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Journal Journal: On Filesharing

-- this from actual posts to SlashDot discussions, for later use sometime maybe --

I'm not saying that filesharing should be made legal. I think, however, that people would pay for music if the distribution could be managed fairly. Most people who think they are doing nothing wrong are vindicated because buying individual songs is nigh impossible, even with iTunes and all the rest. Record distribution wasn't fair in the days of vinyl; tapes and CDs just made the whole process even less balanced towards the artists and consumers are starting to vote with their wallets and flippantly copy "multimedia content".

I think high percentages of people would really pay for stuff online in convenient delivery mechanisms. I don't think tax is the answer like the blank CDR levy in Canada. I don't think leglislation is the answer. I think the answer is the very technology everyone is so afraid of. Make the music available online with an easy way to pay. Those who want to copy for free, will anyway. That's what freedom is all about.

I was in a Virgin CD outlet the other day, looking for a recording, made by someone from Primal Scream featuring Kate Moss, for a colleague. It hasn't been released (yet). I was told maybe I could find it online. I would have paid for it in Virgin, had it been available. Similar analogies could be made for buying other music online. Most artists I like do not have their catalogue available online.

I am a musician, I have made money performing, but not from recorded work. I'd just be happy for people to hear my music, and some has (at some times) been available for download, completely free. I just do it for the pleasure, I earn my living elsewhere. That's how I feel about my music but I am blessed in having a talent to make money in the professional world and free time to make music which I can give away for free, with an open heart.

We're all asking more questions (about the filesharing and media distribution situation) than we're answering, but the key is that the technology that is available today is not changing anything fundamental compared to the copyright violations of photocopying, VCRs and home taping to compact cassette. But the quality of copies and speed at which they can be distributed means, of course, the problem is intensified; still, that also means duplication costs are virtually nil and the marketplace is immediately international.

Perhaps, ultimately, the only way that things are going to work is by honesty. Get full quality (320kbps) MP3/OGG encodings direct from studio masters if you pay. If you want crappy quality or second generation, and to do the band out of the money, well then that sucks but the harder you fight, the more freedoms you take away. A lot more people have gotten rich by ostensibly "protecting artists and works" than by actually creating them.

Music distribution is changing. Movie distribution is too. This is the great problem for the "industries" but I personally see it as a great levelling. I'm still not sure just how things will pan out, but I follow the whole thing with a lot of interest. And I get a bit pedantic about linguistics, rightly or wrongly, because I'd like to see more intelligent argument and vocabulary in the whole debate. I should try to spend more time better expressing the points I hold close to my heart. If you now disagree with me now, at least I have more or less exposed my true opinion in a more or less coherent manner.

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