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Topic: Your opinion on piracy? (Read 45826 times) previous topic - next topic


May 16, 2012, 05:10 pm Last Edit: May 16, 2012, 05:16 pm by focalist Reason: 1
You still need to come up with a cogent response as to why a content producer (like Simon Monk with his book, or David Jones with his music, or me as a photographer) would bother making the time, money, and effort investment in creating things when those creations are simply taken with no compensation.  All of the hundreds of hours learning and mastering a skill, the time to produce, the items required being purchased.. none of it has any worth, because spoiled kids (and that is who we are talking about generally) have gotten SO spoiled and SO demanding of instant gratification with no cost to themselves that they actually feel that they have some kind of RIGHT to steal the work of others.  I just spent over two thousand dollars buying new camera gear to replace broken equipment and get a few needed items.  I won't make a penny back on my art photography, as usual.. it gets copied too quickly to be profitable.  The only profit I can make is photos of private people's functions and that sort of thing.  Even then, the money must now be gotten up front, instead of printing fees (as normally is done) because of the theft after the fact by duplication.  Used to be the sitting was free and the prints were the cost to customer.  Now, I don't even bother, I give the "digital original" to the customer and charge them HUGE up front.  This is quite a shock to some, but it's the only way I won't eat every penny of my equipment as a loss.  Keep in mind, I need to do all this even as a skilled hobbyist.  A professional who makes their income at it... they are struggling to survive what has become a culture of theft.

Content protection schemes (like Nick's game) often backfire.. just like he's experiencing.  Now one could argue that's the cost of protecting the content.. and make a reasonable argument.  What is the alternative?  If the company wants to make "X" dollars per sale, the only way to do it is make sure each install is actually a sale... either that, or you need to make up for the lost revenue to theft by charging more money to those that do pay.  Not fair either.  However, if you want people to take the time and effort to create a Diablo III game, those people will need to be paid.

The real problem is of course (once again)  entitled kids that have gotten so used to being spoiled and given everything they want, that they feel as if somehow the world at large owes them something.


May 16, 2012, 07:27 pm Last Edit: May 16, 2012, 07:42 pm by fkeel Reason: 1
ok, this might turn out quite long, but I have been thinking about this for a while, so here goes:
(oh, and I am not trying to justify pirating, I am trying to understand and analyse whats actually going on here. I also am not trying to claim that the creative sector should work for love, light and air)

Problem: Many goods, which traditionally have been scarce (i.e. paintings) or quasi-scarce (recordings, novels, games, to some extent ideas) have become virtually non-scarce due to digitization. (which leads to filesharing etc. and eventually to what is referred to here as piracy.)

Now, many of you are saying "this does not change anything - I still need to get paid" (which is a very reasonable request.)

I believe however, that this changes *everything*: Markets, by definition, deal in scarce goods. As soon as you are dealing with non-scarce goods, markets fail. The reaction then is, to make these non-scarce goods artificially scarce (i.e. DRM, or forcing people to play online in Diablo III), and by artificially enforcing the scarcity by "cracking down on pirates".  

This introduction of a new class of non-scarce goods is in fact a huge cultural revolution. People will be talking about this in 1000 years (if there will be people). What is happening right now, is that the status-quo is judged and assessed by moral values and ideals which where not created to deal with this situation. This is why people are attempting to have a functioning market with non-scarce goods (I am repeating myself, but... I think its important to note the absurdity of it.)


That's in very general terms the actual problem, imo. In the specifics there are many more weird things going on


What do we pay people for? (Focalist touches on this topic - I think his observations are spot on - I just think this notion needs to be taken further...) Should people be payed for the work they put into a product, or should people be payed for the impact their product has? As a musician, I might be payed to perform. Then I might receive additional royalties from the recording that is made of the performance. Artists (and I count myself in here too) claim that what they do is a job, like any other job. However, they have this dual income (I am not saying artists are rich, mind you). One comes from the work they put into it, and the other comes from the impact of their work.

This is wierd. A mechanic for example is payed for the hours of work they put into their job. No one would think of paying the mechanic a fraction of the benefit that a working car gives them. A secretary is payed for making somebodies work-life easyer. The secretary is payed for the work he or she puts into it. No one would expect the secretary to receive additional benefits, if his work ended up enabling her boss to get dirt rich.

I believe this dual income is nothing else than an excuse not to pay artists for the work they actually do. If artists are payed for a scarce good (i.e. their time) rather than a non scarce good (i.e. listening to a recording) the issue of the failing market vanishes together with the issue of the dual income.


Being an Artist is cool. Everyone wants to play in a band, wants to be a writer etc. It is fun, it is fulfilling. So what happens, is that we have a market, which is completely over-saturated. In addition to the non-scarce media, the scarce good an artist has to offer (their time) completely exceeds the demand. This leads to the simple truth.

If somebody is put off by Focalists high up-front fee, they can probably find a relative who does a job which is almost as good. Not being a photographer themselves, they probably wont even notice the difference in quality.

Being an artist is tough and will probably not make you rich. Thats just the way it is. Yelling for copyright will not change this.

Now. this makes no statement over the value of their work. I strongly believe that there can not be such a thing as too much art. However, there can be too much art for the market and that's where we are at. In other words, the market is unable to appropriately value Art. There is nothing we can do to fix this. As with the problem of the scarce good, it is simply not within the markets reach. (Which suggests, that they should be payed through other distributive measures, such as a cultural tax, but this is only one possible solution.)


Art is created within a context. No one makes original art, I repeat: Not a single recognized artist can claim their art to exist independent of other artist. Even Schönbergs 12-tone music (which I consider to be the most original thing which happened to music in the last 1000 years) is only understandable in the context of a reaction to his contemporaries. It has no easthetic value for somebody who does not understand in what musical tradition it is to be placed. (the same is true for Burzum and Lady Gaga).

Art is a dialogue. Jule Verne, for example freely uses figures and settings created by Edgar Allen Poe. The same figures, incidentally which lead Lovecraft to write his Mountains of Madness. Should Lovecraft and Verne pay royalties to Poe? Should Poe in turn pass them on to Hoffmann and Shelly?

(oh, and dont get me started on patents. With patents the situation is even worse, but that would be an essay in itself)

I believe not, I believe this dialogue is the very essence of art. Interrupting these processes by copyright laws can in fact very well backfire on the artists themselves. And it gets even more ridiculous: The german "Urheberrecht" automatically protects "your" "intellectual proporty" for 100 years. iyahdub: What benefit will you have if your music is protected in 100 years from now? There are people who benefit from these laws ... but they are not the artists.


I believe my main point is:

a) Some of the problems are due to techno/cultural change (non-scarce goods). Many of them are due to the art industry (over-saturation of the market, weird double payment systems). Either way - piracy is a symptom, and its odd to blame the customer for the symptom of a problem which they have nothing to do.

b) Many aspects of current copyright law are designed without any regards to what art is and what the artist needs. Rather they are designed for the benefit of the distribution industry. Artist and consumer should not be fighting here, but rather together attempt to get rid of the distribution industry, which in our time is nothing less than an outdated concept.


ok. there. thats what I meant to say.
Has anyone worked their way down? If so, please comment - I would love to get some reactions to the things I point out.




focalist. don't blame the kids :-P

ah - and the fact that a teacher hands out pirated documents is a little shocking. After all I have said - I do have to state that I find that wrong.


...I might be payed to perform. Then I might receive additional royalties from the recording that is made of the performance. Artists (and I count myself in here too) claim that what they do is a job, like any other job. However, they have this dual income (I am not saying artists are rich, mind you). One comes from the work they put into it, and the other comes from the impact of their work...

Where do you see being payed twice ?!? One is a payment from a live performance, another is a payment for each copy sold... One doesnt mix with the other...

Apart from that, i agree, in a general way with you.
But until other ways are found, we need to keep the current laws in motion, and enforce them to the best of our abilities, which more and more attention is being given to that( at least in some countries, and UK is an example of that, lately)
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The other side of the equation doesn't get much examination -

How much of the complaints about "PIRACY" are more involved with keeping the system like it was before the changes took place.  Recently heard of an organization that works with a number of media sources to police YouTube. As you know, folks tend to post scenes from movies or TV shows. Some companies choose to pursue this from the legal side and pay their lawyers to pursue the posters. Some have made the choice to work within the new media, they find a offending video and they reclaim it, out an advertisement at the beginning and then repost it. Meanwhile they are already doing this with their clients products as a way of generating advertising for their movies and shows and generating a little revenue for Youtube and themselves. They figure that if someone posts a scene they missed then it must be something that will generate views, along with some revenue. And by policing Youtube they also learn what peole might want to see and that will advertise their product. They keep control of their product, and don't spend a lot of time spreading ill will among potential customers.

The media industry cried a river of tears about how VHS recorders would ruin the industry. Yeah, there was some copying, bu there was also more views of some of the ads that were in the shows, and there were more views of some shows that were run at times when some couldn't watch. Net Gain/Loss? about 0.

Technology has always brought change, and change has always meant we have to adapt to a new way of doing things. Some will ALWAYS resist change and eventually disapear because they could/would not adapt. Has the RIAA helped their cause, or have they become perceived as an archaic organization that is badly out of touch and is actually spreading ill will among it's ultimate customers. You may be right, but is no-one wants your product because you are a bully and obnoxious have you won or lost?

Microsoft and others are still trying to fight Open Source. Has it hurt their profits? no, but they still think they are right when the market has changed and they are still trying to stuff it back in a bottle it no longer fits inside of...


I know at times i might have come acrss as only thinking about money im losing or might lose...NOT AT ALL ! If the same government and authorities stop charging me for the right to release it lawfully i will happy accept the so called loss and give it away at the price of cost !! The problem is they wont. How  many of you here has a slight idea how much it costs to release something ?!? A single, an album, even a dvd ?!? And while burning some CD's at home might be a short term solution for promotional purposes at a small scale its not viable as a serious artist at all !
So, waiver the right to ask me to pay taxes and for the privilege of releasing my music, and ill give my music away at the price of cost... That way we will all be happy !! And sooth our spirit with good music !!
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I asked you that before. what exactly do you mean by 'cost of releasing a an album etc.'?

Could you explain that to me?

(again, my questions are not a rhetoric tool. I really am interested in what you mean)


May 28, 2012, 03:18 pm Last Edit: May 28, 2012, 03:25 pm by iyahdub Reason: 1
Sorry, didnt realised youd asked it.
Well, in a general way for you to release something musical wise you need a code for it( each music has a code that will identify it, a bit like a fingerprint): that involves money. Copyrighting everything in order to secure authorship involves money. Recording it and producing it involves A LOT OF MONEY ( Dont tell me you can do it with a computer, because we both know thats a lie...At least if you want a quality recording a computer alone wont be enough). Wear and tear ...Money
Should i continue, or stop here ?!?
Im not even go to the cost of the pressing itself( be it CD's, Vynils, or even the cost of maintaining an online shop or selling points through other online distributors).
I have invested far larger sum than 40 grand in my own studio and still havent reached a good recording studio quality... Maybe decent !!
So, maybe youd like to explain me where your doubt was  ?!?!
I though that was an easy part to answer... even without detailed knowledge of the details !

As about the big labels ripping the artists off- What if you work for yourself ?!? Then the only ripping OFF is from the shared music...
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Just because big labels rip off artists it dose not mean it is morally fine for anyone to do it, just as it is wrong for the big labels to do it.
I have known personally many musicians, some household names, some that you think would be rich, very few are. The ones that are tend to be only the ones who have had three of four albums after there "big" one. A band with only one big album will make no big money for it, only the same as they would get on the dole (U.S. readers read welfare).

If you want to listen to it you should want to pay for it and a fairer way must be found to make that happen. Whether it is pay per listen or some other way I don't know but because it is possible to rip something off doesn't mean it has to be done.
It is like a car thief justifying his crime by saying, "I had to the car was left unlocked". There are many things that are possible, it doesn't mean you have to do them. If you do then you are scum, simple as that.

Note that many big corporations give truth to the observation that scum always rises to the top.


Grumpy_Mike- I work and know several of the legends in reggae and most had to have day jobs to live, so they could feed themselves and family and at same time try to invest themselves in releasing stuff to get rid of the middle man... Even the onest that did it big enough to live just off mmusic are now having BIG PROBLEMS in surviving at all with JUST MUSIC !!
So , that deffo proves your point.
About your last statement, Ozzy Osbourne said in his bio that when he was first big( before his wife took over his management)  he used to have just ask for things- Jaguars last model, houses, even drugs... But none of it were ever in his name, and ever saw much more than pennies compared to what he was doing  in numbers ( he says he had to sell some of that stuff through "tricks" to actually afford his first house to his first wife)!!
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May 29, 2012, 09:52 pm Last Edit: May 30, 2012, 01:43 am by fkeel Reason: 1
dude iyahdub ... chill.

you said twice "the cost of releasing" ... I know that *production* costs money. (come on - I have been part of this industry myself ... both as a musician and as an audio-engineer... [and btw. if you have truly invested more than 40k (be it $,€or £) in your studio equipment and still don't have 'good recording studio quality' then it might be about time you invested in somebody who knows how to use it :-S ... (but maybe I am just sick of people whining over how expensive equipment is... the stuff you can afford with 40k today did not even exist 10 years ago... except if you want to go fully analog, but that's a philosophy and not a tech question...)] )

in Austria and Germany, anything you produce is automatically copyrighted. I did not know that you had to pay for that in other countries. Where are you located?
What do you mean by having to need a code? You mean UPC code? Or do you mean some code for a copyright collecting agency or something?

Anyway, I am finding this conversation slightly difficult. All I did is ask what you meant by "the cost of releasing". Instead of answering the question, you say 'you need a code and that involves money' and that 'production requires A LOT OF MONEY'. I would still be interested what the actual release costs you, but maybe I just misunderstood what you meant by release.


@ Mike
The big difference is that the care is taken away from somebody, instead of copied. The thing is, with 3d printing and 3d scanning advancing at the rate that it is, the problem the music industry is facing is going to spread to other sectors as well. So simply trying to maintain the status quo of the 90ies cannot be a long term solution.


I think he has a point about the 3D printing. We are moving on from being able to copy paper, and music, to things, eg. children's toys.

I really think that the companies impacted are going to have to find a different business model. In much the same way that the makers of horse-drawn buggies did when cars became popular.

As an example, and exactly what some artists are doing, is to take commissions. So you get popular by releasing free stuff, and people see what your work is like. Then you offer a service to draw a "one-off" picture for a fee (or design a 3D thing for 3D printers). The artist gets paid, and it is in the interests of the purchaser to not give it away, if they want a unique item. And if they do give it away, well the artist has still been paid.

It's like visiting the doctor - you pay him/her a fee for his (or her) expertise. But the doctor doesn't "copyright" the treatment.
Please post technical questions on the forum, not by personal message. Thanks!

More info: http://www.gammon.com.au/electronics


May 30, 2012, 08:08 am Last Edit: May 30, 2012, 08:23 am by iyahdub Reason: 1
your comment
then it might be about time you invested in somebody who knows how to use it
doesnt really sound like a nice statement but more an attack to my capabilities and even intelligence. So i will ask you why your interest in someone who can use it ?!? Would it be because you want to hire me to give technical and practica lessons ?!? Because so , im available to do so and wouldnt be the first to pay me for such thing !
I do have a fully analog based studio with a 48/24/8/2+1 mixer with a multtrack recorder with 24 multitrack channels that mix both adat and HD circuiry ! Not even gonna comment on outboard gear because as you might noticed im a dub master therefore i dub the oldschool way by fader ridding. To all that i complemented it with a 20 in/20 out channels to DAW use so that i can also rely on more detailed editing and technologies if and when suitable( be it because of the genres im asked to produce compose or just out of taste or necessity for more detailed editing or intensive sound manipulation). Not to mention the amount of instruments, cables ( only in cables i must have spent close to a grand), mics ( any entry decent mike costs around 200 quid, a generic one, then you need quite a few, both condenser and dynamics for the several sound spectrum...But of course you know all this, right ?!).
And no , its not an UPC code but more an IRSC coe required in the UK and many other countries if im not wrong !
So your insistence in implying and making empty assumptions, along with your statements like
just contradicted yourself !! Because if you had did as you say you did, then you wouldnt even need to ask that as you could specify the details yourself

So that you can have a HINT , i do work with a lot of the legendary names in  my genre, a lot of them were my idols when i was growing up; Been involved with releases all over the world, played in probably more countries than the ones you visited personally !

As to the detailed costs... I thought you knew ?!?! Didnt you just said yourself something like "SOUND ENGINEER and WORKED IN THE INDUSTRY"  ?!? Because i thought that by saying that you just proved quite the opposite !!
Unless you are the TAX MAN and come knocking at my door asking for details, ill ask you to mind your own financial issues and leave mine !!
So lets leave it at that. For info like that , id charge money for consultation fees !

Unless you make music with pots and pans,  really dont see what was your doubt, mate !!  Problem here is you actually embarrassed yourself  to anyone who knows the ins and outs by stating that you knew the industry, and claiming to be an audio engineer... And then asking silly questions, while attacking me !!

With all this said, no hard feelings. I know sometimes people's ego can be the main and only obstacle to themselves as part of a whole !! We cool !

I am just demanding the same things anyone will demand me out there regarding other things... I would be an happy man and give my music away, at cost price !! As long as they they also ask me to stop paying anything on it... Do you know that if you make an insurance for a car and you say you are a musician will go from something like 50 quid a mionth( lets say) to 200/300 a month ?!? Doesnt that count as well ?!? Just making sure we are reading from the same book !! So , at least next time talk with knowledge of cause, maybe ?!
The ultimate ignorance is the rejection of something you know nothing about and refuse to investigate.
- Dr. Wayne Dyer
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Stick to the topic, both of you, or I'll lock the thread.
Please post technical questions on the forum, not by personal message. Thanks!

More info: http://www.gammon.com.au/electronics


I thought i did, and havent disrespected anyone, i think...
But ill abstain to make any more comments as i made my point anyway !!
Apologize if anyone felt i went out of line at any given point !!
Thanks Nick !!
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