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US Survey Shows Piracy Common and Accepted 528

bs0d3 writes "A new U.S. survey sponsored by the American Assembly has revealed that piracy is both common and accepted. The surveys findings show that 46% of adults and 75% of young people have bought, copied, or downloaded some copyright infringing material. 70% of those surveyed said it's reasonable to share music files (PDF) with friends and family. Support for internet blocking schemes was at 16%."
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US Survey Shows Piracy Common and Accepted

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  • by symbolset ( 646467 ) * on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @01:12AM (#38581974) Journal

    If it's OK for the media lobbies to steal our public domain works from us in perpetuity, then by all means let's even the score.

    Once more into the breach for Baron Thomas Babington Macaulay, 1841 & 1842 []:

    I will only say this, that if the measure before us should pass, and should produce one-tenth part of the evil which it is calculated to produce, and which I fully expect it to produce, there will soon be a remedy, though of a very objectionable kind. Just as the absurd acts which prohibited the sale of game were virtually repealed by the poacher, just as many absurd revenue acts have been virtually repealed by the smuggler, so will this law be virtually repealed by piratical booksellers. 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.

    You'll find a commentary on the first speech with references on Kuro5hin [].

    And in a final bit of irony you can buy these 160 year old public-domain speeches printed in a paperback book for $21.24 from []. So there is even no need for long onerous copyright if there's profit to be made in public domain works.

  • by youn ( 1516637 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @01:24AM (#38582012) Homepage

    I suspect many people won't come forward

  • by scottbomb ( 1290580 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @01:24AM (#38582014) Journal, DVDs, a cup of milk, a tool, a lawnmower, a car. People have been sharing media ever since the first record was pressed. Farmers have been sharing equipment since... the beginning of time. But you don't hear John Deere crying about it. All laws do is make a good deal of the population guilty of federal crimes. Ask Uncle Sam how well that fight against pornography worked. Or the war on drugs.

  • by Hadlock ( 143607 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @01:24AM (#38582016) Homepage Journal

    Copyright infringement went mainstream in 1998-2002, and now a decade later those kids on the internet in high school spent four years in college learning about file sharing culure and now are having their own kids.
    Whatever social value(s) the media industry was trying to impress upon us over the last 10 years have failed, and it's too late to re-educate the next generation of parents. It's only going to get worse from here, and they've spent a decade building animosity in their customers. They'll pass that animosity along to their children in terms of pirated Disney films, Dora the Explorer and whatever the next incarnation of Teletubbies are. Instead of selecting a VHS from the family video library, they'll be directed to the pirate bay or similar to find whatever obscure children's video isn't already on netflix on-demand.
    The generational shift has already happened, and public favor is against the media industry. Something's gotta budge, and it isn't public opinion.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @01:26AM (#38582022)

    If it's OK for the media lobbies to steal our public domain works from us in perpetuity, then by all means let's even the score.

    Hell, it's okay for them to steal current works from artists and then sell the music thousands of times over for cash. Big Media did that in Canada and got a slap on the wrist for their commercial bootlegging. It's not who's in the right morally, or even legally, it's who has more money to buy lawyers and politicians.

  • by Nursie ( 632944 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @01:28AM (#38582028)

    You'll find a commentary on the first speech with references on Kuro5hin.

    My god! A link to K5 from when it was more than just ascii art penis pictures!

  • by Totenglocke ( 1291680 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @01:29AM (#38582032)

    Ask Uncle Sam how well that fight against pornography worked. Or the war on drugs.

    Or the war on alcohol - which is the greatest example of why the government does far more harm than good when it tries to tell people what they should want. Not only do the majority ignore the laws and do it anyways, but they also create a large number of violent criminals to supply said product to the masses.

  • Dose of Truth (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @01:29AM (#38582038)

    If the cost of a product is higher than the cost of reproducing and distributing that product yourself, the cost of the product is obviously set too high.

    If movies and music cost just pennies, but all or most of that revenue went to the actual artist, artists would most likely make MUCH more money, because people would be willing and able to purchase a much greater amount of products.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @01:30AM (#38582042)
    Nah, most voters would like to follow through with that threat but when presented with two bags of crap most just prefer to stick with the current bag of crap they have been voting for rather than try the new one.
  • by Dwedit ( 232252 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @01:31AM (#38582048) Homepage

    One major exception: People don't mind paying their Netflix subscription fee to get better service than piracy. But selection is still a big problem.

  • by Improv ( 2467 ) <> on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @01:31AM (#38582050) Homepage Journal

    If this is right, then we IP Abolitionists just need to go up against impossibly wealthy entrenched interests to get the legal system fixed. Easy, right?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @01:36AM (#38582078)
    The question I'd wish was asked:

    "If a candidate ran on a platform that supports your matters, would you consider voting for him/her, even if his/her party affiliation wasn't your preferred party?"

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @01:37AM (#38582084)

    Lending and copying aren't the same thing. If I lend I do not make a copy of said thing. Digital files are digital copies of a creative work, and because the file is duplicated, ie, a copy, it is then violating _copy_rights.

    John Deere won't cry because you can't just _copy_ a tractor. It takes real work and real knowledge, time and skill to take one apart, figure all the pieces, all the compression, setup, etc., and build an exact copy.

    I don't support the excessive fines and draconian attitude, and copyright holders should be limited in to how much legal intimidation they're allowed to.

  • by mykos ( 1627575 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @01:39AM (#38582088)
    The whole country is criminals. Put everyone in prison to stop the piracy!
  • It's quite simple (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mbone ( 558574 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @01:44AM (#38582104)

    Copyright is a bargain between the people and the creators and owners of content, in which the people grant a temporary and limited monopoly in return for the ultimate ownership of the content.

    The people of the United States (and, for that matter, the rest of the world) have shifted the terms of that bargain some. It will take a while for their representatives to catch up, but they will.

  • by Taco Cowboy ( 5327 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @01:49AM (#38582130) Journal

    The folks on Capital Hill don't listen to the common people.

    Their only master is the 1% who can pay them.

    From patent trolls to perpetual copyrights to SOPA to ..... those a_holes in Capital Hills are killing American ingenuity as we know it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @02:00AM (#38582166)

    Maybe if the RIAA and similar organizations spent more money on making music available at more reasonable prices and more easily, people wouldn't pirate as much? I looked at specifically the RIAA's public records of their yearly sales years ago...and when did they stop making money? Not when Kazaa and Limewire were was about the same. They made less money when DRM started getting rampant and restricting how people could use their own was remarkable how much they lost. Then, you have to think, where's all this cash coming from to pay for the lawyers to sue college kids who downloaded some Britney Spears song off some torrent site (as if that weren't embarrassing enough in and of itself, now the kid's in debt millions and have their life ruined). Then there's the cash for them to pay some mindless sheeple to go lobby for them. Does anyone remember how much LESS CDs cost years ago before they started throwing cash in every direction to try to stop pirating that didn't actually lose them that much to begin with? They're very likely spending more money kicking and screaming against the times changing (which, p.s. you can't prevent) than they would've lost if they just sat back and did nothing other than occasionally made some noise with scary tv commercials over how you can go to jail for the music on your iPod.

    Frankly, SOPA doesn't deserve to pass if only because there probably isn't even one one old baggy senator in all of Capitol Hill that doesn't have some pirated song on his/her damn iPod. Honestly, I'm glad they did this survey. These industries should know: we don't care that you're losing money...because making millions but not millions as much as you used to when more than half this country is having trouble just finding work to feed their families doesn't make us feel a damn bit of pity for you. Settle for a damn Porche instead of a Ferrari, be happy, and shut the hell up while the rest of us just go on working our fingers to the bone just to give our kids the lives they deserve.

  • by symbolset ( 646467 ) * on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @02:03AM (#38582176) Journal

    The author of those speeches, Thomas Macaulay, was also an author of such works as "The History of England". He stood to lose a lot if copyright were extended so much that the people refused to cooperate with such unfair terms.

    The fault for the demise of copyright as a cultural imperative lies not with the pirates, but with Sonny Bono and Disney.

  • by scottbomb ( 1290580 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @02:03AM (#38582182) Journal

    You make a good point. In fact, people didn't have the equipment nor expertise needed to make copies of records back in the day either. But I do remember the controversy in the 1980s over the dual-cassette recorder (I was a teenager then). We went to the store, bought a pack of blank cassettes, and copied each other's music. The recording artists threw a fit and they were told to stick a sock in it. EVERYONE had copies. Everyone also had some originals. The same is true today. Somehow, the artists survived (and certainly didn't go hungry) during the 80s. The same is true today. Just ask iTunes and Amazon about all the (non-DRM) music they sell.

  • by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @02:06AM (#38582196)

    Copyrights themselves aren't the problem, copyrights that extend for decades without the creator having to extend them and without regard to the creator's interests that are the problem. The reality is that there's a bunch of content that's been abandoned by the owners that would have been public domain after 28 years previously, but now thanks to the super long automatic copyright terms isn't available to anybody.

    That's not a feature of copyright, that's a feature of what happens when politicians give corporations what they want without concern for the consequences.

  • by steelfood ( 895457 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @02:07AM (#38582202)

    I don't think copyright inherently is a bad thing. And I don't think most people here save for the extremists and the uneducated would support its elimination altogether. But I think a lot of people would agree that it is, in its entirety, as it exists, ridiculous. From the length of the copyright term, to the punitive damages levied for infringement, to the wide-ranging destruction its enforcement causes, it cannot possibly be considered sanity, much less conducive to a functioning society. If anything, this ridiculousness around copyright has or soon will have a negative effect on creativity and productivity, where people are now too afraid to create new works because they're afraid somebody with deeper pockets is going to take them to court over it.

    Copyrights need to be brought down to levels of sanity in all aspects. For the terms, fifty years irrespective of the author's lifetime is very generous. Any more and it starts becoming ridiculous again. For infringement, the punitive damages should be equal to the retail price per copy made and provably distributed. As for enforcement, it should remain a civil matter, and be applied only to situations of direct infringement. Organized, for-profit criminal copyright infringement can be addressed by real criminal statutes, including tax evasion and racketeering.

    It is important to recognize that there is a role for the protection copyright allows. It is also important to recognize when the system of copyrights no longer serve that role.

  • by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @02:08AM (#38582206)

    IP abolition isn't necessarily any better than what we have now, what we need is real meaningful reform to the system. Throwing it out completely is both more work and less likely to happen. Take the terms back to an automatic 28 years with extensions as long as the author cares to file them. And cap that at 56 years for corporations and that would solve a lot of the trouble with copyright right there.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @02:10AM (#38582224)

    And they just made it a law that they can come in the night and take you away for threatening to ever remove them from office

  • by an unsound mind ( 1419599 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @02:12AM (#38582234)

    Maybe the artists will survive better when they aren't constantly pressed for novelty and new merchandising opportunities, hum?

  • by swilver ( 617741 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @02:36AM (#38582318)

    To begin, we all agree that piracy is a form of stealing?

    I stopped agreeing with you there (it is not taking away anything from anyone), but if I hadn't stopped there, I would have stopped here...

    A content creator loses out on a royalty every time someone downloads their material

    First, I don't support any models that scale with the amount of people on a planet and that at the same time have 0 reproduction costs (yes, it is 0 if I can reproduce it myself).

    Second, I fail to see how copyright currently provides an incentive to artists to produce more good works when clearly they stand to profit from their works forever.

    Third, copyright keeps being retroactively extended -- not just extended, but also applied to works that accepted the earlier limits fully knowing they would become public domain at some point. To me that is simply showing no respect to spirit of the this law at all and clearly shows that those that stand to benefit from these changes don't give a fuck about the public domain.

    Put all of those together, and I have absolutely zero problems to ignore this notion they call "copyright" whenever I please.

  • Re:Dose of Truth (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mitreya ( 579078 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [ayertim]> on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @02:38AM (#38582326)
    If the cost of a product is higher than the cost of reproducing and distributing that product yourself, the cost of the product is obviously set too high.

    I am as anti-copyright-abuse as most here, but this has to be the stupidest thing I saw in this discussion. Do you think that music/movies/games/etc products are found in the forest before they are sold? What makes you think that the cost of the product should cover the "cost of reproducing and distributing" that product and nothing else? It does cost some money to create the product
    Now if the costs were set to a more reasonable level (to cover cost of initial production, reproducing and distributing plus epsilon) and if all the artists were paid a reasonable amount (instead of the current rampant cheating) and if the DRM had been throttled back (so that games/DVDs were useable once again), then maybe people would start buying. Ah, a man can dream...

  • by tantaliz3 ( 1074234 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @02:57AM (#38582412)
    Unfortunately, that's the whole point... it's all about justifying the buildup of the police state. From drugs all the way through reactions to terrorism.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @03:25AM (#38582536)

    It's not quite that simple. People rebel against a law of that nature when they can see no benefit from the law. Government initiatives to iodize salt have been tremendously successful at reducing the incidence of goiter. Seatbelt laws are not widely flouted.

    The problem with copyright is that the perceived social benefit is not there. Similarly, laws typically work better if they're fair. Since these laws obviously don't apply to the rich, don't expect anyone else to take them seriously either.

    -- Darktan

  • Re:Dose of Truth (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Bert64 ( 520050 ) <bert AT slashdot DOT firenzee DOT com> on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @03:33AM (#38582586) Homepage

    The "cost" of production is also artificially inflated by the bloated companies that do so using obsolete models...

    The idea of producing CDs centrally and shipping them around in gas guzzling trucks, letting them sit on store shelves for months unsold is ridiculous these days, most people would be satisfied with a digital download and those who want a physical CD could be catered to by stores which keep a catalog of digital files and burn them to CD on demand. Stores could keep far greater varieties of stock in a much smaller space, and you could get a CD with only the songs you wanted on it. You could also provide terminals allowing users to search, select and listen to any song in stock, rather than just the small selection that can be put in the cd changer booths.
    The costs are not only inflated by this inefficient distribution model, but also by the extortionate profit margins and huge lobbying budgets of the publishers.

    Artists would be better served by considering CDs and digital downloads to be promotional material, and then to make their money from live performances.
    Not only is it not possible to pirate a live performance, but unrestricted distribution of their music in digital form would entice more people to attend the live performances.
    It would also be far more fair to all involved, the artist would be rewarded for work they were actually doing rather than being able to sit back and collect payments for work they did years ago.

  • by king neckbeard ( 1801738 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @03:43AM (#38582630)
    If you want people to respect for copyright, copyright law, copyright holders, and copyright apologists are going to have to have respect for people. Otherwise, the public will just ignore it for being an idiotic, unreasonable law. If you don't like that, TOUGH, bits will never be more difficult to copy than they are today. Copyright exists for the sake of the public welfare and only for that sake, while benefiting authors is merely a means to an end.

    Also, it's not being a douchebag to ignore the wishes of the author. In fact, the fair use coverage for parodies is an essential portion of free speech, which is the cornerstone of modern societies, and those protections are needed ESPECIALLY for uses of a work that go against the author's wishes. I understand that rightsholders often attack those foundations of liberty for their own gain (often having success when those exercising free speech don't have the funds to properly defend themselves), but the rightsholders are the ones being douchebags in such a situation.
  • by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @03:49AM (#38582648)
    "Piracy" (in the context of copyrights) is defined as the act of illegally copying (and generally selling) for commercial profit!!!

    PIRACY is a crime. Downloading is a civil infraction. They are NOT the same things, at all! And more than 99.9% of downloaders are NOT pirates.

    When you conflate the two different concepts of infringement and piracy, you play straight into the hands of the content industry, which has been deliberately trying to confuse this issue for years.

    STOP CALLING IT PIRACY, DAMNIT! It isn't. It's not the same act, it's not the same law.
  • by Bogtha ( 906264 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @04:04AM (#38582702)

    Lending and copying aren't the same thing.

    You are right. The infinite, perfect reproduction of digital tools and culture is far, far better than mere lending. It's damn near magical! It is truly a quantum leap in civilisation, which makes it all the more repugnant that such a wonderful ability is locked away so that the proles can't do it. Anybody who wants that kind of restriction is essentially advocating for a modern day dark ages.

  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @04:08AM (#38582722) Homepage

    The recording artists threw a fit and they were told to stick a sock in it. EVERYONE had copies. Everyone also had some originals. The same is true today.

    True, but back then it was a practical necessity, somebody had to have an original to copy from - generational copies sounded worse and so they would sell one copy to every clique in the network, if not to every person. Today that is only a social barrier, people only have originals because they choose to buy originals. If people decided to stop buying originals, well perfect copies would still be available on the Internet. We've seen it when prerelease games or movies leak to the Internet, from that single copy it can boom into millions faster than the blink of an eye. The courts don't have any chance to process a "war on pirates" that's much, much larger than the war on drugs and with far less public support. A few hundred thousands copyright holders can't control hundreds of millions of consumers if those consumers refuse to cooperate. The whole thing reminds me of the scene from the Gandhi movie where he tells people to make their own salt and the British arrest everyone and their mother, the prisons fill up with tens and tens of thousands of prisoners yet once millions and millions of Indians take that right for themselves, there's nothing the government can do to stop them. Copyright ends when we the people say enough is enough, and I don't mean through Congress. It ends when people stop respecting it.

  • by symbolset ( 646467 ) * on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @04:28AM (#38582830) Journal
    Disney has given some good art. Nobody's disputing that. But not so good it's worth paying all of our history, art and culture for. They demand too much, which is fine if the counter is to refuse their art. When they go so far as to enforce their demands without our consent through force of law whether we take their art or no, they find they lack that power. Now they will get less and less.
  • by EdIII ( 1114411 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @04:44AM (#38582876)

    You both make the real point, and why it leads to the perception that sharing is okay.

    Copyrighted content used to be delivered by physical medium. It had separate value from that content. Those blank tapes cost money, blank CDs cost money too.

    Digital came around and copies did not degrade, which meant that sharing was no longer limited to one or two "hops" before the quality was so low it was more preferable to buy a new copy.

    In a way, Big Content fucked itself. It had the the last 50-60 years (ever since vinyl records were sold) to educate the public and put forth the perception that you were not buying the record as much as you were buying the right to listen to the record. Important distinction, which would have lead to a real understanding of just what copyright is, and what intellectual property is.

    They did not want do to that, as that would have been logical, truthful, and fair. Anybody with a proof of purchase should have been able to walk into a store, or send a request, for a replacement copy and only paid for the cost of the medium, "printing", and shipping. Basically, a discount to get another copy back.

    Maybe it was not that simple, but either way, public understanding of copyright was never very sophisticated.

    Now that the content has been divested from the medium, in every sense, it's not a real surprise that the majority of people find sharing to be easy and "victim-less".

    It was never possible to steal content, but now that you don't even need the physical medium, how do you retrain society to understand why it is important to pay for the works regardless of how cheap and easy it is to obtain a copy from an increasingly connected society where distribution channels are popping up as fast as new content?

    At this point you don't even need blank CDs. An MP3 player and some external hard drives and all of the sudden your the fucking Library of Congress walking around with tens of thousands of dollars, sometimes nearly a million, in copyrighted content. Never mind that you could have only really afforded 1% of your library or less.

    It's a serious problem. Society determines morality, not the other way around. I believe it is also referred to as the Elastic Clause in the US. Society has changed, but that does not seem to even slow down the push to destroy all of our freedoms to erect an impenetrable bulkhead to stop the erosion of profits for Big Content.

    I support the idea to compensate artists, but quite frankly, it is becoming as hard to convince people of that as it is to educate them about copyrights in the first place.

  • by Pieroxy ( 222434 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @05:55AM (#38583144) Homepage

    If you could lobby someone to pass a law that would guarantee you a fat paycheck until the rest of your life you'd do it in a heartbeat. And even if you didn't, most people would.

    You can blame the players, it's only fair. But don't forget to blame the system, which is really the party responsible for this entire mess.

    Until companies can no longer buy stupid laws and until legislators get a clue of what technology is, this ain't gonna get any better I'm afraid.

  • by Serpents ( 1831432 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @06:20AM (#38583214)
    The problem is they're killing not only American ingenuity. By proposing agreements like ACTA [] they are trying to enforce similar solutions across the world. American ideas, be they good or bad, have a tendency to spread.
  • by dabadab ( 126782 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @06:31AM (#38583268)

    It had the the last 50-60 years (ever since vinyl records were sold) to educate the public and put forth the perception that you were not buying the record as much as you were buying the right to listen to the record. Important distinction, which would have lead to a real understanding of just what copyright is, and what intellectual property is.

    Huh?... You ARE buying the record, a physical object. There's no such thing as a "right to listen". It simply does not exist just as there is no a "right to breathe". Copyright does not extend to this area because - as it was originally created - it is set to regulate publishers, not end-users.
    Yes, the big media would like to brainwash everyone into thinking that copyright extends to a much larger area than it actually does and that there are no exceptions for fair use (and - judging by highly rated comments here on Slashdot, where people should know better - they have not been without success) but it does not make it a fact - it just might make the way for it to become a fact, since who would complain when something is put into law that was thought to be situation all along?

    Of course, the current situation leaves one wondering that what are you actually buying from, say, iTMS. You are not buying a physical object and certainly no license to any rights - it seems, you pay for a service that you can download songs from their server.

  • by pjabardo ( 977600 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @07:54AM (#38583594)
    It is never that simple. You see, copyright isn't the only issue in an election. I think it is safe to say that for most people copyright is a minor issue in an election so for most candidates and elected officials issues like this won't be discussed and the end result is that they (I could say all minor issues) are irrelevant to the election and will always be in this system. That's where lobbies with money come in: they can buy *very* cheaply the support of several congressmen because this issue is irrelevant to them.

    You could add to the problem the US electoral system where each district has a single elected official. In most districts copyright is a very minor issue (in how many districts is copyright important enough to affect the income of a large part of the population in the district?) and completely irrelevant in the election.

    In a complex industrialized society most issues are minor for most of the population and all these discussions that are always popping up reflect that. Democratic systems were created in a time were geography was by far the most important aspect. Today this is no longer necessarily true. I, living in Brazil, probably have more interests, perspectives and ideas in common with you, living in the other side of the world, than with my next door neighbor. Even though perhaps 5% of the population care and have the same views on copyright we will not have 5% of representatives on these issues. That's why lobbies are so effective.

    I'm not proposing any solution because there is no simple solution and probably very few politicians would want to change anything but with Internet available to everyone new possibilities will arise even though I don't expect to see any change soon. The end result is that for the first time in history most of the world is under some sort of democratic regime but very few people feel represented in power.
  • by metacell ( 523607 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @08:10AM (#38583682)

    Fair enough. But people have also been sharing seeds (as in crop seeds) for tens of thousands of years. And those reproduce indefinitely, and for practical purposes the copies are exact.

    People have also been sharing songs and poems for thousands or tens of thousands of years, and employed mnemonic techniques such as rhyming, alliteration and metre to ensure the lyrics are remembered exactly. Examples: the Iliad and the Odyssey, Icelandic sagas, thousands of folk songs and old poetry.

    People had also been copying written texts for a few thousand years before copyright was invented. Examples: everything written by the ancient Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Chinese, and all other civilizations with the ability to write before the 17th century.

  • by flyneye ( 84093 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @08:39AM (#38583828) Homepage

    All the way up to the parent, you guys get it.
    I'll take it to it's natural conclusion
                Music is sound, it's communication. Marketing it as a tangible doesn't really work or someone gets screwed badly. In our case it it the musician that gets the worst of it. An industry exists that gets to decide WHO gets to make the best living from music. Think about it. Hand picked musicians get money poured into promotion for as long as they cooperate and stay a fad.
    Now not only do the non industry musicians suffer from a non level playing field but the industry musicians get their songs taken, their ability to perform their songs for money taken, their ability to play with each other under their chosen name can even be forfeit.
            It's just time to let the music industry die so musicians 'round the world can bring about competition amongst themselves on a level playing field. Music is free, forget selling it except for commercial use, the bother of trying to licence it for general use is like catching 5 lb. of mercury in a collander. Performance however is paid! Think of the fanbase that comes from freely distributed music! Taking the album purchase out of the equation greatly improves the chance your fan will have your song on his ipod. That leaves him money to come see your act, which is what you REALLY want as a musician anyway. It's the live shows that is the drug, not sales statistics.
            Take the industry out of the equation and the field becomes level for any musician. You can then get out of your career what you put into it rather than the slot machine business process of dealing with the corrupt industry. The internet is truly a great playing field leveler. Now the industry can die and all those couch surfing musicians can finally get some raisin pie.
              Bleating about lost jobs is kind of moot since ,A: musicians jobs far surpass industry numbers, B: filling jobs that culminate in an undesireable evil only taints the innocent who perform them. Let them stand in line for a job just like the rest of us who have to do actual work, actually do.

  • by JoeMerchant ( 803320 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @09:22AM (#38584058)

    For a twist, let's say that Disney/Pixar is predictable, as an investor of capital, I can reasonably predict that $20M sunk into a Disney feature will result in reasonable return on investment.

    While many independents may be as good or better than Disney, especially if given equal resources, they're not given equal resources because they are not as predictable, not as safe an investment of capital, so the predictable winner wins.

    Same reason a second drug store pops up on the corner across from a successful one - it's a safe investment, God knows we can't actually spread the things around where they might be twice as convenient for the customers, that would present a risk for the investors, better to put them somewhere safely demonstrated to be profitable so that you don't risk as much.

    If you had hundreds of millions to protect and pass on to your heirs, you'd be rigging the system to make it as predictable as possible for those assets to stay in your family's hands. God knows we can't trust the kids to get as lucky as we did in succeeding.

  • by Loosifur ( 954968 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @09:54AM (#38584232)

    Copyright isn't the issue. The issue is that technology limited the artist's ability to distribute work, and so the SOP became selling your own rights to your own work to a publisher in order to try and reach a larger audience, and, hopefully, make some money. In all art (music, film, lit), publishers became the gatekeepers because artists weren't able to compete on a logistic level.

    Now that the Internet has, to some extent, changed that, we just need to find a model that works for everyone involved. As it stands, it's still very difficult to self-publish, or to offer your own content in such a way that you can still make money from it. Just from a writer's perspective, you can run an ad-based website (almost a television model), you can run a subscription-based website, you can ask for donations (good luck with that), you can put samples of your work up for free and offer either full-length works or entirely different works for sale on a case-by-case basis, but most of those options are pretty difficult to get off of the ground.

    Contrast that with getting in bed with a publisher, who will give you money up front, royalties, and handle the marketing. You're still not going to make a mint (I know one writer who has been published frequently, can be found in most major bookstores, and has a book optioned, who is making about $35k a year), but it's not as risky.

    If you get rid of copyright entirely, artists won't be able to afford to be artists. Like it or not, everybody's gotta eat. But if you develop a distribution model whereby artists can produce and maintain control of their products without having to sell their souls to a third party, you'll see more reasonable types of copyright licensing, and you'll see much more reasonable pricing.

  • by datavirtue ( 1104259 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @10:24AM (#38584450)

    This has been the way of business in America for a long time. Company pollutes/kills people/etc, they bring in billions from the venture, get sued, get a fine levied for 100 million dollars by the court. Six billion minus 100 million, you do the math. General Electric and many other polluting companies have a well known history of operating like this. After this they are clear and the government/taxpayer cleans up the left over mess which costs additional billions or several hundred million to remedy (superfund).

  • by Peter Simpson ( 112887 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @10:43AM (#38584626)
    It's individual, non-commercial copying of copyrighted material for personal use, and, although it's technically illegal, it should be tolerated as long as there is no financial gain. If the movie studios want to control copyright infringement, they should be working to round up the people behind the massive number of counterfeit DVDs being sold at flea markets and on the street corners of major cities. That's where the real criminals are and that's where the money's being made. Extortion of money from individuals who download videos and music for personal use isn't helping their image and doesn't seem to stop the file sharing.
  • by Moryath ( 553296 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @10:49AM (#38584680)

    I grew up with musicians

    Which is funny. You must have known some pretty shitty musicians. I know several who are not big label, but they're making a medium income living doing local concerts and getting a couple albums out with smaller labels and even on iTunes. Some have had to switch bands a few times, due to break-ups or people moving away.

    Thanks to MafiAA Accounting [] - something that they deal with even on the lower level labels - musicians generally MAKE MORE MONEY these days by touring and doing concerts than they ever do off of their albums. Ask Great Big Sea about how they make money [] for instance: "“We’ve always been focused more on the live show than anything else,” he said. “Certainly, with the record industry the way it is, the live show has become so important to a band’s career. It used to be part of it, now it’s practically all of it. It’s the only way you can make money, pay the bills. ".

    Live performances ARE how musicians make the money these days, and you are full of shit saying otherwise.

  • by g0bshiTe ( 596213 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @11:10AM (#38584944)
    You totally missed flyneye's point. It's not the musician selling their music, it's the label. flyneye is suggesting let the labels ("industry") die, and the musicians can take over selling themselves and in doing so profit from it as opposed to the label getting the lion share of the profits/rights to works/rights to name of groups etc.
  • by newcastlejon ( 1483695 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @11:24AM (#38585082)

    Since when are the works of other people "ours"?

    Since we made laws that - in theory at least - let them sell their works without fear of anyone just making a copy and selling it themselves. In payment for this we demand such enter the public domain after $years.

  • by Reverand Dave ( 1959652 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @11:26AM (#38585104)
    This is 90% of the problem today with the elimination of the inheritance tax that the founding fathers instituted. They wanted to prohibit the creation of an aristocracy to prevent a plutocracy from taking over and ruining the representative democracy they envisioned.
  • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @11:46AM (#38585342) Homepage Journal

    Musicians want to be paid. Music will always be sold.

    Music has never been sold, ever, in history. The closest you come to selling music is selling sheet music, or selling your copyright. Before the 20th century the only form of recorded music was piano rolls.

    During the 20th century you still didn't buy music, you bought records and later tapes, then CDs. You never bought the music, you bought the physical item.

    Nobody used to complain about recording your LP to a cassette, or even recording your friend's LPs to cassette.

    Then came the 21st century and Napster, and the recording insustry (NOT the "music industry") blew it badly. They should have sent their marketing teams to use Napster's free music to sell CDs; marketers are very good a convincing people to buy stuff. And people LIKE buying "stuff". Yes, in some cases you can charge a premium for convinience, but anything more than a couple of bucks people want something to show for their money.

    And you still can't buy music. You can only rent it.

    Concerts are tough to profit from and are generally used to promote record/song sales.

    Bullshit. It's exactly the opposite.

    No offense, but you have no clue about the music industry. I grew up with musicians, they want paid.

    I've been playing guitar since I was 12, that was 47 years ago. Half my friends are musicians. I'm an amateur, but most I know [] are professionals. The non-independant, RIAA labels are the clueless ones.

    Live performances are great but they are NOT profitable. It is common to lose money on them if they are not managed with precision.

    There's no profit if your band sucks [] or, like you say, your manager sucks.

    Of course musicians want to be paid, everybody needs money. But not every musician deserves to be paid.

  • And the whole point of Net Neutrality is to keep those middlemen from abusing their power the way middlemen always tend to do.

  • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @04:33PM (#38588532) Homepage Journal

    Since when are the works of other people "ours"?

    Since at least 1787. To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries is the constitutional basis of copyright and patent law in the US. Even though I wrote this [], I do not own it; I merely have a limited time monopoly on its publication. It is owned by anyone who can read.

    Your work isn't yours, either. It belongs to your employer. A roofer doesn't own the roof he builds, you don't own the song you wrote.

    The men who hold high places must be the ones to start to mold a new reality closer to the hart. The blacksmith and the artist each must know his part, to mold a new reality closer to the heart.

    Every statesman and artist should listen to Rush (the band, not the right wing hypocrite junkie).

    I couldn't find the reference, but I think it was Franklin (a prolific writer and inventor) who said "when I light my candle off your candle, your candle is not diminished, but we have twice the light," referring to creative works. Art, like science and technology, is built on what came before. Our art is our culture, and our culture belongs to all of us, not Sony Pictures.

"Mach was the greatest intellectual fraud in the last ten years." "What about X?" "I said `intellectual'." ;login, 9/1990