File sharing: who will be punished?

I live in Asia where everything is pirated. I bought a copy of “The Matrix Reloaded” for less than a dollar. True, it was a man with a video camera in the threatre job, but it is a decent copy. I bought the original movie for the same price, and it is wonderful. I currently have over a 100 titles.

I use imesh and Morpheus, Morpheus for music and imesh for videos and software. I have downloaded stuff like Roger and me and Full Metal Jacket, stuff I cannot get here. I alos download the Simpsons and Star Trek. On Morpheus I have over 400 songs.

Am I stealing? I don’t know, and I don’t care. I would say to download all you want while you can because the film/music industry will shut all this down eventually and that is their right. Conversly, I am not going to pay Steve Jobs a buck a song when I can get it for nothing.

Get it now.


Actually, it’s legal if you use “music CD-R” media and a copying device that implements the proper serial-copying standards - see the Audio Home Recording Act. The royalty is built into the price of the media.

Tarantula said:

How can you possibly consider this to be ethical? Or honest?

Just thought you might like to know:


Doesn’t seem to be hurting Matrix that much. Hm… could it be possible for people to want the experience of going to the movies/buying the album/dvd enough to pay the artist for it as a way of saying thanks, even though the media itself is easily available?

So they aren’t really being deprived of any property at all - after their song is illegally downloaded, they still have every single piece of “intellectual property” they had before it was illegally downloaded. The only problem is that the pirate is getting something for nothing, and that’s a Bad Thing. But not if he hears the song for free on the radio; only if he hears it for free on the Internet. Gotcha ya.

Of course, internet radio is still being debated.

Maybe deprived was a bad choice of words in that specific instance (I was trying to avoid using “stealing” too much as it seems to inflame people). However they are being deprived of their ability to profit from their intellectual propety if anyone who they would normally be able to sell a copy of their work to already has a free copy. A film like the matrix is a bad example to use, if everyone had access to an internet connection of sufficent speed to download an entire movie the availability of pirate copies of the film would have had a bigger effect on box office returns.

Anyone remember the “Home Taping is Killing Music!!!” bumber stickers from the late 70s/early 80s?

SSDD… the chicken little story from the major label bosses. Blame your customers for your lousy business model and drop in profits.

If I remember correctly, artist get pocket change from their album sales, something like 100,000 sales are required to make any money at all. It’s concerts/t-shirts etc that give them the money. What’s more, people ARE willing to pay for music, even if it is readily available online. Just look at apple’s obscenely successful itunes. What people are NOT willing to do is pay $20 for one good song and 11 crappy ones. They’d rather just download the good one. Course, then you get the fans who buy the album anyway, but they do so that they can own the album in and of itself. Long story short, filesharing isn’t hurting anyone. even the record companies are still making profits, just not as much as they might like.

They’re being deprived of the right to control their intellectual property as they see fit. When you download a file for free without the persmission of the owners you are stealing. You rationalize it how ever you feel but you’re still a thief.


Let’s ignore for a moment that this is just a feeble way to rationalize theft. How many times have you bought an album with 1 good song and 11 crappy ones? I own in excess of 120 CDs and I can only think of one or two that had only one good song.


I downloaded Matrix Reloaded about a week before it was in theatres.

That was also a week after I had already purchased 2 tickets to the first Friday evening show I could possibly get, the day after the release.

I paid to see it in the theatre, I’ll pay to buy the DVD, and for now I’ll watch it on the computer. The producers, directors, crew, cast, etc will all make their money off of me, and I’ll get to review the movie in my pajamas without paying $5 for a small popcorn.

You kind of can, but it’ll cost you a couple of bucks in shipping too. has thousands of cds, from as recent as this year, for less than a dollar plus shipping. I’ve bought several still wrapped cds for at total of $3.25 each from them this year. I now own several full-length cds from recent “one hit wonders,” and some of the cds have turned out to be really good- the cds by Econoline Crush and Crash Palace, for example turned out to be great . If I could get all the cds I wanted for as reasonable a price, I’d buy many more than I already do.

You assume that:
A) The people who illegally download this work would have bought a legitimate copy if it weren’t available illegally.
B) The people who have illegal copies are unwilling to buy legitimate copies.

OK, how about these examples: Radiohead’s album Kid A and Eminem’s The Eminem Show. Both were available on the internet for weeks before their official release, and both went on to sell a record number of copies.

A right whose very existence is questionable. Clearly authors have no guarantee that they’ll be able to control the distribution of their works entirely: note the exceptions for fair use, parody, Audio Home Recording Act, and so on.

Certain “something for nothing” scenarios are legal, and others are not. The only crime here is copying a work without permission; no one is “deprived” of anything in any meaningful sense.

Oh, please. A copyright infringer is “stealing” in exactly the same sense as a jaywalker who steals his way across the road, or a Casanova who steals a kiss - that is, in a totally meaningless rhetorical sense, only useful for demonizing one’s opponents.

But the RIAA has already moved to make even that impossible.

I think there is another problem here, frequently overlooked, here by you, and also by others. The US isn’t the world. And even IF fair use WERE pretty well defined in the US (which, from my experience living there, I consider possibly the case on paper, but not in jurisdiction), the RIAA is moving to impose US jurisdiction on fair use non non-US citizens not living in the US through a)violating the CD-Audio standards and b)suing people not living in the US in US courts.

RIAA is. It’s not in their interest if music is sold record-free. Their massive campaigns against have threatened the option of many an artist to put their work out on the net with little effort.

So what you are saying is that stealing is ok if done by an industry association, but not by an individual? Cause, you see, record manufacturers have repeatedly been found, both in the US and elsewhere, to illegally have hiked the prices.

Because they gasp want to support the artist? I happened to have borrowed a CD from a friend by a major artist who happens to be from my home town. I liked it. I had the means to copy it. I didn’t. I am waiting for my next paycheck and will buy it. Because the guy deserves it.

And I don’t think it is a serious threat to anyone. While the RIAA has constantly claimed serious losses, it has failed to show any solid evidence on a causative relationship with file sharing. In fact, in several countries, record sales actually increased in the past years (e.g. France), and decreases elsewhere have been in line with decreases in other entertainment sectors. When the economy tanks, entertainment is one of the first things people save. This isn’t about people’s existence being threatened. It is, as clearly shown by the groups which actually did hop on the RIAA bandwagon, about putting your fifth Harley or the fifth Ferrari into the garage.

I think for most people, downloadable music falls into 3 categories:

  1. Music you try to avoid if at all possible. (no download, no loss of revenue)

  2. Music that is a novelty or nostalgia. You might record it off the radio, but you wouldn’t go out and buy it. Actually, had Napster not made it so convenient, I wouldn’t have bothered with the radio either. (Again, no loss of revenue) Yeah, I always wanted a copy of “I wish I was an Oscar Meyer Weiner,” “Convoy,” 10-4 rubber ducky, “The Streak,” “Don’t worry be happy,” and “Slim Shady.” One of them might actually get played over the next ten years.

  3. Music you enjoy by artists you already support. (Again, no loss of revenue.)

Whether or not unauthorized duplication constitutes theft I’m not going to argue. But I will state emphatically that free distribution of music does not hinder the careers of artists. It’s ludicrous to think so. It increases fandom. Artists may very well have a right to legal protection of their copyrighted work, I’m not arguing that. Instead, I’m implying they are stupid if they choose to do so. Below is a short list of artists with successful careers that give their material away for free and thrive regardless. Is it because of or inspite of? Hard to tell. But it works. Free distribution does not destroy an artist’s ability to survive. Note-This is not to imply that music they have recorded through the industry is copyright free or legal to download. I’m sure they all have diverse opinions on this. But they all allow(ed) their live performances to be copied and traded without detriment to their success:

AC/DC, Allman Brother’s Band, Beastie Boys, Beck, Belew Adrian,
Ben Folds Five, Bjork, Black Crowes, Blind Melon,Blueground Undergrass,
Bob Marley and The Wailers, Bob Weir and Friends, Brian Setzer
Orchestra, Butthole Surfers, Byrne David, Commander Cody,
Counting Crows,Country Joe and the Fish, Cowboy Junkies, Crosby David,
Crosby Stills and Nash, Crosby Stills Nash and Young,
Dave Matthews Band,David Grisman Quintet, Dire Straits, Fleck Bela,
Gans David, Grateful Dead, Greg Allman Band, Guided By Voices,
Guthrie, Arlo, Hendrix Jimi, Hornsby Bruce, Hot Tuna, Husker Du,
Incubus, Indigo Girls, It’s a Beautiful Day, Jazz Is Dead,
Jefferson Airplane, Jefferson Starship, Jerry Garcia, Joe Satriani,
John Mayer, John Popper Band, John Scofield, Joplin Janis,
Kimock, Steve, LA Guns, Leftover Salmon, Legendary Pink Dots,
Legion of Mary, Less Than Jake, Levin Tony, Little Feat, Los Lobos,
Mark Knopfler, Meat Puppets, Modern Groove Syndicate, Mojo Nixon,
New Riders of the Purple Sage, Pearl Jam, Perpetual Groove, Peter Tosh,
Phil Lesh and Friends, Phish, Primus, Public Enemy, Quicksilver,
Radiohead, Ratdog, Rice Tony, Rusted Root, Saunders Merl,
Seven Mary Three, Smashing Pumpkins, Sonic Youth, Soul Coughing,
Spin Doctors, Steve Kimock Band, Sublime, Talking Heads,
Tangerine Dream, They Might Be Giants, Toad the Wet Sprocket,
Traffic, Tragically Hip, Trey Anastasio Band, Ween, Weezer, Yes,
Young Neil, Zen Tricksters

That isn’t anywhere close to what I said. I’d appreciate it if you didn’t put words into my mouth.


Please see my thread on a new copyright paradigm. I’m not getting into “rights” again.

And it’s not stealing. If you steal, the victim no longer has whatever you stole. Stealing also deprives the victim of one of the Constitution’s unalienable rights: the right to own property. Copying music, however illegal, does not take anything from the victim, and only deprives them of the socially constructed temporary right of Intellectual Property. Different crimes, different names. I’d appreciate it if you called it what it is: copyright infringement. Not theft, not murder, just plain ol’ infringement.

Actually, the trend is toward disorganized distribution:


I enjoy knowing that the RIAA is unwittingly making great strides toward keeping anonymity possible on the internet.

Naah, they are trying to make even firewalls illegal.