[Date Prev][Date Next]   [Thread Prev][Thread Next]   [Date Index][Thread Index][Author Index]

Re: WAY OT: Warez - A Rebuttal

At 3:23 AM -0700 9/12/00, Ben Porter wrote:
>>Another analogy: An awful lot of artwork goes for prices a lot higher 
>>the cost of the canvas. This is also true for lots of reproductions,
>>photographic prints, etc. which don't have any benefit of uniqueness. Do
>>you have the right to walk into a photography gallery, steal a print, and
>>leave cash for the cost of goods? Go paint your own pictures, take your 
>>photographs, ... write your own software. Or find someone who is willing 
>>do it for you at a price you are willing to pay.
>I get the feeling you're mad at me...

I'm not particularly mad at you, but see my last paragraph for why I it
bothers me so much to see this sort of attitude amongst musicians.

>Well, no. You don't have the right to go and take someones artwork and pay
>for the cost of goods. But, you can go and buy a book filled with pictures
>of that same artwork or those same photographs. Does that mean that
>artwork printed in coffee table books and textbooks lacks uniqueness
>because it has been copied?

The artist generally had control over whether such a book existed. If the
artist signed the rights over to the gallery, then it was the gallery that
made the decision. But the point is that the decision to distribute in this
form is the right of the copyright holder. That's the essential notion of

>You see the book, like any software, would be a commercial product. Any
>true art could not be considered a "commercial product" in most
>definitions of that word. When was the last time you heard of someone
>refer to a piece of software as *ART*?

Frequently, actually. And from people who aren't in the software business.

One of the most respected books on computer programming is Donald Knuth's
_The Art of Computer Programming_.

You seem to imply that anything that has as one of its goals making money
can't be considered "true art". Michaelangelo did plenty of work for hire.
Are you saying that none of that could be considered "true art".

>Yes and no. But what I'm going the very long and highly arguable way
>around the fact that the copyright laws do not protect the individual, but
>the big corporations and that does not fit in with the ideals of a
>Democratic Society, but with the ideas of an autocracy. And you, along
>with many other people, have bought into the propoganda given to us by
>these corporations.

Copyright protects the copyright holders. Yes, corporations hold copyrights
on a lot of material. So do a lot of individuals. And it's totalitarian
systems that frequently devalue intellectual property, so don't go spouting
nonsense about the "ideals of a Democratic Society".

>Most contracts with big record labels make you sign away your rights to
>them. Then, the record label owns the copyrights to the music, not the
>artists. And so what do you think they are going to do, give it away, or
>charge a price for it?

Musicians are arguably foolish for signing such contracts. You can
distribute your work without a big record company. It can be a lot more
work, but it's possible.

Aimee Mann is no fan of big record companies, but she has also been quite
vocal about not wanting people passing her music around for free on the

Professional musicians make their living by selling their music or
performances in some form or another. Going through a record company can be
a highly inefficient way of making the sale and a good chunk of the money
will probably end up going to the record company. It isn't the listener's
decision, however, to decide that the deal is unfair to the musician and
hence it's okay to steal the music.

Commercial software is written with the expectation that there will be
financial compensation for it. That's the same whether it's an individual,
a small company or a large one. Somehow you've got to pay the electricity
bills, pay for the computers, etc..

There is plenty of software written by people and given away for free, but
this is generally written by people who aren't trying to do it for a living
or are working in state sponsored positions. If you don't want to pay for
software, use these products. Don't steal from the people who are producing
software for a living.

I don't know how many people on this list actually manage to make music for
a living. How many people on this list would like to be able to get paid
for making music instead of whatever it is you do to pay the bills? I
suspect a lot. Making a living making music requires having people pay for
the music. The same goes for software.

When you steal a computer program, you are in effect saying that you feel
it is worth zero and hence that the programmers deserve no compensation for
their work. You probably didn't steal the computer you are running it on
because the opportunity wasn't readily available. Just because the
opportunity is available to steal software doesn't make it right.

Finally, I find it particularly ironic that people who do work in an area
where intellectual property protection matters -- e.g., music -- can be so
disinclined to appreciating intellectual property protection in other
areas. Musicians aren't alone in this, of course. I've been to forums in
which professional photographer's expressed concern about protecting their
copyrights while running slide shows accompanied by commercial music that
they haven't paid to use.


P.S. Semi-loop related content: I'll bet that Line 6 spent a lot more on
the R & D software for the DL4 than they did on the hardware. The hardware
while necessary to achieve anything, has the benefit for Line 6 of also
serving as copy protection for the software.