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Simon Tam

Director of Marketing & Business Development, The Slants LLC

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What Do You Think About the $8 Billion iPod?

Rob Reid's presentation was recently featured on Ted.com and , "unveils Copyright Math (TM), a remarkable new field of study based on actual numbers from entertainment industry lawyers and lobbyists."

The music industry and observers, including Professor Ken Sanney from Central Michigan University are now weighing in on the debate.

Sanney argues that "Complex issues that are oversimplified and distorted for comedic value are enjoyable and even valuable in providing us with a respite from serious deliberation on such things. But, if these oversimplifications and distortions are presented as truthful representations of facts -- that are just delivered in a funny way -- they risk undermining serious discussions that can create workable solutions. This TED Talk is simply a comedic straw man ... not an idea worth spreading! "

For his full blog on why and an explanation of the copyright laws which weren't fully discussed in Reid's talk, visit here: http://musiclaw-copyright.blogspot.com/2012/03/copyright-math-is-joke.html

What do you think? Is the oversimplification of complex issues breaking down communication barriers or creating new ones? Does either side have a fair assessment of this particular issue?

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  • Apr 2 2012: Hello again, Simon.
    [S] I believe that you don't understand how copyright law really works.

    [J] I believe that you are making an assumption.

    [S] it is different than duplicating exact albums

    [J] Yes. What is not at issue is where a company makes illicit copies and sells them on, with the clear intent to deprive the originator of potential income streams. What is less than clear is when I copy some music and pass it on to a family member (for their comments so fair usage clauses apply?) so they can listen to it in their car and tell me whether they like the artist and want to accompany me to a concert.

    [S] someone just taking an album, book, etc. and without permission.

    [J] This is a bit too precious for my tastes. If one person has already purchased the art, they are taking nothing without permission because they paid for the privilege of using the artwork how they see fit.

    [S] copyright serves to protect the value of said information

    [J] copyright serves to protect commercial value... i.e. property rights. It does not assist anything to try and dignify the property by calling it intellectual property.

    [S] Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution

    [J] This is arrogance from the USA because it denies the existence of 195 other sovereign states. The USA has no claim to being 100% correct in all of its policies and it underlines the motive of the preservation of property and the right to extort money for it (qv RIAA et al) as I have alluded to previously.
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      Apr 2 2012: There wasn't enough space to cite all of the sources.

      International Copyright Relations of the U.S: http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ38a.pdf

      Why Copyright is Important: http://corecopyright.org/2009/12/01/why-copyright-is-important/

      Fair Use Doctrine: http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html
      • Apr 2 2012: Simon, I would have preferred that you made your arguments in favour of copyright laws without citing numerous authorities; thus imputing your arguments with an authority which they do not have.

        I am interested in how you arrive at the proposition which mandates the use of copyright laws.
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          Apr 2 2012: Hi Jeff,

          I'd suggest taking a look at the documents themselves; since I was referring to specific things (like how the law on Fair Use works), I wanted to include the actual law itself. When you stated that it was arrogant of the U.S to assume that our copyright extended worldwide, it was because you weren't aware of the international policies and copyright groups that were in place, so I linked to the actual policy in regards to that as well.

          In regards to Core Copyright, they' have nothing to do with the U.S Copyright Office, it's simply an online publication that provides educational information about copyright law/policies intended for content creators.
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    Apr 1 2012: Did anybody notice that Mr. Reid was funny? I mean, really, really funny?

    While I admittedly have not taken the time to read every word of every comment offered on this topic, I have noticed that most contributors seem to have missed the main focus of this TED presentation. This talk was a gag. It was schtick. Like rubber noses and oversized shoes.

    Of course Reid took liberties with the numbers. That's an ancient bit, older than Pa Kettle, for whom it was a trademark - no infringement intended. (Look him up, kids. Ma & Pa Kettle - now there's some intellectual property worth protecting.) I'm delighted that Rob Reid's comic routine got everybody thinking and arguing about something as important as creativity - but let us not go much further without at least a chuckle or two for a comedic job truly well done.
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      Apr 1 2012: Sure, it was entertaining. What I thought was interesting was the idea, oversimplification of complex issues being debated, and certainly satire such as in this instance, sometimes created things that could indeed be stranger than fiction.

      The numbers thrown out by both industry proponents of intellectual property litigation as well as those against it are generally absurd interpretations of the data to begin with. My hope with this discussion was that it would be enlightening to everyone engaged in discourse over controversial issues...though for the most part, it ended up being a roundabout about the validity of piracy and copyright laws to begin with. Now that's something certainly comic to me :)
  • Mar 28 2012: Pure nonsense. If it's "theft" to copy copyrighted files, then it also shouldn't be ok to steal $8,000,000,000 from a single person.
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      Mar 28 2012: Hi Daniel,

      Again, I point to the article posted - please read through that first. The law professor explains how the math on the video itself was oversimplified and taking copyright laws out of context. You don't owe $150,000 for copying/distributing a song.

      It's moot to argue about when the full argument being presented hasn't been considered.
      • Mar 28 2012: Many thousands of people get threatened with the hefty penalties even when they have only shared a few songs. It is not a matter of a few isolated cases. That article is actually quite crappy and leaves many things out of consideration. He is also a member of a pro-copyright organization so it isn't strange he leaves out some major points and he still has not approved my comment that was cogent and not attacking anyone.

        Edit to reply to simon's post below this post...
        Mass lawsuits threatening the maximum statutory damages continues to this day and passed 200,000 people this past august. You don't respond to my points and continue to deflect. why?
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          Mar 28 2012: As this article notes and documents, the majority of those cases have nothing to do with groups like the RIAA. Most of those are what individuals call "copyright trolls" that simply seek to threaten people to pay money without ever having to go to court. (source: http://www.pcworld.com/article/230515/so_youre_being_sued_for_piracy.html)

          The idea of frivolous lawsuit pursuits by major industry companies have stopped since 2008 (at least by the FBI and RIAA). Another source here: http://www.cracked.com/funny-4101-the-history-internet-piracy/

          Again, while I don't agree with slamming individuals with lawsuits for file sharing (a practice that stopped four years ago), I brought up this debate for the larger issue in question.
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          Mar 30 2012: Mr. Sjostedt,

          I just approved your comments on my blog. I was waiting until I had the opportunity to carefully read them before approving them. Please see my blog for my specific reply to your comments.

          As for your comments that my article was "crappy," that I'm somehow trying to silence you by not approving your comments on my blog, and that my thoughts should be dismissed because I'm a member of the CMA, such statements are exactly what I was trying to highlight with my critique of Mr. Reid's presentation. I do not expect everyone to agree with me, but ad hominem arguments and the like are simply not conducive to solving problems. Intelligent people can respectfully disagree; in fact, I believe that that is how we reach our potential, through respectful dialogue and debate.

          Also, I would suggest that you look at some of my other posts on my blog before simply dismissing me as "a member of a pro-copyright organization." In one post I clearly state:

          "Are there benefits to the free flow of information, knowledge, and culture? Absolutely! This ideal may well be worth pursuing for the advancement of humanity. But human nature and economic realities must be understood and dealt with, least we go down the road of Utopian Marxism. ... What this all boils down to is one simple question: How do we provide an incentive to create quality creative content without copyright? I'm not saying that copyright is the answer. It is becoming increasingly apparent that there are problems with the current state of technology and social norms when governed by copyright law. The friction and failures are undeniable. But necessity -- human nature and economics -- will demand a solution eventually." See http://musiclaw-copyright.blogspot.com/2011/12/shifting-social-norms-of-creative.html.

          I'm humbled that my post has created a lively debate here and I am grateful to Mr. Tam and everyone else for their interest in my thoughts. Thank you.
      • Mar 30 2012: Ken Sanney,

        A person with financial interests in anti-piracy laws could be considered to be biased in an argumentation. If you want to talk about economic realities, that is one, and another is that there is no such thing as economic laws "that cannot be broken". If they are "being broken", the law, or the interpretation of the law is wrong.

        In school I learned that a market is based on something called "Supply and Demand". With the technical equipment of today there is unlimited supply of digital copies, so naturally the price should follow to an almost free or even free level, because the supply limits are non-existent.

        When we had CDs for example, it was required to print, distribute, have stores that sells CD and as such it was only natural for it to have a price considering all the logistics involved. Now however I can find a torrent with people willing to share to me, I can borrow their bandwidth/supply and get the song on my in the matter of seconds.

        The next thing that you could do if you're interested in making money magically appear out of thin air would be to do just that - demand that people pay for air, to make money appear from thin air. If the supply is virtually unlimited there shouldn't be a price, that's even taught in elementary school economics.
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          Mar 30 2012: Daniel, you wrote that "A person with financial interests in anti-piracy laws could be considered to be biased in an argumentation."

          By this very line of thinking, it would discredit your argument altogether as well. A person downloading files free also has financial interests in those type of laws as well - their interest being that of not paying for the product.

          It also seems that you don't understand the nature of Supply and Demand. The idea of purchasing a CD or DVD or even a digital copy of those items isn't for the physical item itself, but for the intellectual properties behind that particular item. We have copyright laws because our society recognizes the importance of creators, authors, musicians, playwrights, etc. to protect their ideas - not necessarily because of the economics behind it.

          Besides, if you want to talk about the elementary principles of supply and demand, you should first realize that it's a price model system based on intersecting curves and that can be shifted. Secondly, as the Journal of Economic Perspectives points out, the model of prices being determined by supply and demand assumes perfect competition. But "economists have no adequate model of how individuals and firms adjust prices in a competitive model. If all participants are price-takers by definition, then the actor who adjusts prices to eliminate excess demand is not specified". In other words, supply and demand does not apply to cases of infinite supply nor aggregated demand.
      • Mar 30 2012: Good point there, Simon. Considering that most people are not in the industry they should also be biased against the music industry. :-)

        I don't discredit his arguments, it's a very big change for the music industry, but from my perspective it's not the people that should get the short straw for their own faults.

        Yet a surprisingly small percentage of a CD goes in to the pockets of the actual creators, I wonder why that is...

        Another good point there, Simon. Are we going to control the market like Soviet did, or actually attempt to have it free? So obviously economists have no value (yet) on the unlimited supply market that is the internet. And that's my point, supply/demand breaks down completely, so let it be free instead of feeding greedy corporations.
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          Mar 30 2012: "Yet a surprisingly small percentage of a CD goes in to the pockets of the actual creators, I wonder why that is..."

          Most of the time, that was because of the old record label deal (especially prominent several decades ago), where the label would give a lot of money to the artist upfront and try to recoup their expenses/make a profit on the back end, through sales.

          Nowadays though, the majority of artists out there are independent and music sales (for better or worse) or their main source of income. P2P sharing affects musicians as well as authors - who get a much more substantial portion of each sale, filmmakers, and so on. It also can affect the people behind the scenes that make each of those as well.

          The problem with many discussions is the rhetoric being passed that the money is all being taken from major corporations or lobbyists. The reality is that it devalues the creative industry as a whole.

          "Are we going to control the market like Soviet did...?" No one is trying to enforce the market in that manner. The government is not stepping in to take ownership, set prices, or take revenue. Copyright laws - which definitely need an update now - simply exist to protect the intellectual properties of others. Even if many people are doing something, it doesn't warrant a shift in morality (that the very act of taking someone else's work without their permission is wrong).
      • Mar 30 2012: Before we had money, and before we had a market we had music. Music has and is still the expression of the soul. The monetization of these highly potent frequencies came to be with technology, and as such it's not more than justified that technology also liberates it.

        It's not a human right to make a living out of music! If you don't like it you are free to stop sharing your work, or even stop with music altogether. If you're in for the money you may want to reconsider your chosen path and study it a bit closer.

        The government IS INDEED stepping in to set prices with anti-piracy laws, as the anti-piracy laws are the only foundation right now on which digital music stores even exists. How is that not to interfere with the free market?

        TED.com is a great example, it's a free website run of donations (I assume, not 100% sure), and yet there is SO MUCH awesome content here! For free! We could do the same with music, if it wasn't for the entertainment industry constantly trying to monopolize it and take it away from the people, just to be d**** and continue to milk consumers.
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          Mar 30 2012: "Before we had money, and before we had a market we had music." We've always had money, it's simply a convenient symbol for barter. We use it to exchange services as well as to declare value for something.

          "It's not a human right to make a living out of music! If you don't like it you are free to stop sharing your work, or even stop with music altogether." I agree. But like I said in all of my other posts, that decision should be made by the artist, not the consumers. It's different if I want to give something away for free than if someone wants to take it and share it for free.

          And no, the government isn't setting prices. If you say that the existence of copyright laws is trampling on the free market, then all laws regarding commerce should be considered the same: laws on wage, employment, food handlers permits for restaurants, permits for builders.

          With the example on TED - yes, it is a free website, but the conferences are not. TED is a non-profit organization. Some artists are, some aren't. Either way, artists have expenses too and if they'd like to charge something for their work so that they can continue making their art, it is their right too. It isn't for someone else to decide. To me, that's not completely unreasonable.

          "If you're in for the money you may want to reconsider your chosen path and study it a bit closer." Whatever the motivation is for an artist to create something should not be of our concern. People who create should have a right to protect their ideas. It's fairly simple and it doesn't matter the age of technology, what laws exist or don't, or whether it is a product that people even want. It's the inherent right of the creator to have some basic rights to their work.
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    Apr 2 2012: I just said it was interesting is all, as in fascinating. Which is why despite how people interpreted by post (which I admit could have been more clear), I found it useful to engage in discussions that were being brought up rather than simply ignoring them, or worse, flagging them as inappropriate. In a way, it's like books: even if something was not the author's intent, if it brings up a new way of addressing the universe or the discourse of our own lives, then we can still find it enriching.

    So I would most definitely love to compare sources and data on any of the arguments being presented here and I'm deeply sorry if I have led you to believe otherwise. I love hearing what other people have to say, especially from those that I disagree with because it challenges me to think more deeply about my own convictions, beliefs, and assumptions. If we only look at the world through the same perspective and paradigm, then everything will only be seen with our own bias.
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    Apr 2 2012: Hi Derek,

    It's not my intent to attack any person but to challenge unsubstantiated claims. Though many people have made arguments on here about intellectual properties, it seemed to me that most of those were based on assumptions, especially when there has been a pretty distinct lack of sources being cited.

    I do apologize if you found the title misleading, that certainly wasn't my intent, which is why I ended the the description with the specific questions to be addressed (after linking and including a small expert of Sanney's blog).

    "I feel that debates should be educational and where you find flaws in your opponents argument, you bring in your own facts, but you, you proceed to personalize others comments, then attack and demolish the responders intellects." I was responding to factual inaccuracies and citing sources whenever I did so to support my argument. Nothing was taken personally, though I felt that the characterization that you had about China was culturally insensitive.

    "Sometimes, people need to simplify things..." - Oversimplification differs than making something easier to understand. It's defined as "an act of excessive simplification; the act of making something seem simpler than it really is." The particular discussions on this thread seemed to characterize that when broad characterizations about copyright laws and the people involved were made. To me, it's akin to politicians who debate about war when they have little concept of the people/countries involved or when people argue about Christianity without having an understanding of the religion. etc.

    There's nothing wrong with discussing things that we're curious about, but making dogmatic statements without understanding puts one in a precarious situation.
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    Apr 2 2012: "I believe that you are making an assumption." Yes, I based that because you're because claims about the copyright system that aren't based on the facts of how they operate or their purpose.

    On lending/" they paid for the privilege of using the artwork how they see fit," - this is also off-base. When you pay for music or a book, you're not paying for ownership but a type of license. Lending a personal copy (which is protected under most types of fair use) is different than uploading it for millions to download. "Fair Use" is a broad term that looks at things on a case-by-case basis since it is a very complex area. (source: http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html)

    "copyright serves to protect commercial value..." Not true - if that were the case, than unpublished and unregistered works would not be covered. Copyright protection exists to protect the artistic expression of an idea (through music, art, writing, etc.). And yes, it is under the area of intellectual property law. That is a fact, not an opinion. As Purdue University writes, "Copyright law has a dual role. It provides exclusive rights to authors in order to protect their work for a limited period of time but it was also established to promote creativity and learning."

    "This is arrogance from the USA because it denies the existence of 195 other sovereign states. " Another example of why I believe you don't have experience with copyright law. First, while there isn't a universal copyright that extends over all nations, there are international standards in place in which the U.S is a member of - the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (Berne Convention) and the Universal Copyright Convention (UCC). Second, many countries outside of those groups also offer bilateral agreements to protect works originated in one another's countries - so when books get translated and distributed, the author still is protected, etc.
    • Apr 2 2012: [S] When you pay for music or a book, you're not paying for ownership but a type of license

      If you come to my house and remove one of the books in my personal library... you will be getting jail time. The jail time will not be because you sought to disrupt my right to read a book I had purchased; in order to enjoy its content under the terms of a licence. The jail time will be because of the act of theft... the intention to permanently deprive me of unlimited access to my own property.

      If you were to take my book, the case would not turn on whether my licence to read it at any time after paying the purchase price, permits me to get a replacement from the vendor (a common situation where lost or corrupt software which is available online will sometimes be wholly replaced, a favourable decision which may be made by the vendor, but on your intention to remove my property so that I may never use it again... as in the case of selling my stuff for the purpose of raising cash to buy drugs.

      [S] Lending a personal copy (which is protected under most types of fair use) is different than uploading it for millions to download

      [J] If I have only collected my music in a digital form, how do I pass it to a friend or group of people who share a common interest without falling foul of laws designed to protect and recoup investment? Where every user is a potential sale lost?

      Imitation is cited as the sincerest form of flattery. Our thoughts cannot be subject to copyright but our commercial ideas can be copyrighted. See how it is only the commercial possibilities that can attract copyright. Try and patent your thoughts and you will have nothing but difficulty and rejection. Originals are usually seen as the mould-breaker (and the best) so if we use the iPod, iPad, iMac as examples from today, we can see that there are countless attempts to imitate... it does not seem to worry Apple.

      I was a professional photographer and my value was in the planning and execution, not my ideas.
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        Apr 2 2012: I'm sorry, but not sure I quite follow your example of taking a book from a a personal library because even temporary ownership or licensing by extension is covered by theft protection laws. For example, if you're leasing a car or buy a vehicle under a car loan, the bank technically "owns" the car but as the user, you have the right to persecute under the law.

        However, you're correct in that you state " the intention to permanently deprive me of unlimited access to my own property." This is another function of copyright law, to protect the author/creator, the right to govern access/distribution of their created works. In other words, the act of pirating and distributing without permission strips the creator's write of the ability to retain ownership/rights over their own property (being intellectual properties).

        There are different types of ownership and these kinds of policies are covered even when purchasing digital music.

        "Our thoughts cannot be subject to copyright but our commercial ideas can be copyrighted. See how it is only the commercial possibilities that can attract copyright."You're confusing copyrights with patent and trademark law; both fall under the area of intellectual property law but have different applications.

        You're correct, thoughts and ideas can't be copyrighted, but artistic expressions can be. Most forms of this expression of copyright protection whether or not they are registered works and whether or not their express purpose is commercialization or not. For example, if I create a song/book for personal or educational use, it is still protected in that someone else can not take that work and sell or distribute it without my permission.

        Apply doesn't hold a copyright with their hardware, they hold patents and trademarks. Again, that one is a different arena.
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    Mar 31 2012: Finally, Sanney claims that, "There is a reason that nations like India and China, who culturally do not value intellectual property rights, have very little innovation despite the impressive level of educational attainment and talent of their people." I would like to state that China is communist, and artists are usually viewed as agitators, like Ai WeiWei. India is ruled democratically, but I think that Sanney is mistaken about their innovations, example "BOLLYWOOD"! China is more on the direction of industrial frontiers and their nation is ----HUGE---- so it is hard to bring unity or awareness to anything cuturally unique about their "musicians" because they are so spread out that they can't get a sense of nationalism/pride in their own peoples works.

    I believe that Sanney, has a point about how Rob Reid makes a joke of the whole situation, but it is in fact a big joke to begin with. Free advertisement isn't so bad, and they are "entertainers" more than musicians, hence, it is the entertainment industry and not coined musical industry. I blame capitalism for coining it entertainment industry.....

    Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts and feel free to share any of yours. =)
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      Apr 1 2012: Honestly, as someone who is Chinese, I find your blanket and unsubstantiated claims about Chinese culture rather insensitive. Artists in China are not usually viewed as agitators and where do you even get the audacity to make a claim like "they can't get a sense of nationalism/pride in their own peoples works?" This is a whole different rant but not one suited for this situation.

      Bottom line: you're making the assumption that intellectual property rights are restricted to music or the arts; intellectual property laws protect individual ideas. The value of innovation is the idea of enlightenment, the ability to create new methods.

      Piracy does not equal free advertisement. That's a faulty assumption that is not supported by any data. It is also assuming that all works (songs, books, films) that are being downloaded need the advertisement, which in fact is also often not true. Those are the kind of assumptions that perpetuate a practice that is hurting artists around the world.
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        Apr 2 2012: Okay Simon, let's say we go back and call everything I brought up "hog-wash" and I'm going to steer onto a tangent.

        The topic you pose seems to lead readers more on the subject of Rob Reid vs Ken Sanney. I felt that you oversimplied the subject when the Title of your debate poses the question "What Do You Think About the $8 Billion iPod?" I find it misleading with such a title and it in turn over complicates things.

        I am not sure you elaborated enough on how it is oversimplified or where the subject seemed oversimplified. Besides that, I don't think you are debating, but attacking others who don't see your views eye-to-eye. I am not entirely sure you titled this debate correctly, which leads to some confusion, but I did jump into the first topic that stood out to me, so maybe that is the case with others.

        I feel that debates should be educational and where you find flaws in your opponents argument, you bring in your own facts, but you, you proceed to personalize others comments, then attack and demolish the responders intellects. I think you have a lot of pent of anger and your taking it out on the public, but that is just how I am analyzing things and I am human and I make errors.

        I read a bit about your court case and your personal attachment with the the subject of intellectual property. I am empathetic about the situation. I also recently watched video by Clay Shirky and I found it very scary how the "industries" are trying to limit the internet, which I find ridiculous and oppressive to a certain extent. The "extent" is that there should be restrictions on stealing others intellectual properties or selling a massive amount of copied materials without paying royalties.

        Sometimes, people need to simplify things, but government sets so many parameters for how the ideal society should be(for the rich)that we risk finding ourselves tripping with every step we walk in life. Give the public a break once in awhile.
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          Apr 2 2012: By the way - "I read a bit about your court case and your personal attachment with the the subject of intellectual property."

          The case is just what it is. As someone who has self-published dozens of records, this isn't the first time. But it was a twist of luck that an eager fan showed our band where the song appeared and asked if we did it (sadly, no). The reality is that a multi-billion dollar company has been profiting from my music and if it wasn't for copyright law, I wouldn't be able to do anything. So I'm left defending myself now versus their team of six lawyers but at least I have a some Constitutional defense.

          The reality though is that even prior to this case, I've been deeply interested in intellectual property law (as well as our propensity to argue it in the ways that we do), mainly because I was a photographer, a writer, and an artist. And it's only in the last three years that I've been deeply involved with reforming Trademark law in the government (another story altogether), since some of those laws are hurting minority groups.
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    Mar 31 2012: Okay, let me start with my opinion that I personally don't feel that free music online is a big problem. In reality, with some non-capitalistic light shed upon the subject, free downloadable music is a good thing.

    According to Ken Sanney on his blogg above, he sets up the scenario of theft in a regular store and compares it to the online music industry theft. Well, if someone takes the time to steal something in a store it is either useful to them (like food) or has very high value to them (like a limited edition toy for their kid), but for music it is usually doing the job of enjoyment/entertainment. They are similar in certain contexts, but not entirely the same because the main purpose of music is to create awareness, agitation, or an emotional effect, whereas materialistic items are for eating, using, lessens time, etc.
    Sanney proceeds to pose the questions "With this system, would you expect a vibrant music industry? How much quality music would we have?" I would like to add that music was originally a way to spread stories and that is still currently their purpose because music tells stories. They were also done express one's individuality and those individual's never cared for fame, but the pure essence of creating their own "art". I feel that money just gets in the way of real artist, and the current artists are more entertaining live than through a set of headphones. This brings me to my point that the music industry doesn't get most revenue through CD's, but through concerts/tours/personal parties/freebies/ads for products. Free downloadable music is free advertisement, as well as paparazzi's, so the publiscist won't need to get paid for that job. Har, har. So I categorize the current industry "entertainers" more than musicians, sometimes.
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      Apr 1 2012: It's interesting that people keep bringing this back around to the idea of piracy rather than the original topic at hand (the oversimplification of complex issues), though really most arguments revolving around this are doing just that: making unqualified statements that are based on a set of assumptions rather than data.

      You state that "I feel that money just gets in the way of real artist." It fascinates me that we don't make the same accusations about other forms of art, such as technology developer (I'd say Steve Jobs was indeed a visionary artist yet still needed resources to expand his art), authors, filmmakers, professional photographers, and so on. I work in the arts industry and work with struggling artists. I'd say not having enough money to pay for food or rent tends to get in the way of making "real" art, in many ways, more than having an amply amount of resources.

      "This brings me to my point that the music industry doesn't get most revenue through CD's, but through concerts/tours/personal parties/freebies/ads for products." Based on what claim? First of all, you don't get revenue for "freebies." Secondly, not everyone in the the arts is able to an income the same way. Some people in the music industry only live off of music sales (like songwriters, engineers, producers), some only from live performance (audio engineers, stage managers, promoters). And most artists need a combination of all of that to survive.

      The argument that it's just "free advertisement" doesn't justify the behavior. There are plenty of options for free exposure - social media, iTunes, Pandora, Spotify, YouTube and so on. They're all legitimate ways to discover new music, without the taking someone else's work without their permission.
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        Apr 2 2012: Hey again, btw, I didn't find it useful to find support for the examples I used because you said that wasn't even what you were asking for, which makes me wonder 'why answer a response that was not the question you were asking about'? That is just unfair to your audience.
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    Mar 30 2012: The system changed in less than 3 years and brought the music industry down,now the ball is in your court if you're an artist.One doesn't need data to back that up.I'm following a young black artist on you tube who has an incredible voice and he is slowly putting out his music without the companies.What happened to you was true piracy and i hope you get fast closure through the courts.

    The only way for one to have a semblance of coverage is posting a full release on youtube,the date of it's upload is the only guarantee ,of course one is going to get mimics and that should be taken as the greatest of compliments as your product is being viewed.
    • Mar 30 2012: That's theft of Intellectual Property (someone is getting something permanently removed from their possession), not Piracy.
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        Mar 30 2012: Hang on,my view of modern piracy is that if an individulal takes anothers creation and then proceeds to market it as their own without prior permission from it's creator then it's piracy?

        Isn't this what happened to Simon? even if it was remixed.

        If people like what the artist produces then they would support him/her by donation to help said artist to continue their work and if they don't then they won't.

        But as you said it is not a human right to make a living out of music.

        To me the ballpark has become less crowded and those that are left have to work harder to stay on the field.
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    Mar 28 2012: And because I am a data-hound, here are several detailed studies from 2011 (newest available) created by a composite of international researches who were looking at individual files and trends for the past 15 years. Some of the staggering highlights include:

    - Since peer-to-peer (p2p) file-sharing site Napster emerged in 1999, music sales in the U.S. have dropped 53 percent, from $14.6 billion to $6.9 billion in 2010.
    - From 2004 through 2009 alone, approximately 30 billion songs were illegally downloaded on file-sharing networks.
    - only 37 percent of music acquired by U.S. consumers in 2009 was paid for (NPD).

    Sources:
    Envisional's The Price of Piracy: http://www.itif.org/files/2011-piracy-price.pdf
    Envisional full report: http://documents.envisional.com/docs/Envisional-Internet_Usage-Jan2011.pdf
    ITIF on P2P and Copyright Violations: http://www.itif.org/files/2011-piracy-mochalski.pdf
    Envisional Summarized report: http://documents.envisional.com/docs/Envisional-Internet_Usage_Report-Summary.pdf
    • Mar 29 2012: first line of text from the study: Envisional was commissioned by NBC Universal

      I pointed out that only studies paid for by the content industry show any negative effect of filesharing so you point to a study paid for by NBC Universal. Are you BSing yourself or are you doing this stuff on purpose?

      Music revenues may have gone down but spending on media is up $50 billion dollars. Don't you think that some of the increased spending in media other than music may have something to do with less spending on music? The economy is way down since 1999 but as filesharing has increased so has spending on various media overall.

      Oh and the $6.9billion dollar figure doesn't include ringtones, licensing or merchandising. 1999 was also a special time when many people were replacing tapes and vinyl with CDs. There isn't the same impetus to re-buy music digitally since ripping CDs is so easy and quick.

      There are no real figures on the extent of downloading. The envisional report is BS as evidenced by their methodology: I quote from the PDF with my own comments within double parethesis:

      For example, Sandvine estimated bittorrent is responsible for 17.9% of total Internet usage ((this would be bits of data))
      and Envisional, as previously mentioned, calculated that 63.68% of all content tracked by PublicBT
      was infringing. ((this would be number of files that could be many different sizes))

      Multiplying the two (17.9% x 63.68%) indicates that infringing use of bittorrent is
      responsible for 11.39% of the world’s Internet traffic ((the 63.68% is not amounts of data, they are mixing two different units of measurement to get the results they want)) This is typical of studies paid for by the content industry. They are made up for the purpose of lobbying for the laws that they write and do not have a basis in reality!
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        Mar 29 2012: Comissioning doesn't mean that the effects of the uoutcome are determined by the company making group making the request. Envisional is a part of the Group NBT, an international that focuses on domain registry, internet provisions, and brand monitoring led by academic scholars. I sent this in addition to the other articles listed which were simply academic exercises that confirmed this same information.

        Furthermore, you say "Oh and the $6.9billion dollar figure doesn't include ringtones, licensing or merchandising" but that is side-stepping the argument that musicians and the music industry as a whole has been affected. Damaging a person (or in this case, many persons') main source of income shouldn't be justified with the idea that they can earn their income from elsewhere.

        You're saying the "The economy is way down since 1999 but as filesharing has increased so has spending on various media overall but as filesharing has increased so has spending on various media overall. ..." this is what I mean by oversimplifying arguments leading to the breakdown of meaninful exchanges. Which economy? The U.S? Global? Measure by what? The entire period from 1999 until today has not been one downhill process - the U.S had one the largest sustained economic booms from 2002 to 2007 though there's been a big net loss for the United States when comparing fiscal year 1999 to 2011.
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        Mar 29 2012: Also, here's another academic studies that talk about the science and methodlogy (as well exmaining the shoddy figures used by both sides).

        Stan Liebowitz, from UT Dallas School of Management examines the "sampling effect" or the hypothesis that shared msuic increases exposure and therefore leads to increased music sales, as well as shifts in the music industry.

        The full report is available here:
        http://www.utdallas.edu/~liebowit/intprop/MIT.pdf
  • Mar 28 2012: Sharing is human nature. If you try to make it culturally unacceptable to share information with others then artists will be the ones who suffer the most! It is that same sense of sharing that compels people to share their hard-earned money with an artist. Don't fight to stop sharing. Embrace sharing. Share your story and have a link so that people can donate money to you if you need some. The Pirate Bay is the biggest database of human media culture that exists, it benefits humanity much more than it damages humanity. Libraries share content with many people with zero input from the content creators. It is simply not feasible for even a large corporation to field all the requests for sharing they would get if everyone took the time to ask content creators before humming a tune for their friends, etc. If you see your file on The Pirate Bay I would invite you to post a link asking for money in the comments instead of attacking people. Humans are hard-wired to feel good when helping others so I would bet you could make tons of money that way. Going against human nature is never a good idea if you are trying to succeed in a human culture.
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      Mar 28 2012: It depends on how you define "Sharing." If you're going to argue that it is human nature to "share" as in appropriating something with others, then it should also be culturally expected that the benefits also get shared with those who are losing ownership.

      Yes, libraries do have permission from copyright holders such as publishers and composers. That's how a library works: the library purchases and owns the work as a license but lends it out to users, who in turn return it. To check things out from a library, one has a membership and has responsibilities - if something isn't returned, fines are incurred. To have a work in a library, it is pre-cleared with content creators and publishers.

      Sharing one's own story is different than someone else posting it for you. Some content creators (photographers, software design, musicians, painters) don't want that and it isn't justifiable for someone else to make that decision and to treat on their rights as creators, whether or not it produces positive results.

      I've seen many of my works on various torrent sites over the years - the links, the asks do nothing. It's not a huge deal to me but I still affirm that the decision shouldn't rest on the person uploading but the one creating. If someone wants to put their own work up for free, that's up to them - they're more than welcome to do so and hope it spreads. If someone doesn't, that should up to them as well and as appreciators of art/their work, it's something that should be respected.
      • Mar 29 2012: " then it should also be culturally expected that the benefits also get shared with those who are losing ownership. "

        This is my point and why I implored you to not stop people from wanting to share their money with content creators. This is precisely why ALL the major independent studies show that sharing files amongst fans is closely linked with more money shared with content creators. To the tune of a $50 billion dollar increase since 1999.

        Libraries do NOT have to get any kind of permission from copyright holders and you are free to use their copiers and printers to get yourself a copy of something from their collection.

        Again me recreating a song using my mouth to a friend is different only by a matter of degrees from creating an mp3 from a CD and sharing it with someone. If I am really good at singing I might get so close that you couldn't tell the difference from the original. This is all grey area and not so black and white as you present it. This is precisely why I urge content creators to encourage sharing because sharing is why content creators get paid at all. There is no clear line that you can cross to need permission from a content creator to share information for free. So focus on infringement where money exchanges hands and leave free filesharing alone. Antagonizing your fans will not get you more money!

        I know the current laws are screwed up and I am only writing as to how I see things could be the most fair for consumers and all creators including those who make derivative works.
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          Mar 29 2012: "This is precisely why ALL the major independent studies show that sharing files amongst fans is closely linked with more money shared with content creators. To the tune of a $50 billion dollar increase since 1999."

          Again, to me this is an oversimplification of the argument itself. What consitutes as a "major" study? I pointed out two of them from universities that studied this for 7-10 years and was peer recviewed several boards of academics from prestious universities (cited again below) that show otherwise.

          You're saying that there's a $50 billion increase yet total revenues for CDs, vinyl, cassettes and digital downloads in the world dropped 25% from $38.6 billion in 1999 to $27.5 billion in 2008 according to IFPI. Same revenues in the U.S. dropped from a high of $14.6 billion in 1999 to $10.4 billion in 2008. The Economist and The New York Times report that the downward trend is expected to continue for the foreseeable future —Forrester Research predicts that by 2013, revenues in USA may reach as low as $9.2 billion. The Economist also reports, "paid digital downloads grew rapidly, but did not begin to make up for the loss of revenue from CDs"

          Sources:
          http://www.economist.com/node/10498664?story_id=E1_TDQJRGGQ ("From Major to Minor," The Economist)

          Studies:
          US music consumers "could have decreased their CD purchases (prior to 2004) by about 13 percent due to Internet file sharing." (from Topics in Economic Analysis & Policy by Norbert Miche)

          Assessing the Economic Impact of Copyright Law: Evidence of the Effect of Free Music Downloads on the Purchase of Music CDs (by George Robert Barker
          Centre for Law and Economics, ANU College of Law) link here: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1990153
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          Mar 29 2012: Also, with regards to "Libraries do NOT have to get any kind of permission from copyright holders and you are free to use their copiers and printers to get yourself a copy of something from their collection."

          It's a bit misleading since
          1) Photocopying part of a work (such as book or magazine) is different than create an exact duplicate (file) and sharing. Not only is there a degradation in quality but the permissions for the usage are different.
          2) It's predicated on a false statement. Yes, libraries do have to get permission from copyright holders to host the works for public share (the semi-equivalent in the music world is getting permission from ASCAP to broadcast a song or perform it live). It's part of being a library and obtaining that license for academic purposes.

          Without diving into a huge discussion on library management (which is a fascinating world on its own), this source demonstrates library guidelines for members how to obtain permission for created works (books, music, and so on). It's the same standard that all public libraries adhere to:

          http://www.library.unt.edu/research-tools/guides/intellectual-property/copyright/obtaining-permission-to-use-a-copyrighted-work

          For all intents and purposes, there's no binary or correlation between a library and file sharing because they rest with a completely different set of licensing and intellectual property guidelines, etc.
  • Mar 27 2012: All major studies show that filesharing increases revenue for the content creators. The laws that the media industry have created and the way they lobby for new laws is much more extreme than this talk is. This talk is actually a nice counterbalance to the insanity that the media industry is trying to push on everyone. It is fine for someone to call this talk extreme but it actually makes perfect sense. $58 billion dollars lost? people are already spending almost that much more on media now than they were 10-15 years ago. Where was that money going before and where would it come from now? Do people really have $100 billion dollars more of discretionary income now than they did when the economy was in full swing? If I download a song and share it with 1.5 other people (a common setting in a torrent program) how am I personally responsible for $150,000 worth of damage?

    The business is hurting their own pocketbooks by not believing the studies. Blinded by their own greed they deserve to face a real backlash. What the Pirate Party proposes: 7 year copyrights on media, a remixer owns his version, etc. is actually the path that will net the most benefit for the industry but greed stops people from seeing clearly and keeps them from maximizing their profits.
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      Mar 27 2012: Karl - I think you should read the article that I linked to prior to posting the response. It addresses several of your points that I don't need to restate here.

      The argument being made by Rob Reid - $150,000 in damages, is only for very limited situations. Sharing a song, you'd be on the hook for it's retail value (generally $0.99-$1.29) which is why most people don't follow up with persecution of those instances.

      Also, not all major studies point to increased increased revenue do to file-sharing. There's data on both sides of that one; as a content creator who lost tens of thousands of dollars by having my work stolen from me, I can attest through personal examples. Some of my music was "shared" and filtered without credit; it even led to someone stealing the song, taking credit as their own with minor tweaks, and striking a deal through a major release (in the courts now).

      Also, there are several open-source, free-form copyrights (such as the Creative Commons). Not saying that the laws are perfect now, just that they shouldn't be argued with rhetoric, over simplification, and biased. data. We're better than that. And artists deserve better than that.
      • Mar 28 2012: I'm sad to hear about the court case Simon, but this is not a point that is supported by pro-piracy. Piracy in it's essence is non-profit, while what you are speaking about is really stealing your work so that you don't get a share out of it.

        Sharing a song with a friend - OK
        Taking a song idea from someone else and claiming copyright on it - Not OK

        That's how I see it at least.
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          Mar 28 2012: The decision whether to share should ultimately be up to the content creator, not the consumer.

          It seems that this grey area has a lot of double standards. We don't take food out of a restaurant and give it out; that's something that's seen as inherently wrong. Yet there's a widespread notion that it's ok to giveaway someone else's music, software, etc. without the consent from the actual creator/owner.

          "Sharing" with a friend as in showing them, lending, etc. is one thing. Creating torrent file systems or seeding entire databases of created works for anyone to download is another. But there's seems to be a slippery slope in that there's no real balance on what people do. It's easy to find justifications on why it happens - "because software is expensive," "because it helps the artist to have their art spread," and so on but ultimately the idea of sharing should be up to the ones most affected by it (for better or for worse).
      • Mar 28 2012: I did read that article and the fines are $200-150,000 no matter how small the sharing. RIAA has threatened thousands of people with lawsuits even if they only shared one song. The threat of the maximum fines leads many to settle for a few thousand dollars to make it go away. Many tens of thousands of people have gotten those threats so it isn't a matter of a rare case here and there.

        I too am a content creator and I would like my work spread as far and wide as possible as long as I get credit. It sucks that someone tried to claim your work as their own as you don't even get a fan base from that.

        I would like to point out that when a Star Trek style replicator exists I think it would be more than fair to COPY food from a restaurant and share with your friends. I could go to a store right now and look at a nice chair, go get some parts and construct my own copy of that chair. When I copy a song I am spending my own time and resources to copy that song. It may be much easier than copying a chair but I don't see how it is morally different. You don't have to release your music in such an easily copyable form. You probably don't want to do that because the benefit of the technology outweighs the negatives.

        I would also like to point out that I have never heard of a musician living in a complete vacuum. In other words the music you make would not exist without the influence of musicians who came before you. Are you paying them a share of your profits since you are using their music in ways they have not directly approved of? As long as someone else isn't making money from selling your music I think it is too far from a direct link to call all sharing a lost sale.

        The only studies I have read about that show sharing as costing content creators money are very small studies sponsored directly by those content companies. Every major study conducted by national governments have shown a net positive effect from filesharing.
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          Mar 28 2012: Hi Karl,

          You're only looking at statutory damages which doesn't apply to all of these cases. From the article:

          "Section 504(c) of the copyright act sets two types of damages:
          (1) Actual Damages: which is actually the precise amount of harm from an infringement -- currently this would be somewhere between $.99 and $1.29 for a digital song
          and
          (2) Statutory Damages: which ranges from a low of $200 to a high of $150,000 per work infringed and depends on the intent of the infringing party."

          and "The statutory damages clause of our Copyright Act is an indication of the value we place on innovation and creative endeavors. Statutory damages attempt to place a cost on the act of the theft itself and thereby deter such behavior and encourage innovation and creativity."

          While I don't believe in all of the methods taken by the RIAA, they only represent one small component of the industry.

          The reality of the situation is that while every artist would like their work to have greater exposure, there are vasts differences within the community on how they'd like it done. My argument is that philosophically and morally, those decisions should be up to the creator on whether or not they'd like their work shared for free or whether they'd like to sell it. It shouldn't be up to the consumer or perpetrator.

          Another example - photographers. Thee are very strict laws on duplicating their work because (at least during the age of film), the bulk of photographers' living depended on selling prints (which is why they didn't release the original negatives). Unauthorized duplication tore into their incomes and ability to continue business which is why copyright laws were enacted in that arena.
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          Mar 28 2012: In regards to your statements about musicians living in a vacuum - Most forms of art are derivative (be it music, painting, dance, literature, and so on) whether in terms of technique or style. Paying homage or receiving inspiration is different than directly lifting their ideas and claiming as a person's own.

          " As long as someone else isn't making money from selling your music I think it is too far from a direct link to call all sharing a lost sale." - This again is getting away from my point, which is that it should be up to the copyright holder, not the licensee. And prior to Content ID systems (which are still evolving), many people have been making money from sharing other artists' work through streaming, ads, etc.

          Here are several well-noted studies by professors in that arena:

          US music consumers "could have decreased their CD purchases (prior to 2004) by about 13 percent due to Internet file sharing." (from Topics in Economic Analysis & Policy by Norbert Miche)

          Assessing the Economic Impact of Copyright Law: Evidence of the Effect of Free Music Downloads on the Purchase of Music CDs (by George Robert Barker
          Centre for Law and Economics, ANU College of Law) link here: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1990153

          Neither of those were sponsored or connected by anyone either in government policy or lobbying groups representing content creators.
      • Mar 29 2012: simon wrote:" In regards to your statements about musicians living in a vacuum - Most forms of art are derivative (be it music, painting, dance, literature, and so on) whether in terms of technique or style. Paying homage or receiving inspiration is different than directly lifting their ideas and claiming as a person's own."

        Claiming someone else's work as your own is not what happens in nearly 100% of filesharing cases. People who spend time, money and effort to share stuff on-line want people to be able to find and know what they are downloading so they are very careful to label everything. Often they more completely label content than the actual content companies do.
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          Mar 29 2012: I don't disagree with you - I don't believe that many filesharing individuals are claiming others' works but you had brought up the idea that the "music you make would not exist without the influence of musicians who came before you. Are you paying them a share of your profits since you are using their music in ways they have not directly approved of? "

          Hence, why I wanted to further explore that concept in this area. I think it's irrelavent to the situation atthat I initially brought up: the oversimplification of complex issues being destructive to the conversation and the extreme bias which both sides of the copyright argument display. However, I wanted to make it clear that influence, derived works, and inspiration do not necessarily mean that those created ideas/works of art are violations of copyright. That's a completely different arena than copying a person's product and giving it out without that individual's consent.
      • Mar 29 2012: Healthy capitalism is a customers market, so I will not wiggle on that point.

        Music is going back to how it used to be, by people for people, not by companies for consumers. I think that's a good thing. While we're at it, why don't we make digital photos illegal as well? It steals money and jobs from camera shops.
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          Mar 29 2012: Hi Daniel, I'd argue that music has always been in the realm of the artists. What data do you have to support that idea? While I agree that the business portion of music industry is changing (and really, allowing more opportunities for possible income sources), that hasn't changed the position of record companies specifically catering/shaping artists to become pop stars by essentially fabricated their art (look at the success of of songs written by Jason Blume, Max Martin, etc. which all play their roles in the Billboard top 100).

          "While we're at it, why don't we make digital photos illegal as well? It steals money and jobs from camera shops. " The general concept is absurd, just as the idea of outlawing digital music files. For one thing, photography has been protected by copyright laws just as long as music - it has always been illgeal to duplicate a person's photos without their permission. This is why there are huge signs posted in camera shops and photo centers saying that they will not scan or print professional work. The files themselves are simply a product. It is the act of duplicating another's work without their permission (or in many cases, a direct violation of their request) the very concept that is being debated here, not the product.

          (Prior to jumping into the music industry, I was a professional photographer and managed a camera shop/photo lab for several years)
  • Mar 27 2012: Once something is purchased, it should belong to the buyer. Copyright law seeks to prevent this simple situation from becoming reality. Taking software: the licensing on a package is deemed to have been agreed with, before it is even read. You cannot read the license agreement until after the package is opened, thereby 'agreeing' with its terms. I believe that contract law would state as a a tenet, that where the parties to the agreement don't have equal access to the making of the agreement, that the contract is unenforceable in law.

    Oversimplifying an issue may not suit the experts in that particular field but it may also bring an awareness of the issues to those who know little of the area under scrutiny. In other words, it may encourage them to learn more about the issues. In my view that is not a barrier to communication but a positive encouragement to engage with the issues.

    As for sides and fair assessments... sides implies antagonistic viewpoints and neither side will want to concede, with the usual consequence that obfuscation is usual and partial truths or hidden issues complete the picture as to why discussions may fail to realise a better future.
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      Mar 27 2012: Hi Jeff,

      I'd have to disagree with you on the idea of "belonging" when it comes to music. Before making any purchases on any digital service provider (such as iTunes, Amazon, etc.), the terms and conditions are listed clearly before the purchased. Buying music isn't like buying a car or piece of property, it is considered an individual license and does not extend the rights of ownership. Copyright law doesn't dabble in ownership, simply the right to protect intellectual properties (be it music, photography, art, or ideas). CD's include warnings on the outside of the package now as well, stating that law prohibits unlawful duplication, etc and that it is copyright protected (same with books, and even software lists minimum copyright language on the box, though the terms aren't completely detailed out as you mentioned).

      What I've found with the oversimplification of issues, and especially recently with the SOPA issue, is that people rarely explore the issues in any depth or without bias. Instead, it's a practice that sociologists call "rational ignorance;" that it's too overwhelming to learn everything about everything so we sort pockets of data, even with inherent bias or lack of depth, and move on. It's the rare sort - or those with a passion about a subject - that really dive deeper into the issue.
      • Mar 28 2012: I would invite you to check out the TED talk on SOPA and PIPA:
        http://www.ted.com/talks/view/lang/en//id/1329

        It would seem to me that you are doing a bit of what you talk about in that last paragraph... Understandable considering the shitty situation you went through.
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          Mar 31 2012: Karl, this is the same video that I linked to in the topic description (under related talks).
      • Mar 31 2012: Simon, I would be interested in hearing your take about what Johanna Blakley has to say about fashion's copyright free culture and why or why not it could apply to music.

        http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/johanna_blakley_lessons_from_fashion_s_free_culture.html
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          Mar 31 2012: Hi, I'd love to. I'll check it out later today, thank you for sharing!
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          Apr 1 2012: Hi Ryan,

          I loved the presentation (huge fashion fan myself) though I found that the general premise - oppressive copyright laws prevent innovation in other industries (such as music, software, film, etc.) flawed because it was based on several assumptions/misinterpretations of copyright law.

          For example, musicians can legally sample other artists, either through gaining permission or through Creative Commons law. Major artists who create their own new works based on other songs include Kanye West, Daft Punk, and Girl Talk. People can "copy" and interpret in a legal way.

          Furthermore, the argument that the existence of copyright law represses ideas has 1) logical/philosophical inconsistencies and 2) countless examples that show otherwise. For example, authored works (books/articles/plays) are protected by copyright (includes both published and unpublished works) and millions of of works are produces every year that challenge new frontiers, have unique takes on other popular stories, etc. There are entire communities that write "fan fiction," dedicated to writing new stories based popular favorite ones (such as Harry Potter, Twilight, Dracula, etc.). The same can be said for film and music as well. All of those industries are constantly creating new trends.

          She also cites several items that she said can't be protected (such as open source programming) that in fact, are protected by things such as GNU Public License. While a single recipe can't be copyrighted (just as a single line of music can't), a collection of them can be (i.e, recipe books).

          While I believe that copyright laws are due for some updating, I don't believe their mere existence is preventing creativity to flourish in the areas that they serve to protect. As Sanney argues (in the article linked above), countries with little or no copyright protection in these areas have very little innovation at all, disproving Blakley's theory that removing laws would foster more creativity.
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          Apr 2 2012: Hi Ryan,

          I had a chance to think about this one some more. Thank you again for sharing it, it was a very interesting perspective and comparison. I also have several friends in the fashion design industry and wanted to gather their take on it too.

          What I found is that many independent fashion designers, just like many independent artists (myself included), don't think about copyright laws much (other than if we're involved with a case or have a major issue)...we mainly just want to create cool, new works. That's the main thing: to put our own artistic expression and flair on something.

          While the lack of copyrights in the fashion industry might help high-end fashion (or even discounted replicas), it does limit others who are more protective of their designs. For instance, it is why companies like Nike incorporate their logo (sometimes annoyingly so) all over their designs: to signify that yes, it's theirs (logo protected my trademark).

          The other thing about intellectual property law is that is also serves to protect the consumer, so you know you're getting a genuine artifact and not something else. For example, if everyone designed and sold "Coca Cola" cans of soda since the brand wasn't protected in any way, it'd be hard to distinguish one from the other. Just as if there was no way an artist can protect their particular expression of a song, it'd make it more difficult to distinguish in the marketplace. And on it goes.

          Anyway, I did find it enlightening and entertaining. It also provided me a great excuse to connect with old friends at Nike and designers in New York too :)
      • Apr 1 2012: Hi Simon,
        Thanks for your response.

        Ownership of the media containing a piece of music permits the person paying for the media to enjoy the piece whenever they choose. Attempts to restrict that enjoyment to one player are derived from days when a single media type usually meant a single piece of playing equipment. A record or tape playing device. If I buy my music digitally, I ought to be able to play it on as many digital playing devices as I own.

        This is not an act of piracy but my right to enjoy that for which I have paid. If I want to tell my friends or family about a particular movie or piece of music, or make a legitimate critique of the art and perhaps illustrate a talk with a certain piece of created artwork, it should be subject to a fair use clause. Much of the copyrighted material which appears on YouTube has been tagged with a fair use disclaimer and it promotes the free exchange of ideas and commentary.

        The copyright industry would deprive us from exchanging information with our fellow humans. It is driven by the less than savoury desire to make as much money from the public as possible, for as long as possible, supported by the full weight of the law. To pretend that it is about artists earning what is rightfully theirs is how the argument for copyright is usually presented. It says nothing about the greed of the parties who wish to enforce copyright more stringently.

        The proponents of copyright do not appear to want to discuss copyleft or similar initiatives. Without the ruinous charges made by copyright holders who produce say... books, pharmaceuticals, designs, movies, music, images and works of art; the enrichment of society would be an easier to achieve objective.

        William Morris has something to say about a society devoid of art and I find myself in agreement with his viewpoint.

        http://www.marxists.org/archive/morris/works/1884/justice/06artno.htm
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          Apr 1 2012: Hi Jeff,

          I believe that you don't understand how copyright law really works. Making copies for yourself, being able to play back music/books/movies on any of your devices, etc. is not a violation of copyright law. As you mentioned yourself, that is subject to fair use clause, section 107 of the 1976 Copyright Act. Making illegal copies though (i.e, through distribution) is.

          Wanting to share a piece of art is a very natural response and it is different than duplicating exact albums, or when magnified, making those unlimited copies available for the world through the internet.

          There are many types of copyrights supported by artists, such as the Creative Commons law that allows anyone to use, interpret, and share a work (images, music, etc.) as long as the original artist gets credit. Artists (such as myself) who are a part of the Creative Commons give universal permission for certain types of usage. This is much different than someone just taking an album, book, etc. and without permission.

          "The copyright industry would deprive us from exchanging information with our fellow humans." This isn't sure true - copyright serves to protect the value of said information and it it protects both published and unpublished works, as well as unregistered ones. From Copyright.gov - "Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression."

          I think most of the problems derive from people making assumptions about copyright law as well as copyright holders who willingly abuse their rights. The reality though is that there are billions of copyrights in place and the overwhelming majority simply want basic protection/validation for their works, so that the arts can continue to flourish in society.