Dear Wukky, ‘Drop the dead donkey’ already!
I would also like to point out that I too remember the ancient days (just) of tape recorders. I even remember the lovely phenomenon of making your
own ‘mix’ tapes. It was a different world back then.
Let the evidentiary shredding commence.
I take your ‘Exhibit A’ and I raise you – some excerpts from ‘Exhibit A’.
From the ‘Summary of Evidence’ section –
On Zentner – “...but there are reasons to have reservations about Zentner's analysis and his conclusions...”
Zentner is the person that produced the 30% figure you quoted above. I would also like to point out that you are massaging your sources – that 30%
figure was produced (not by Zentner) as an explanation of the size of the drop in product purchase probability due to file-sharing. Zentners’ work
inconclusively used this source figure to produce further wild claims.
On Oberholzer & Strumpf – “...the annual industry sales loss due to file sharing is 3 million copies...”
As the supposedly strongest paper on this subject, it’s not brilliant. It is still relatively inconclusive, and requires further work. It also
shows with the above statement – that illegal file-sharing is DEFINITELY being committed, and as such, the moral boundary is being broken. Far be
it from me to call ‘normal’ file-sharers immoral – but there’s definitely an immoral bunch in there somewhere, and they should be punished.
On Peitz & Waelbroeck – “...The results in this case are very unreliable and should probably be ignored.”
This quote says it all about this paper. Your source even wrote it in bold.
On Rob & Waldfogel – “...our sample is not representative, so our results should not be generalized...”
No generalization allowed I’m afraid, therefore I guess this source is out of the window in this debate!
On Blackburn – “There are two concerns about bias in Blackburn's results .... One also has some reservations about estimates of financial
Peer review hurts doesn’t it? If the data was certain, I’d be happy to oblige you – we’re open-minded on ATS after all! In this case, it
isn’t, so I can’t.
On Hong – “I find that the quarterly music expenditure of the average U.S. household has declined by approximately three dollars as a result
of using the Internet and plausibly Napster.”
Whammy! I couldn’t have said it better myself.
I think it is safe to say Exhibit A does not contribute anything to your argument, but has really helped mine – thank you!
As for Exhibit B...
Oberholzer & Strumpf? Peer review anyone? Oh yes – I forgot I shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth on this one, as quite clearly this paper
and its’ follow-up state that “...the annual industry sales loss due to file sharing is 3 million copies...”
Critical Retorts –
Best Buy Price: $13.99
Napster Price $9.99
Putting aside margin restraints here, you and I both know this is an economic term known as ‘economies’. The digital route to market is more
efficient than that of the traditional method. Therefore it is going to be able to out-compete tangible media easily. The chances are that the
margins available are greater for both creator (not restricted to music) and the vendor. Given the market dominance and power of the few main vendors
however – can you really put weight behind your notion that creators, just like farmers, sweat-shop labour and others will get a fair deal? Perhaps
MP3’s need to come with a ‘Fair Trade’ logo like Chocolate does...
Or, perhaps fans of the franchise went to see the movie on the big screen anyway because viewing it on a laptop or desktop might not be the
best way to view a film?
I agree – as a fan of the franchise, I did indeed go and see that film at the cinema, for the experience, and for a night out. However, what did I
do when I wanted to watch the film again? I’m faced with a choice – do I go down to the shopping centre (transport and time costs) and purchase
the dvd? (Cost again, storage space required as well.)
Or do I simply download the DvDRiP.avi file that is conveniently in the form of a torrent file and watch it without ever needing to get up off my
sofa, and take off my snuggi? Decisions, decisions.
This up-to-date Times article sums up the situation nicely – and supports your point as well.
In the Game of the Year edition, they included a piece of software called the Elder Scrolls Construction Set, which allowed users to change the
game and include their own elements. Online fans of the game shared these files with one another. This is file sharing, this is also perfectly legal
and completely moral.
I played Arena: The Elder Scrolls, and Arena 2: Daggerfall – loved those games back in the day. I am familiar with the user-content contribution
aspect of many games these days. That’s an example of ‘shareware’ designed to increase the value quotient of a purchased game – therefore it
has no relationship whatsoever to illegal file-sharing – that is unless we start getting into author disputes and copyrighting of said created
articles, which has been known to happen.
If you really want to get into this subject, it’s worth mentioning and exploring the organisations set up to regulate and control this issue. Not
to mention the organisations set up to protect the interests of those being penalised by illegal file-sharing.
As this article shows – illegal file-sharing is considered to be connected to organised crime on the street. It’s not such a rosy picture now is
Secondly – this news piece from the RIAA shows exactly what happens when immoral file-sharing is let loose on a full-scale rampage.
It shows that most of the time the illegal file-sharing act is about one thing – getting something for nothing. On a side note, this case also
depicts how file-sharing can be used for malicious acts such as sabotaging product releases and artistic unveilings, substituting peoples work before
release, and more. Highly immoral in anyone’s view.
My opponent would like you all to think that file-sharing is a benign weapon of progress. Just like the West invading Iraq was supposed to be the
unveiling of a new age of prosperity in the middle-east, digital file-sharing has also brought with it some unwelcome guests. These guests seek to
abuse the new world of the internet for their own personal gain. Stealing things that don’t belong to them – without a single shred of guilt.
My opponent seeks to hide behind the debate subjects’ non-colloquial possibility, attempting to separate the idea of internet piracy from
file-sharing. The two are symbiotic. File sharing is enhanced and popularised because of its’ ability to provide (for free) anonymous people with
the means to acquire things that would normally cost them lots of money. Similarly, internet piracy is made possible because of the motivated
interest the public has in file sharing. The two cannot be separated, and as such they brand each other with their characteristics. File sharing
carries connotations of piracy because the two follow each other about, they are interminably linked.
I don’t believe the technical reality of file sharing is immoral, requiring punishment. But I do believe the worldly reality of file sharing
requires policing, and when the rules are broken (presenting immorality), punishment is necessary.
Socratic Question -
SQ3. My esteemed opponent appears to consider illegal file sharing with something of a ‘Robin Hood’ attitude. Can my opponent comment on my
suspicion that the position he holds on this subject is an eminently Socialist one?
I welcome my opponents response, and also their patience with my ‘humour’.