File sharing: who will be punished?

Since individuals have are now being looked into instead of just filesharing companies, how far do you think it will go before file sharing is ended completely, or record companies just stop trying.

It will be hard prosecuting millions for one crime. Even in the trial process it will be hard to find an unbiased juror, towards one side or the other.

they can never win, no matter how much money they try to spend on bribing senators to get DRM mandated in everything that runs on electrons. As long as my ears can hear it, i can share it, and so can the other 6 billion people on this planet (or at least, those with a connection). They’re delusional. Frankly I think after a few years enough people will be fed up with the RIAA/MPAA crap that a non-commercial use exception will be added to the copyright law. In the meantime, though, they’ll keep trying to “make examples” out of pimply teenagers thinking that it will stop even a megabyte of transfers.

I think making a few examples will indeed stop a lot of people from file sharing.

Nope, I doubt it, it will just make illegal filesharing cooler to folk, it will lead to organised downloading and distribution.

All that will happen is that people will by DVD’s from naughty dealers loaded with Gb’s of copyright material, it will be a massive boost to such people.

The record companies will learn that they
Don’t mess with a computer scientist,

For (s)he has the power to make them look
Like criminals, or just cease to exist.

It will be a war of encryption and decryption - never ending, unless analog makes a comeback. Kind of sad that we will no longer have total control of our computers.

Also something else I have wondered, just because something is easy to copy, does that mean it should get special protection?

Only for selling the copies (by the copier). Noncommercial copying is what should get special protection. Even if it takes 1/1000th of a second to make a completely perfect copy and send it across the world.

The DMCA treated ISP’s like the phone company in that MaBell isn’t culpable for bomb threats and the like. The push now is to change that. Make ISP’s responsible for the content they allow to flow through them. That would give media companies a viable target. I don’t think it will happen.

Weird. I’m starting to question my opinions on sharing. Not that I don’t have gigs of files, or that the record companies haven’t been raping us for years, just that I wonder; we’ve moved away from a society of smokestack pollution industrial age into a clean information age. A lot of our trade economy is based on media and data. A lot more than most dirty industrial countries that make the stuff we buy. I have to wonder if were not shooting ourselves in the foot.
I hope Steve Jobs plan works. 99 cents for unlimited unrestricted free use of a song seems fair. And as he said, if you go to kazza etc. there are numerous choices of the same song, some incomplete, some bogus. If it takes you 15 minutes to get a song, that would be four in an hour. Would you work for $4.00 an hour? Besides, by marketing songs individually, the industry can’t wrap a slick album sleeve around 12 shitty songs and single hit. The quality of music should thus improve.

So long as people refer to stealing as “sharing” someone will need to do something to stop them.


And so long as people refer to copyright infringement as “stealing”, someone will need to stop them.

frithrah, you are saying the same thing I have been saying for years now. I haven’t purchased new music in, I think, a decade, if not longer. I think the record companies themselves share in the file-sharing blame. Yes, there are many people out there who steal music just becuase they can, but I wonder how many more would still not buy new music even if they could no longer “share” it becuase the cost of new music has gotten ridiculous. The music industry, in my opinion, shot itself in the foot twice - when it quit putting out singles, and when it put 11 garbage tracks on a CD just so they could sell that one good song for $20.00.

I go the the pawn shop and buy that crappy CD for that one good song for $5.00. It’s still too much money, but better than when it’s new. The record companies haven’t gotten any of my limited music dollars in years, and it has nothing to do with file-sharing.

I would, however, be tickled pink to pay 99 cents for a single, like I used to do 30 years ago.

I think it really comes down to how they plan to put the genie back into the bottle. We now have the ability to make an infinite number of copies of anything that can be digitized and send it anywhere in the world. So far I have seen two reactions: Those who want to pretend that this doesn’t have far reaching implications with regard to the nature of intellectual property and those who are already making use of a post-controlled scarcity situation.

Look at the technologies that the recording industries keep pursuing… All of them are focusing on how to take this new ability away from people in the interest of maintaining artificial control over a market that is fundamentally changing. The argument being of course that without such controls there is no incentive to create new media, which ignores the fact that some people simply enjoy making music and will continue anyway. If you want to help support an artist then that is your perogative, go see their show when they come to town or donate money to them through their website. It is becoming less and less reasonable to expect total control over any bit of information you have created, that “horror” having long since escaped from Pandora’s Box. However it will still be reasonable to expect support from that fraction of the global community which truly appreciates your work and can spare some of their resources to invest in your creativity.

I’m sorry but file sharing is theft, you are depriving someone of their (intellectual) property without payment.

I would have more sympathy with people who genuinely tried before they bought and then erased the downloaded tracks. However everyone I know who file shares or otherwise pirate’s music does not do this, They keep all their downloaded music and once in a blue moon buy the odd album to assuage their conscience (usually one with some tracks they do not already have).

People who produce music, literature, movies, or computer games do so to make a living, the fact that they may also enjoy their work is irrelevant. The work a musician has put into a piece of music is no less real than the work a sculptor puts into a statue the fact that the end result is information and not a physical object does not negate their right to own it. All this does not change if you are dealing with a big company, stealing from somebody with a lot of stuff does not give you the moral high ground. It also makes it likely that other people will have to pay more for the product you have taken.

If you do not think that a product does not represent value for money, you can register your displeasure by not buying it. No one is going to make you purchase music that you do not want, if you want something expensive but do not want to pay for it that does not give you the right to take it anyway.

I think that many people would stop file sharing if they thought that there was a significant chance of getting caught, but it is unlikely that any reasonable method could completely stop the hard core of file sharers.

I realise that my view may be opposing that of the majority of other posters on this board, but I am sick of the fact that many people I talk too do their best to try and convince me that I should be embarrassed by my unwillingness to condone the copying of music, software etc.

** Enigmatic ** - as a major downloader of mp3s, i’ve got to say this. It’s just easier to download an album than going to the shop to buy it. As for them making “an example” of me - I’d love to see those record-company pricks try it. I also buy CDs, burn them and return them. And then burn copies of my copy for my mates. We’ve been doing this for decades with tape-decks, what’s the fuss now ?

As Azael said, the people who make music that comes from the heart, i.e. good music, will keep doing it. The only people that will suffer are The Backstreet Boys etc, with their Record-label written shite - and frankly that’s a win-win.

That doesn’t mean that people who make music that “comes from the Heart” will be able to continue to do so if they have to give up playing and get another job because no one is buying their music. It would be nice to think that people would be willing to donate money to smaller bands, but given that most people download tracks simply to avoid paying for them (in my experience anyway) I certainly wouldn’t want my income to be dependant on their generosity.

A couple points. Does someone own the copyrights to Shakespeare? Can copyrights be held in perpetuity? I just don’t feel too bad downloading Beatles tunes if the’ve been sold to Micheal Jackson. They are no longer “from the heart” but rather a business commodity. It is a grey area. I can see where an heir to an artist might have a controlling right to works. There hits a point where IMHO things should become public domain works of art.

I made it to 28 Grateful Dead shows. I own about 100 hours of great concert audio that was recorded off their mixing boards with their blessing. There are in fact 10’s if not 100’s of thousands of hours available all for free. They gave the stuff away. It didn’t seem to hurt their success and it never steered me away from buying a bunch of their albums. When music is really “from the heart,” it will always be supported. And not in any meager manner either. BTW. If anyone is interested in downloading/sharing great free music without violating copyright laws, try


That’s gotta be the looniest justification of the “copyright infringement = theft” argument I’ve ever heard. If I download the new Eminem track from Kazaa, no one has been deprived of anything! Eminem’s record company still has the master tapes, Sam Goody and Best Buy still have Eminem CDs on the shelves, and the person I downloaded the file from still has a copy.

Please, enlighten me: Who has been “deprived” of his intellectual property in this scenario?

The owner(s) of the intellectual property are being deprived of their right to distribute it as they see fit.


I think that much of the problem now stems from the position taken by the RIAA, who is reaping much of the consequences of sticking its head in the sand as new technology was spawned and in trying to prevent MP3 technology, etc. instead of taking advantage of it.

They have now tried to move the debate to one of “theft.” There are practical problems with the philosophical element of this debate. If I buy a cd, and tape it or burn a copy on a cd burner that is not part of a computer, but is a stereo component, then there is no debate that this is legal. If I make 1,000 copies or even a 1,000,000 copies and give them away without charging any money, then this is legal.

If, however, I burn one cd with a burner that is not a standalone stereo component, but is attached to a computer, I am now a thief according to the RIAA. So if I buy a cd, make a million copies on my stereo, that is ok. If I make a single copy on my computer, I am a thief. There is an inherent disconnect in logic there.

Without a doubt, the issue needs to be addressed with specificity in the law, and the DMCA has not been tested or really interpreted consistently such that anyone really knows what it ultimately means, and I believe that once it has been, it will still need to be replaced with legislation that actually had some thought put into it. The RIAA has lost in certain courts based on its interepretation, and has won in certain courts based on its interpretation. The ninth circuit does not speak for the entire country, nor does a single district judge. Until the Supreme Court rules, what constitutes fair use in the digital age will remain in limbo.

The great shame for the independent developers of ebooks, programs and the like is that it is likely the RIAA that will be their only spokesperson. I think this would be something like having Saddam Hussein be your spokesman for human rights. There certainly needs to be reasonable protection for intellectual property, and consideration given to the new challenges posed by digital technology. One of the problems is that publishers and distributors want to charge as much for things that cost them almost nothing to produce, such as ebooks, as they do for the printed copies, which are far more expensive to produce. (I am talking about the actual product production, not the cost of development). In so doing, they leave themselves open to those who are willing to take the time and effort to reduce physical media to digital form and give it away. If instead, they were willing to make their charges reasonable, they might just find they would make even more money.

As a final note, I think the effects of file sharing are way overblown. Much of what is downloaded is listened to once or twice and put away, deleted or simply stored, but never used. To avid fans of particular artists, there is nothing like having the original cd, the original jacket, etc. CDs will sell regardless of file sharing. What won’t sell are single songs that are novelties or are the sole quality work on a cd of substandard performances.

Record labels will find ways to offer more value for purchasers of the originals, and to make money from songs and albums download from the internet. When they begin to do so in a serious way, I believe they will find that the current situation is an old story with a new book cover. Just as vcrs did not bring about the end of the creative world, as was so widely predicted, neither will file sharing. It will actually be a new profit center to forward thinking and creative companies.


Actually that isn’t legal. You’re free to make a backup copy for your own personal use but you’re not suppose to give those copies away. The same goes for computer software.


I always thought fair use was pretty well defined. The digital age only changes the ease of making copies and distributing them. This won’t be limited to music for very long. People are already downloading high quality copies of movies, television programs, and even books off of the internet. If it is ok to download music it doesn’t take a big leap to say that it is ok to download anything else you can.


Who’s working to stop artist from putting their work out on the internet?


I’ve heard this justification many times for file “sharing” since the earliest days of computer piracy. It is simply a way for people to justify their actions. “If they wern’t so expensive I wouldn’t steal from them.”


Why would people buy the product if they can just get it for free from other places?


That’s quite possible. I don’t think that file stealing is the biggest threat to civilization as we know it.