Another myth about online piracy exploded.

Does piracy act as promotion?

Common sense (and real world experience) says NO.
Magical unicorn economic theory (the kind they teach at Silicon Valley) says, “sure it does”.

Can’t introduce this topic any better than the first couple of paragraphs of the linked blog. Read on:


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DMCA: Denying Monetary Compensation Always | MuseWire

Dear Bill Clinton,

the stain you left on Monica’s blue dress was nothing compared to this mess. Should have taken the rose coloured spectacles off.

The Trichordist

Who Benefits from the DMCA?
The ISPs (Internet Service Providers) who are facilitating all this trafficking of stolen material are completely off the hook because of the safe harbor provision. Imagine a company that helped people tap into the water system of your town. On the surface, they are simply selling plumbing and faucets. “Hey, we’re not making money from stealing water,” they might say, “we’re making money on sink fixtures; we can’t help it if the water people run through those fixtures is stolen.”

Yet that is essentially what Title II of the DMCA allows to occur, but with intellectual property instead of water. And by letting corporations profit from services that promote the stealing of copyrights, we send a powerful message to everyone: theft is acceptable if you can get a law passed that exempts you from prosecution.

So screwed up is Title II of the DMCA that…

View original post 58 more words

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When Sharing is not Caring: The myth of the Sharing Economy

We now routinely have politicians prattling on about the need for ‘disruption’. They are regurgitating misleading propaganda. If they understood the true consequences of disruption and the so called ‘sharing economy’ they’d shut up very quickly.

This is an amazing bit of analysis. Very clear sighted, and all the more devastating for it.

Next time someone casually drops the word ‘disruption’ into a conversation, you might care to employ some of the arguments advanced here.

And while we are at it …

How about the rampant malarkey swirling around the concept of ‘crowdsourcing’?

Anyone with a functioning brain cell must have spotted the flaws, contradictions, and hidden consequences in this concept.


Have a read:

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A New Dark Age: Shedding Light on Where the Internet is Taking Us

It’s hard to swallow that the Internet, a wondrous creation replete with promise, far from democratising culture and ushering in a new golden age, is actually doing exactly the opposite. That a kind of digital deforestation has been going on, involving the wholesale degradation and destruction of once thriving cultural eco-systems all over the planet.

All to benefit … a tiny elite – a remarkably homogenous group, composed of libertarian right wing speculators, investors, and inventors working in the tech industry.

They have built their wealth by parasitically exploiting other people’s creations, and convincing consumers that art is, or should be, free. A siren call that’s been enthusiastically taken up and turned into a bedrock sense of entitlement by a generation of freeloaders.

In the process, a large section of the population, cultural or creative workers, have seen their livelihoods shrink dramatically or disappear. This is not the natural evolution of history and society. It’s been a thoroughly mediated development, an entirely cynical and calculated strategy pulled off by Big Tech companies.

The cumulative negative effects on society have yet to fully manifest themselves. Artists have been at the forefront, the canaries in the mine, but to most people, artists are of no serious consequence.

That’s because most consumers lump artists into two broad categories – either filthy rich and overpaid, or gutter trash who deserve obscurity for not making the first category.

These stereotypes flow directly into behaviours like pirating and illegal file sharing. When you’re driven by envy or contempt, it’s easy to skip empathy.

The truth is that MOST artists belong to neither category. They are just like any other ordinary worker. They occupy (with increasing difficulty) a middle level, where art is a job, requiring hours of concentrated toil, every day, and that brings in a living income, maybe, probably, not much; but enough to get by, so that artists can focus on their art. Yes, art actually takes time, and practice – by which I don’t mean learning, I mean ‘doing’, which you can’t do if you’re trying to hold down a ‘real job’.

So real artists are people, just like everyone else, who do real things, and flourish, or not, depending on how well they do it, and how many people are interested in paying them for it.

Or, that’s how it was. Because for the last fifteen years, the crusading monopolies dominating the Internet have done their best to convince everyone that art should be free. And if it’s not for free, they have just gone ahead and helped themselves anyway.

So artists – writers, musicians, film makers, basically anyone who makes products that can be digitally cloned, are being marginalised and ruined, along with all the people who depend on them.

How? By the countless daily bad choices of ignorant or uncaring consumers, who have drunk the poison Kool Aid offered by the cynical liars in Silicon Valley. They fail to see that at the end of the road they have chosen to ride free, will be an arid desert, leading to a cliff.

The following is a short list of enlightening books on this topic. They’re highly engaging and non technical. Warning: they will make you gasp and reconsider all your prior assumptions.

All these books are available on Amazon’s Kindle store, which is a pretty thrifty and easy way to legally purchase books, so the Internet isn’t all bad!

No, like the fire of Prometheus, as Shelley said, the Internet is simultaneously beautiful, and terrible. The problem has been the unmediated introduction of a technology, without adequately considering its implications. Now more than ever we need to wake up to the true potential of this tool, and ask ourselves, who is it really benefiting, and at what cost to everyone else?

Andrew Keen The Internet Is Not the Answer

Scott Timberg Culture Crash: The Killing of the Creative Class

Robert Levene Free Ride

Chris Ruen Freeloading

Astra Taylor The People’s Platform: Taking back power in the digital age

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Time to Wake Up

This is a remarkably clear sighted and thorough summary of how Silicon Valley has used the internet to transfer wealth from creatives to themselves, and set about transforming culture and politics to suit their own aspirations.

Don’t care about the fate of creatives?

But wait, there’s more …

“At this point you might be asking why the loss of billions in the media and entertainment sectors is worth worrying about in the face of the benefits ubiquitous Internet technology has brought you. My feeling is that Media is just the canary in the coal mine, and that in the next twenty years millions of the jobs you are training for might be automated. The Economist recently ran an article in which they projected the probability your job being taken by a robot in the next 20 years. Citing work from two Oxford University economists they wrote that “jobs are at a high risk of being automated in 47% of the occupational categories into which work is customarily sorted.”

And this is a conclusion that begs contemplation:

“Is Peter Thiel’s idea of corporations, free to reap monopoly profits free from government regulation, what we want for our country? Thiel’s icon Ayn Rand defines freedom as “To ask nothing. To expect nothing. To depend on nothing.” How far is this from Jefferson’s great inspiration, the Greek philosopher Epicurus, who defines the good life in these terms:

The company of good friends

The freedom and autonomy to enjoy meaningful work

The willingness to live an examined life with a core faith or philosophy.”

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Conversations with Copyright Infringing File Sharers

Conversations with copyright infringing ‘file sharers’

By Costa Botes (and a bunch of anonymous freetardists)

Below is a selection of comments directed at me by people unhappy with my stand on copyright infringement generally, and online file sharing particularly. It’s an interesting compendium that offers a pretty clear attitudinal snapshot, and incidentally a neat summary of the most common beliefs and misconceptions underlying illegal ‘file sharing’.

Before going on, I’d like to just say that I have absolutely no problem with anyone who willingly shares their own creative work online. There is no legal impediment, whatsoever, anywhere, to anyone doing that wherever, and whenever they choose to do it.

Let’s pause for just a moment to quickly define what ‘copyright’ actually means, because it’s clear that an awful lot of people actually don’t know.

What is copyright?

Copyright is a form of protection for “original works of authorship,” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic and other works, that are fixed in a tangible medium of expression. For example, copyright protects published and unpublished books, poetry, plays, movies, music scores, song recordings, computer software, photographs, paintings, and drawings. Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, inventions, systems or methods of operation, but it may protect the way in which such things are expressed.

My attitude is based on the belief that original creators have the right to choose how and where their work is copied, and anyone who usurps that right commits an act that is at the least disrespectful, and at worst downright harmful. Not just economically, but potentially in other ways. In a world stripped of copyright protection, think of how a vegetarian artist might feel if her song was played over a TV promotion for fried chicken nibbles?

I’m not confident that the logic of my responses below will penetrate the many layers of habitual reasoning which have built up over a generation to create the faith based sense of entitlement in illegal downloaders today. It’s impossible to shift such zealots. But in the hope that I may move some people sitting on the fence, here goes …

“Get yourself a real job if you just want to make money. Real artists don’t care about money”.

I’ve been hearing that all my life. The fact is, I obviously don’t care about money either, otherwise I’d have followed my mother’s advice.

Which was something like, “get yourself a real job if you want to make money”. Snap!

Should creative people confine their creativity to being an after hours hobby pursuit? How is that right or fair? And how does it make for better art if the artist is starving or has no time to make art?

The evidence is that untold millions of people value films and TV and books enough to consume them in unbelievable quantities. They pay gadget companies unbelievable amounts for the gadgets that play this ‘content’. They pay unbelievable amounts to the data carriers.

But the people who toil and sweat to create the ‘content’ – they apparently are unworthy of a professional existence? They’re not real artists if they ask for money?

Picasso was a real artist. And he’d have had a ready response if you’d dare make such an idiot conceited remark in his company.

Perhaps this sort of pernicious reasoning will start to change when people with ‘real jobs’ eventually find themselves, like artists, being asked to contribute their labour, experience, and skill for free?

Sharing is Caring. There is NOTHING immoral about reproducing digital data.

Many creators willingly share their work. They welcome sharing by their fans. The Grateful Dead did it long before the internet. There’s nothing wrong with it if the artist is willing. And there’s nothing stopping any artist giving their work away if they want to.

But most professional creators need to make a living and sustain the quite considerable costs that may be involved in the creation and marketing of their work. When a fan just takes a work, rips it, and then indiscriminately shares it online without permission or compensation, then that is certainly immoral, disrespectful of the artist, and damaging to that artist’s viability. Stealing is not ‘free promotion’, but more on that below.

If your product is quality, I shall buy your product. If your “product” is crap, I shall send it to the Recycle Bin where it belongs. But you want to be paid in either case.

An interesting variation of the “customer is always right’ argument. Only that argument was actually based on the customer paying for their wares. Show business is a little different to buying a functional toaster. the toaster either works or it doesn’t.

‘Entertainment is more subjective. In today’s world, there are ample opportunities for customers to peruse reviews and previews. Anyone who then just goes ahead and steals a film or piece of music is a moocher, deadbeat, or plain old thief.

I am not a busker. I offer a product at a fair price, with options on how to buy. You can read reviews and watch previews. If you don’t want what I’m selling, that’s your call. We used to say, “Take it or leave it”; but that’s the problem, isn’t it? People like you are ‘taking it’, then  having the bad manners not to pay. The old ‘dine and dash’. And you have the gall to criticise me for complaining?

Don’t like the way the internet works, don’t put your content on it.. Simple as that.

It’s not the way that the internet works that I object to. It’s how some people choose to use it. I don’t have a choice about where my content goes, and how it is used when someone chooses to ignore my copyrights, steal my work, and exploit it online for their own gain.

To follow the logic of your argument, drunks in cars kill people, I don’t like drunks in cars, so I should stop driving a car?

It’s not theft if a person helps himself to his own personal belongings and then gives away copies of those belongings. You are trying to tell me a DVD i bought isn’t my property. It is.

No, actually, it isn’t.

You’ll see that it isn’t when you read the fine print on every DVD you have ever legally purchased. Maybe that’s so long ago you can’t remember.  Check out the FBI warning burned into most commercial files. Your purchase of a DVD in no way entitles you to do anything other than play that disc for your own amusement. Your purchase essentially gives you a license for said plays. You are not the legal owner of ‘the work’, and you certainly do not have the right to make copies, whether for sale or sharing. That is the sole prerogative of the copyright holder, or their licensed representatives.

Did you pay for the production of the film? Did you pay for its marketing and distribution costs? No. You sat at the end of a long supply chain and forked over a few bucks for a product that was only cheap because so many people were prepared to pay for it.

“filesharing is free promotion”

Promotion for what? The fact that someone can download a file for free rather than paying for it?

Any student of human nature will tell you that man is a selfish animal, and only a tiny proportion of people will choose to pay when the alternative is free. Without scarcity, the value of a work collapses. So the ‘promotion’ argument doesn’t wash, I’m afraid. It’s just another moral smokescreen.

With music, one might argue (and oh, they do, they do) that sharing music files is a form of promotion for the artist. Perhaps those enjoying their music for free might be moved to attend a concert. Maybe they might even buy some merchandise.

Maybe …

This year, I have attended two concerts. I have bought 20 albums (online). You do the maths.


“File sharing is just a form of theft”
Fine… but I have to admit…
It makes me smile to think I’m some sort of digital Robin Hood that’s freely copying from the rich to feed the poor. You just made me feel awesome =) thanks!

This is the “unrepentant sinner” approach. The exhilarating onanistic rush of doing something bad, doing it anonymously, and with the courageous certainty that you’ll never get caught. Maybe. The real Robin Hood, by the way was, ” a 13th century farmer who committed burglaries, arson and murder.”

You want to identify with that guy, knock yourself out.

The “copying from the rich” comment needs a more detailed response, however. Much piracy and illegal file sharing involves ripping off Hollywood, it’s true, and there is an industry that gives every appearance of great wealth.

The rich might be able to sustain or recover from theft more readily than the poor, but morally, there is no difference. Theft is theft. 

If there is some proven exploitation or tyranny going on, something, anything, resembling the legend of Robin Hood, then perhaps ‘stealing from the rich’ could be said to ‘even the score’ a bit?

But as usual, when one looks closer at the facts, a different picture emerges. The reality of Hollywood today is significantly fewer films are being made, on more and more homogenous subjects, with fewer people employed; some on inflated deals, yes, but most on tighter wages. This is the direct result of damage done to box office revenues – not to the blockbuster end of the market, the success of which continues to mask the real effects of piracy, but to middle budget pictures. Noticed that they’re disappearing?

And small creative independent pictures? That have nothing to do with Hollywood? That’s where the real calamity is happening. Nobody is getting rich on those, because pirates are picking them off like ripe grapes. No doubt telling themselves they’re giving a kicking to a bunch of rich bastards on behalf of poor starving tenement dwellers.

It’s a complete myth that everyone who makes films is rich. If you really want to be Robin Hood, double check that the people you’re stealing from are actually rich. Even in Hollywood, appearances to the contrary, the corporate bottom lines are tighter than you think.

Studios appear to be making a great deal of money – how they love to tally grosses – but the gap between actual costs and net profitability is the telling figure, and it’s rather narrow.  One wonders how much longer the corporates that own these studios will continue to invest in such an uncertain and unrewarding industry.

An interesting side issue: It might be valid to criticise the seemingly obscene salaries paid to a small coterie of star actors, directors, and producers, but those people do bring in audiences. Interestingly, one doesn’t hear sports fans commonly bleating and screaming about overpaid sports stars, coaches, and franchise owners. Nor do fans criticise footballers, basketballers, or golfers who play for money. A fascinating double standard.

Fuck you, you’re the reason I copy content without remorse, sell USB sticks loaded with content and flip the cash into care packages for the ‘less fortunate’ homeless who are undeserving of your content.

Another digital ‘Robin Hood’ flies his black flag with pride …

I’m not sure what he means about the ‘less fortunate’ being “undeserving” of my content.

I definitely don’t think I should be responsible for paying for ‘his’ acts of charity. If he cares so much about the homeless, shouldn’t he be paying them something out of HIS pocket rather than mine?

You create art. People want to pay for it, good for you. People don’t. Too bad. It’s that simple. Nobody is taking anyway from you, you still have the art you created, apparently it’s just not worth what you think it’s worth, which is completely your problem.

This is an offshoot of the “digital copying is not theft’ argument.

Yes, I still have my ‘art’. And 44,000 people apparently thought it was worth experiencing for free, without my permission, or any compensation, during the three weeks some of that work was posted illegally on YouTube. So it must be worth something.

Let’s see, YouTube would have made a few bucks from all the ads they served on it, and the criminal who lied and pretended to be me in order to get my stolen work on the site, he probably collected too. In fact, he did, because he was running my film on a channel served with ads.

So during that period before I belatedly realised what was happening and exercised my legal rights, please explain to me how any kind of legitimate artistic transaction might be possible? My work was effectively robbed of value. Plenty of people chose to watch it, so I guess, artistically, it was somewhat rewarding for them; but the experience was served up to them in a way that I could not possibly participate. And you resent the fact I regard this as wrong?

Copyright infringing file sharing makes a mockery of any useful assessment of worth, as well as utterly disrupting any meaningful relationship between creator and audience.

There is NO innovative business strategy on earth that can compete with free.

Stop blaming victims for your own selfish greed.

Stop talking bullshit about wealth. Where the hell do you get that shit from. You see a fucking billion dollar copyright industry and start crying about pirates taking the wealth? What the actual fuck? Concentration of wealth is when major music and movie studios make billions of dollars exploiting artists. In a way, yes, they are digging their own graves. The richer they get the less rich the middle class gets and the middle class is eventually where their revenue comes form. So yes the overall pot is indeed shrinking and it has been like this but not because of pirates. Transition of wealth is also taking place from the movie studios to internet companies. Which is just more of the same inequality that has been around for years but that you fail to see because you don’t want to bite the hand that supposedly feeds you. Culture without copyright will blossom just as usual, or even more, because it’s not behind a paywall.

So you’re happy to see one lot of rapacious exploiters being ripped off by another lot of rapacious exploiters? Is that the nub of your wisdom? As long as you, the supremely entitled arbiter of who gets what from where, receive all the free digital goodies your heart desires, everyone else can go jump off a cliff?

Yes, the middle class is shrinking … fast. The rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer. And the neo-liberal fascists of Big Tech are gleefully assisting. Your attitude is a weird mixture of nihilism and self-repression.

If it’s good, the content itself is the promotion, the live performance (or experience on a bigger screen) and the merchandise are where the revenue comes from. People will pay for it because a live performance is not something you can copy or because one does have a 100+ inch screen at home. Stop relying on something that can be copied in a matter of milliseconds with zero cost to be your only source of income.

I’m afraid your argument falls short in the real world. You are describing a potential only 1% of artists can hope to reach.

If the Beatles had been forced to tour constantly in order to survive after 1966, they would likely have broken up before Sgt Peppers, and the ‘The Beatles’, as we got to experience them (via records that had to be bought) would never have happened. Jimi Hendrix died because of stress and exhaustion brought on by constant touring. 

Live performances can’t sustain most performers. That’s an inconvenient fact. Go and ask some performers if you don’t believe me. Touring is an exhausting and expensive treadmill. In the old days it only made sense as a WAY TO PROMOTE RECORDS. Reversing that today has led to collapsing living options, and even worse exploitation of artists.

With a tiny handful of exceptions, the only acts that make money touring are the old established legacy performers, with a history of successful records behind them. When those dinosaurs die out, I don’t know what’s going to replace them. Much smaller, feral, and opportunistic creatures with much shorter life spans I expect.

“Stop relying on something that can be copied” ? Your advice is both arrogant and idiotic. If one makes films or TV or writes books, all of which can be copied in milliseconds, how then do these creators carry on? Shall we just stop making films and TV, and quit writing books? Apparently this is your solution.

What can’t be easily copied? Giant sculptures. Oil paintings? It’s no surprise that auction values for fine art have hit stratospheric levels – ironically driven by the new wealth of tech entrepreneurs who have made fortunes stealing from artists!

Merchandise is only valuable when the work it derives from is already wildly popular and desirable. I make documentary films. Would you expect me to tour with each film for a year and a half and sell T shirts, mugs, and mouse mats? That would be damned silly, and in no way economic anyway.

Tech has allowed for artists and fans to reach out directly to each 
other. What if they manage to get around the copyright machinery. Then 
there’d be no place for us to suck out the money any longer!

I think this person is saying that creators and fans should cut out middle-men and relate directly. I heartily agree! Whenever I buy a music album for instance, I generally try to buy directly off an artist’s web site.

But consider this for a moment … we have middle-men for a good reason.

It costs far more to achieve competitive production value on any given work than most artists can afford on their own, and it may well be beyond the scope of an average crowd-funding budget as well. Especially if we are talking about films, which might employ a lot of people. So, investment from commercial sources is required to make the work. And to carry the cost of marketing it (think that is negligible in the digital age? Well, anyone who knows will tell you it’s not).

When you invest in something, do you not expect a return? Don’t blame people who have lent money speculatively when they expect to get some or all of it back, maybe with a little profit.

And God almighty, are you ever confused about ‘copyright machinery’. Far from enabling exploitation of artists, something that oppresses artists, copyright is the only protection that creators of original work have.

There is no machinery. Copyright is very simply, the ‘right to make copies’. It enables creators to have a choice about how and where their work appears (see definition at head of this paper).

Tech disrupts this right by enabling anyone to make instant digital copies and distribute them indiscriminately, potentially to millions of people.

Progress? No. 

This is not artists and fans “reaching directly out to each other”. It’s deadbeats, moochers, and thieves ‘getting stuff for free’, exploiting stolen work by selling it, or enabling ad supported piracy.

So yes, there is a good deal of money being “sucked out” alright, you just need to get informed and real about who is doing the sucking.

Ask yourself, who has actually paid for the creation of a work?

And who is now reaping an actual financial benefit from that copyright infringing download on YouTube, Pirate Bay, or Bit Torrent?

There’s a big difference between taking a physical object and copying data. How can you not see that?

I understand the difference very well. This is a hugely popular semantic argument. And it’s basically rubbish:

Under the common law, larceny required that the thing taken be tangible property. This is presumably why the skeptics think it’s wrong to refer to copyright infringement as theft. While copyright is personal property, it’s intangible property that, by its very nature, is nonrivalrous. Thus, if somebody infringes a copyright, they haven’t dispossessed the copyright owner of any tangible property, a necessary element for larceny under the common law.

To the uninitiated, the confusion about why copyright infringement is theft is understandable. But the line of reasoning that focuses on the old, common law definition of larceny neglects to take account of the fact that the modern definition of property for purposes of theft statutes has been broadened to include both tangible and intangible property.”

For a more detailed dissection of this topic, see:

copyright infringement … there’s nothing you can do about it. And more and more people are participating in it. Wait, the majority of the world with internet access is participating in it. So, if most people are doing it, if it’s socially acceptable, if it’s not harmful, why is it still illegal?

Because it’s wrong.

Thou Shalt not Steal? Remember that? But screw the bible. You don’t need to go to Church to see that ripping off honest people is harmful. Any point of view that ignores the economic harm, the unfairness, the sheer disrespect to creators is just plain evil.

This is a five year old child’s argument. Everyone is bullying the four eyed kid in a leg brace, so it must be OK? Grow up.

The movie industry for example is a billion dollar industry. Yet it consists of just a few studios taking the majority of the wealth by locking culture behind paywalls. Well if that doesn’t mean less wealth and less culture for the community, I don’t know what does. Culture is culture because it is free and accessible by everybody. It stops being about culture the minute you put it behind a paywall.

I’m not particularly interested in defending Hollywood. I don’t like a lot of their films, and they have historically manipulated world taste and dominated international box office. But that wealth is shared – via every cinema in every country where their movies play. Commonly about 60% of cinema revenue stays in the country where it is earned. And everywhere those movies play, that is culture, and that is sharing. I don’t know what else to call it when everyone in the world at once gets interested in the same movie about a bunch of muscled guys in funny costumes.

You might as well blame the victims of burglary for being wealthy. Does that justify or excuse you for breaking and entering? That seems to be your suggestion. To hell with the ‘rich’ movie industry, they’re locking up money and culture that ought to be shared?

Actually, no, they’re not. They’re spending ridiculous amounts of money to make entertainment for everybody. It’s expensive. And it has to be paid for to continue.

You and every other freetard in the world fail to explain why this supposedly rancid movie industry you despise owes you anything for free. And how will that industry possibly ‘share’ its products with you when you cut off the money supply that makes their production possible?

Well, every card carrying freetard knows for a fact that absolutely everyone in Hollywood is stinking rich and drives a big black fancy car. Even the grips and gaffers, and runners, and production assistants. They all have mansions in Bel Air. So they can all shut up and die, correct?

If so, how do you apply that argument to pirates who rip off content from creators who have nothing whatsoever to do with Hollywood?

What do you have to say to people who have dedicated themselves to being storytellers  to their tribe? Who have made untold sacrifices, and struggled all their lives to scrape modest livings, and now see that being ripped away from them by a bunch of selfish ‘innovators’ who have discovered an easy way to profit from the sweat of others?

Disruptive innovation, I think it’s called. It used to just be called ‘being an asshole’. I prefer that older term. It’s got a more authentic ring to it.

Culture is all kinds of things. Some of it, you should expect to pay for. Nothing in life is ever absolutely free. I repeat a statement from above:

Ask yourself, who has actually paid for the creation of a work?

And who is now reaping an actual financial benefit from that copyright infringing download on YouTube, Pirate Bay, or Bit Torrent?



You obviously have a computer & Internet access, so clearly your “economic viability” remains quite intact.

YOU are the cancer, and your “thinking” will be eradicated, no matter how much someone like you tries to purchase government prohibitions on “piracy.”

Very eloquent. I have yet to witness a more fiercely closed mind.

The excretions of a male bovine are not coming from me I’m afraid. It take a little more than a computer and internet access to achieve “economic viability”. It takes a product that cannot be legally copied, and buyers willing to buy, at a price point that ensures continuation of supply. Remove either of these factors, and you lose viability.

The only “cancer” here is the freetardist thinking which equates theft with ‘freedom’.

For a concise but illuminating history of this erroneous philosophy, I suggest this link:


Please cut the crap about “we will starve if someone downloads from The Pirate Bay.”

If what you produce is of genuine value, you will never want for any need; plenty of customers will pay you the tribute you desire. In reality, though, you don’t want to be paid once for the same product – you want to be paid, paid, paid, paid, and paid again, ad infinitum.

Firstly, “cut the crap’? It’s not crap. The damage done to revenues by illegal downloading is real, and it’s verifiable.

Secondly, ‘plenty of customers will pay you …”?

Yeah. Right. If they feel like it. After they’ve watched or listened for free? So you would reduce professional creators to the status of street buskers, reliant on voluntary handouts? Is that how you roll in your own professional life? I doubt it. A few seconds of empathy may enlighten you.

No producer expects to be rewarded for nothing. Here’s how it works. It’s really not very complicated. I allow you to see my film, and you pay me for the privilege. That’s the quid pro quo. It’s show business. OK?

What you really mean is, some people will pay, so it’s okay if a lot of others don’t. Well, to me, that’s not ok. That’s stealing an experience I don’t want to give away. Not because I’m evil or greedy or don’t want people to see my work. But because it cost me and investors a lot of time and money and damned hard work to make the film in the first place, and I need enough of a return to continue running a viable business.

By viable, I mean having enough to pay bills and keep going. That’s kind of hard when one is haemorrhaging all over the net. Hollywood can tolerate it. Piracy to them is like a rat biting an elephant. When the rat bites me, it hurts.

You don’t accept that piracy hurts creative businesses. That’s your opinion, not a fact. Piracy has hurt my business. That’s a fact. I can say it till I’m blue in the face and point at the mathematical proof, but on past experience I know it’s a waste of time trying to shift the beliefs of faith driven zealots.

I don’t know what you mean by “pay and pay and pay …”. Do you think you should have lifelong rights to free supply of any given title, on any platform, and in all future editions? Your economic naivety is unsurprising. Lots of people think because they can copy an MP3 or quicktime file instantly, that distribution of music and movies costs nothing. Think again. It doesn’t. Even purely online transmission has a cost much greater than nothing.

Personally, I have no problem with consumers purchasing my films and converting them to different formats for their own use. I also make my DVDs zone free so they can be played anywhere in the world. For people who can’t afford, or don’t want DVDs, I make films available via much cheaper pay per view or download.

It’s just a few bucks. And it’s accessible on any online device. And still the freetards aren’t happy. They’d rather watch free downloads from a pirate site, then scream at me about how I need to change my business model.

You have two choices, Stick to the old ways and ride the whirlpool down the toilet, or adapt to new realities.

Change or die is a stirring battle cry. But it rings a little hollow here. The reality is most creative people are innovative by nature, and embrace change, and new ways of doing things (see last paragraph above).

I’m not unwilling to change. I am unwilling to give up things that matter to me, and things that determine my viability.

The problem is we are dealing with a fundamental evolution in cultural attitudes, where one sector of the economy has set out to replace the idea of buying and selling cultural goods with the idea that those goods aren’t actually worth anything. They just exist in a big swirly cyber universe, and should be available free to everyone, anywhere, all the time.

That is the great big lie behind all this nightmare. Because the carriers of all this digital bounty, ‘content’, stuff, call it what you like; the world-straddling behemoths of Silicon Valley,  of course, THEY have to be compensated; as do the makers of the shiny tech toys that play all the movies, music, books and photos; and most of all the Great God Google, that enables search for every single bit and byte. Their IP is apparently off limits. They don’t get called names for being stinking rich corporate exploiters, even though these are the most rapacious, monolithic, monopolistic, and cynically exploitative corporations the world has ever seen. 

The record industry chose the former, instead of embracing and leading the change that would have given them more control over their destiny. The concept that the music industry crapped out due to failure to embrace change has a direct and provable relationship with the truth.

Certainly. And they’re still being lashed for that – twenty years after they started to adapt. Now we are long since past the point where the charge of refusing to change has any relevence, but the abuse continues.

This is an argument about price and access, I get it, but one has the feeling that no price will suit some people, and only universal free access will do. That is not a business model you are asking of creative industries. That is economic suicide.

The movie and TV industries are showing SOME signs of accepting the latter concept, however they are being firmly blocked by the cable companies, who have no commitment to funding premium content*. They have a commitment to maintaining the status quo, and their own substantial profits.

*This is completely incorrect – US Cable TV invests huge amounts on premium content. Perhaps the reader is referring to Australia’s Foxtel. 

No one should be surprised that producers sell their goods to the highest bidder. So yes, as long as cable companies can command exclusive rights over premium content, then this argument will continue. It’s not called ‘premium’ content for nothing.

And that’s life.

Shit, I’d love to be able to own a Ferrari, and eat fillet steak rather than cheaper cuts. But I can’t afford it. Do I cry about it and go steal my meat? No. I make do, or work harder.

Some in the music industry with level heads have gone as far as to suggest the likes of Apple saved the industry by allowing individual song sales at a reasonable price when the whole world was headed to a piracy model on music.The industry could have chosen that path for themselves some years earlier and maintained profits and control. Instead we had the likes of Sony installing root kits on pcs and other doomed to fail copy protection models.

Yes, they were doomed, but this is truly ancient history. The writer is so busy flogging a dead horse, he fails to keep up with trending developments.

 Apple’s ‘saving’ of the music industry looks like being merely a temporary slowdown of disaster. Are you as enthusiastic about Spotify and Pandora? They are ‘saving’ the music industry too. Which is why, I guess, there are so many unemployed musicians now compared to 20 years ago. Go look at the figures for the total value of the worldwide music industry now and then, and tell me again how new business models are so much superior to the old ones.

But that would probably lead to a tirade about the evils of the old music labels, and frankly, I’m sick of hearing such twisted hypocritical rubbish. Yes, those big bad labels ripped off a lot of musicians. That is truly awful, yes. But in no way justifies file ‘sharing’ freetards from ripping off artists today. 

The labels and studios could all disappear tomorrow. In a world without copyright and without respect for the rights of artists, where would the benefits of creative work fall? On consumers, who get their entertainment for free, and on the ‘carriers’, who monetise ‘content’ in a hundred different ways. But the creators and workers and enablers who make and facilitate music, films, books … in this brave new world, they are expected to starve, beg for handouts, get a patron, or otherwise dream up as yet unimagined ways to make a buck?

Yeah. Right.


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Creative Commons for Dummies

You might have heard of Creative Commons? It’s been promoted as a pathway to universal enlightenment, freeing up information and creative work for the betterment of mankind.



The shabby truth is, it’s a bullshit solution to a non-existent problem. Anyone who wants to share their work for free can do it. Copyright law, as it exists, is simpler. It protects individual rights, and allows  for exceptions like fair use, satire, and educational uses.

So why do we need Creative Commons?

We don’t.

Creative Commons is a utopian mythical smokescreen invented by Neo Liberal Silicon Valley entrepreneurs (and their well paid stooges in academia) to camouflage their war on everyone else’s property rights. Their own rights, of course, remain sacred and fiercely protected.

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