The people who most frequently refer to internet piracy as theft/stealing are the ones who want to censor the internet and pay off congress. I hope that, regardless of where they stand on the piracy issue, HN users can be a little more articulate about why piracy is or is not permissible and stop referring to it inaccurately.
It's far more than just being semantically "inaccurate". Anyone who equates piracy with theft is being deliberately and fundamentally dishonest, and is only interested in waving their propaganda about instead of having an open debate.
That's just not true. If you asked a random person "what do you call the act of taking something without paying for it", they'd answer "theft". The fact that there is a distinction, because in one case you're "physically" taking something and in another you're not, is a much more nuanced argument.
Most people will use the term theft because that's the term which fits the best in our language. You might not like that, you might want to change that in order to help people understand the difference. But that doesn't mean that anyone who uses the word "theft" is someone to ignore.
By saying "taking" you've already given them the wrong question.
If you ask a random person "what do you call the act of imitating something without paying for it", they'd answer "huh?", or "art".
This just reinforces my point - choosing to ignore people only because they use the word "stealing" is not a good idea.
Now we've corrected your choice of words from 'took' to 'copied', can you please make your argument again but this time using the correct word?
I just wished to point out that you were deluding yourself with semantics.
I'm not for or against piracy.
On a personal level, I am for being able to pirate other people's work, but against my own work being pirated. That's not hypocritical: I value increasing my capital.
But on a non-personal level, my belief is that a file is the medium of ideas and that when this is copied it (a) strengthens the ideas by increasing their cheap supply in a culture, and that (b) due to the increased supply the demand at high price points has the potential to shift down, while the demand at low price points has the potential to shift up because of increased cultural interest.
Please elaborate. Where does my statement conflict with reality?
> It's the real thing
It's already a copy of a copy of an edit of an edit of a copy a magnetic tape in someone's camera.
> and I took it.
You copied it. If you insist on calling it "take" or "steal" you must accept that you took or stole games from steam after purchasing then.
> but if you think the pirate bay is about 'imitation'
I didn't even mention Pirate Bay.
> When I download my series of the pirate bay
You don't. You download them directly off hundreds of other people across the world. TPB just gives you the list of people.
When you go to a restaurant, do you say that you sit at the waiter and eat forks?
Clean semantics, and not confusing the medium with the object, are crucial for discussion.
The English verb "to steal" is certainly capable of meaning "to take without the right" regardless of whether physical property is involved. Not to mention the myriad of common idioms, like "So-and-so stole my idea." What else are people trying to express by its use in this case?
It's clear that the issue here is their legal right to exclusive distribution and transmission (or "state granted monopoly", if you prefer) of their work, not whether or not they "still have a copy". It can be disagreed with, but they have it and others distributing their work without permission diminishes it.
Not saying I disagree with you that it's the wrong way to go about things, but, I think if one is being honest, the argument over the use of word is telling on both sides and that some people are clearly trying to demonize those who use the word, in the same way that they feel they are being demonized by its use against them.
Of course piracy is like theft in one way (you get something for free without compensating the author), however its not in another (unlike smashing a window and taking a diamond ring, nobody loses a diamond ring - or a window).
Piracy/Copyright-infrigiment - you copy something from someone. Result: You both have that same thing, in digital world, it is exactly to the bit the same. In analog world the someone has the original while your copy will probably be a bit different and unique. Nobody is left without having stuff.
before | after
X . | . X Theft
X . | . . Vandalism
X . | X X Copyright infringement
1) The way that the internet is configured means that distribution is now nearly free for everyone.
2) People will (and are!) using this to distribute things that other people don't want them to distribute, and may even bankrupt them.
3) Changing this, if even possible, will require fundamentally changing the nature of the internet in it's current form, which will have massive implications for freedom of speech and may bankrupt other industries.
#3 is the only part which is truly interesting. Are we going to break what we have now based on the (possibly incorrect) assumption that it will do anything to help the recording industry?
Copying under the current system is guaranteed... that's what it does. Whether it's "stealing" or "moral" is something else. Whether people go to heaven or hell when they download Season 4 of Sex in the City, or whether their government locks up children from copying a ringtone... These are less interesting points. Societies can take care of themselves on these points, I presume they won't tolerate it.
Uninteresting, yes. Irrelevant, sadly no. We give words meaning, which tend to linger even when used differently. A careless (or careful!) choice of word can significantly steer the debate. Think for instance of "viral" licences (as if the GPL were a disease), or "mentally ill", which reminds us that mad people aren't mad by choice.
If copyright theft was not theft, the whole GNU and Free Software movement wouldn't exist. As author of software licenced under GNU GPL, you say "this is free, but because I am the author and I have copyright, if you want to use it in your software, you must also release the code under GNU."
If you say copyright theft is not theft, any software company can go and use GNU code, include it in their proprietary code and re-sell it. And because you also imply that we should give up on copyright enforcement, they would get away with it.
You say it is not accurate but don't provide anything substantial to back up your claim. Instead you use a logical fallacy: because these persons are bad, thus the argument of using term "theft" is bad.
EDIT: And I'd note that many would would say that this second person is "Stealing the customers" of the first factory owner, but that doesn't mean what he does is actually morally equivalent to stealing.
But what's that got to do with copyright infringement?
People work to create music just like people work to mine the earth to produce coal. Should one not get paid just because what they're producing can't be physically held?
That may be immoral, but it is not theft.
This isn't an argument about what's morally right - all that is being argued is that no legal system in the world classes copyright infringement as stealing.
This would involve the owner making a police report about this theft, and state machinery getting search warrant to find the "stolen" article. Once the stolen article is found, it will be "replaced" back to the owner.
This would then be also beneficial to defendant, because now he would have the right to lawyer, and if he is unable to get one, the state will provide one. He would also have presumption of innocence, and if found guilty, his punishment would be jail time. If there is fine, it would have to be proportional to the "theft", and not some $250,000 for immeasurable damage.
Very likely, three strike laws and such would also apply, which ensures that anyone committing "theft" repeatedly will most probably see long sentences.
Why have different laws on book, if piracy is theft and can be dealt as such? And what about all the expiration of ownership? My great-grandfather's ring is still with me, and its ownership did not expire 70 years after his death. Perhaps all literature should still be owned by the estate of the dead, after all, it is property that is being stolen in plain sight everyday.
"...what they really do is stuff like selling overpriced plushy dolls and making 11 year old girls
become anorexic. Either from working in the factories that creates the dolls for basically no salary or by watching
movies and tv shows that make them think that they're fat."
I try to minimize the exposure of my kids to the plastic reality of disney - but it is nearly impossible. The system for indoctrinating girls into the consumption servitude archetype is insidiously powerful.
It is threaded in our society and very very hard to avoid.
If you invest millions of dollars in movies or a music album, you have to charge money to make it back. As we can see from Spotify and others, ad supported models do not pay enough to cover the high costs of creating expensive products. But of course alternative revenue is enough to pay for the costs of selling something that doesn't belong to you and costs nothing for you to distribute. And once you have to charge, of course people will prefer to get it where they don't have to pay. It has little to do with convenience. The number one thing that will impact the conversion rate on a shopping cart funnel (besides SSN) is asking for a credit card, regardless of how few seconds it takes to fill it out. People are wary of putting their card in online, they're lazy, and they're cheap. You're not more efficient, you're just catering to the lowest common denominator of people.
There is virtually no reason why companies could not distribute products the way TPB does, except that they'd still have to charge money for those products. The minute you do that, someone who gives away hot dogs they didn't pay for wins. To pretend like it's some noble effort is a joke. You earn your livings off the backs of people who make things people want. Try charging your users for the things you offer and see how long your "more efficient" platform does well.
Sure, people will go on and on about how they get higher quality files, whole discographies in one click, and blah blah blah. Most people do not do that and they still pirate things. Taking things you didn't pay for and selling them cheaper than someone who did is not more efficient. Just start calling a spade a spade so we can move on and talk like adults.
> It has little to do with convenience.
There are tons of examples where the MPAA/RIAA members could have switched distribution methods, but chose not to for a very long time because they are too conservative. Once they shuttered Napster, they could have paid a team to develop something similar to the iTunes music store, and organized a set of standards to govern music players with electronics companies. They could have owned the new distribution medium by ushering it in themselves. Instead they spent time on legal teams playing wack-a-mole with the pirates and lobbying various legislative bodies across the globe to try and prevent the Internet from happening. The only investment that they want to make in the future is attempting to extend the ecosystem of the past into the future as far as possible.
Most cars in the same class and relative features cost the same. Most comparable computers cost similar amounts. Costume jewelry from store to store is similarly priced.
Not everything is a conspiracy. You price things at what people will pay for them, and for many years people gladly paid, and still pay, $13.99 for CDs. You don't have to conspire to come to a similar price point.
I worked in a music store for a number of years, and got gossipy stories from area and regional managers about stuff from label reps and contacts. There were a few more majors back then, but it always felt very much like collusion more than competition - coordinating of release dates, for one. We couldn't adjust our prices to match competition without clearing it first with HQ. Some of these were, to some extent, normal retail chain corporate policies, but why were they so worried about some issues? Well, if we violated things, we might lose some deals we had with label X or label Y. (Almost felt like if mfg X preloaded linux on model ABC, they wouldn't get preferential MS Windows licensing prices compared to their competitors.)
This was early 90s, for some perspective.
Then - lo and behold - http://www.wired.com/politics/law/news/2000/08/38103?current... - a mere 9 years later.
Then 11 years after that - http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2011/jan/11/major-labels-law...
Some of these people are being compensated so well because they are able to play a part in the making of a movie, which millions of people want to watch and will pay money to do so. They are being paid for their abilities and the more specifically, rarity of those abilities.
Digital content isn't exactly like a hot dog, so let's assume that you could design a magical hot dog which, once created, you can copy many times with no other costs. You have an unlimited supply of hot dogs, and each one of these hot dogs, being an exact copy of the original, can also be used to magically make more hot dogs.
Now I'm not saying that this hot dog is free - it cost a LOT in R&D to produce this hot dog, and you invested a lot in it. The other thing is that hot dogs go with buns, and there's sadly no magical buns in this universe. Each and every bun has to be created, and costs money.
So you set up your hot dog stand, selling magical hot dogs with non-magical buns. You charge a premium rate because you're the only guy in town who managed to make a magical hot dog of this quality, and with it's unique flavour. Besides, the buns are still costing you money, and they have to come from somewhere.
Now you notice some guy has found out that the magical hot dog you sold him can make new hot dogs at no cost, but they don't have the buns attached. As a response, you start baking the hot dogs into the bread - it makes it harder to get the hot dog out, and you think that that's the end of it. But the guy realises that with a bit of effort, he can get the hot dog out of the bread too, because what's the point of a hot dog if you can't get at it? Baking the hot dog into the bread is costing you even more, and making it harder for people to get to the hot dog.
Soon you have some people coming up to you and asking if they can have seeded bread, or maybe gluten free, or maybe they just hate bread and want it on it's own. Some of them want to buy just your hot dog and put it on their own bread. But if you start selling them hot dogs by themselves, won't they just start handing out free hot dogs to all their friends? That would be a disaster! So your answer is no! Hot dogs come baked into bread, and by now you've convinced the mayor to make it illegal to take your hot dogs out of the bread. People should just learn to love your bread!
So how's the guy who took your hot dog out of it's bread going? He's still giving away hot dogs for free, and what's worse is that he's telling everyone he gives one to to give them away, too. It's costing him nothing to do because he doesn't have to pay for bread. Sure, some people are still coming to you because they actually like the bread, but mostly the people coming to you are asking about bread-free options, and are still willing to pay. Most of the people going to the guy who's giving out hot dogs for free never bought anything from you, and some of them don't even eat the hot dogs. Sure, you see a few of your old customers going to him instead, but mostly the people going to him either never came to you, or (after tasting the free hot dog) later come to you to buy a genuine one in bread.
The point isn't that the guy giving away free hot dogs isn't a jerk. He is. The point is that you're stubbornly refusing to let people pay for a hot dog how they want it, in a way that costs you less (because you don't have to adjust the price for the bread - you just have to cover your costs, rather than incurring new ones).
You're doing this in an attempt to stop people doing what they're already doing. People don't want to rip you off - they just want to be able to pick their own bread.
To break from the analogy now, I was happily a pirate because it was difficult for me to get what I wanted how I wanted and there was no technical reason why it wasn't available. Sure, if I wanted all my movies as flip-books, then there's a technical reason why that doesn't make sense, but there's no technical reason stopping me from getting them as digital media files.
If I'm looking for music from a band, I will always try to find a legal channel to obtain it first. If I can't find one (and these days, it's getting pretty rare), then I'll probably pirate it. Sure, some people will pirate it anyway because they feel entitled to it, but the point is that many, many people have no problems paying for content so long as they can get it how and when they want it. This type of availability of content is pretty much what TPB seems to be about for many people. It's not about screwing content producers - it's about freedom of choice.
Anyway, that's my take on it. I know that there are people who will always choose to steal rather than pay, but most of society would happily pay if only we were allowed to.
> The point is that you're stubbornly refusing to let people pay for a hot dog how they want it
If you are the guy spending money to create the original magic hot dogs, you have to charge a certain amount to recoup your money. If you do not, you cannot afford to make those hot dogs anymore. You must also take into consideration the many investments you make in magic hamburgers and fries that don't pan out.
Once you create that hot dog, even if you give people exactly what they want - bread, no bread, wrap it in a fucking croissant - if you require a credit card and the dipshit down the street does not, no amount of convenient packages and toppings is going to make up for it. Does it make the guy down the street a genius with a better product, as TPB's "statement" tries to paint of them? No, it makes them a parasite leeching from people who have the talent and skill to make magic hot dogs.
As I said, let's just call a spade a spade. The greater efficiency they bring to the table is removing the paywall, which they can only afford to do because they create nothing. Maybe you think there is nothing wrong with that. But if everyone is going to so adamantly insist that we not call piracy theft, let's also not call TPB innovative. Their only innovation is finding a way to profit off the backs of people who make things we enjoy, while giving nothing back. Bravo.
I don't know how we could do this, but here is the ideal case: paying requires only 2 clicks, it is secure, and it is anonymous (no one besides the receiver and yourself know of the transaction). Imagine computer games that feature a "click to donate $1" menu option. Media players could do the same, provided there is the relevant information in the music file. If I ever have the urge to donate, I just click, and it's done.
Right now, I have a pirated copy of Skyrim on my computer. I like this game, and I think it deserves at the very least a tip. Actually, I am seriously considering purchasing it. But it is a hassle. I need either to set up a steam account, or to buy a copy at a local store (in France, and I want English dialogues). But if my copy featured a "donate" button I can trust, I definitely would have given at least 10€, probably 25€.
If this were possible, I would like to "pay cash" over the network.
The sad thing is "already available digitally" is a thing that comes and go. Take e.g the iTunes Store or Zune, which I use routinely, have items disappear and then reappear a week, or a month later, or never. It's absolutely ridiculous.
(I notice it because I add things to my wishlist and they sit there, and when I want to rent or buy it it's not there anymore, and then, a month down, maybe it's back, maybe not).
As for pragmatic concerns, maybe they're considered less liable for the content they host, since they don't monitor the content to remove "accessible" content?
Also - something might be digitally available in the US, but not in other countries.
I don't buy that. There is and will always be ( as far as I can tell ) the simple fact that I can get an album that costs x dollars for 0. Itunes and Amazon make the purchase of music about as easy as possible, but they still can't beat free.
Stop thinking that the USA is the world, and what works there will work everywhere. Outside the US, availability of digital content is a wasteland.
I'm not arguing for the Pirate Bay, but there is an error in your logic - to make that analogy fit into an online distribution situation, you would have to postulate that you only have to pay for one hotdog, and the rest can be duplicated and distributed for close to zero cost.
"Over a century ago Thomas Edison got the patent for a device which would "do for the eye what the phonograph does for the ear". He called it the Kinetoscope. He was not only amongst the first to record video, he was also the first person to own the copyright to a motion picture."
I don't understand -- aren't patents federally enforced?
I can only assume they were not federal back then.
To me this was the best part of the entire message.
If factually, then which parts are wrong?
INTERNETS, 18th of January 2012.
PRESS RELEASE, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE.
Over a century ago Thomas Edison got the patent for a device which would "do for the eye what the phonograph does for
the ear". He called it the Kinetoscope. He was not only amongst the first to record video, he was also the first person
to own the copyright to a motion picture.
Because of Edisons patents for the motion pictures it was close to financially impossible to create motion pictures
in the North american east coast. The movie studios therefor relocated to California, and founded what we today call
Hollywood. The reason was mostly because there was no patent.
There was also no copyright to speak of, so the studios could copy old stories and make movies out of them - like
Fantasia, one of Disneys biggest hits ever.
So, the whole basis of this industry, that today is screaming about losing control over immaterial rights, is that they
circumvented immaterial rights. They copied (or put in their terminology: "stole") other peoples creative works,
without paying for it. They did it in order to make a huge profit. Today, they're all successful and most of the
studios are on the Fortune 500 list of the richest companies in the world. Congratulations - it's all based on being
able to re-use other peoples creative works. And today they hold the rights to what other people create.
If you want to get something released, you have to abide to their rules. The ones they created after circumventing
other peoples rules.
The reason they are always complainting about "pirates" today is simple. We've done what they did. We circumvented the
rules they created and created our own. We crushed their monopoly by giving people something more efficient. We allow
people to have direct communication between eachother, circumventing the profitable middle man, that in some cases take
over 107% of the profits (yes, you pay to work for them).
It's all based on the fact that we're competition.
We've proven that their existance in their current form is no longer needed. We're just better than they are.
And the funny part is that our rules are very similar to the founding ideas of the USA. We fight for freedom of speech.
We see all people as equal. We believe that the public, not the elite, should rule the nation. We believe that laws
should be created to serve the public, not the rich corporations.
The Pirate Bay is truly an international community. The team is spread all over the globe - but we've stayed out of the
USA. We have Swedish roots and a swedish friend said this:
The word SOPA means "trash" in Swedish. The word PIPA means "a pipe" in Swedish. This is of course not a coincidence.
They want to make the internet inte a one way pipe, with them at the top, shoving trash through the pipe down to the
rest of us obedient consumers.
The public opinion on this matter is clear. Ask anyone on the street and you'll learn that noone wants to be fed with
trash. Why the US government want the american people to be fed with trash is beyond our imagination but we hope that
you will stop them, before we all drown.
SOPA can't do anything to stop TPB. Worst case we'll change top level domain from our current .org to one of the
hundreds of other names that we already also use. In countries where TPB is blocked, China and Saudi Arabia springs to
mind, they block hundreds of our domain names. And did it work? Not really.
To fix the "problem of piracy" one should go to the source of the problem. The entertainment industry say they're
creating "culture" but what they really do is stuff like selling overpriced plushy dolls and making 11 year old girls
become anorexic. Either from working in the factories that creates the dolls for basically no salary or by watching
movies and tv shows that make them think that they're fat.
In the great Sid Meiers computer game Civilization you can build Wonders of the world. One of the most powerful ones
is Hollywood. With that you control all culture and media in the world. Rupert Murdoch was happy with MySpace and had
no problems with their own piracy until it failed. Now he's complainting that Google is the biggest source of piracy
in the world - because he's jealous. He wants to retain his mind control over people and clearly you'd get a more
honest view of things on Wikipedia and Google than on Fox News.
Some facts (years, dates) are probably wrong in this press release. The reason is that we can't access this information
when Wikipedia is blacked out. Because of pressure from our failing competitors. We're sorry for that.
THE PIRATE BAY, (K)2012
Call it what you want, but what a ton of people are doing in downloading movies off the pirate bay is taking something that they haven't paid for. Maybe one can say that isn't stealing, but I find it hard to call it anything else.
Maybe I'm missing something in their stance?
EDIT: I know we're talking about the middleman and not the producing companies, but the pirate bay is still facilitating the act of taking revenues away from producers, right?
First off, even if your assumption is true, it would only mean there would be no more movies created in the way Hollywood creates movies today. There would still be movies created by passionate filmmakers. Secondly, I think your assumption is wrong anyway. Hollywood could make movies that would get people in theaters. It would require better movies and probably better theaters. Pirates will have a hard time competing with a good theater experience.
Remember, home video was not an original part of Hollywood's business model. Cinemas were. In fact, they have fought every new form of home media, heralding it as the end of their business, and then eventually adapting and making tons of money from that new media. It takes time, and they haven't quite managed to pull it off yet with today's new home media: high speed Internet access.
I am not saying that Hollywood is going to be completely killed - I was just speculating as to a possible (albeit unlikely) future scenario. The reason for my doing this is that TPB's statement gave me the feeling that they didn't want the traditional Hollywood to exist anymore.
Sorry - what exactly are you getting at with the comment about them being so hypocritical about everything?
When you talk about "obtaining something" for free, what you're really doing is creating a copy of something. Everyone on both ends of the copying gives their consent: e.g. for Bittorrent, uploaders and downloaders are both freely offering the bandwidth they have paid for. Unless the original uploader
Basing an entire industry on the faulty analogy of creative works as property is, in my opinion, foolish and unworthy of legal support.
It doesn't make a difference at all whether or not you are copying something or actually removing it from its original place. If you are going with your argument, any company that makes software should only be able to sell that software once and after that, anyone should be able to copy it. Every person that uses the software is getting the value of the software that the original person put capital into creating and you should have to pay for that, not get it for free.
They certainly own the ones and zeroes on their own hard drives, but they don't suddenly own the bits on my hard drive if they happen to fall into the same arrangement.
What I always resort to arguing is that ideas and creative works are not property and it doesn't make sense to apply property rights to them. Think back to why physical theft is immoral: it's not because the owner put time and effort into making or earning the property, it's because you can't take the property without depriving the owner of it. That isn't the case for an arrangement of bits on a hard drive, and that's why I don't think copying is immoral.
> If you are going with your argument, any company that makes software should only be able to sell that software once and after that, anyone should be able to copy it.
Any company that relies on selling something that can be effortlessly copied and obtained for free on the Internet, and then lobbies the government to create and enforce increasingly strict rules specifically designed to prop up your business model that is not profitable on its own, does not have any "right" to profit. Note that this is not a dismissal of software-for-profit: there are plenty of profitable software companies that either avoid piracy by providing non-copyable value or by thriving despite piracy.
See also: "makes a copy" vs "removes original"
Creators need to be paid, and I see lots of passionate creators being paid despite, or even with the help of this "stealing" (SEO guys and gals call it "free PR".)
Regardless of whether you make a copy or remove the original, you are taking the property of another party without its permission to do so. That, by definition, is stealing. (see first entry in dictionary.com link)
Free PR makes up for lost sales, but would you choose 100 sales or 100 people that got your product for free, but might go tell other people about it?
Making a copy is not "taking".
Here's another argument for you. When a producer sells a piece of content, it is selling you a copy. You are paying for a copy. If you choose to not pay for a copy, you are effectively stealing a copy from the producer.
if they die out, its because their business model is broken. if their business model is broken, they deserve to die out. why should the government protect them?
separately, if movies stop getting made that will because nobody is willing to fund them. surely that means that they should die out? if enough of us who like our movies (I am one) continue to fund movies, then they will not die out.
again, why should the government have an opinion on any of this?
And yes, I do imply (and even say outright) that people who pirate would buy if they couldn't pirate, but not all of them. Probably only a very small proportion of them would buy a movie if they couldn't pirate it. However, if only one person would buy the movie out of the hundreds that pirate it, it would net the producing and distributing companies a loss, which is all that would need to happen for my argument to have sound backing.
> there would be no more movies which the pirate
> bay could distribute
I'm sure that large $100-million movies won't be made in such a world, but I've never really heard anyone respond to whether or not that is a good or bad thing. Do we really need huge blockbusters like that to truly tell a compelling story?
You don't need a huge budget to make great films, but why encourage an environment in which there is no choice but to make low budget ones?
2. The idea that 'if piracy becomes rampant, then there will be no $100-million movies' usually comes up in piracy discussions. I'm asking whether or not we really need $100-million movies. Would the world be that much worse off without them? This is not a side of the issue that I've seen come up in these discussions, so I'm posing the question.
See Pioneer One for a self/crowd funded 'TV' show which was released under the Creative Commons licence (and distributed legally via pirate bay, etc.). Sure the quality isn't 100% top notch, but the point is that it's starting. It's slow, but the ball is rolling now.
The other thing is that I think good natured people like you who want to pay for movies after watching them are very rare. The majority of pirates don't follow by your way of thinking, I would guess.
So I will see if it's any good, THEN I pay you. That's how it should work, just like it does in a restaurant: you consume their content, if you're unhappy with the product, it's acceptable behaviour to complain and not pay. Why should I pay them to waste my time?
(1) design -> (2) produce -> (3) distribute
This simplified traditional model can be directly applied to movies, games, books, etc.
(1) guy writes book -> (2) publisher runs the printing press -> (3) dude runs book store
Each of these steps can be greatly sub-divided. For example, someone needs to drive the truck full of books to the book store!
Furthermore, the line between each of these steps can be very blurry. An author could, for example, print his own book at home, if he were so inclined.
The big monkey wrench comes into things when you consider the most important missing element: MONEY! Where does it come from?
In the days of yore, if you wanted to produce a film, you'd have to go find backers, like you would for a startup business. Those backers could be friends, family, fools, professional investors, pre-order sales, etc.
More interestingly, one type of backer could be the production/distribution suppliers. They often have greater diversification, so they are more stable in the long term. As they grow more and more stable, they grow more and more rich. With their riches, they can go re-invest more and more of the supply and distribution chain. Once they own more and more of the supply and distribution chain, they can invest more and more in the design end of the process.
Now here's where things get rotton:
It is extremely difficult to profit from a movie these days which are not funded by the major studios. They simply won't run it in the theaters that they have exclusivity deals with! ie. most of them!
This is true of a scary number of media empires! In addition to movies, think about TV, music, Broadway, books (especially text books). I'm sure I'm missing many.
It even is true of software! It may no longer true for boxed software at your local Compu R' Us store, but it still is for video games. You're simply not gonna make as much money if your game doesn't show up on the shelves at Walmart.
So while capitalism works pretty well in general, it's got a fatal flaw: it tends to generate monopolies. And monopolies are dangerous. If not presently malevolent, monopolies are like time bombs waiting to go off when new leadership steps in. I doubt the movie studios set out with the goal of controlling all media and public opinion. It just so happens that being good at making money makes you good at accumulating power. And power corrupts.
So now back to the question you asked: What is The Pirate Bay's stance?
Well.... I'd imagine that they view themselves as liberators from the tyranny of the production companies. If those companies went poof and disappeared tomorrow, films wouldn't disappear. I mean, just look at youtube.com/freddiew -- there are talented people out there who are figuring out how to fund things like they're doing with their VGHS film.
Surely, destroying the production companies would cause people to loose jobs and lots of great films to die on the planning desk. But people will overcome. The industry will find new ways of funding itself and the middleman will become less powerful. Sure, YouTube is huge, but that won't stop you from clicking a Vimeo link. The internet simply makes it too hard to get disgustingly rich from being a publishing or distribution platform. And if you do get disgustingly rich, you simply can't lock every movie theater into an exclusivity deal: anyone could run his own movie theater! And many other movie theaters are just a few keystrokes away! There are new ones every day.
Anyway, Notch is making tens of millions of dollars on Minecraft, a video game sold directly to consumers.
I'm pretty sure Notch couldn't have cranked out Skyrim on his own, and WoW wouldn't have been developed by a small group of people as a hobby project on their own time. Large and complex games and systems and the like take lots of money to produce a product people will want to play, and without big backing these type of games wouldn't exist.
1) So the main issue that we all have with these big production companies is that they make it difficult for small guys to get in on the movie game? But isn't that what things like Youtube and Vimeo are for? Distribution systems for the little guy?
I don't really think it's practical to want to put a significant amount independent developers into theaters. The reason the production companies are really oligopolists (few in number, but relatively great in power) in the industry is that is the best way to actually make the industry work. For example, it's not a very good idea to have 100 different power companies where you live because it is much more efficient and therefore better for society to have only one company. Similarly, it really isn't a great idea to have hundreds if not thousands of movies playing across the country at the same time - it brings up huge issues with coordination, advertising, movie quality, etc. These big production firms don't have the problems that you would have with having hundreds of smaller independent firms.
The smaller guys should be going for the distribution channels made for the smaller guys because that's how those channels were designed. The whole construction of the network of theaters around the world wasn't designed to have thousands of movies playing at the same time - it was designed to have a few big movies playing at the same time. And the only way you're going to get a few big movies is if you have only a few firms that are able to make these big movies.
2) Just as a quick point on economics, capitalism doesn't create monopolies. It's the part of our economy that isn't capitalistic that creates monopolies. We obviously don't live in a purely capitalistic society as a whole - it's more monopolistically competitive and in some parts, oligopolistic. It is oligopolistic in those parts where it is most efficient to do so (like in the big name movie production and distribution industry).
You're presupposing that the traditional movie theater is an enterprise that has an inalienable right to exist.
It doesn't :-)
Disruptive technology is called "disruptive" for this very reason.
Thanks to cheap big screen TVs and digital distribution, the movie business is being disrupted.
Near me, lots of theaters have gone out of business recently. Other new ones have popped up that are now selling beer and food during the film. Still others are showing fewer blockbusters, but more classics and inviting directors, actors, and other crew to hold QnA sessions after the screenings.
In the short term, damage is done, jobs are lost, businesses fail. In the long term, scar tissue forms and society rebuilds, better than it was before. It's all a bunch of grand experiments. Who knows what will stick?
> capitalism doesn't create monopolies
It most certainly does create monopolies AND oligarchies. Just look at history. Some other reply to me suggested it was government's fault. Yeah that too. Also see history :-)
> For example, it's not a very good idea to have 100 different power companies where you live because it is much more efficient and therefore better for society to have only one company
This is a pretty different discussion.
In terms of ideology, I'd consider myself a social libertarian. I believe that the government should do only really two categories of things:
1) Act as a check/balance on businesses (ie. make sure my food is safe to eat & that no one organization goes around destroying the greater good for personal gains)
2) Provide municipal services where there is either (A) conflict of interest (eg. health insurance) or (B) unsatisfiable constraints to sustain business (eg. no one will deliver mail to a 10 person town; or road construction)
However, the problem is that when technology changes, government needs to be able to rapidly evolve it's involvement in both areas. Sadly, it seems incapable of rethinking any idea without a full reboot (cough bloody revolution) or a fist full of lobbying dollars.
For example: Today, I support the government's control of road construction. If teleporters are invented tomorrow, I would demand that the government immediately develop a plan for reducing and ultimately eliminating their involvement in transportation.
The Internet wins and will always win.
As one guy above put it, if you lay out a bunch of hotdogs on a table and let people take them for free, you'll give out a whole lot more than the guy next to you who is charging for them and handing them out one by one.
The fact that they have become distribution systems in their own right is a testament to the fact that content creators will always create, and will try to distribute their creations in any way that they can. People will often use something counter to it's original design, and it's smart companies that can recognise that use and restructure their operation around it.
The problem isn't that only the big guys get into the cinemas - in a free market, that might still be the case. The problem is that the little guys can't get into the cinemas, no matter how high the quality of their product. The only way that they can is by bowing down and paying fealty to the big studios who didn't actually contribute anything to the production.
The problem that the big companies are encountering now is that new media has been showing up which works without their tightly controlled distribution methods. Want to make a TV series? You no longer have to sell it to a studio or be stuck on some form of local station. You can distribute it yourself, to more people than the traditional methods would ever allow, and you can do it easier. The problem that the studios have is that you no longer need to be on a TV show or in a cinema to get seen. They're not entirely irrelevant yet, but they're no longer the only way to view content.
The problem with piracy is that people are taking the job of distribution out of the hands of the people who either created or paid for the rights to distribute it. It's a big blow for companies that add no real value other than distribution, which is why they're claiming massive losses and jobs lost. They can't reconcile the idea that you can make as much money (if not more) by selling the same product at a lower cost to a wider audience. The pirates saw an opportunity and stepped in. Once the big companies can figure out how to adapt their business models to meet what consumers actually want, they'll start to make a profit, and everyone will be all the better for it.
The last thing that this opening of the market (and that's what this internet revolution is) means is that quality will increase. Once distribution isn't a case of "You get what you're given, and you'll thank us for it", then the producers of content will have to start competing not in price but in quality for the consumer's dollar. People can pick what they want to watch when, now. They don't have to catch it at the cinema or have to go without until it makes it to DVD. To make them want to watch something at the cinema, then the product actually has to be worth watching at a cinema. If you want someone to pay money for your DVD box set, you have to make it worth spending money on. If there's something getting produced which you can get for cheaper, in a way that's more convenient to you, then the content would have to be amazing to get you to pay for the more expensive option.
Anyway, this has been a long, rambly rant. I'm hoping that I didn't cloud issues too much, or tangent too often, or outright contradict myself. Every word I wrote, I meant at the time I was writing it.
The main reason I brought up the end game stuff was because the article gave me the feeling the TPB doesn't want Hollywood to exist any longer. They are talking about the people that allow Hollywood to make money as if those people are criminal scum that are just selling plush toys and anorexia. Just thought it was an interesting scenario to consider given the apparently largely negative feelings toward Hollywood's existence.
Probably some portion very close to 0%. It's a hard problem to define without having unfiltered access to everyone's mind. Regardless of what measurement you use, I suspect things like DRM, slow download speeds, slow shipping, bad cinema experiences, etc. have caused more loss in revenue than piracy. I also suspect that for many forms of media (particularly music and software), piracy has been a significant contributor to many producers' success.
Really wish we could get some numbers on this to see if your arguent has backing.
However, it is by definition of US law illegal to pirate copyrighted content, so regardless of whether or not we think it is a benefit to content production and distribution companies for us to pirate their content, it is always going to be illegal.
No, it will be illegal only as long as the majority is of the opinion that it should be illegal.
This argument is not about freedom of exchanging original ideas or even sharing bits of "copyrighted" information, it's about the wholesale stealing of movies which took a great deal of time money and effort to create, even if they are considered 'trash'. In the end, TPB and it's users only pander to the "culture" that they supposedly so despise by consuming such media, they just don't like paying for it.
The "great game" referenced (Civilization, at least the most recent version: 5), is ironically available to download on The Pirate Bay. I suppose this is not worth paying Sid Meier and the development studios he worked with to create this game either.
Pretty much the only thing I don't disagree with are the buried statements about Fox News and the media's control over the public opinion and the inhumane conditions in foreign factories.
FWIW, I OPPOSE SOPA and PIPA, I called my congressmen and voiced my concern today, the proposed law is useless to curb this behavior, but will instead hurt those who DO want to freely exchange ideas and information.
There's always a rogue fringe in the population. No matter how many laws you introduce, these law are only going to inconvenience the majority of the population. America has this great trend of over-criminalizing everything and for what ? The content industry represents what, 1% of the GDP ?
I'm not saying that if everybody would use TPB is wouldn't be bad for the content industry but last time I saw their numbers, they never have made as much profit. If it weren't for TPB&friends, we would probably not have Spotify or Netflix because the pressure wouldn't be there. The rogue people have always been useful in history to challenge status quo and we should cut them some slack. This is where the freedom kicks in.
Also, by repeating these terms of "piracy" and "theft", you are playing right in the hands of the hollywood PR. It's not aligned with reality and oversimplifies the complexity of what is going on. That's why I'm reacting. I'm sick of seeing the same biased ideas repeated by intelligent people that sound exactly as coming from hollywood.
Please, can't we just have more tolerance for each-other ?
Here is Anthony Hamilton who is a Grammy winner signed to RCA Records tweeting an hour ago asking to please not bootleg his music: https://twitter.com/#!/HamiltonAnthony/status/15984085001528...
Also asking for an investment on a return is creepy? Isn't that kind of what you do for work? I'm investing in the fact I'm going to get paid at the end of the month in return for time I put in at the office every week.
Also I'm not sure why I'm being down voted, but why is it that everyone believes artists/musicians etc, just in the last 10 years or so don't deserve to be paid now that their works are easily duplicatable via the internet? Just because we don't like the big music companies and how they do business doesn't seem to justify not paying for music. We all seem to hate Comcast and AT+Ts service, yet we still pay them because there isn't an easy way to get free cellphone service, or free internet to our houses. So using piracy as a way to 'stick it to the man' sounds like a cop out and a reason to get free music, otherwise you would be boycotting Comcast and your cellphone company too.
No, then you really seem to have never met artists. 90% of these bands have albums that are downloadable through SoundCloud or other mediums. They share they stuff very openly, and are huge pirates themselves, and support the Remix culture in multiples ways.
CDs for them are merch. Their money come from playing in venues and holding day jobs. And there's nothing too terrible about that.
Juxtaposing a communication service (ATT/Comcast) to a "product" (music) is not even a valid comparison. You can't pirate ATT/Comcast; maybe you can pirate software they have developed, but that's about the extent that you can compare them.
I apologize if this is double post, my connetion cut out.
Piracy by people in the US is still huge even though a lot of major content is easily available via Netflix, iTunes, Amazon et al. But that is always going to lose out when it is being given away for free somewhere else.
To your Anthony Hamilton anecdote, I throw in an anecdote about artists just asking to leave your recorder on the stage for better effect (Phish if I remember correctly), or you know... just selling the bootleg after some time http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lillywhite_Sessions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bootleg_recording
What does "unlimited" mean here? Does it mean "if everybody torrented" and "if everybody stole"?
If so, you're basically stating that there should be no IP. How would a writer or filmaker make money then? After they wrote a book, would they just publish it online and hope to stay ramen profitable by running ads in the background? But wait! That wouldn't even work... because if everybody torrented, nobody would even see the advertisements on the creator's website!
If LouisCK released his video "Live at the Beacon Theater" and nobody bought it, and everybody torrented it, would Louis be likely to release another one without DRM?
Would society truly "function just fine" if the creation of intellectual property netted the creator nothing? (I'm assuming that torrenting doesn't net the creator anything -- a valid assumption given the torrents I've seen)
Ah, of course, I'm misunderstanding your usage of the word "unlimited". Perhaps you meant that currently ThePirateBay is relatively "unrestricted"?
In that case, you're stating that at least some people will be willing to pay for intellectual property (and these people manage to keep the creators afloat), while there will not be enough people who will pay for physical property if stealing of physical objects were condoned. Why's that?
The convenience argument states that people are willing to pay for music if it's A) at a reasonable price and B) easy to obtain. If that applies to IP, why doesn't that apply to physical objects as well? It seems like you believe in the convenience argument, so I'll attack that right now. The convenience argument doesn't work with your proof at all. You're stating that the fundamental difference between IP and physical objects that causes a society that condones a stealing of the latter to "not function" is because stealing a bottle of Coke from CVS is easier than paying for it. Bullshit. Do you really think it's easier to steal?
Ah, maybe you don't believe in the convenience argument anymore. Tell me why people nowadays are still willing to pay for IP (even though they can get it off of ThePirateBay) but wouldn't be willing to pay for a physical item.
- If we free the slaves nobody will do the unpleasent work.
- Writer and filmaker will not make money without IP
- 64 Kbyte of ram should be enougth for anybody
How would a writer or filmmaker make money if everybody torrented their works?
For the record, I don't believe copyright infringement equals theft.
The OP that I replied is correct with that claim. His proof, however, is wrong.
Here's a genuine question:
How would an artist make money if everybody pirated just as everybody stole? (I'm going off what the OP said.)
People will have to innovate. You have to get paid for the creation of your work not for the distribution. Kickstarter is an idea. People are already starting to blog or podcast for free and then make more and more money with it. You can earn money with selling t-shirts and stuff (this is what many bands allready do).
Its all about innovation, I think we would live in a better but diffrent world overall. That said we cant not just talk away patents and copyright in one instance. We have to start with reducing the copyright and reworking the patent system, plus we have to treat copyright infringement justly (ie not with 5 years of prison).
I don't have a problem with the OP's position. I have a problem with his argument: it's fallacious. Enticing at first, but upon scrutiny, it doesn't hold water.
I think the point being made (albeit badly - through one poor analogy) is that society gains more through the distribution of 'creativity' than it does through ensuring that artists are fairly compensated.
I'm not entirely in either camp, however I would say to you that 'compensation' is never well applied. There are millions of artists who have changed the world and have made little to no money off their inventions. On the other hand there are many who have also made little contribution to the world, but profit hugely from incredibly meagre creations (often off the back of other, real inventions).
Imagine now that I _buy_ the movie. Can I watch it with my friends? Or do they have to pay the movie too?
If they pay _me_ then I'm a pirate. If they don't, are they pirates?
If nobody payed for the movie than me and my friends who watch it are all pirates.
Except that I didn't buy it because someone in the "extended circle of my friends that I've never met" gave it to me. At least that's how I'm pretending it to be.
Now it's not entirely like this but this is the problem with the Internet Hollywood doesn't like. You can interact with people you've never met very easily and pretend that they're your friends.
Steal if you want to, but stop trying to call it something else.
> It's time for all of the pirates to stop justifying
> their stealing by putting up the facade of protecting
> online freedoms
> Steal if you want to, but stop trying to call
> it something else
I'm actually shocked TPB hasn't participated in the blackout themselves. They made it clear they're international, but SOPA/PIPA are international too.
Edit: I wasn't very clear, what I really meant to say was that I'm shocked TPB hasn't acknowledged blackout day somehow, especially considering how often they change their image.
Even though they might make a living, I don't think they see TPB as a business. Instead, I think they see it as a mission, or a calling. I glean from the tone of their writing that they are convinced they are doing good in the world.
According to "A history of narrative film" by David A. Cook "The reason why a full-scale Eastern-based industry moved its entire operation to southern California during these years has never been completely clear, but the general contours of the phenomenon are obvious enough". He then lists these reasons:
- the type of temperate climate required for year-round production (most shooting was done outdoors at the time)
- a wide range of topography within a 50 mile radius
- the status of Los Angeles as a professional theatrical center
- a low tax base
- cheap and plentiful labor and land
A consumer-pays-in-advance subscription model would provide better price signals to the real creators, wouldn't it?
Supplying a Wikipedia link today seems silly, but you could Google "Hollywood Accounting".
(oh what the hey: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollywood_accounting)
Anyway, these companies (on the music side in particular) love to talk about the "poor starving artists", but fail to change their own habits to give those artists a better deal.
They aren't content creators. They're content funders and distributors, but the content would still be created in some form without them. In this sense, the pirate community does actually perform one of the actions (distribution), and seems to perform it much more efficiently than the big companies. They just haven't got the 'funding' part figured out yet, but when they do, that will truly signal the death of the majors.
(P.S. No, it won't - nothing will truly kill them, but it will at least give them genuine competition)
An interesting statement overall, but sentences like the one above have to make you wonder how seriously TPB is thinking about the issue.
Well, John Calhoun's, anyway. If you don't like the rules everyone has agreed to play by, go make your own.
Don't know what I'm talking about? Read this -- http://goo.gl/643Wv -- for a real understanding of "freedom" and "equality" and "law".
Or just look it up on Wikipedia when they come back up.