According to your model banks should pay to put away robbers and families should pay the millions in legal fees to prosecute, detain, and execute a murderer.
"How much of file sharing is for profit?"
You'd be surprised. End users may not make any money, but the p2p programs sure do, some in extremely nefarious ways. Oh, and let's face it, p2p file sharing services may hide behind portraying themselves as legit services that *could* be used by a few individuals for illegal purposes, but the truth is that there are virtually no *legit* users. 99.9% of content on these networks is pirated
Given the vast resources of the RIAA there are much easier, and probably cheaper, ways to address this problem. Simply flood the network with bogus downloads, millions and millions of them. It would be possible to make it so hard to find real results that users would give up. Just imagine having to download 100+ files before you get the song you want..
|According to your model banks should pay to put away robbers and families should pay the millions in legal fees to prosecute, detain, and execute a murderer. |
Nowhere was that suggested or implied.
|Simply flood the network with bogus downloads, millions and millions of them. It would be possible to make it so hard to find real results that users would give up. Just imagine having to download 100+ files before you get the song you want... |
Sounds good, so why not take those actions instead? Make the PITA cost high enough and its worth paying for a song or software or whatever instead of spending days trying to pull a free copy that works.
Sure it was. You posed the question "How would all this change for those demanding huge penalties, if those lobbying for those penalties had to pay for the enforcement?". How is that different then asking how the legal system would change if victims had to pay for enforcement? How can you justify having victims of online piracy having to pay for the legal expenses incurred to prosecute the crime while not asking WalMart to pay to prosecute a shoplifter? Again, it goes to the mentality that somehow online piracy is a victimless crime and in a completely different class then all other forms of theft
As for flooding the networks, yes this is a good idea and one that should be pursued. But, that doesn't mean the laws should not be there to fall back on, especially to go after the big violators. Robbing a bank is no less illegal just because banks use safes and take other security measures to discourage attempts. The same should be true for online piracies.
[edited by: KevinD at 7:20 pm (utc) on April 13, 2008]
"As for flooding the networks, yes this is a good idea and one that should be pursued"
It's been done and doesn't work for torrents, usernet, irc and direct connect, as they are easily filtered and blacklisted. Flooding the fasttrack protocol kazaa, limewire etc is one of the reasons that nobody uses them anymore.
Funny, I was researching Limewire recently (work related in fact) and, just to test it, downloaded a pile of stuff without a single corrupt or useless file, so obviously it's not being done anymore. As for filtering torrents and such, there are ways around the filters to pollute with junk.
It sounds like there are steps the industry could take to handle this on their own that are not being taken that could be very effective but for some reason are not being taken. Its probably cheaper and easier to push the responsibility off to the government which we can be pretty sure isn't going to solve the problem.
It sounds like the problem is the file sharing networks and the money from this activity is made by the network. If the networks don't make money from the software and hardware they post then it must be from spyware and adware that comes bundled with the downloads so the downloader already incurs an indirect cost that might include ID theft, a slower computer or something else. Shut down the network and the individuals can't download the files. Wouldn't the penalty be better targeted at this level?
Stores and banks take steps to prevent theft, people do things to protect their homes from burglars, it sounds like the RIAA either doesn't understand what they could do to help themselves or just wants to push the burden off to the tax payer.
There needs to be a cost benefit analysis to society when figuring out penalties for crimes. If we are talking about capital crimes then we'd probably all agree that those deserve a much more harsh penalty (or much more help to rehab to become a productive member of society - another whole debate). Murder or bank robbery is a much more serious crime against society than helping yourself to a song or piece of software off the Internet. If there is enough of a cost from companies flooding the networks with bogus stuff and the networks bundling stuff that will screw up your computer or your identity, then more people who do have the money to buy will see the cost of purchasing the file as a better deal than trying to chase it down for free.
Moral beliefs aside, how do the economics really play out in this arena? If the per capita income in China is $2.00 a day and MSFT Windows costs $300 or a song is $1.00, then what do any of these companies lose if everyone in China pirates the software? It is really pricing segmentation without MSFT or a record company having to publicly offer their products at $1.00 for Windows or $0.01 for a song in which case everyone would go, well if you can sell it to them for $1.00 then I'm not going to pay $300 for it.
Back to a previous question - Did sales drop when the person posted the code to the program you offer?
Why not go after that person who posted the code instead of preferring to target people who downloaded it?
I'd be pissed if someone did that with my product but at the same time if sales didn't drop and there was no noticable negative business effect, what is more important that moral compass that someone benefitted from my work w/o compenstion or that despite that I'm still making a the same amount of money from it (or more) but those f$##%ers and pirating it.
It sounds like you will be much more prepared to deal with this type of thing in the future and people won't be able to take a code and post it for anyone to unlock the programs in the future.
"it must be from spyware and adware that comes bundled with the downloads"
Yup, it sure does. One of the things my program does is block p2p file sharing programs (it's an access control utility). For research I installed about 2 dozen p2p programs and ended up with more then 100 viruses and spyware programs. This was just from installing them, not using them or downloading anything. And of course Kazaa "steals" your unused processor cycles in their "distributed processing" network, or at least it used to
"...bank robbery is a much more serious crime against society than helping yourself to a song or piece of software off the Internet"
Is it really? Perhaps only in perception because bank robbery is generally a large sum by taken in one action, but in terms of overall impact piracy is bigger by a huge margin. What if instead of a single burglar taking a million 1,000,000 customers each took only $1? Is the overall impact any less to the bank? How is downloading less of an impact then if someone walked into Sony studios and physically took a couple million bucks worth of DVDs?
"Back to a previous question - Did sales drop when the person posted the code to the program you offer?"
Yes, but not by a huge amount. But, the reality is that the immediate impact may not be a good measure since many of these individuals could have purchased over time and their impact could easily be lost in monthly sales fluctuations. The truth is that there is no way to know for sure how many actual sales have been lost.
As for going after the individual that posted the license I have looked into this extensively. The first roadblock is finding a lawyer to take it on contingency bases since law firms that specialize in this type of thing charge over $400 an hour, and I can't afford the 20-30k it would cost to bring a suit. Having managed to find a lawyer who was willing to investigate the potential I soon found out that the individual in question simply doesn't have enough assets to make it worthwhile, especially for a contingency based case. I would never recover my 30k even if I paid for it myself. Quite simply it costs a lot of money to sue someone. If I had the resources I would go after this guy for a huge sum, even though it would never pay out, just to get the media attention for how you can be liable for #*$! like this and maybe make a couple people think twice about sharing reg codes. Ironically I am in an extremely unique position in that I can identify the culprit and can show real damages, something very rare in cases of piracy, but overall it doesn't really matter. At this point about the only thing I can do is have a lawyer draft a letter and hope if nothing else it scares the #*$! out of this guy, even if there is no monetary compensation. This happened recently, so I'm still looking at options
|Is it really? Perhaps only in perception because bank robbery is generally a large sum by taken in one action, but in terms of overall impact piracy is bigger by a huge margin. What if instead of a single burglar taking a million 1,000,000 customers each took only $1? Is the overall impact any less to the bank? How is downloading less of an impact then if someone walked into Sony studios and physically took a couple million bucks worth of DVDs? |
Perception is the key here. If someone steals a dollar from a bank, the bank has lost the value of that dollar and has incurred losses that the robber gained.
If I write a software app and someone cracks a copy of it, I might have lost a sale, I might not have. If people are pirating my software and I don't know it and I'm selling a lot of it and am happy with it and making a nice living at it and I never find out about it, what did I really lose? My knowledge and the value of it were used by someone else w/o compensation and they definitely gained (at least the knowledge of whether or not my software was of any use to them) but I didn't lose anything that was at one time in my possession or of use to me unless they slap a new interface on it and start competing with me.
I've not lost any inventory, no one has taken any money from me that I know I'm missing. Even if I wanted to take stock of my business, my inventory, etc... I would not be able to find anything missing. If a tree falls in the woods does it make a sound if I'm to far away to hear it?
Might be worth having a lawyer write the letter. If there is any way the local media will pick up the story that could be effective. They seem to love anything that scares people about the Internet be it MySpace, YouTube or something that affects local businesses. Hope it all works out and that incident solves the problem and gets more people to buy either cause they got to try it or now they have to buy it to get it to work!
Ok, does that mean it's acceptable to photocopy a book you had no plans to buy? What if you just go into your local Chapters, buy a book, bring it home and copy or scan it, and then return the book? Is that ok?
The fact is that music and software piracy DOES have the same effect as walking in and physically stealing from a store. A lost sale is a lost sale and can have equally as devastating effect. One only has to look at the plethora of music stores that have gone under recently, all because people have turned away from buy CDs to downloading their music. Locally we've lost a well known and respected chain with more then 100 retail outlets that was around for more the half a century.
I would love to avoid the whole issue my making my software available for free and make money off advertising, but these days there is such an outcry about "adware", even clean adware that doesn't have any nefarious intents, that it's virtually impossible
[edited by: KevinD at 10:44 pm (utc) on April 13, 2008]
The ability to copy and mass distribute software by normal people is now part of the marketplace, you have to factor that in your business model. Windows is the most copied piece of software and yet they do not make a loss every year.
You need to change your business model with the times, there are more than 2 ways to make money writing software.
It's called shrinkage in the traditional market and is simply the realization that theft happens and has to be considered an unavoidable loss. That doesn't mean it is acceptable to have to endure loss through theft and doesn't mean that violators should not be prosecuted. Ironically those who would condemn the idea of banning the worst violators from any form of net access would probably consider it ok to ban a teenager who has been repeatedly caught shoplifting from a mall. And let's face it, the Internet is about 90% shopping mall.
Yes, Windows has previously been the most copied software, but not anymore. MS has taken steps to curb piracy, making it virtually impossible to use a pirated copy of Vista. Of course there has been a ridiculous outcry by even legit Windows users. It seems that even users that have no intention of pirating software are against attempts by software providers to protect their software.
And, also consider that the cost of theft is eventually passed on to the consumer. Perhaps that's part of the reason why Windows is so expensive and pop concerts are outrageously costly. Have you considered that you could very well be paying for someone else's free music?
Any justification for software and music piracy is pretty much a cloaked attempt to justify ones own actions. None of us like to think of ourselves as thieves, but even I'll admit that in the past I have taken part in these activities. And yes, I do consider myself as having stolen.
|Ok, does that mean it's acceptable to photocopy a book you had no plans to buy? What if you just go into your local Chapters, buy a book, bring it home and copy or scan it, and then return the book? Is that ok? |
You can do the same thing at a library. B&N even sets up the store so people can some in lounge around and read for free with no obligation to buy anything. They seem to be doing ok.
|One only has to look at the plethora of music stores that have gone under recently, all because people have turned away from buy CDs to downloading their music. Locally we've lost a well known and respected chain with more then 100 retail outlets that was around for more the half a century. |
Same here. One way to guage the net effect of that would be total music sales. Every time a Sam Goody goes bust, Apple stock probably goes up a notch. The whole financial debate could probably be put to rest by looking at industry numbers for sales, revenue, profits, margin, etc... The whole moral debate and the cost of enforcement or the lack thereof will always be up for debate. The small bookstores still around offer things like service that keep people coming back.
|None of us like to think of ourselves as thieves, but even I'll admit that in the past I have taken part in these activities. And yes, I do consider myself as having stolen. |
Raise your hand if you haven't:) and now enforce no net access punishment for everyone who has helped themselves to free software or music that wasn't supposed to be free. Probably a large majority of the 20 or so percent of people who account for 80% of the online searches and sales would have to start driving to the mall to buy everything. :)
|In the US you are free to let someone use, copy or listen to a CD you bought, ..... |
They can't make copies of it, you're entitled to a single copy for playing. You'd have to sell or give them the disc. Any copies you had would have to be destroyed. Technically I believe if you own a disc and are playing it in your house and your wife is out in the car listeneing to a copy of that disc you'd be in violation of the law. If you aren't the RIAA certainly would like it to be that way.
One of the issues with many of these things is none of it has ever been tested in a court of law, for example there is no clear law on whether you can make a copy of of non encrypted commercial DVD beccuae 99.9% of them are protected in some way. The DMCA prevents the breaking of the encryption, it doesn't say you can't make a copy if its not encrytpted...
The RIAA and record companies missed the boat years ago , you only need to look at the success of the recent release of Radiohead's album online to see that. Fact is people paid for the album and songs without being forced to do it. The reasons for that success had a lot to do with the fact it was easy to download via their server or P2P and the consumer got a hassle free DRM free digital download at a reasonable price. Offer the public a resonbly priced item and what do you know, profits soar. Hopefully more bands will follow their lead.
If the Record industry had taken that road many years ago we wouldn't be having this conversation now but instead would be discussing the enormous profits they reaped over the last decade.
|Fact is people paid for the album and songs without being forced to do it. |
You miss the point that people were already AWARE of Radiohead thanks to the music industry making them popular.
You find me a single instance of a band that's currently touring to sold out stadium crowds that got that popular ONLY from giving away music on the internet, never was a part of the music industry, and I'll give you that same crisp $10 bill that the tooth fairy give me when I was 8.
Not that it won't happen someday, but it's about as much fantasy today as the tooth fairy.
|You miss the point that people were already AWARE of Radiohead thanks to the music industry making them popular. |
Goldie Looking Chain were not famous before they gave away all of their album. Also I think Lilly Allen recently became famous by giving her music away on MySpace.
There is another girl too but I cannot remember her name at the moment.
Make sure that $10 is nice and crisp please ;)
Well I disagree incrediBILL, bands don't need the RIAA and companies like Sony/BGM to become popular. They only needed them in the past, they are parasitic dinosaurs feeding off of both the musicians and public alike. They are part of a time gone by when acts needed the investment required to distribute music. They don't need that anymore so that only leaves marketing and that can certainly be done without them too.
I can point out one act that made it big by themselves mostly because of their fans and lot of hard work, Metallica. That's a band that received about zero air play through their early years yet they are one of the most popular acts of the late 80's and 90's. They are one of the few mega acts of that era. They are not an internet band and I know its ironic because of their stance on downloads but I'm just using them as an example because it wasn't the music industry that made them popular, they made it on talent alone. I'm pretty sure there is at least one or two acts that made it through the internet before being signed but I don't have the time to research it now.
If the RIAA and the large media conglomerates like sony/BGM went away tomorrow the music will go on, you'll still have popular acts and you'll still have people that get to be known. What you won't have is the garbage being forced upon the public where being able to dance, having a pretty face and who has the best marketing is the most important thing. Instead musicians could get back to their roots and become popular based on talent as they once were. The musician would get paid what they deserved, the consumer would get a better value for their dollar ... Everyones happy.
Point is if many bands follow the lead of radiohead we'll see a drastic shift in the music industry. You can pretty much bet there is lot of current acts that took notice of Radioheads success, if they follow suit you may see a lot of up and coming acts do the same thing... there's always hope. :)
And still, none of this justifies stealing content, even from the big, evil production companies. And yes, there are a *few* examples of big success without production companies, but very very few. The largest segment of *moderate* success would fall into the category of Indie music, and you won't find too many excessively well known and rich musicians there. Talented, yes, they are extremely talented in most cases. Cheap to free, almost always. Well known, only among those who seek it out and are dedicated Indie fans. The general public will usually never know they exist, unless of course on of the major labels picks them up.
The same goes for movies. There are tons of low budget films that, in many ways, are exponentially better then anything Hollywood puts out. But only a tiny fraction make it big, perhaps one every couple years out of the hundreds made.
Let me pose this question: If you had a band that made it big without a label and without giving there music away for free would it be justifiable to download illegal copies of their music? What if you could know that by downloading a song you are taking X dollars out of the lead singer's pocket? Is that any different?
Also, another point to ponder. While it may appear that every download takes money out of the big corporate giants pocket have you ever considered how many jobs are supported by DVD sales? This goes all the way down the line to the kid working at the music store, with the majority of these jobs representing US jobs, not overseas jobs.
[edited by: KevinD at 5:35 pm (utc) on April 14, 2008]
|Let me pose this question: If you had a band that made it big without a label and without giving there music away for free would it be justifiable to download illegal copies of their music? What if you could know that by downloading a song you are taking X dollars out of the lead singer's pocket? Is that any different? |
I'm not trying to justify downloading illegally, those who own the rights to the songs should be able to impose whatever restrictions or stipulations they want. My stance has always been don't buy it, unfortunately the masses don't do that. Instead they continue to purchase and then turn around and complain about it. They need to vote with their pocketbook.
Truthfully IMO if some band made it big without a label I don't think they would have much of an issue with illegal downloading, the product would be priced reasonably because you wouldn't have all the middleman with their hands in the cookie jar. I mentioned in a previous post that your average band makes cents on a download, if they sold a single copy of song for 10 cents they would be making more than they are now. A more reasonable price would probably be in the 25 to 50 cents range.
Most people are honest and are more than willing to pay for music, again the success of Radiohead is a perfect example of that. The fans got a great deal and the band made a boatload of money. Surely some people downloaded and never paid for it but judging by the amount of money they made I'd venture to guess that was a very small minority.
I really think the amount of money lost to online sharing is over blown, most of these people that are downloading illegally probably wouldn't have purchased the product in the first place, may only listen to the song once or not at all. If you have someone with 10,000 songs on a Ipod all downloaded illlegally how many of those songs are they actually going to listen too? And again I'm trying to justify it but the music industry is not losing as much money as they claim.
There biggest lost has probably been to the CD itself, their bread and butter for decades has been to resell the same material over and over. I myself have owned the same album on vinyl, multiple copies on cassettes and finally CD. The CD however has been my last purchase because If I want a new copy I just pull it out of its case all nice and shiny and rip a new copy. There's no protection on it, its a high quality copy and I can do what I want with it. I have no need for any other purchases and there's millions out there just like me.
"A more reasonable price would probably be in the 25 to 50 cents range"
And I'm sure a buck is reasonable to, but if so why are there still illegal downloads with iTunes and a others around that offer music in this range. Simple, the majority of people who download illegal music won't pay anything, not even 25 cents. They are usually young, often poor college students, and have a sense of entitlement or a sense that they will never get caught, so why not. I'm not very far from this age range myself, so this isn't just "youth bashing". The largest demographic for illegal downloads is under the age of 25.
"If you have someone with 10,000 songs on a Ipod all downloaded illlegally how many of those songs are they actually going to listen too?"
Ask an 18-year-old and you'll be surprised with the answer.
Now if there is one thing that the music industry has managed that really pi$$es me off it's the "copyright infringement levy" on blank media. As it stands the recording industry is basically getting a royalty on my software when I provide it on disk.
[edited by: KevinD at 2:51 am (utc) on April 15, 2008]
Well I disagree with the cost of 99 cents being reasonable, you can buy it cheaper on CD at a higher quality and DRM free. You could argue you're getting value because of there is generally only two or three songs on a album that is worth it but what does that say about the quality of music being produced by these mass marketed artists?
|Now if there is one thing that the music industry has managed that really pi$$es me off it's the "copyright infringement levy" on blank media. |
It's my understanding that levy is only on CD's labeled as audio CD's in the U.S., I do not know how it operates in other countries. I touched on that a few posts back, that's only the tip of the iceberg. I think what should be more of concern is their attempts, some of which have been successful, to hobble or deny technology to consumers. If you buy a portable CD recorder or DAT recorder they need to be able to determine if the media you are using is labeled as an audio CD. Technology most likely licensed through the RIAA or one of their lackey comapanies. e.g even if you wanted to record yourself speaking or record your own music on such a device you're paying a royalty through the device and the media to the RIAA to do so. These devices are prohibitevely expensive.
This levy is not applied to CD/DVD burners in a computer or MP3 players but that didn't prevent the RIAA from vigorously arguing that they should be. If it was up to them any technology capable of recording either video or audio would not be in the hands of the public or at the very least severely restricted in its abilities. Their stance on this is well documented. A lot of people don't realize exactly how far they want control, it goes well beyond tracking and denying a few people swapping songs access to the internet.
There's numerous other examples where other devices have been hobbled and/or a cost has been added to the unit to protect the interests of of the RIAA or the MPAA. VCR's are a prime example, every VCR is required to be able to detect Macrovision which believe it or not is just and error on a video tape. This presents some distinct problems and costs to your average consumer, first of all a part of the cost for every VCR bought in the U.S. in part is going to Macrovision. This is something that cost everyone reading this money if they have ever owned a VCR but it doesn't stop there...
If this a genuine error on home made video which is very common many capture devices will see it as real protection and reject it preventing the consumer from making a digital recording of their own material. The VCR itself has been hobbled from attempting to fix this error itself.
Most consumers need to resort to special devices that ironically are made to circumvent the real thing but these are cheap devices and generally degrade the signal more. anything that can truly fix it costs $350 up.
This is just one example of what these people are costing your average consumer which has nothing to do with them. This is one of the reasons I completely agree with this ruling, the ISP and ultimately the consumer should not bear the burden for protecting the interests of the RIAA or MPAA.
|And still, none of this justifies stealing content, even from the big, evil production companies. |
Ok, so they can either take the moral high ground and ban net access and come up with other penalties OR they can look at reality and see that almost no matter what they do they aren't going to stop it and figure out how to make money from it or fight technology with technology on the web. Unfortunately the Internet is here and we can't stuff the geenie back in the bottle.
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