Software and other piracy

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Postposted on Mon Mar 25, 2002 6:01 pm

hooray for kudos to me! can i have the chocolate chip kind?
technophile
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Postposted on Mon Mar 25, 2002 6:43 pm

technophile:

You bring up a good point about the nature of electronic content. Maybe it doesn't seem like stealing, but it is stealing. The media argument isn't anything new, the same kinds of arguments have been tried in justification of stealing cable and satellite TV, utilities like electric power, and even entry into movie theaters.


VooBass:

You're still trying to get away with a straw man argument. The fact still remains that just because you don't like it doesn't mean it's defective. And if you buy a whole CD, open up the whole CD package and place the whole CD in your player, then you have consumed 100% of the CD. Like I have been saying, if you try to return 0% of the food, it's doubtful that a refund will be forthcoming. Maybe you can fool them once, but after a while they'll figure out that you're a con artist.

The problem with your Black Sabbath "deal" is that there is no deal! You made a contract to buy the media, which means you have to buy more media if you lose or damage what you have. The convenience of unlimited free MP3 downloads has its own value -- a value that you haven't paid for.
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Postposted on Mon Mar 25, 2002 7:34 pm

Speed:
"...just because you don't like it doesn't mean it's defective. And if you buy a whole CD, open up the whole CD package and place the whole CD in your player, then you have consumed 100% of the CD. Like I have been saying, if you try to return 0% of the food, it's doubtful that a refund will be forthcoming."

If I don't like it because it doesn't live up to the manufacturer's claims that it is faster, more stable, more compatible, then it is deficient in meeting the standard of normal consumer expectations. Any product that fails to meet the minimal standard most people expect their purchases to meet generally gets returned for a full refund. Except software, which pretty much comes with an unspoken Buyer Beware warning. Software companies have to stop hiding behind No Return policies and start producing consumer-ready products otherwise more and more people will simply regard all software as disposable.

As far as mp3s go, again you miss my point. I'm answering technophile's original question, how do I feel about using/having mp3s. I feel perfectly comfortable in listening to mp3s of songs I've already compensated the artist for.

You're attempting to perpetuate a business model that is extinct. I read recently where Moby said his 14 year old nephew has never purchased music in his life and likely never will. Soon the act of downloading will be synonymous with having worked to earn the experience of something.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: VooBass on 2002-03-25 18:34 ]</font>
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Postposted on Mon Mar 25, 2002 8:27 pm

Speed, I think there's something to VooBass's point about compensating the artist once - or even multiple times. After all, you pointed out that it's not the pressed CD that costs so much, it's the content. And so if he downloads the mp3 after having paid for the content several times over, why is that a problem? If VooBass ripped the mp3s from a CD he owned, it would completely legal, right? So why is it bad that he used someone else's ripped mp3? If I don't have mp3 ripping software (or if I'm Joe Audiophile and I don't know how) am I not allowed to have mp3s?
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Postposted on Mon Mar 25, 2002 9:48 pm

VooBass, I was referring to music, not software. I've always been able to return software that didn't work.

technophile, the problem with VooBass' argument is that the consumer doesn't contract with the musician. We make our deals with the retailer. Besides, if you really do own the CD, why would you go to all the trouble of searching, finding and downloading a MP3 file of unknown quality, when you can rip your own?
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Postposted on Mon Mar 25, 2002 9:54 pm

I suppose to be honest my vote would have to go in the 'never pay for anything' direction, though, in my defense, I do buy any software that really impresses me. I have Jedi Knight 2 paid for and am waiting for delivery, for example.

On the other hand, the last MS OS I paid for was Windows 3.0. I'm still waiting to get my money's worth.
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Postposted on Mon Mar 25, 2002 10:11 pm

The buying from retailer thing doesn't work Speed, b/c Safeway is one too. In that sense, the analogy is still valid. Also, the contract may be with the the retailer for each individual purchase, but to the extent that piracy equals stealing, it's stealing from the content creator - and thus legality of using / downloading / trading mp3s has to be thought of in terms of the implicit contract with the artist - or at least their label. And since under current law, it's ok to make mp3 versions of music already purchased, why wouldn't that apply to downloads even after the physical media have been lost or damaged?
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Postposted on Mon Mar 25, 2002 10:51 pm

I all honesty, the reason I find downloading a song waaay more convenient than ripping it from a cd I have already paid for is because of a combination of 1. being bored with my cd collection to the point I can't even remember half the titles I own (mp3s sparked my interest in the classics all over again), 2: I have a lot of compilations like the Dazed and Confused soundtrack (with, no escaping them, Paranoid by Black Sabbath) that I wouldn't think to look to when I want to listen to a particular song, and 3: over the years I've probably lost track of 1000 discs or so. Oftentimes I'll be scanning through someone else's collection of mp3s and be reaquainted with tons of stuff I've got sitting in the basement somewhere that all of a sudden I really want to hear again. I'm not going to go searching through a dozen boxes to find my dusty copy of Quicksilver Messenger Service's Fresh Air and then rip it just to hear it again. And then there's the whole issue of music I have on LPs. Nope, Speed, you're really barking at the wrong moon if you thing you're going to make me feel guilty over this one.

And, of course, my donut analogy applies particularly to software, not music. What store is going to give you a refund for Windows ME after it's crashed for the umpteenth time? And is Adobe ever going to give me back the $400 I blew on GoLive 4? Yeah, and some day Black Sabbath will win a Grammy (oops...bad example).

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<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: VooBass on 2002-03-25 21:53 ]</font>
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Postposted on Mon Mar 25, 2002 11:10 pm

technophile, you're confusing the issue with a lot of <i>non sequitor</i>. There was no analogy made about paying Black Sabbath! I quote:

<i>I've already downloaded all the mp3 music I will probably ever want. Most of it I paid for when purchasing the original 45s/LPs/CDs (numerous times in some cases) and I feel I've already paid Black Sabbath enough for Iron Man.</i>

Again I'll state the obvious: Contracting to buy "45s/LPs/CDs" from a retail store != a license to "download all the mp3 music I will probably ever want".

You seem to be saying that the artist is the only one that has a right to get paid for their work. That's not right or fair. Pretending that the only victim of your crime is a wealthy and / or faceless musician / corporation is a common excuse. But it's a false one.

In truth there are many victims, ranging from the truck driver that delivers the product, to little old ladies whose pensions are invested in a related company, to people like me who have to pay extra to cover the theft.
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Postposted on Mon Mar 25, 2002 11:20 pm

On 2002-03-25 21:51, VooBass wrote:
Nope, Speed, you're really barking at the wrong moon if you thing you're going to make me feel guilty over this one.

While I fully admit that I have no power over you to make you do anything, I will point out that those without guilt don't have a litany of excuses.

As long as software and music piracy is illegal, I'm not going to pretend it isn't. Being truthful is hardly crazy.
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Postposted on Tue Mar 26, 2002 12:00 am

Obviously I'm not saying that 'using' downloaded mp3s is legal. Again, I am stating how I feel about about it. I couldn't care less if it's legal. And I am hardly presentling a "litany of excuses". Just the same one, over and over again: the only factor in the equation that I am concerned about is the artist, and when I listen to songs that I've downloaded in mp3 format that I have already bought the original disc of I feel I've made compensation to those I feel deserve the compensation. And while you're forking over $20 for $2 of content to a record company that's just paid $100 million to sign Mariah Carey and then $50 million to buy her out from the same contract because they finally figured out what any 14 year old could have told them 4 years ago, that she is utterly irrelevant, consider this: record companies are like deer caught in the headlights of change - they're already dead and they don't even know it.


<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: VooBass on 2002-03-25 23:54 ]</font>
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Postposted on Tue Mar 26, 2002 3:24 am

Speed, I'm not sure, but I think we may agree on this, but we're just confusing each other.

I'm not claiming that VooBass has the right to download anything he wants just because he's paid for a bunch of music over the years.

I am claiming that whether or not he has the oringinal media (assuming he didn't sell them, but they were instead broken or lost etc) he has a right to download the mp3s of music that he once purchased. I am basing this off of the idea that it is legal to rip mp3s from your own CDs, and thus that implies that your right to the music is a right over private use of the content, and even though that means a music store (or mp3.com) isn't getting your business for the additional copies, you're not stealing. You're doing nothing wrong.

So I don't think the issue is whether or not a truck drive goes out of business if I rip / download mp3s. After you purchase the media, the property rights you violate through piracy are the artists,' not the retailer. And thus I still contend that once you've purchased that content, you have a right to it, whether or not you personally rip the mp3 or someone in Uruguay does it and you download it from them.

Now, I don't think that right to content necessarily transfers from LPs to mp3s, because one could argue that digital versions (mp3s or CDs) are different content than analog. But my point is ultimately that one's purchasing of content results in a right to download that content in the future if one wants to.
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Postposted on Tue Mar 26, 2002 11:37 am

I think a point can also be made regarding claim of harm to other members in the music distribution chain: if Speed wants to expand the scope of aggrievment to include the delivery truck driver, etc, then consider this: the money I save by downloading an mp3 compared to buying another copy doesn't disappear, it's returned to the amorphous pool of cash that is our economy - and everyone's financial well-being - through another route. The question is this: does money sucked up by the bank accounts of record companies contribute more or less 'good' to human well-being than does that money being spent on, say, an extra dinner out a week. Remember, EMI just laid off 25% of its workforce because it so heavily invested your money spent on their overpriced cds in first signing and then getting out of the Mariah Carey contract. I'm pretty sure the overall well-being of mankind wasn't served much by that debacle.


<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: VooBass on 2002-03-26 10:40 ]</font>
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Postposted on Tue Mar 26, 2002 4:41 pm

technophile, while the consumer does have a right to the specific content that they purchased, you can't ignore why Fair Use has to be so specific. It's not the honest people who are the problem. It's the dishonest ones that make the draconian measures necessary in the first place! That's why you're specifically limited to backing up your own media, and nothing else.

You are correct that ownership of an old tape or LP doesn't entitle the owner to the remixed, high quality digital copies that come from the Internet.

Let's not confuse things -- it's crooks like VooBass that are trying to confuse us with straw man analogies and made-up rules. They want to "have their cake and eat it too" -- to steal but without the stigma. That's why they try to villify their victims. They offer specious excuses as to why they can't simply comply with the license to muddy the waters, but I believe the truth is that they don't own the CDs in the first place.

You can speculate about truck drivers going out of business, but you can't deny that there are lots of people involved in the production and distribution of music. I don't have any problem with people getting beat by superior competition or even through lack of demand. But theft is neither of those.

The most fair use stuff that I do is to clone a CD for my car, or the occasional compilation CD. I suppose that if I were away from home and really, really wanted to hear a tune that I had on CD at home, that I wouldn't feel too bad downloading the tune. But that's a far cry from setting up a whole system to traffic in illegal MP3s. I don't have a list of accusations and excuses, because I have no criminal intent.
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Postposted on Tue Mar 26, 2002 6:03 pm

Speed, you've just totally dried up.
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Postposted on Thu Mar 28, 2002 7:48 am

The first thing people have got to remember is legal does not make things honest. Or right.

Why is the consumer always made to feel guilty for copying a friend's CD? Why is the corruption behind the price you pay for everything not given media coverage? Maybe it's 'cause the big publishers OWN all the media channels, and have a vested interest in keeping consumers stupid. Why have many million-selling artists died penniless, not even owning their own work, or left anything for their families? Why doesn't this ever make the headlines?

Courtney Love is a person committed to stamping out corrupt record company practices that each of us has felt the effect of. Prince and others are too. Artists are rallying behind this cause because they know that THEY and the PUBLIC have been victims for far too long. Yes, that's right...victims. Only a few sharp individuals have ever received the money they worked hard for in the music industry, contrary to popular belief...and they've fought tooth and nail to get it. Basically, they've been robbed blind, and stripped of rights other fields of endeavour take for granted. Courtney Love called the record companies the real pirates in her speech here:
http://www.salon.com/tech/feature/2000/ ... index.html

She says:
"Today I want to talk about piracy and music. What is piracy? Piracy is the act of stealing an artist's work without any intention of paying for it. I'm not talking about Napster-type software.

I'm talking about major label recording contracts."
-------------




Why do people 'steal' (ie. 'share') these days? I think they are sick of buying from a faceless corporation. I think that if they were to buy, ideally, they would want to know what they are doing makes a sizeable direct contribution to the artist(s). The web is great that way...the artists can create a more intimate link with fans, and feed off them and their needs. I think people are sick of (overpriced) garbage. I think they are sick and tired of the middlemen and their greed. And quite simply, people share with friends. It's a thing they do. People like to share. People will buy something they really like (if they can afford it). Or they'll go to the concert. I personally believe it balances out in the end.

Everything you are influenced by or inspired by doesn't have to have a transaction behind it, or measured in dollars and cents. Call me a fresh-faced wide-eyed idiot, but some things of 'value' don't need to be paid for, or can be measured in dollars and cents. Eventually, I think it all balances out in other areas.

If this can be compared to the lawless confines of a publishing/media empire, consumers constantly being dumbed down and dictated to, having radio playlists cater to the lowest common denominator all to line the pockets of some publishing moguls, please explain.

When you screw with art, and the voices that need to be heard out there but never get a chance (ie. in favour of Britney's latest, etc), you deserve a consumer backlash. And that's exactly what they're getting right now, I reckon. From people tuning out of radio, to less TV watching and a more diverse market with wildly differing tastes and opinions. They're finding it a lot harder to sell to people that can think for themselves.

http://www.npgmusicclub.com/npgmc/freed ... index.html
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Postposted on Thu Mar 28, 2002 5:24 pm

Is there anything wrong with the "try before you buy" policy? Sorta like a demo.
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Postposted on Thu Mar 28, 2002 5:51 pm

tekmachine, the laws are there because of public consent. If you feel that a law is wrong, there are things that you can do to have it repealed. Public disobedience is only a valid means to change when an attempt has been made within the system beforehand. Those who simply break the law, then offer excuses aren't practicing civil disobedience.

Artists are still free to <i>not</i> sign that contract. If music publishers have them over a barrel, they're still signing. It's supply and demand again. There's a glut of musicians, so not all of them get to become fantastically wealthy. Boo hoo, too bad. But not exactly evil.

I'd love to see an artists' co-op that distributes music electronically, bypassing all the middlemen. But I don't pervert that wish into a license to steal what's already under contract. So let Courtney <i>et al</i> practice what they preach and create an alternative music distribution system. Just don't use it to peddle twisted morality.
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Postposted on Thu Mar 28, 2002 5:53 pm

On 2002-03-28 16:24, 0oALio0 wrote:
Is there anything wrong with the "try before you buy" policy? Sorta like a demo.

Nothing at all. That's why all those headphones are in record stores. That's why radio stations still thrive. That's why you can download legally distributed samples.
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Postposted on Thu Mar 28, 2002 6:10 pm

So what if instead of a software or game demo, you downloaded the whole thing and TRIED it. And bougth it if it was good, deleted if it was bad. Nothing wrong there, right?
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Postposted on Thu Mar 28, 2002 6:54 pm

On 2002-03-28 17:10, 0oALio0 wrote:
So what if instead of a software or game demo, you downloaded the whole thing and TRIED it. And bougth it if it was good, deleted if it was bad. Nothing wrong there, right?


There's nothing wrong with it. I've done that with both "cracked" warez versions and legitimate full versions that usually expire after 30 days. If I like it enough I'll buy it. Of course, someone (I wonder who that might be?) will say that downloading the warez version is illegal, whether or not you delete it later on and then buy the legal copy. Whatever...
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Postposted on Thu Mar 28, 2002 7:44 pm

0oALio0, it all depends on the terms of the download. If it's the vendor that's giving you a fully functional version of their product, then you're fine. OTOH if the vendor only offers a time-limited demo, and you download a crack-copy from some other source, then you're doing wrong, no matter what your intentions are.

I don't have any problem getting free copies of software for evaluation purposes. Sometimes all you need to do is ask. If you're a <i>bona fide</i> IS employee of a company that could bring the vendor some money, they're happy to have the opportunity to get a foot in the door. Of course you might have to endure a phone call or two, or let the vendor buy you lunch while pitching the product. I can live with that. :smile:
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Postposted on Sun Mar 31, 2002 3:57 pm

Speed,
there's nothing wrong with the laws, I feel. There's something wrong with an industry (the music/music publishing industry) breaking the laws, and it being hidden under layers and layers of BS hidden from the artist slaving for the company (and the consumers buying product). What bothers me is that the guilt is always focused on consumer-level piracy when the real hard-core stuff occurs behind closed doors.

Anyway, without further ado...

Here is an interesting letter from Sananda Maitreya (previously known as Terence Trent D'Arby) about his fight with his record company.



Dearest compadres,

One of the reasons I’ve come to my full senses and decided to sever all ties with the octopus that is Universal records (specifically Universal Germany) is because I discovered that they were illegally shipping my records into unlicensed territories behind my back and profiting from them.

Yet the industry are the first to conveniently pin the blame on ‘pirates’ when they are routinely the biggest pirates artists have to deal with every day.

This act of course is just the tip of the iceberg and is why they prefer to deal with young artists with more stars in their eyes than sand in their shoes who are ‘looked after’ by managers who function as apologists for the industry, by business managers who are themselves skillful at hiding things and discouraging the ‘wrong’ questions and by lawyers who are loyal to the industry that will continue to feed them as long as they play ball.

It is understood by these men that by and large artists have a shelf life of 3 to 5 years as long as they smile or emote for the camera and don’t ask any intelligent questions and who are supposed to be content with the once in a life time opportunity they are given to be on tv and seen by the ‘homies’ back in the ‘hood’, work with top producers hoisted upon them whether they fit or not, hang out with supermodels or other various starlets and allow themselves to be drained by the vampires of the industry until they actually have something to say or until the wrinkles show through all the strain.

Sony during my nightmarish experience with them (for I did not sign to Sony, I signed to Columbia and was not given a choice when the bigger fish swallowed the smaller fish )

screwed me so deeply (and then internally laughed about it as they were wiping the blood from the blade) that for a while I couldn’t see past my own trauma and by the time the wound in my back had healed I was finally able after an 8 year tug of war to free myself from their grossly immoral ‘standard’ contract simply because they, in their infinite wisdom, assumed that I had nothing left and wouldn’t embarrass them with success elsewhere, after defaming my name with reports of destructive activities and other outright lies and gross exaggerations.

All of this to keep one of their other artists happy, who of course himself buckled under the strain of then having to make up in the balance sheet for two careers : his and mine ( and the poor thing was already under a great deal of pressure already).

In the mean time shadowed in the dungeon of their Darth Vader like empire I continued to count my blessings , nurture my wounds and hone my craft whilst they continued to Count Dracula.

Artists are routinely screwed and expected to just be grateful for the crumbs that are begrudgingly passed on after everything has been charged back to them anyway , due to the smug assumpion that we have no other choice and even what is contractually owed to us is often withheld and later enticingly presented as an ‘advance’ on future work obligating us to them even longer when it was in fact money owed to you anyway.

Their ‘books’ are a mockery, they are allowed enough time to hide whatever was not already hidden and you are expected to pay in order to audit them (as well as risk being ostracized by the company).

The law allows them to get away with it as they cry the same tired refrain about financial risks when it’s a fact that once you have a distribution network a certain amount is required anyway just to keep it operational and paying for itself.

They are also allowed to get away with it because they have a lobby and we have not.

For the most part and with all due respect to the exceptions , they are pirates and leeches to their core and their end (such as they now exist) is in sight .

All praises be to Prince , George Michael , Courtney Love, Chuck D, Alanis Morrisette and other brave soldiers who have sacrificed a great deal of their careers in order to help liberate the slaves and grant us all a more equitable piece of the pie that we bake in the ovens of our passion and in the interest of bringing more of God’s light and truth into the hearts of humanity, since without the artists they have nothing to promote except the sound of their own **** .

As it now stands record company accountants are far more creative than their artists are allowed to be .

There is a new blade in the guillotine and it is getting sharper by the day and will be coming to you more directly , no longer under the illusion, that in order to get what belongs to us, we have to go through robbers in pinstripes in order to receive it.



Stay tuned



Your eternal friend

Sananda Maitreya

also on behalf of Terence Trent D’Arby

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: tekmachine on 2002-03-31 15:05 ]</font>
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Postposted on Sun Mar 31, 2002 5:12 pm

Wow. Where'd u find that NeXus6?
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Postposted on Fri Apr 19, 2002 8:58 am

hello everybody

odds are that none of you know me, but i've been watching this thread for quite some time and i thought it would be nice to put my $0.02 in.

I personaly have a massave collection of mp3s. why? because i can not find music here that suits my particular tastes. I'm a trance addict and i listen to internet radio stations such as http://www.digitallyimported.com almsost religiously :) Unfortunately, when i hear an especialy good track i'm left with two options
1) Fire up cdnow, amazon, euromusicworld or something else and pay upwards of $40 and wait nearly a month for the cd or
2) download the mp3 track

obviously the choice is clear.

however if i find a suitably good cd here i will buy it.

when i put my box together, i built it for a very tight budget. after buying all the hardwares i was left for three options for the OS
1) buy a $100+ copy of win98se/xp/whatever
or
2) linux
or
3) use a 'reduced price' version from one of my friends.

since the box was prmairly for gaming, linux was out. also, since i was totaly and completly broke, buying a copy was out too. obviously i chose the third.


my rationalle for both my mp3 collection and my 'reduced price' os is simple

"i do not have the money to buy this. therefore, the company will not get my money weather i have this product or not. therefore, i'm not hurting anybody if i use a copy from a friend"

i'm sure this is the rationalle for most of the 'budget pirates' or something.

for that matter, what of overclocking? i know some of you have purchaced a lesser clockd processor and bumped it up to a quicker speed. heck, i've got my cleron 900 (approx $80) clocked at 1.1(approx $110) rather sucessfully :lol: but does this mean i've 'stolen' the difference (an entire $30) from intel?

discuss.
/me dons the asbestos suit.

flame if you want. please keep it reasonably intelligent and calm.
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