Archive: January, 2012

Daniel’s Tweets for 2012-01-25

There is no such thing as ‘piracy’ Part 2

This post became too long for one sitting, so it has been divided. Read the first part here.

Now we can move into the point of my original post – file sharing sites, BitTorrent, and other methods of distributing media are not piracy. They are methods of distribution. Piracy can be defined loosely as robbing or violence committed against someone or something (a corporation perhaps). When someone downloads a movie via Megaupload or a song via Frostwire they are not robbing anyone nor committing an act of violence. The RIAA and MPAA would have you believe that they are being robbed of income they would have received if the CD/DVD would have been sold in a store. That seems like a reasonable analogy, but they ignore the fact that research has been performed that shows one of three things:

  1. The person is a fan of the artist or movie and will purchase the work anyway.
  2. The person would never have purchased the music or movie.
  3. The person has purchased the item previously and is obtaining a digital copy.

Think about those items. If #1 is true, then the RIAA/MPAA has not lost any money. The person who got their copy of the work through an illegal distribution channel is going to give money to pay for the work, they merely used a different path to get the work at one point. If we consider #2, then the RIAA/MPAA still have not lost any money because the person has no intention of purchasing a DVD/CD or going to the theater. #2 is what the big corporations point out and hope you don’t think about too much. #2 has always existed, however this person can now download and have the music easily instead of making a tape copy or ripping a CD to their computer. #2 would never have purchased the work even if file sharing sites did not exist.

I am most likely to be in the #3 category should I ever download a work. I have purchased only a few CDs in the past few years for myself. Generally, I attribute this to getting older and not caring for much pop music. Still, I have purchased several hundred CDs and DVDs over my lifetime. If my ‘Alice in Chains:Unplugged’ CD gets scratched, I would easily consider downloading a copy from a torrent. Does this make me a criminal? No, it means that I used an illegal distribution channel to obtain another copy of a work that I paid for previously. The big corporations do not like this because it does not use hard media channels they control like DVD or CD purchases.

None of these acts constitutes piracy. What these acts do amount to is using illegal distribution channels to get a copy of a work. People obtained an illegal copy without using the proper distribution channel. There was no violence. There was no robbing since 1 and 3 will pay or have paid for the work downloaded, and 2 has no intention of ever paying for the work. Unfortunately piracy is an emotional word that people can relate to, and the news outlets can use this word to scare you or sound interesting.

That is my explanation of why there is no such thing as piracy. Yes, a copy may have been made illegally, but that means copyright law was broken. This does not mean someone or something (company) was robbed or violently attacked. People sold illegal copies of cassettes and CDs at flea markets however they were just called criminals. The same can be said for those using file-sharing websites, but it sounds much more evil to call them PIRATES. While these vicious pirates keep making illegal copies, the industries keep making record profits.

There is no such thing as ‘piracy’ Part 1

This post became so long that I divided it between two separate posts. This first post attempts to explain that the MPAA/RIAA are good at hiding money, do make money, and have always controlled distribution channels.

So, people have been saying for the past decade how movie/film/TV piracy is destroying the livelihoods of everyone from the janitor at NBC Studios to the radio DJ to the kid selling CDs at your local music shop. Websites which allow the easy transfer of media between people have been described as nothing short of abominations and safe harbors for criminals. We (collective) thieves and criminals only use these networks to steal material from the good and hard-working people who create the blockbuster movies we watch while munching popcorn every Friday night. We thieves rob the MPAA mebers of the ability to make more movies by stealing their hard work. We take food from the mouths of camera men and their children. Musical acts such as Jay-Z and Taylor Swift can not keep putting out albums if piracy continues unabated. Every song we thieves download from file-sharing sites takes away money that could be used to sign and develop the next Metallica or Ozzy Osbourne. File-sharing sites have no legitimate purpose other than to steal. This has been and is the mantra from the RIAA and MPAA.

Well, there are some major fallacies and discrepancies between what the MPAA and RIAA would have you believe and the truth. To begin with, the MPAA and RIAA members have been reporting record profits despite the horrific piracy that threatens their existence. So, that shuts down the argument that these organizations are unable to keep the lights on in the office. It would seem to me that this means they should be expanding, and are not struggling to survive as they would have us believe.

Secondly, the movie and record industries use some very creative accounting to keep any movie or record from ever making a profit. Would you believe that Star Wars has never made a penny? It’s true. The guy who played Darth Vader (under the suit) has not received a penny of the over 1/2 BILLION dollars which Star Wars has actually netted. The RIAA is pretty good at this type of accounting too. Put simply, these corporations are broke as can be if you subscribe to their accounting methods. Fortunately, we live in the real world and can see that they are merely cheating the United States tax system. So, piracy isn’t breaking the bank, then why are these trade groups saying that it is destroying them?

We should look at the business models of the RIAA and MPAA to begin to explain their arguments/lies. Until the past few years music and movies had always been bought and sold as hard copies. This holds true for VHS, DVD, BD, record, tape, CD and if you reach way back – 8-track. Members of the RIAA and MPAA have always been the primary controllers of these media. Sure, independent shops existed, but big companies have a close relationship with radio stations and other ways to promote their hard copy productions. Movie studios do a great job of using fast food toys to advertise to kids. These facts show that until very recently media distribution was performed via hard copy by large corporations. There were no mass distribution channels without one of the studios behind you.

Recently, this has changed with the advent of iTunes, Spotify, BitTorrent, and other file-sharing sites.

 Part 2 will be released later and explains why piracy is nothing more than illegal distribution, and seems to not harm the industries in actuality.

Daniel’s Tweets for 2012-01-24

  • They got one right! – High court: Warrant needed to plant GPS device on suspect's car – #
  • The Supreme Court got one right! Just because you *can* do something, doesn't make it right. #
  • THIS is a great bit of advice to avoid flood-posting which I hate and try not to do. #
  • Here's one way of looking at things. – 3 Ways to Drink Your Way to a More Balanced You #
  • Abandoned Ships and The Internets Death Knell | Big Kevs View #podcast #BigKev #
  • Hey, @Charter tweeps, need to have some chatting about my services, their cost, and my budget. Let me know who is available. TYVM. #
  • Had a minor issue and @Charter team was helpful as always! Be sure to use their great online presence if you need anything! @CharterWitten #
  • Worst Subway Ride Ever: People Get Off Train and Find a Severed Head #
  • Me too. 2011 In Review: Nation Shocked To Find Out Elizabeth Taylor Wasn't Already Dead #
  • Pets are not presents, twits! Local animal shelter sees spike in Christmas gift returns | #
  • Ouch. 3 Surprising Reasons to Give Up Soda #
  • 44 Inexpensive Ways to Improve Your Home Inside and Out – Saving Advice #
  • Christ. She's been sucked into Pinterest. #

Daniel’s Tweets for 2012-01-23

  • The Pats have done it. #
  • Piracy is the wrong term. Its actually illegal distribution. #