Originally posted by ProfessorT
It's about time these torrent sites and illegal downloading of copyrighted material is stopped. It costs taxpayers more to combat and makes the
prices go up for the material for those of us who are hardworking and decent people. I'm expecting a backlash, which is fine. I just don't agree
with the attitude that stealing from people is right. I read time and time again about these people who have earned lots of money. The key word is
"earned". Just because they have lots of money is not justification to download their albums, films, etc illegally.
Here comes the backlash.
Well, you're certainly entitled to your opinion and I don't fault you for that.
I would point out a couple of things, however. Don't confuse 'theft' with 'copyright infringement.' They are two entirely different things, and
why one is a criminal offense and the other is a civil issue. Theft deprives the owner of the property. Copyright infringement, in this case on
intangible intellectual property, uses copies of the original property. The owner of the intellectual property is therefore not deprived of usage
(studios still have the film, musicians still have the music, etc.), and the damages come in the form of how much money, etc. can be proven to have
been lost due to said copyright infringement. With tangible goods....electronics, music equipment, etc., those damages are a bit easier to prove in
that people still had to purchase the copied item. That item may have been at a substantially reduced cost, however, making it difficult to prove
100% that every purchaser of the copy would've bought the original at a higher price. Case law reflects this. Furthermore, patents and copyrights
are usually wholly owned by the manufacturer, meaning that the actual creator of the product has been compensated in some form or another during the
Now, with music and movies the situation gets a whole lot stickier. First, despite all of the screaming and gnashing of teeth on the part of the RIAA
and MPAA, there has never been any definitive proof that one single red cent has actually been 'lost' to torrenting. Ever. That's not to say that
there isn't any loss, just that it has never been proven. I don't know about you, but I don't want to be successfully sued for an amount pulled
out of thin air. The only reason the big judgements hold up is because they have better lawyers and lobbyists than, say, you or I. The business
model is also entirely different in how it handles the creators of the product. For decades the music industry has given pennies on the dollar to
artists for CD sales. The artist's main source of income comes from live shows and merchandise sales (KISS has absolutely mastered this concept).
The actual albums are a promotional tool to get people to come to the shows.
The proof of how this truly affects the artists is evidenced by how many artists actually support what the RIAA does. Trent Reznor testified on
behalf of Oink! when its owner went to trial. Radiohead released their last album for free. It has become fairly common to hear artists at a concert
actually tell people to download their music. It's a really highly effective distribution model....which is what they wanted in the first place.
More people download and listen to the CD the band wasn't making any money on anyway, but they like it and come to the concert and buy a t-shirt. I
had a long conversation with Hugo Ferreira (Tantric lead singer) a few years ago about the state of the industry...he said he HOPED people downloaded
his stuff because it was so hard to get corporate radio to play any of it that they only way they got new listeners was through torrenting and sites
like YouTube. Look how many artists come out of retirement and do tours. It's because that's where the money is. And, as I mentioned previously,
not everybody who downloads an album would've bought it in the first place. In fact, from an informed but anecdotal perspective, I would be
surprised if that number
The parts of the industry 'hurt' by torrenting, if there is any actual damage, are the labels. You know, the guys who take $11.99 for ever $12.00
cd sold, with the vast majority of it just being pure profit. This is what I referred to when I said it was a dying business model. Most people have
at least heard of torrenting. Not everybody knows how radically recording and distribution has shifted in the last 10 years or so. Prior to cheap,
abundant desktop computers and the internet, it was pretty expensive to get an album recorded and mastered, and then you also had to figure out how to
get it on the shelves in stores. Now that's fast becoming irrelevant. You can cut a professional quality CD in your basement or garage with about
$2000 in equipment. Then you can put it out on the internet and sell it via CDBaby or even iTunes if you want. You don't need the labels anymore.