlue ( 562201 ) on Sunday March 16, 2003 @11:40PM (#5526592) Homepage Journal

      A couple ways, if you think about it. First, materials are donated to a library, at which point the donor no longer has access to the donated material. Second, you inevitably have to return any item you check out to the library, after which point you no longer have access to the material.

      • by knobmaker ( 523595 ) on Monday March 17, 2003 @01:07AM (#5526961) Homepage Journal

        1) Most materials in libraries are not "donated." They're purchased with money taken from taxpayers-- all of us. They still belong to us, even if they're under the temporary control of the librarians.

        2)You may have to return the items you borrow from the library, but you can always get them again. You may not have "immediate access" to these materials, but you do have permanent access, any time you feel like going to the library.

    • Libraries don't make millions of free copies of whole works, and allow anybody to keep them forever.

      The question we should be asking ourselves is why do we deny that we just enjoy stealing our music?

    • I agree that most people who claim they are possibly going to buy an album and are just sampling it are full of shit.

      But the difference between a library (large cost to copy phyiscal media) and electronic information (nearly free to copy) is pretty obvious to me.
    • OK, most people don't REALLY plan on buying more than one album in 10, 20, 50, 100 that they sample

      Isnt that what sampling is all about ? To make sure that you purchase what you think is really worth a purchase. You are not forced to purchase everything that you check out in the stores, are you? I fail to understand why this is so NASTY when people have been doing it all the time by recording songs off their FM.

      The radio analogy works better than a library because tapes are closer to a digital medium th
    • I realize that there's a lot of music out there online "for the taking" for which -- you're right -- most downloaders are never going to pay, whatever they say about it.

      However, I'm actually convinced that a lot of people who would like to pay the artists (out of enlightened self-interest if not deep morals) *don't* ever buy the album not because they like being evil and naughty, but because *the physical medium* is actually more annoying than valuable, and downloads-for-money are still a novelty on both s
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 16, 2003 @11:28PM (#5526528)
    I have downloaded about 30 Gigs of music, all for the articles.
  • Its the human condition, to try to get stuff for free if its easy to steal it.
    Take towels in hotels, cutlery or even glasses in bars. People take them knowing full well its illegal.
    • by kien ( 571074 ) <.kien. .at. .member.fsf.org.> on Monday March 17, 2003 @12:06AM (#5526712) Journal
      Its the human condition, to try to get stuff for free if its easy to steal it. Take towels in hotels, cutlery or even glasses in bars. People take them knowing full well its illegal.

      No. It is not the "human condition" to steal. I do not steal towels or cutlery or glasses because that is physical property that someone had to manufacture and someone else had to buy. It would be immoral and unethical for me to steal those things.

      Songs are not physical property, as much as the RIAA would like you to think they are. Songs are creative entities that are sometimes captured on physical media. Given the chance, most people would welcome the opportunity to reward the authors of these entities. But because the publishers have taken an aggressive position to get in the way, people have routed around them.

      I respect and reward people and companies that offer me their product and ask for my monetary support. I shun and despise those who treat me as a criminal first, customer second, and demand my monetary support.

  • by PhxBlue ( 562201 ) on Sunday March 16, 2003 @11:29PM (#5526533) Homepage Journal

    An article that's carried by a site called "MP3Newswire.net" is probably going to be a bit biased toward anything which promotes the use of MP3 devices; and let's face it, music-sharing promotes the use of MP3 devices, albeit indirectly.

    Did this same organization conduct the poll in the first place? It's very easy to make a poll's questions biased enough that the people filling out the surveys will, for the most part, give you the answers you want to hear.

    One of the first jobs I held - in fact, the first job I held after I moved to Atlanta back in '95 - was a marketing research job. The surveys even then were weighted to, if nothing else, increase customer awareness of the product we were hired to conduct surveys upon. For instance, when doing surveys for BellSouth, we couldn't say "yellow pages." We had to say, "The REAL Yellow Pages." **Stifles a gag**

    Rule #2 - Consider the audience:

    if the survey was only available via MP3Newswire.net, the people who take the poll will more likely be people who already trade music files online. If you call people who are actually in the music businesses, such as artists or suits, you're likely to get different poll results.

    In short, don't trust a survey until you know who conducted it and interpreted it, and who actually took the survey in the first place.

    • Be that as it may, Ipsos-Reid is as far as I know considered to be a very reputable polling agency.

      If, you had in fact read the article, you would have noticed the Methodology section on the IR site...

      Data on music downloading behaviors was gathered from TEMPO: Keeping Pace with Digital Music Behavior,, a quarterly shared-cost research study by Ipsos examining the ongoing influence and effects of digital music around the world.

      Data for this release were collected between December 12 and 16th, 2002, via

  • by philovivero ( 321158 ) on Sunday March 16, 2003 @11:30PM (#5526537) Homepage Journal
    The American people are in a massive propoganda campaign against the helpless AA's that only have the best interests of the consumer in mind.

    Some Americans claim it isn't theft, but merely copyright infringement. This ignores the fact that everytime you download an MP3 or DivX rip of a popular movie, you're killing an infant.

    Ever since personal slander against Saint Hillary Rosen and her subsequent resignation as Chief Excellence Provider, other great leaders such as Jack Valenti are feeling the pressure to step down as well. This will begin the slippery slope to the Third Reich, complete with Nazi death camps and firebombing of Dresden.

    I implore you, my fellow consumer, to stand up to the American People, destroy the Constitution that calls for limited copyright terms, and join me in my fight to help Disney have everything it wants.

    Thank you. Thank you.
    • Good start, but it's too direct. Try being more subtle. . . shout something like, "Is that Osama bin Laden?!"

      Then, while people are running to their politicians to shred the Constitution for them, you sneak in your amendment to grant indefinite copyright extensions for companies that have 500 or more employees, and it's all good. :-)

  • by Sarcazmo ( 555312 ) on Sunday March 16, 2003 @11:32PM (#5526549)
    The US NRA has only about 3 million members.
  • by Lord Bitman ( 95493 ) on Sunday March 16, 2003 @11:32PM (#5526553) Homepage
    If you can take something you could legally watch and time-shift it into the future, why not time-shift it into the past? Really, someone more knowledgeable reply.
  • You can have surveys point to all sorts of cute bits of information. The recent surge in the ranks of the Jedi faith as a chosen religion in overseas census data illustrates this quite humorously.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 16, 2003 @11:38PM (#5526577)
    ...are available in this month's issue of "Duh!" magazine.

    Let's look at the facts:
    -The music industry is actively hostile toward their customers, referring to them as thieves.
    -Meanwhile, the music industry was found guilty of price fixing CDs for a DECADE. What must they give their customers as restitution? ALMOST enough money to buy ONE new CD!

    Clearly, the only solution is mob justice-- in this case, the mass downloading of music by people who are presumed guilty by the RIAA anyway. Nobody loses sleep over this except the RIAA executives who stuff their mattresses with the cash we've paid for CDs where all but 2 of the tracks are pure shit.
  • Survey says (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 16, 2003 @11:40PM (#5526586)
    People don't feel bad about getting back at companies that screwed them over for years.

    News at eleven.
  • by Metallic Matty ( 579124 ) on Sunday March 16, 2003 @11:43PM (#5526604)
    And by I, I mean, the generally informed geek population at large.

    We've all been doing this for quite some time now; Music trading (regardless of whether or not its illegal) doesn't feel like a crime. People _do_ actually use this stuff for the purposes they claim too. I often download mp3 samples of bands and djs before I'm willing to invest in their cds. The RIAA dumps all over this. Record companies should be taking advantage of this instead of trying to put an end to it.

    Of course, this is just the same ol' story. The numbers don't lie though: if THAT many people are using music sharing, and in their opinion, legitimately, you're better off tapping it for your own gain, than to try and drive it into the ground, especially because it just isn't gonna happen.
  • by smcavoy ( 114157 ) on Sunday March 16, 2003 @11:45PM (#5526608)
    Let's round 'em up and throw them in jail for 5-10, that'd outta fix 'em.
    I'm mean if it's illegal, it's got to be bad.
  • Another stat, 73% of US downloaders report that their motivation for trading was to sample music for later purchase.

    Of course, sampling songs for later purchase doesn't necessarily mean you're going to purchase anything. The whole point of sampling is to decide if you want to purchase the album or not. I've learned from prior experience never to buy an album based on any one song, so if I've only heard one song from a band on the radio, there's no way I'll buy the album without hearing more of thei
  • by borg ( 95568 ) on Sunday March 16, 2003 @11:47PM (#5526619)

    In other news:

    • 95% of drivers over 18 years of age think it's not a crime to go up to 7 mph over the speed limit.
    • 100% of fourth graders think that they shouldn't have to pay anyone to sing "happy birthday" in class.
    • 82% of record company CEOs didn't think that they did anything wrong when they conspired to raise the cost of a CD.
    • 100% of christine aguileras surveyed thought it was ok to teach fourth grade girls how to be whores.

    ok, i'm not sure what i'm getting at (especially with that last one...), but it's something along the lines of "law doesn't equal ethics." you can buy a law, but Leges sine moribus vanae ("Laws without morals are useless.")

  • Semantics (Score:5, Interesting)

    by worst_name_ever ( 633374 ) on Sunday March 16, 2003 @11:48PM (#5526625)
    Only 9% feel there is anything wrong with their actions.

    Note thechoice of words. I'd be willing to bet that the majority of people who download mp3's are well aware that what they are doing is illegal, but may not believe in their heart of hearts that it is actually wrong - there's a semantic difference implied at the very least.

  • by intrico ( 100334 ) on Sunday March 16, 2003 @11:49PM (#5526634) Homepage
    But, we look at it the same way as going 5-10 MPH over the speed limit while driving - we know that the risk of cops bothering to single any one of us out for a pullover while everyone else is speeding at the same time is slim, so we continue to do it.
  • by thoolie ( 442789 ) on Sunday March 16, 2003 @11:49PM (#5526635)
    And they think that letting people listen to crappy music will encourage people to buy more music? Hell, half of the music purchased is by people who have heard only one song and have determined the the rest of the CD must be good. So, now you just lost that whole crowd. So, i can go buy it without listening to it, 50% chance that it will suck, i will take those odds. But if i can download it first for free to see if it sucks, i find out it sucks, then i don't even need to take that chance!

    Further more, i read a stat the other day on /. that the RIAA was complaining that sales are down 10% in the last five years. BooHoo. The economy as as a whole is down 37% +- in the last five years. So, sounds to me like the music industry is STILL 27% ahead of the curve! Not to mention that sales are down, but that by no means means they are LOSING money!

    AND unemployment is at nearly 6.5%! That is the highest it has been in ten years! Holly christ, and they wonder why they have sucky sales!! Not to mention that the music out nowadays sucks ass anyways......but i digress...........

    Anyway, they should relize that this isn't 1997, people aren't rich anymore, people don't have the money they used to, and music isn't as good as it used to be. Sorry. :-(
  • by gadlaw ( 562280 ) <gilbert.gadlaw@com> on Sunday March 16, 2003 @11:53PM (#5526648) Homepage Journal
    Look here. When I bought my first portable radio it had a cassette recorder so I could tape music from the radio. Then I bought a portable CD player that had a cassette recorder in it so I could tape music from the radio or CD. Then I bought I stereo with many components and fancy connections so I could tape from my CD and my FM receiver in high quality sound. Then I bought a VCR so I could record shows, movies and even music. Then I bought a fancier one so I could make even better quality tapes and copies of movies and shows. Now I have a computer and an internet connection, a CD burner and access to even more music than I could get from my radio or FM receiver with a high gain antenna. I can make tapes and CD's of music like I always have to listen in my car or elsewhere. Now you want to tell me I'm a 'pirate', a 'thief' or a 'criminal' for doing what I've always done and I might add-something that the technology has always allowed me to do. I'm surprised that 9 percent of the people think it's wrong now. In better news, 91 percent of the people are not so gullible as to believe something that's always been legal and encouraged is now illegal.
  • Moral? I'll do it. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FFtrDale ( 521701 ) on Sunday March 16, 2003 @11:54PM (#5526657)
    It seems that large groups of folks act on the principle that,

    (a) if it seems moral and ethical (for example, I'm not taking anything that somebody currently owns away from them, and

    (b) the laws are complicated, unclear, currently in dispute, and seem to stake out large chunks of "what's fair" as "You Have To Pay For This From Now On" territory, then

    (c) people are going to do it, regardless of any attempts by people with lots of cash and hubris to have the laws they want passed by those whose jobs are to write and interpret the law.

    Folks are accustomed to being able to listen to copyrighted programs on TV or radio without paying extra. They don't expect to take things from grocery stores without paying. That distinction seems to drive a lot of behavioral choices.

    We pay for Linux distros, knowing that we can DL them for free. Why? We're willing to pay people to save us time and effort, and we have the feeling that the prices they ask are reasonable for the time and effort they expend (actually, it feels like we're getting a great deal on the results of their efforts, and Thanks!). We're not willing to pay other people to cost us time and effort with their attempts to own our choices and limit our behavior with predatory laws. That's not what laws are for.

  • Anecdotal evidence (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Joey7F ( 307495 ) on Sunday March 16, 2003 @11:57PM (#5526679) Homepage Journal
    I have been downloading songs from Sister Hazel for a few months. I was told they were pretty good, so I downloaded and agreed. Yesterday I bought their new album, virtually (heard 2 songs)sound unheard (or whatever the audio equivalent of sight unseen is).

    The only reason why I bought their album is because of Kazaa.

    This year have purchased about 3 cds. My pre file-trading average was about 5-6 a year. I know I will get at least one more when Big Bad Voodoo Daddy releases their next one in April.

    So my quantitative purchasing habits have not really changed, but my satisfaction with purchases have increased tremendously. My choices of what I buy also have changed a little.

    In summary, what the hell is the RIAA worried about? I feel most people are like me, they pay for what they like, and try to do the honest thing.

  • Duh.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by GeneralEmergency ( 240687 ) on Sunday March 16, 2003 @11:59PM (#5526684) Journal

    Information wants to be free...
    ...and apparently is having no difficulty finding the exits!

  • by bizitch ( 546406 ) on Monday March 17, 2003 @12:08AM (#5526721) Homepage
    Thats the problem - when you give people Freedom and Liberty - you just don't know what they're going to do with it.

    Like - invent p2p networks and then trade files with it.
  • by epsalon ( 518482 ) <slash@alon.wox.org> on Monday March 17, 2003 @12:26AM (#5526812) Homepage Journal
    Have you downloaded Music or MP3 files from the Internet in the past month?

    I did not download any illegal material in the last, month but my reply to this question is "Yes!". I did download music which was played at the background of movie trailers or flash sites. Yes, I did download MP3 files when I downloaded the ISOs of RH8.0, which include some sample MP3 files.

    Not all music or MP3 downloading is illegal! Not all music is even copyrighted.
  • by Captain Beefheart ( 628365 ) on Monday March 17, 2003 @12:29AM (#5526820)
    I think much of this piracy stems from bitterness over lost jobs, high gasoline prices, gov't budget cuts, overpriced music and DVDs etc. Those who have managed to keep their jobs find themselves being given twice as much work, which they must accept or be put on the sidewalk.

    I'm not saying it's right, I'm just saying a lot of individually petty reasons can add up to a very big grudge. And we have lots of little reasons. Plus the shadow of a controversial war and vague threats of terrorism. So most people like getting their entertainment without leaving the shelter of their home.

    So in total, people feel exposed and abused, and may feel the need to "strike back." How easy it becomes, then, to download some silly little file with music in it. Bunch of greedy suits, and the artists hardly see a dime of it anyway, so what's a dozen little music files?

    Then there's the opposite end of the spectrum, The Collector. He (or she) downloads for the sake of downloading. "Hey, the entire Jimi Hendrix back catalog. That might come in handy one rainy evening when I have nothing to do." These people get it because they can, don't really listen to the music, and use what they listen to as nothing more than a digital radio--just listening to the latest pop hits, doing so on their terms and deleting the file when they get bored of it.

    So it looks like I'm painting a picture that doesn't leave much room for the ordinary, shameful theif. Truth is, there's enough gray area to fill an ocean. Gray area with regards to the theif's ethics, and with regards to the concrete results of their actions.

    The bottom line, for me: Is someone reducing your profit when they weren't going to buy it anyway? Yes, when profit is reduced exactly because the item is so easy to steal.
  • by Dr. Spork ( 142693 ) on Monday March 17, 2003 @12:31AM (#5526826)
    The story writeup has a howler of a conceptual mistake: It conflates the idea of breaking the law and doing something wrong. If you had asked American downloaders whether they're breaking the law, I'm sure the great majority would say they are. But get with it. Sometimes breaking the law is the right thing to do. Now I'm not saying that filetrading is a sort of civil disobedience, but I think, understandably, many Americans think that filetrading is as immoral as jaywalking--so, not very.
  • Misinterpretted Data (Score:4, Informative)

    by silent_poop ( 320948 ) on Monday March 17, 2003 @12:38AM (#5526852)
    Slashdot's article misinterprets the data in the report. 73% of the people didn't say their motivation for downloading was for a later purchase. The survey asked if they enjoyed the ability to listen before they buy. Enjoying the ability to listen before you buy doesn't imply that that was their reason for downloading.
  • by TheWhaleShark ( 414271 ) on Monday March 17, 2003 @01:00AM (#5526933) Journal
    ...I'm going to play a little bit of devil's advocate on Slashdot.

    I hate the RIAA as much as any Slashdotter, but you have to look at where they're coming from. Sure, file sharing technology can be a wonderful tool for previously unheard-of artists to get attention, and it's an equally useful way to determine what new music DOESN'T suck. It's very useful in guiding your future music purchases...

    Which is where the problem comes in. For every legitimate use of file sharing, there are easily 10 people who abuse it. How many people do you know have simply stopped paying for music because they can get it for free? Be honest. The RIAA only sees the negative side of file sharing, and to be quite honest, it can be pretty damn negative.

    We need some sort of middle ground. File sharing can't go on unchecked, because that WILL hinder the RIAA's ability to profit. In the end, the RIAA is still a business and has a right to make money. However, if somehow they manage to crush major file sharing technologies, they'll alienate most of their cosumers. In addition, the artist who actually made the song should get at least some say in this matter; Metallica sued Napster over that very issue.

    That's the key: a middle ground. I don't know what that middle ground is, but we definitely need it.
    • by Thing 1 ( 178996 ) on Monday March 17, 2003 @02:53AM (#5527322) Journal
      In the end, the RIAA is still a business and has a right to make money.

      No business has a right to make money. It's like the pursuit of happiness -- you don't have a right to happiness, you have the right to seek it out.

      In the same vein, businesses have the right to attempt to make a buck; they don't have a right to be profitable. If the RIAA/MPAA/TLAA can't embrace the new technology then that's their problem, and they should die like the buggy whip manufacturers.

      Or as Heinlein much more aptly put it,

      There has grown up in the minds of certain groups in this country the notion that because a man or corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years, the government and the courts are charged with the duty of guaranteeing such profit in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary public interest. This strange doctrine is not supported by statute nor common law. Neither individuals nor corporations have any right to come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped or turned back, for their private benefit.

      (I had to google for this. Here [nedbatchelder.com] it is (scroll down to "What Inspired Heinlein?"))

  • no blood, no foul (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fermion ( 181285 ) on Monday March 17, 2003 @01:04AM (#5526949) Homepage Journal
    U.S. Downloaders Do So To Sample Music, And Believe Their Activities Are Benign

    I think that is they key statement. In the U.S., most of the time the things we think are wrong are the things that harm the innocent. We have no problem breaking all sorts of laws when we drive, because we do not think it is likely we will do harm to innocent victims. Industry and government knows this which is why they try to show, for example, the damage that drunk driving causes, or link illegal drugs to terrorism. Of course, some of these links are more valid than others, and such ads do backfire when the assertions are bogus.

    Which is of course what is going on with the music industry. The industry wants us to believe we are stealing from artist, even though the artists I talk to say most of the money is made off t-shirts and sometimes concerts. They want us to believe we are harming the local retailer, even though the local retailer is harmed more by Wal-Mart and online sales than by copying. They have thus far resisted the urge to tell us that the high level executes are going to forced to sell their Escalades and give up their trophy spouses if we continue to trade music. They might have a better chance by citing the number of people the industry employs, but in a time when unemployment continues to rise with no end in sight, and no leadership to control it, I do not see that even that will get much sympathy.

  • by rnturn ( 11092 ) on Monday March 17, 2003 @01:24AM (#5527025)

    The item about people downloading music to obtain previews/samples of music they might later purchase has got to have the RIAA companies thinking that maybe all that money they've been spending on payol^H^H^H^H^Hpromotion might be wasted. And it can't help the owners of the cookie-cutter style radios stations feel very good about the number of people who are finding an alternate means of discovering new music.

  • by panaceaa ( 205396 ) on Monday March 17, 2003 @01:37AM (#5527072) Homepage Journal
    I find a big reason I listen to MP3s is because I hear new things all the time with them. On an average week I probably download 20 songs that I've never heard of, and put them into my random rotation. Often times when I'm listening to my collection I hear something I've never heard before... which is cool.

    I find myself doing a similar thing in my car. I always listen to radio in my car, not because I love the music the radio plays, but because it's random. I don't know what's going to happen next (even though it'll prolly suck).

    I dislike CDs cause they're a fixed format. Every time I listen to one, it's the same thing. I don't think I'm alone in liking the randomness of formats like radio and MP3s. It would be nice if record companies could offer me something legal to listen to my genres without having to worry about downloading stuff or hearing a song more than a few times. (Maybe I should try XM Radio.)
  • by sfm ( 195458 ) on Monday March 17, 2003 @01:38AM (#5527077)
    I could agree with the logic of song preview before purchase. In looking for download files, I have found MANY differenc music choices that I would not have seen otherwise. But with all the new CD's being "corrupted" and not playable on a PC, I have not purchassed anything in a long while.... Just a thought
  • by CaptCanuk ( 245649 ) on Monday March 17, 2003 @01:53AM (#5527123) Journal
    IF downloading mp3's ripped from CD's is illegal, then why can't I make a recording at a live concert? Each concert is different; each seat and angle. I'm supporting the artist and i'm getting material not available on CD. Why is that illegal (for most concerts)? And after all, isn't that what the recording companies are doing - paying the artists (I with my ticket, they with hopefully substantially more cash) to perform live and recording it? So I don't get the fidelity and one-on-one nature that they get as well as retakes and digital remixing and tone balance and the lie. In reality, live recordings probably hurt the artist more - some bands are horrible live and the price of a ticket is often greater than a CD. Plus people tend to by shirts and stuff. I just want something I paid for... the ability to listen to what I did whenever I want. Otherwise, anyone caught on a video tape or audio tape who has exclusive deals with a corporation should be able to sue you because you taped them. Soon entertainers will sign with major labels for extended amounts of work (x amount of films) instead of pick and choose which parts they wish to audition for an turn down scripts they dislike. Soon the Media Conglomerates will own all. I just can't wait...

  • Who's complaining? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by verbatim ( 18390 ) on Monday March 17, 2003 @02:19AM (#5527210) Homepage
    I rarely hear of artists (except the big M) complaining about file-sharing. I haven't heard many artists come forward saying "hey, that's not fair" or "hey, you're hurting us."

    Instead, I hear the big music conglomerates shaking their heads saying "hey, you're cutting through our business model" and "hey, that's not fair." And, of course, when they first said "hey, you're hurting us" a few years back, their sales went up (for a time).

    The obvious change is happening: consumers don't want to buy albums anymore - we want to buy songs. Individually. And once we have the song, we want to be able to shift it between mediums as we see fit. For a long time, music companies have gotten away with albums because it was the most conveniant way of selling a bunch of songs from a band. But the technology exists now to purchase songs on an individual level - and this scares them.

    It scares the agencies because they can't try and re-sell the same songs on compilation CDs. It scares some artists because filler material won't cut it anymore. It scares anyone attached to the tired old business model of dictating to customers how music is to be enjoyed.

    It really scares producers because where once a flavour-of-the-month artist could sell an entire album or two, the new methods would only allow them to sell that individual song. Heaven forbid that consumers have a right to pay for only what they want.

    But what scares them most of all is that, in the "new economy", artists may no longer need big distribution companies to reach an audience. No, a band can strike up their own website and share their content globally without having to even pay for the servers - their listeners will do that for them. File sharing means that distribution companies no longer have a monopoly on distribution. And they are scared because their confortable monopoly is in danger. Real danger. And it's being decided, not in the court of litigation, but in the court of public opinion.

    And they're loosing. And they're scared. :P
  • by aSiTiC ( 519647 ) on Monday March 17, 2003 @02:51AM (#5527315) Homepage
    Give me a break! Only Americans ignore copyright regulations?? Citizens of other countries abide by copyright regulations like angels.... Why do I not believe that??

    Last time I was in Hong Kong you could buy VCDs every other block on the Kowloon peninsula. Don't even get me started on Eastern Europe.
  • by Punk Walrus ( 582794 ) on Monday March 17, 2003 @04:56AM (#5527697) Journal
    Seeing the open source model, I wonder (not "predict," but wonder) if this is what will happen:
    1. Government bans swapping
    2. Sales still go down
    3. M$, RIAA, and the like make some sort of anti-theft device in CDROMS like they did with DVDs (yes, you can bypass, but not easily for the average user)
    4. Sales still go down
    5. They raise album prices, because of "continued piracy" and renewed advertising cost.
    6. Sales still go down
    7. This model becomes "Hollywood Critical," meaning no innovation because industry people are afraid to take risks in a cutthroat environment. Sales falling through the floor as boy band after boy band thrusts their craft on Nickelodeon. "Latest polls" show 40% of the males aged 12-24 like new star "B*Bop Pinky-Poo," a girl who is genetically part of every race in her demographic target (not too white, not too tan, kind of Asian, kind of black, but not TOO black... and is that a hint of Hindu?), and all about gi--, er, unisex power! Sales are still dropping. B*Bop is forced to make dance remix of Hendrix's "Watchtower." She's found dead in a hotel room over a sleeping pill overdose when even her decrepit sellout morals collapse in on herself. A new artist, "Sharon Apple," who can't possibly offend anyone with her music, turns out to be a computer.
    8. Independent artists begin to spring up everywhere, and thrive because everyone is so sick of the bland crap pumped into their face from countless car ads (thank you Mitsubishi), and there's only so much "classic" stuff you can listen to before it's not classic anymore but, in fact, "reruns." Cyndi Lauper's residual checks even start to dwindle.
    9. Sales still go down. It must be piracy! Raise the price! CDs now going for $50, but now they have videos on them! Music industry desperately tries new format, but it's selling less than 8-tracks did. They start forcing new albums to be on this new "music memory stick" format. The albums only play if your fingerprint matches what they have on file, and can only play on a device that can call home to check and see if you're allowed to play it. Sales still go down. Piracy so rampant, it's like the black market in late 70s Russia.
    10. Artists begin to compose music... not because they want to make money... but because they are artists. They start swapping in Vorbis format or something. Kind of like how people are working on Linux and stuff not for profit, but because they are programmers and wants stuff that works. P2P-like networks show REAL hits, in real-time, and new pop stars spring up from basements and garages around the world. Kind of like MTV when it started. And no money is changing hands.
    11. Music industry collapses. Distributors flee to third-world overseas markets.
    12. Years later, people reminisce that there's no "good live concerts" anymore, and that digital feed HDTV of "Seamus Chien and his New Durban Posse" isn't the same as "Aerosmith" or "Kid Rock." Kids born after 2010 wonder why anyone would expose themselves to all that pollution and crime in the outside world just to see someone sing and pay $30 for a tee-shirt. "Ticketmaster," is officially entered in the Oxford Dictionary as an old synonym for "ripoff."

    Okay... maybe not...

    "A planet where walruses evolve from men?" - Get your flippers off me, you damn, dirty pinniped! [punkwalrus.com]

  • Illegal but wrong? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dpete4552 ( 310481 ) <`slashdot' `at' `tuxcontact.com'> on Monday March 17, 2003 @09:22AM (#5528330) Homepage
    There is no way I could afford the CDs to all of the music I have. I honestly don't feel that there is anything morally wrong with what I do. It is illegal, yes, but morally wrong? I don't think so. I buy the CDs for most of the music I really like to show support for that artist, not necessarly to give them money, but just by the fact that by puchasing something you are voting for that something, in this case the artist, and I like to show my support when I like the music, and I still think that buying the CD is generally more convienient than downloading it.

    I think of it this way. If you had a magical machine that could instantly make a copy of any product, and you went to a car dealership and made a copy of a dodge viper, and this was something you could never afford anyways, would it be wrong? Dodge is not loosing a product they need to pay to get replaced, because it is a copy, and they are not loosing money in the form of you getting something for free that you would have normally payed for without your copying machine, because you could never afford it anyways, and would not otherwise have it. Is that really morally wrong? Now it becomes morally wrong, imho, when you go and copy the car you can afford, but just don't want to pay for.

    Now companies will bitch and moan, this is expected. I could very well be wrong, however I think by law they need to fight a legal battle to protect their IP, otherwise it could be argued later in court that they give up the rights to it by knowingly allowing people to "steal" it, without trying to do anything about it. And of course it is legally wrong, but taking into account my analogy above, do you honestly think it is morally wrong?

Do not underestimate the value of print statements for debugging.