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AP Looks at Piracy, Misses the Point 406

TechDirt is reporting that the Associated Press has covered several stories recently about what a "huge threat" piracy is in other countries. This article, however, argues that they have perhaps missed out on the whole story by ignoring the other side of the coin. From the article: "the AP doesn't bother to mention how all that piracy helped created new and different business models for musicians in China that let them thrive despite the piracy (actually, in some cases, because of it). Nor does the AP bother to mention how software piracy helped boost certain aspects of the industry in China by decreasing the cost of inputs."
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AP Looks at Piracy, Misses the Point

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  • by CRCulver ( 715279 ) <> on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @03:56PM (#15662396) Homepage
    Since the AP believes its own business model is based on copyright, and gives bloggers who repost their articles a hard time, is it any surprise that they would defend copyright?
  • by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <> on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @03:56PM (#15662397)
    reporting on how well glaziers, builders, carpenters and building merchants also did in New Orleans after Katrina?
  • by daveschroeder ( 516195 ) * on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @03:56PM (#15662403)
    Misappropriating and/or "stealing" things that don't belong to you, or just flat out breaking the law (in some jurisdictions), is okay if in someone else's estimation it's actually "helping" them?


    Here's the problem: the new "business model" they talk about is that free music sometimes promotes something else (concerts, merchandise, or something new entirely). Ok, great. What if it's my music, and I don't want you to have it for free, regardless of how else it might "help" me? What if I've voluntarily signed on with a record label because I think that it's in my best interests (and no, I haven't been "brainwashed"), and that record label has a trade group that represents it, and what if the laws of my country support the protections of my creations?

    I love how in the story here recently, people talked about it as a new "business model" that the record labels and trade groups just hated. Um, huh? The Russian mob taking things that don't belong to them under the guise of a very weak argument that they can do it under radio license rules (which are designed, ironically, to get people to BUY the content, not as the mechanism for people to permanently obtain pristine digital copies) and selling them for 1/10 or 1/20 of what they sell for via legitimate channels is a "business model"? I guess if you don't believe that anyone should be able to "own" content like that, ever, and that the "legitimate" distribution channels are nothing more than a state-sponsored and -backed mob, ok.

    Has it ever occurred to anyone that the the content owners might need to sell the content for 2 or 5 or 10 times more than does to actually support the industry? If your answer is "no, they don't need all these ungodly rich Britney Spears types" etc., and should be able to sell it for just the costs of bandwidth, who the hell are YOU to decide that? Chances are, some of their promotion, advertising, distribution, marketing, and production is what made a particular artist - the popular ones people often pirate - desirable in the first place. And how is it even an argument that, essentially, you can "steal"/copy something on your own and get it for cheaper, and if it's more expensive than some arbitrary value you've set in your head, it's okay to just take?

    But why is the anti-copyright argument always the one touted here?

    And for those in the "copyright is bad on works that can be effortlessly copied in the digital realm", consider that "art for art's sake" isn't the end-all be-all argument, either. Have you ever considered that since economics isn't a zero-sum game, that there are millions of people who have indirectly benefited economically from the industries that have sprung up around, support, and are supported by, music, television, books, and movies?

    I'm not saying the trade groups aren't out for control, and maybe even aren't greedy baby-eating bastards. But this isn't binary opposition: it's not RIAA-like "thuggery", or no ownership rights at all. Where's the middle ground? And no, I'm not saying copyright should be perpetual and infinite, either. But can we ignore A.A. Milne's shit that's 75 years old for a minute as an arguing point, and talk about what's really at issue, which is brand new, current, and popular music and movies?
    • Misappropriating and/or "stealing" things that don't belong to you, or just flat out breaking the law (in some jurisdictions), is okay if in someone else's estimation it's actually "helping" them?

      I love how there's always someone who will bring useless arguments like, "it's against the law", into a discussion about what the law should be.

      • I love how there's always someone who will bring useless arguments like, "it's against the law", into a discussion about what the law should be.

        I love how supposedly-intelligent people can't realize that at some level, at some point in time, members of a civilized society must have some acceptance of a system of laws and order, instead of just arbitrarily and indiscriminately breaking ones they personally disagree with, if there is to be any value to a legal system at all.

        So, since all you could do was pick
        • what's your solution? No copyright, and anything that can be copied digitally should always be free?

          My solution would be to restore the balance..

          Copyright holders should only have the distribution rights to their own work, not the work of electronic and software engineers just because their devices can be used for "circumvention" of locks designed to remove publically demanded flexibility such as skipping manatory commercials and fair use format shifting.

          what solution do you suggest? continue expanding thei
          • I'm not saying that things like peer-to-peer networking or file sharing mechanisms should be outlawed, and never did. I don't care about those tools.

            But what about people who use those, or any other, tools en masse to distribute something to which they don't have rights? This isn't about BitTorrent being made illegal or The Pirate Bay being shut down.

            How should copyright owners be able to assert that right of distribution, as you note they should have? What if they (perhaps "they" here is a complicated netw
            • HOW, precisely, do the content owners maintain distribution rights and control over their own content if they have no teeth to do so?

              first off allow me to point out that bit for bit copies of DRM'ed media "en masse" do not require circumvention at all, and still work on all official players. Second I would like to point out that unlike casual users, large commercial pirate syndicates can hire engineers to crack it, that is.. if it doesnt get cracked by hacker camps who have succeeded in cracking everything
        • by MindStalker ( 22827 ) <> on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @04:45PM (#15662815) Journal
          I love how supposedly-intelligent people can't realize that at some level, at some point in time, members of a civilized society must have some acceptance of a system of laws and order, instead of just arbitrarily and indiscriminately breaking ones they personally disagree with, if there is to be any value to a legal system at all.

          Ok so if there is a law I disagree with I should encourage its change but not break it until its been changed. Hate to break it to you but thats just what me and many others are doing, I havn't illigally copied a piece of music sence the original napster (at that time the legality was undecided, and parts of it are still now). But you seem to think that if I simply post on a message board the positive effects on free copying (and your right, piracy is probably wrong to advocate, as it advocates breaking the law) that I'm some type of low life that has no respect for property and can not make a rational argument.
        • ...instead of just arbitrarily and indiscriminately breaking ones they personally disagree with...

 a certain powerful leader chooses to do on the slightest whim. The "thieves" you disparage are just following the example set by their "superiors". Many of us don't believe in the "Do as I say, not as I do." thing anymore. If you won't apply the law to everybody...equally, don't try to apply it to me. "Si tu fumas, yo puedo fumar tanbien."

          ...what's your solution? No copyright, and anything that can
        • Tell that to Dr. King.

          The only value of a legal system is when it preserves and protects the freedoms and the interests of The People. The law does not exist for its own sake.

          "Law and Order" for its own sake is not a virtue. It's tyranny.
    • But why is the anti-copyright argument always the one touted here?

      Huh? Are you reading a different Slashdot to me? Every time I mention that I might consider download Futurama episodes people get mad at me!

      You must be thinking of Digg.

      By the way most of the statements you made are false but I won't bother to explain why because it has been done many times before. Read the archives.
    • I see this as another example of two (or more) sides not listening to each other, and then the fringes of each camp come up with contrived explainations that back up their sides, refusing to to accept or acknowledge that all the facts are on your side. For the copyright infringement side, there's arguments like the claims made in the article summery, for the industry's side, they claim that every copy loses them full retail price, which is another absurdity as well.
    • But why is the anti-copyright argument always the one touted here?

      considering the stance you take on your post.. I believe you have the answer already.

      You seem to believe that these people should be allowed to control and regulate every other sector of the economy.. that they are some superclass of nobles who have a "right" to revenue. The question should not be weather the 99.999999% of the human population on this planet are not being prosecuted for piracy, it should be why 0.000001% of the population ar
    • which are designed, ironically, to get people to BUY the content, not as the mechanism for people to permanently obtain pristine digital copies

      Have you downloaded music from the net? Pristine is not what you get; it is what the record labels use as an excuse to not allow it. Half the time I get good, or ok copies until I buy the CD. Then I get pristine!

      Music that is cut off at the end, has 30 sec of music followed by static, plays half way through then stops due to a bad bit rate change, etc. Sure you can d
      • "sells" pristine digital lossless copies of pretty much anything you want for prices like $1.40 for a full album.

        That's the "business model" people think is so great, to which I was mockingly referring. It's not a "business model"; it's a bunch of people with no costs taking things that aren't theirs, and "selling" them. Yeah, great "business model".
    • by honkycat ( 249849 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @04:23PM (#15662639) Homepage Journal
      You raise some very interesting points.

      The thing that I think makes this such a difficult problem is that, it would seem, the music/movie/entertainment industry as it is and has been since the middle of last century (ie, since the advent of practical mechanical/electronic publication of music/movies/etc) is built on a model that fundamentally requires that high-quality duplication be expensive. That is no longer true. As a result, one of two things will happen. Either the system will be changed so that it IS once again expensive to duplicate these products, or the production system will change to be compatible with free or near-free copying.

      The legal wrangling that's been going on is all essentially trying to make duplication expensive. It's not technically expensive any more, so the powers that be are adding legal and social costs (through laws or public villification of offenders). They're also trying to make it technically expensive through artificial means (copy protecting hardware, e.g.).

      In my opinion, this is destined to fail. I don't believe you can achieve the level of enforcement necessary to rub out piracy (arrrrr) or the technical sophistication to outwit all the world's engineers who want to make a high-quality copy of a file they possess. The cat is out of the bag, technologically, and it ain't going back in.

      It's a scary prospect, both for the entertainment producers and for the end users. No one knows what a market compatible with near-free duplication costs will support. It's never been done before. The producers stand to lose a lot, since they can't predict where to go to protect their interests in this unknown environment. The end users also stand to lose since it is quite possible that the number of artists who can be supported will fall drastically. Of course, it could end up being better for everyone in the long run. But it's really pretty close to impossible to predict.

      Anyway, just some thoughts. I don't have any prescriptive answers for how to deal with this phase change. The best I can do is urge copyright reform to help society face up to the fact that free and easy copying is going to be the way of the future and hope that we can responsibly manage the transition.

      Oh, and screw the **AA. :-)
    • talk about what's really at issue, which is brand new, current, and popular music and movies?

      We no longer need copyright to encourage people to create new music. There are almost ZERO barriers to entry when it comes to making a musical recording. 50 years ago, you needed an expensive studio, you had to pay people to work the equipment, etc. Now you just need an el cheapo computer and a cheap microphone from Radio Shack. Want some proof? How about the 2 million+ bands on myspace? Or how about searchin

    • Where's the middle ground?

    • >But why is the anti-copyright argument always the one touted here?

      Yes, I do find it odd, as I would wager that a very large number of /. regulars work in proprietary 'content' development of some sort, but seem to be desperately in denial of this fact.

      I think the problem is that copyright gets in the way of what we want to do with technology, therefore it must die. I will not be told what to do with my computer by law, and god forbid me if someone tried to impose a technological restriction on me. I thi
    • Corporations exist for one purpose: to externalize costs, to make someone else pay. Piracy does the same thing. Corporations and piracy were made for each other. Payback is a bitch, and money isn't free. It all comes down to who is willing to use the gun first, and we all know who that is. Fuck them. Make the bastards shoot. They want to anyway. You know they do.
    • If your answer is "no, they don't need all these ungodly rich Britney Spears types" etc., and should be able to sell it for just the costs of bandwidth, who the hell are YOU to decide that?

      We are the market. It's called capitalism.
      Some artists have mass market appeal and become rich regardless of piracy.
      Some can't even give their songs away. It's all market demand.

      And in other countries not under the stranglehold of the US copyright system, where we cannot get our act together and supply what consum

    • What if it's my music, and I don't want you to have it for free, regardless of how else it might "help" me?

      Then don't play it, or allow it to be played in places where people might hear it. Nobody is making you share it.

      The issue is that once you've made it available, it is utterly absurd that people should pay an "industry" to issue a "sanctioned copy" when they can do it themselves for nothing.

      Enacting laws to force people to do it that way just annoys them and turns them into criminals, because the laws
    • People pirate obscure artists all the time, or they used to until sites like Audiogalaxy got shut down. There are tons of obscure musicians who's catalogs are owned by big record companies thanks to buyouts. It's not just not worth the trouble to put them on iTunes, it'll never happen. Record Execs don't want to, it fragments the market. Selling/Promoting one no-talent pop diva is far more profitable then a thousand real artists. Plus, if the pop diva gets uppity she's easy to replace. An actual musician wi
    • by ( 899244 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @05:52PM (#15663258)
      I am going to skip the usual wordy and subtle version of the "you have no clue" diatribe and skip right to my point.

      Copy right originated as the RIGHT TO COPY protecting printing presses from trying to put a stranglehold on production and allowing education to not be impeded by finance. It was the right for the people who purchased something to copy it for their own use.

      Extrapolate this now to modern era with media such as music and movies. It follows that I should have the RIGHT to copy anything I lawfully purchase. Any form of DRM impedes MY RIGHTS as outlined in the intent of this law. It is that I disagree with, and thus any laws that support it.

      As for maybe the **AA should take a clue from the success of this site and of iTunes and see that people ARE willing and able to pay, and they are telling the *AA what they are willing to pay. A smart organization would listen and adapt. They would say "Wow, people are willing to pay X amount for this in droves... how can we work that as to capitalize on all these sales" and "we can sell 100k copies at $20 or 500K copies at $10... how do we work a greater profit margin out of the $10 sale then?"

      That is what people refer to as the "Business model," not piracy as a business model (although many companies *cough* microsoft *cough* have made it one and cornered a market via piracy. But looking at what people are showing themselves to be willing to do and adapting to that rather than trying to force what the **AA as an organization feels people should be willing to do.

      I will admit to my own bout of piracy but have since realized it was not productive. Now I seek out means of legitimately acquiring the things I need at a price I am willing to pay. Wow... free market... what a concept. If it is legal for me to pay $2 to a company in Russia for an album in mp3 format I will do so. Russian law requires the artist receive a portion of this which I support. I see no need to pay the **AA to do ANYTHING. Now if someone proves the artist is not receiving their portion of the money then I will also support any legal action taken against the people who broke the law. Any artist who's music I have purchased is more than free to contact me asking for my assistance in this... or to make that argument publicly.

      Someone found a business model which as far as I know is legal, to sell me something I want for a price I am willing to pay. If iTunes offered the same price I would still buy from allofmp3 because it lacks DRM and I can do what I want with what I purchased, as I have a RIGHT to do. If iTunes offered the same thing for the same price I would buy from them as their interface is better and I have a slight preference to supporting US companies. See the pattern? Sounds like free market to me.

      Under no circumstances will I give these files to anyone else, as that is illegal and unethical unless I then delete them. As I feel I was charged a reasonable price I should direct others to buy it at the same place. It is equally unethical in my mind to prevent me from doing so. If I want to give a book to my friend for them to read I can do so. No one would dispute this, even the **AA, although they would like to. Why should a CD or mp3 be different? So long as I do not have a duplicate of the item when I give it, that should be a legally protected transaction.

      The difference between me and most is I feel an obligation to "fight the system" I disagree with but by simply not giving my money to those I disagree with. If you want to sign on as an artist with an RIAA label that is your right... just don't expect my money or for me to support you when ask me to vote for laws that impede my rights. Now if you want to sell me your album direct for $2-5 and pocket everything but the bandwidth costs be my guest, you will probably get my money. If your any good you will probably get my money more than once because I did not back up your mp3 before a HD crash or some such.
    • First, copyright infringement isn't theft. Courts know the difference and so do lawyers. Historically, the US is in no position to make the complaints some of the trade groups are making such as the classic complaint that only surfaces when our ox is gored, but not when we do the goring. The US copyright system has its roots in what is being called "piracy" here (without much critical examination of that language, I might add). The US copyright system didn't initially recognize foreign exclusive rights, so American book publishers were free to domestically commercially reprint Dickens' serials without paying Dickens, for example. Dickens didn't like that, but plenty of other people did.

      Also, some of the distortion in the argument proposed by the MPA, RIAA, and big book publishers focuses on the plight of the artist when it is actually these organizations that have no problem screwing these same artists in situations where illicit copying and distribution haven't entered the picture.

      Some forms of media we cherish were initally percieved as wrong: Radio, which you mention, was initially dismissed as "piracy". So too was cable TV, recorded performances of various kinds (analog video tape, analog audio tape, digital audio tape, digital video recorders), and sheet music.

      One thing seems clear to me through the years: the organized businesses apparently don't know their business well enough to be taken seriously when they claim the sky is falling on their business model, and it's not clear to me that the businesses are properly interpreting the intent of copyright.
    • The general population usually has a good moral compass. Throughout history, if a large number of people were breaking the law, it meant that either the laws were bad or there was an oppressive government in place.
      The fact that regular people in the US can justify some form of copyright infringement means that the system is broken. The classic example is prohibition. Prohibition was created to get the country on the "right track" my "well meaning people", but all it really did was make criminals out of r
  • by oahazmatt ( 868057 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @04:05PM (#15662483) Journal
    As an anime fan, I download fansubs. Now, for the most part, this is piracy. These are television shows that have been recorded or ripped from DVDs, give subtitles, and been made available for free trade online through P2P networks.

    However, it proves beneficial. Take for instance, Funimation. At conventions, the Funimation booth runs contests, and on the entry form you may list anime that you would like Funimation to consider licensing. They know these shows are being downloaded, and instead of condeming the person downloading like some other organizations, they ask if they should bring it stateside so that it may be introduced to a wider audience through American television.

    I would prefer to see many organizations take this approach. I would love for record labels to ask "what unsigned artists are you listening to that you think we should consider signing".

    Piracy can actually be used to a company's advantage at times, and too many seem pre-occupied with the short term loss of a $20 Ashlee Simpson CD to notice.
    • Fansubs are the one thing that i belive make the best point.

      many people download them and share them .. but that is for the simple fact that it is the ONLY way to watch them.. once they bring them stateside 99% of the fansub sites drop the files and most of the people (atleast the ones i know) go and buy the DVD's because they want to support it and want the nice disks and art and good quality..

      And i am glad to see (from what i have seen) that most anime producers realize this and don't go after fansub shar
    • There was an article [] on CNN not all that long ago about this issue. I found it particularly interesting because it contains quotes from people in the US anime/manga industry who claim that the activities of fansubbers actually make their lives easier.
    • I agree that fansubbing is a good example of how "piracy" can be a good thing for all involved. Bootlegging of licensed anime, on the other hand, is a real problem. I went looking for Haibane Renmei and various Miyazaki films on ebay the other day and was somewhat surprised to find that the majority of anime on ebay appears to be bootlegs. American companies like to whine about the Chinese pirating their work (perhaps for good reason), but not much has been said about Americans buying Chinese bootlegs of
    • In an ideal world what you propose would work. However, in the US things don't work this way. The recording industry for example is in it for the biggest bang for their buck and don't really care about their consumers wants or needs so long as they are forking over the cash. That's why to them piracy is so bad, despite the benefits from a non-monetary standpoint. This is why so many bands become one-hit wonders. Its more economical for the studios to pump and dump a band then to sign it for a long-term cont
    • I wholeheartedly agree. As an ex head of distribution for a major anime fansubbing group the one thing I've learned is...treat the fans with respect and not only will they respect you back, they will spend money to show their appreciation.

      While I cannot even begin to predict what might happen if the music/movie industry treated their customers with the same respect as anime companies, I can say that at this point it honestly couldn't hurt them to try. What's the worst that could happen, customers don't ha

  • American example (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NetDanzr ( 619387 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @04:12PM (#15662541)
    "Nor does the AP bother to mention how software piracy helped boost certain aspects of the industry in China by decreasing the cost of inputs."

    And nor does AP bother to state that the US itself explicitly encouraged the pirating of foreign works in its 1790 Copyright Act:

    [N]othing in this act shall be construed to extend to prohibit the importation or vending, reprinting or publishing within the United States, of any map, chart, book, or books, written, printed, or published by any person not a citizen of the United States, in foreign parts or places without the jurisdiction of the United States.

    Only in 1891 the US started protecting foreign works under the Chase Act. It serves to remember that the US justified pirating foreign works as being economically beneficial for the country. Even the Chase Act wasn't too friendly to foreign authors: it did protect their rights, but the Manufacturing Clause prevented their publishers from publishing their works in the US. This clause was removed only in 1986. It took the US 101 years to join the Berne Convention [].

  • Goes back to the old saying, "one person's pain is another person's gain" Of course piracy has benefits, but usually it only benefits the people pirating.
  • by sharopolis ( 819353 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @04:15PM (#15662572)
    TFA and it's linked stories don't really go into much detail about what the actual benefits for the chinese industry are.
    Can anyone supply some more information?
    It's easy to invoke the old arguments about a colapsing business model and the failure of big companies to react to the market etc. etc. but how and why are chinese artists better without a working copyright system?
    This isn't a rhetorical question, I'd like to know.
  • by hardwarehacker ( 748474 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @04:15PM (#15662573)
    You have a good point, but let's take it one step further. In a developed country, such as the US, capital (software in this case)is relatively inexpensive and labor is relatively expensive (ie why we have H1B visas).
    Now in the case of a developing nation, such as China, labor is relatively inexpensive and capital is relatively expensive. Numerous microeconomic models have different ways of combining capital and labor which yields output. The important thing here is that "cost" of captial goods are often the limiting factor for a developing nation. Piracy does lower this cost allowing developing nations to deliver capital intense (techy) goods at a lower per-unit cost. So one could make the arguement that by people in developed countries (such as the US) they are in effect allowing developing nations to produce good at an artifically lower price. However I don't see how lowering the price of music/videos much effect on a developed nation ...
  • by ObligatoryUserName ( 126027 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @04:34PM (#15662729) Journal
    Tim Wu just had an article [] on Slate last week about how China is trying to grow their own film industry.

    One of the interesting points: China has to orient (no pun intended) their films to an American audience because rampant piracy in China means that there isn't enough of a local market to support Chinese films.

    I've heard the same thing from Chinese video game makers, they have to make games that will sell in places where copyright is to some degree respected because they would starve trying to live off the money they can make in their home market.

    If everyone pirated everything we would have no Lord of the Rings movies, no video games like Halo or Grand Theft Auto -- we'd still have small indy films and subscription games like WoW, but piracy only works now because it's a group of parasites feeding off media that the rest of us pay for.

    • It's true. Hong Kong had a thriving film industry until the late '90s, when pirated DVDs started flooding the sidewalks and subways. Dozens of studios went out of business. Others went downmarket and only do low-budget cheap thrills anymore.

      Just one example of many. It astonishes me how many people here on Slashdot can't tell truth from fantasy even when truth looks them in the eye.
    • Culture isn't something you create, sell, market, purchase, and/or trade. Culture is something that happens amoung a people. You're eating up the line the entertainment industry keeps making that they "produce" culture, when they at best ride the cultural wave, making products that pander to, and to some degree shape, the prevailing cultural movement. The sucess of indie films, blogs, grassroots movements, and services like YouTube should be evidence enough that they aren't in control. If a large part of t
  • by catdevnull ( 531283 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @04:36PM (#15662749)
    Missed the point? You've got to be kidding me.

    Do the math: AP provides stories to publishers. Publishers are owned by large companies who publish stuff--like books, music, movies.

    Did you REALLY expect them to bite the hand that feeds them?
    Why would they publish a story that favors piracy helping people when they could push the agenda their way to protect the interests of the corporations pirates are hurting?

    Look--piracy is stealing no matter what kind of spit shine you put on it. Are the BSA, MPAA, and RIAA going a bit over the top about it? Yes. Does that somehow make piracy right? No. It's still stealing. Just because the AP isn't picking up on what some techblog mentioned on slashdot doesn't make them morons. I think we glorify our own technical punditry beyond the tempest in the teapot that it really is.

    It's never about what is the "best"--it's always about what's more popular. That's where the money is. Windows and VHS are testments to that. It's all about margins and paying off the share holders.

    The REAL story is going to be which of the publishers (movie studios and record labels included) survive the learning curve of the new business model--the computer as an entertainment hub. The whole MP3 thing blew up not because of piracy but because it was EASY and CHEAP. That's what consumers want--easy and a fair price. The content providers are catching on--hence all the TV-a-la-carte on the iTMS.

    Is it the best? Probably not. But is it lucrative? Hell, yeah. You don't have to be Warren Buffet to figure that out.

    It's all about the Benjamins, baby.
  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @04:45PM (#15662809) Homepage
    1) Real piracy is wrong, no matter what. There are NO 'positive effects', anymore than more allowing pick-pocketing has the positive effect of giving pick-pockets a job.

    2) There ARE real other sides to this issue. For example shmucks calling things "piracy" when they are just fair-use. Or vile corporations pricing things WAY WAY too much, then ripping off the artist by paying them a fraction of the profits, then saying that "piracy" is killing their business. Or those same corporations, understanding that modern technology will destroy their buiness model, do everything they can to sabotage the new technology then complaining when people turn to piracy, not to steal the media, but instead just to put get it in a fair/reasonable format for their MP3 player that the )(*@#$ labels did not want them to.

    • 1) Real piracy is wrong, no matter what. There are NO 'positive effects', anymore than more allowing pick-pocketing has the positive effect of giving pick-pockets a job.

      You're joking, right? Positive effects can stem from just about anything, so you're clearly overstating your argument. If there were no positive effects whatsoever, or if the negative effects dramatically outweighed the positive effects, I doubt that "piracy" would be as popular or widespread.

      From my perspective, when it comese to a pers

      • No I am not joking. Positive effects can not stem from anything that is at heart evil.

        You are making a bad assumption about "postive" effects and about the word "stem" from. Just because a person likes it does not make it a 'positive' effect. Pleasure a man gets from rape is NOT a positive effect, no matter how much he enjoys it. It is a negative effect - the guy should not be enjoying the rape.

        An evil act may create a situation where good is done, but not directly so it can't "stem" from it. A good

  • by Quirk ( 36086 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @04:50PM (#15662855) Homepage Journal
    Let's not forget the historical roots of piracy. Sir Francis Drake [], as well as being the first Captain to circumnavigate the world and an able Vice Admiral was also a privateer [] or a pirate by any other name. I think we will be said to have reached level one civilization when we have a world government and world courts. As an aside I think only when we have reached such a level of civilization will we be able to manage the Solar System.

    Contrary to the above our current state pushes innovation and geopolitical invention. While the status quo states of the developed world push IP as a last ditch form of imperialism, developing nations and "pirates" derive new venues by running outside the highways of the status quo.

    When these last issues are put to bed with one power group climbing into bed with others then the innovation that comes from the hurly burly of piracy will leave us with a status quo installed and fortified by international law. It may be that what is now seen as piracy is the last invigorated period of innovation we will see.

    just my loose change

  • Futurama (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MasterC ( 70492 ) <cmlburnett@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @05:04PM (#15662944) Homepage
    Ok, I guess I'm a bad geek or something. I just never watched Futurama. Perhaps because I can't stand ads so I rarely watch TV to begin with.

    That said, I didn't watch Futurama until I downloaded some episodes quite some time since the first run was cancelled. Then I downloaded the entire series and watched them. Now I own all four volumes on DVD and am looking forward to the next run.

    Maybe this example is the exception and not the rule, but the fact of the matter is that my "piracy" or "illegal download" led to Fox getting some cash out of my pocket for the DVD. Cash that they would not have gotten otherwise. At the end of the day, I don't care what the AP says or does not say: piracy has caused me to spend more money than I would have without it. I'm tired of crappy entertainment or lack of creative writing talent ([sarcasm]I can't *WAIT* for the remake of the revenge of the nerds[/sarcasm]). I want to use it and then decide if it's worth my money: if not I move on; if so I buy it.

    If I can't do that then I'll abandon/boycott/ignore the whole damn thing until I can. It's like being in the matrix and taking the red pill: once you snap out of the mindless, lemming-like world of the MPAA/RIAA/whatever-there-is-for-TV-networks-AA you take note of how crappy it was being Thomas A. Anderson [].

    And I'll watch nothing but TV ads & infomercials before I get suckered into the "you don't really own X any more and you have to pay $1.99 ever time you want to watch it." Sorry, but fuck that. Keep your damn blue pill.
  • by rucs_hack ( 784150 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @05:10PM (#15662987)
    1: Unreasonable patents caused early film makers to head out west to california, to this little place called hollywood, where they created an industry which makes billions from their product.

    2: Video recorders cause hollywood to become worried because people can 'illegally' copy stuff, and they try to kill it, but it leads them into a prosperity never before seen, eventually spuring research into the dvd.

    3: Filesharing causes media companies to become paranoid about loss of profit, then spurs the creation of online media delivery, again vastly increasing the potential profits of said media companies.

    I wonder what the next thing is that they'll fight till it suddenly turns into a money maker?
  • Just like there's a good side to piracy, Chris Rock found a good side to crack. For example, after midnight in the right part of town, you can get a plasma TV for $100 (out-of-box model ;)
  • by BCW2 ( 168187 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @05:49PM (#15663239) Journal
    Expecting a piracy story to give "all" the facts from both sides is foolish. The companies crying about piracy are the same ones advertising in that newspaper. = Lets play with public opinion!

    It's kind of like expecting a congresscritter to have a clue about anything in the tech world. Their campaigns are financed by the same companies advertising in the newspaper. = Let's get the laws written the way we want!

    Same story, different day - no news here move along....
  • not just in China (Score:4, Insightful)

    by m874t232 ( 973431 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @06:18PM (#15663384)
    Microsoft wouldn't be as big and powerful as it is today without software piracy. Even today, the fact that a lot of copies of Windows and Office are pirated is what makes Microsoft software so ubiquitous; if everybody actually paid the price Microsoft is asking, many people would likely switch to genuinely free alternatives.

    And I don't think this point is lost on Microsoft either; they could have easily piracy-proofed their systems long ago, for example, by making hardware dongles part of their PC spec. But Microsoft probably doesn't want to do that; in addition to the benefits that piracy-provided differential pricing gives them, this way, the company also has power they would otherwise not have: power to raid companies and force violators to do their bidding.
  • Metalica (Score:3, Insightful)

    by klang ( 27062 ) on Thursday July 06, 2006 @02:10AM (#15665231)
    The history of Metalica includes a lot of live concerts and a lot of bootleg recordings of those bootleg concerts. Theese recordings were the basis and reason for Metalica's success.

    Of course, a band that sucks balls, would not have success. (One can argue the point about Metalica, but a lot of people seemed to like them at some point in time)

    Will the world be a worse place, if the industrialized crop of music couldn't be sold, whatever the cause?
  • by cyberscan ( 676092 ) * on Thursday July 06, 2006 @03:28AM (#15665420) Homepage
    The U.S. Constitution made provisions for copyright (for a limited time) in order to allow society to benefit from USEFUL works. It was originally meant to give the creator of said USEFUL works a LIMITED monopoly on distribution. The idea was to make it worthwhile to the creator for producing USEFUL works by allowing him or her to recover the cost of creation and production. Much of the stuff that is released by the media cartels is not useful but rather detrimental to society. The reason why copyright infringement is so predominate is because copyright has been ABUSED.

    Another question one may want to ask is, "Can a person who releases his or her work so that is can be freely redistributed make money?" This is a question one may want to ask Linus Torvalds. Here is someone who has both money and fame for something he set up to be freely redistributed. The copyright issue is not going to be resolved by the courts or new laws. It is going to be resolved by the marketplace. If a cheap subsitute for petrol is discovered or if a cheap and simple way to increase the fuel mileage of vehicles is published, then the price of petrol will decrease drastically even if there are laws put in place to ban the way of increasing fuel efficency or petrol substitute. People tend to want to do what is right and beneficial - especially when doing so is practical. It is practical for some people to use and/or produce open source products. Many people make money doing so. It is also practical for many to use Linux. Other people find it more practical to spend lots of money in order to use Microsoft products. Microsoft products are pirated rampantly, yet Microsoft thrives on selling operating systems and office software. Open source software is also rampantly copied and shared, and companies thrive on selling open source products such as Linux.

    When I intend to use commercial software on a regular basis, I buy it even when I can copy it from somewhere else and use it for free. I bought Windows XP and use it on one (of 32 computers I own) computer. If I have to replace the motherboard on the computer and Microsoft refused to reactivate Windows, I would download a hack to reactivate Windows XP without hesitation and not feel a bit guilty for doing so. Is this considered copyright infringement? YOU BET IT IS!!! However, I bought the product and refuse to be ripped off. Would I copy the Windows XP CD and give it to another? No, I would not. However, I do not consider copying Windows 98 and redistributing it wrong (No, I haven't done so) because of the fact that 1. Microsoft no longer sells '98 or supports it and 2. Microsoft has had over seven years exclusive copyright in order to make is money back as well as a handsome profit.

    A LIMITED copyright on USEFUL works serves both producer and consumer very well, however, when the balence of power shifts entirely to the copyright owner and copyright becomes unlimited then there will be a backlash when it is feasable. This backlash is occuring in the music, software, and movie industries. Copying can be beneficial to both copyright owners as well as customers. I both download for free and purchase music, movies, and software. I do not however, buy product from members of the RIAA, BSA, or MPAA. I do not like bullies nor will I support them.

"Let every man teach his son, teach his daughter, that labor is honorable." -- Robert G. Ingersoll