Why the World is Broken
Part 3 – Copywrong
Here is a viewpoint on the fashionable polemic of Copyright that most people would find “extreme”. It is, however, something that I believe. In a sentence:
“Paying for CDs, Vinyl, and any other recorded media is an anachronism.”
When records were invented, they provided a method for ordinary people to hear music in their homes, on the radio, or at the local dance, that they could never have heard before. There was only one way you could get those sounds into your house (apart from booking the band to appear in person that is); you bought the vinyl.
Consequently the record industry was born and found themselves in a very desirable position. They had a monopoly on recorded music, and human beings need music and therefore needed record companies.
When I was a kid, my dad (a former cog in the record industry machine) and I would spend long hours discussing the future and how it would look. OK, a lot of it was bollocks, but one thing in particular has come true: getting music “down the telephone” instead of from a shop.
Do you know anyone who owns an MP3 player or an iPod (NOT an MP3 player) ? These people can get audio of a comparable, or even better, quality than people who go down the shops and buy CDS. No, I’m not wrong about that. Also, they can sit at home and get them without the disadvantages of having to walk to the VShop in Lewisham (rain, insults, risk of mobile phone theft etc etc).
There is no longer any need for the media. There is a better way to get the tunes and it’s either cheaper or free depending on your viewpoint. Now comes the extreme part:
I believe all music should be free, and that morally, music piracy is right. Hear me out. Here are the usual arguments people come up with when I come up with this “ridiculous” argument:
“But making music isn’t easy! It’s a skill that should be rewarded.”
“But if it’s free, the artist loses out”
They lose out from the patheic percentage of CD sales they miss, true. But that’s quite a small amount of money. There are also lots of ways to make money from music (concerts, merchandising, donations). Please don’t laugh, it happens more often than you think.
“If you can’t make a lot of money out of music, no-one will bother making it”
You’re clearly insane. Are you suggesting that before the record industry there was no music ? Ever heard of pop music ? It came out of folk, blues, bluegrass, and a shedload of of painful history. People bothered to make the music because they loved it. They still do. There are thousands of pirate radio stations about playing today’s folk: rap, drum and bass, garage etc etc. Most of these people don’t get rich or famous, but frequently they live semi-celebrity lifestyles in their neighbourhoods and love their lives. They make the music because that’s what they like to do, and people like it. They may get paid for PAs and DJ sets, but rarely from record sales.
“The record companies provide opportunities for people to get their music heard”
Record companies are there for one reason: to make their shareholders rich. They don’t give a fuck about the artists (apart from the fact they make the money..until they get dumped in favour of the next big thing). About 2% of the retail price of a CD goes to the artist. Wouldn’t it feel better to buy a CD where 100% goes to the artist..and it only costs a couple of bucks ?
The RIAA are simply representatives of those with a financial interest in keeping the lie about CDs being “music” going. Piracy is killing music ? No! Piracy is killing the record industry! Good! [update: oops wrong. In fact piracy is currently boosting the record industry. I believe that this is only a temporary state of affairs until digital music players are ubiquitous. However there is an odd side effect in the current climate that CD sales INCREASE when the availaility of pirated music increases (eg when everyone was using Napster and AudioGalaxy). The record companies are stupid, but not that stupid. They know piracy is boosting sales…but they know this will only last while people still use CD players. They’re in a panic. Hence the law-suits. ]
They are an anachronism. They’re no longer needed. By the way, here is a great example of how to deal with legal threats in general.
Download! Every downloaded tune is a protest against the lie that CDs are the “proper” way to buy music. One day soon, some one of the poor sods the RIAA have taken to court for piracy (ie downloading something already pirated) is going to get a good lawyer and counter-sue..and win! No-one can prove a crime has been committed.
Worse still – “copy protected CDs”. These are not CDs. They are not allowed to display the official “CD compact Disc” symbol, because they are not CDs. They have broken the standard. If you buy a Copy Protected CD you are buying damaged goods. Buy it, rip it, take it back to the shop. You are being punished for doing the “right” thing. Download!