ID:182795
 
Many people subscribe to a certain morality that says we should share but not steal. If we want something from our neighbour, we should ask for it, not just take it -- and as good neighbours, we should give willingly what we have, especially when it's inexpensive or easy to share, like jokes from the radio, hot dogs off the grill, or music from our laptops.

Certain multinational companies are telling us that our morality is flawed; that the behaviour that we think is simply being a good neighbour is actually the behaviour of a thief or a burglar.

Enter http://iwouldntsteal.net/

Regardless of what the letter of the law is, where does your moral compass point? How do you respond to the claims made by multinational corporate recording industries, and the sentiments by iwouldntsteal.net?

Discuss.
Well I agree with this site. Sharing is not the same as stealing a car or t.v. or whatever. Thing's like downloading movies and music shouldn't be illegal. Yeah the artists and directors suffer a bit; oh god, now they can't afford their 35ft house. I say that if someone bought a CD, and put it up for download, it's simply sharing it and should be fair. Just my opinion here.
Is there a difference between sharing something with your neighbors and participating a worldwide coalition of "neighbors" with which you "share" pretty much anything that comes to mind?
In response to Garthor (#2)
Garthor wrote:
Is there a difference between sharing something with your neighbors and participating a worldwide coalition of "neighbors" with which you "share" pretty much anything that comes to mind?

That's a valid question. I think it's especially kind to share with people you know - for example, I am likely to share tunes I like with friends that I see frequently and who share my passion for music. I frequently see friends buy albums of artists that I introduce them to, and I certainly have bought music that I got a taste for because of a track a friend shared with me.

When you expand your group of "friends" to any and all strangers on the Internet, then you could make a case that the rules are now different. On the other hand, if a friend tells me in instant messenger "you've gotta check out this band", is it not just about as valid for me to download from a BitTorrent or Gnutella collective than from that friend's laptop or MP3 player?

It seems to me that easy accessibility of music can only be good for artists. I am *far* less likely to buy music from bands I haven't heard before, but once I get a taste for an artist's music I am likely to buy a lot of their stuff. So for me, the question of where those files are coming from is ultimately of little use. It's the connections with my friends that counts, because they're the ones sharing their passion for music and for their favorite artists.
Nowadays I pay whatever I want for an album or game. If it's the right price I'll pay, if it's overpriced I'll nick it (Typically expansion packs for games- silly money for something that should've been added in the first place)... if the multinational corporations or spoilt celebrities aren't getting enough cash to fund their excessive, millionaire lifestyles then tough!

In our modern day overtly capitalistic*1 society pretty much the only freedom (consumerically*2 speaking) we have is to steal stuff rather than pay some crazy, over the top price.

*1 okay, so capitalism generally results in lower prices for goods, but saying so would make my post look stupid.

*2 heh
There's a difference between a freeloader and a thief.
In response to PirateHead (#3)
PirateHead wrote:
It seems to me that easy accessibility of music can only be good for artists. I am *far* less likely to buy music from bands I haven't heard before, but once I get a taste for an artist's music I am likely to buy a lot of their stuff. So for me, the question of where those files are coming from is ultimately of little use. It's the connections with my friends that counts, because they're the ones sharing their passion for music and for their favorite artists.

The problem with that scenario is, not everyone is willing to buy an album once they've heard a song they like. Most people (to my knowledge at least, I'm generalizing) would be more likely to go "hey, I like this song, I wonder what the others are like" and download the rest of the album. Once they have the entire album on their hard drive, they're far less likely to go and spend money on it. In reality, file sharing is mostly a lose/lose for the artist.

I believe more people will view the situations of music and movie piracy in the scenario I've suggested. But with that said, good on you for spending the money and helping to support the artists you enjoy.

Also in mind, just because the artists who are successful in makeing millions of dollars, why is it a general consensus that they aren't entitled to the money they make? Surprisingly enough, unlike - say, Paris Hilton, Sonata Arctica (Finnish metal band) had to work for their success. Writing their own songs and music. I can assure you all, such things like that are not trivial (...unless we're talking rap music).
In response to PirateHead (#3)
PirateHead wrote:
It seems to me that easy accessibility of music can only be good for artists. I am *far* less likely to buy music from bands I haven't heard before, but once I get a taste for an artist's music I am likely to buy a lot of their stuff. So for me, the question of where those files are coming from is ultimately of little use. It's the connections with my friends that counts, because they're the ones sharing their passion for music and for their favorite artists.

Most honest research on this point bears you out: Accessibility has been shown to help almost all artists, especially B-list and indie artists who get little or no radio airplay and need exposure. Even most of the top tier benefit from this.

But really this debate is deliberately distorted by the holders of intellectual property, who equate the dilution of their copyright with the theft of a physical good. There's a significant difference between the two concepts. That's not to say such dilution is automatically okay or anything, but it's not simply equivalent to shoplifting. Indeed the dilution is hard to quantify because of this word-of-mouth effect, and the fact that most downloaders never would have bought the item in question to begin with.

There's also something to say for the fact that copyright has been overvalued and overextended (to say nothing of fair use being slashed to ribbons). Originally copyrights were set to something like 14 years, period, and in modern times that wisdom seems to be holding up fairly well for a lot of media; too bad the law itself has since moved on to far longer terms. But the point of copyright law is definitely not to starve out the public domain as is being done now--it's to temporarily secure an author's monopoly over distribution and profits. Like all monopolies, the "temporary" part is critical.

Lummox JR
In response to DisturbedSixx (#1)
Not all artists own 34 houses and are aiming to go for a 35th(I assume you didn't mean a 35' house). Some work really hard just to make a living, and you should support them. MF DOOM is a great artist, but he isn't some rich guy living up in the hills. Generally speaking, when I find an artist I like, I buy their songs. There are some exceptions, but with options like the Amazon MP3 store I'm moving away from those exceptions fast.

I mean come on, if you really like an artist's music, $10 at the Amazon MP3 store for an entire CD(which is normally about 1 hour of music) is a small price, and completely reasonable. Especially when indy artists get a much larger portion of the profits when they sell their music directly from Amazon. I hear book writers often make as much if not more money per book on simply referring people to Amazon to buy their book than their publishing company gives, so I have a feeling the same could be said about most artist.
Although I do support sharing as in showing, I don't support straight out redistributing. The idea of sending a friend a song is great, especially on music they may have never heard before. There is nothing wrong with that, despite what the law may say. But I draw the line at mass distribution. Letting your friend barrow a harddrive full of MP3s to copy or even burning him a CD does harm some artists, and it just isn't right.

I do believe that the current copyright system is pretty messed up, as Lummox has already commented. It would be nice if copyrights were lifted after a few years. It would really brighten up the world with free content and allow people to be creative with other people's works without fear of prosecution. DJ Artists, for example, could have a wealth of resources to mix with, and they wouldn't have to worry about dealing with legal fees even if they aren't doing anything wrong.

If a friend recommends a band, and you download one song as a sample, I can't say I would argue against it, but if you download the whole album, unless you buy that album afterwards, you are doing an injustice to the artist.

All that being said, I have about 13GBs of songs on my iPod and probably only about 1GB are songs that I do have a legal right for. And of the other 13GBs probably a good 1GB is from bands that could really use my money. So I'm not trying to act like a saint.
In response to Lummox JR (#7)
Lummox JR wrote:
and the fact that most downloaders never would have bought the item in question to begin with.

I'd like to add that this is perhaps the most infuriating argument for downloading music. "I wouldn't have bought it anyway!" It conveys a sense of unconscious entitlement that just can't be topped. It sets up a reinforcement for not wanting to buy things: something you would've bought you don't so that you can use "I wouldn't buy it anyway" as an excuse to get it for free.

And, of course, the essential question is, "if you wouldn't have bought it, why do you deserve it?" Perhaps there's an argument to be made that listening to the music without buying it benefits the artist... but that's not what's on their minds. What's on their minds is, "I deserve free music!"
I believe downloading films is wrong. How can you question it? You are keeping money from someone's pocket. Money that could be used in the market, but I also know that everyone can't afford to buy movies. Sure I can get a few every month, but at the rate movies come out I can't afford to get everything I want. I love movies. I would pay for every one I watched if I could, but I can't. I don't view this anywhere near the level of mentioning along with the acts in those I wouldn't steal ads.

I don't believe we should be able to just grab whatever we want free. People put work into the product they are attempting to sell us. Even if they are overcharging or something else to cause outrage with their product, it is their right.

[edit]
On another hand, a question of exposure could be made. The file sharing systems are a great way for an artist to get his or her name out there. But I think that should be left up to the artist's discretion. Piracy will always exist. There is no way to kill it. It's an easy, free path to content. I don't oppose it either, but I know I'm getting what is not mine. I have no problems with that. If I get sued one day for it, I'll settle if possible because I know I'm in the wrong. Even if you don't agree with current copyright laws, they are what they are. It's up to you to change them. If you pirate to work towards changing the industries, more power to you.
Lets deal with arbitrary numbers for a moment.

Suppose you own a pressure washing business. You wash trucks for people periodically, and they pay you $50 to wash their truck. There's a total of 20 people who pay you to wash their trucks once a week, so you stand to make $1000 each week.

Now suppose Bob offers to pay you $100 to borrow your pressure washer on your day off. However, all 20 of your clients are friends of Bob, and he uses your pressure washer to wash all of their trucks. Now you have no trucks to wash for that week, and you're out of your weekly pay.

How would you feel?

I'm sure you wouldn't be loaning your pressure washer to Bob anymore.
In response to Tiberath (#6)
Tiberath wrote:

The problem with that scenario is, not everyone is willing to buy an album once they've heard a song they like. Most people (to my knowledge at least, I'm generalizing) would be more likely to go "hey, I like this song, I wonder what the others are like" and download the rest of the album. Once they have the entire album on their hard drive, they're far less likely to go and spend money on it. In reality, file sharing is mostly a lose/lose for the artist.

With most people, yes. But with me, I like owning a real hard copy. Sure I can burn a CD, but it feels fake to me. I like having the real deal. I'm much more likely to enjoy something that cost me something, than something I got free. It's always a philosophy that I've held. You don't really appreciate what you have if you didn't do the work for it. Not all people are like this of course, but many are. But for people like me, quick piracy gives me a chance to get to know the artist, and if I have the money I will buy it. If not, well I'll stick to my copy. I can live with and enjoy the copy, just not near as much.

Also, one thing piracy has definitely helped me out with is restoring my music collection. I have plenty of CDs that have become unplayable due to unfortunate neglect, and bit torrent helps me get what I previously purchased back.
In response to Soccerguy13 (#13)
Soccerguy13 wrote:
Also, one thing piracy has definitely helped me out with is restoring my music collection. I have plenty of CDs that have become unplayable due to unfortunate neglect, and bit torrent helps me get what I previously purchased back.

Local Video stores in your area should have machines (Disc Wizard is ours) that can remove scratches and hopefully restore the CD back to a playable state. I know using the one at work has saved me lots of money on neglected games and movies.
I used to download music, but not anymore since I now have a job and a better trained ear. The music they sell in online music stores is not the greatest quality and the stuff you find through downloading is even worse. It is all getting better, but before I consider on-line music, I want the quality to be at least that of a CD.
In response to Garthor (#10)
I usually use the "I wouldn't have bought it anyways" argument, however, now that I think about it, It's not that great.

True, I probably wouldn't have bought it anyways. I probably would have done without it until a friend lent me a physical copy, but I`m greedy and want to have my cake and eat it too. I`ve stopped trying to condone what I`m doing as right, it's not. I know that, I HAVE known that, and I really don't care.

If I do really like something I`ve downloaded, I`ll 9 times out of 10 buy it when I have the money. I do believe that the stuff I download should be paid for. The rest of it? it's just easier to download it. Will I ever stop downloading stuff and just go out and buy it? I would like to, eventually. Weather a movie or song was good or not has little to do with if it's justifiable to download it without paying for it. The fact is, people had to work to produce it, and they should be paid for their work. I know I hate getting screwed out of money, and I imagine you do too.

I do like that some companies are offering services where you can download movies and music legally, and I would like to someday move to doing that.

Thank you for reading my post, and although I`m sure there's enough contradictions, spelling and grammatical errors to make the universe throw it's hands up in the air and yell "what's the point anymore!?" and cease to exist, I`m really too tired to care. <3
In response to Tiberath (#14)
yeah, too bad those don't help when you've accidentally and unknowingly punctured the styrofoam cup of rootbeer that you just bought from Sonic. The one that is sitting in between the parking break and your seat. The seat which underneath has cd's in one of those sun-visor storage things, which for some reason you don't keep on your sun-visor. You then procede to forget about said cup of rootbeer for a week. You then go to clean out your car and realize that the rootbeer ate the labels of the Cd's, which unfortunately renders the Cds useless.

Maybe that's why I started downloading music in the first place...
The argument is also flawed, because we're not dealing with anything remotely similar to an actual physical object. We are dealing with data - with information. It is easy to copy. Very easy to copy.

But you know what the interesting thing is? The sort of casual sharing and borrowing that people do with things like music CDs, or even games, do lead to increased sales. I know I've bought games that were sequels to games I've played roms of, or just in the same series. Nintendo and Sony would have made less money off of me if I hadn't "stolen" a few games.
In response to Jp (#18)
Jp wrote:
But you know what the interesting thing is? The sort of casual sharing and borrowing that people do with things like music CDs, or even games, do lead to increased sales. I know I've bought games that were sequels to games I've played roms of, or just in the same series. Nintendo and Sony would have made less money off of me if I hadn't "stolen" a few games.

The problem is that its sporadic, unpredictable, and very situational. Which makes anyone making music off legitimate sales edgy, understandably so. Yes, spreading awareness of music increases the chance someone might purchase some of it. Unfortunately, that last step doesn't occur that often. Especially so amongst younger generations.

I did a study, as part of my final in my last year of what equates to a pre-Bachelor education (Above high school). The study sample was around 11,000 men/women ages 13-21 (with around 15-20, spread across Denmark. Here are some things you might find relevant/interesting in this discussion (Small facts drawn out from over 200 pages of raw statistics and cross-referencing):

* Almost all (average of 75%) music owned by the ~11,200 individuals was obtained without paying money; over 75% of the music obtained without paying was recieved through P2P/BT/FTP/HTTP download.

* All but 21 of the individuals who took the survey are confidential with purchasing online, and over 50% do so regularly (Monthly, bi-weekly, weekly or more). So we can rule that out as being a barrier.

* While every single survey taker knows what iTunes is, only 8% have used iTunes to purchase a song. And of those, only 5% have bought more than one song. 2% of the 8% of 11,232 (17.9) use iTunes to regularly purchase songs. And they are also all contained in the group of people who still purchase actual, physical CD's.

* Under 1% of the survey takers purchase CDs.

* Roughly 99.98% of the survey takers listen to music regularly (Daily, bi-daily or weekly). So we can rule that out as being a barrier. More-over so, for all of the statistics done beyond that single one, those who don't listen to music were discounted (As they had no relevance to the project I was doing).

* About 60% believe that paying 120DKK for a CD(Equivelant to $23), which is what we pay in Denmark, is too much. Only 20% of those will purchase CD's if they were cheaper.

* About 2% of the survey takers knew what DRM is, and of those 100% had owned or did own an iPod (Interesting, no?). Of those, 100% have at one point or another chosen not to purchase a song or album because of the DRM protection on it
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