Comments on: Downhill Battle (An open letter to music thieves) http://isaacschlueter.com/2004/07/downhill_battle/ Just slightly more than my twitter stream. Fri, 20 Nov 2015 19:13:26 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.5.1 By: Graham http://isaacschlueter.com/2004/07/downhill_battle/#comment-128 Graham Tue, 30 Nov 1999 00:00:00 +0000 #comment-128 You're missing possibly the biggest point being made on that site. All over the place, they are saying that they're campaigning for a better cut for musicians, and they say that if you download, you should support the band by buying tickets to a show, or to send the band money directly. Yes, in their current form, record labels are needed, but ther are many labels (Epitah and Fat Wreck to name but two) that give their artists a decent cut of the CD sales, and still manage to make a profit. If what you say is true, surely they should be going bankrupt? You’re missing possibly the biggest point being made on that site. All over the place, they are saying that they’re campaigning for a better cut for musicians, and they say that if you download, you should support the band by buying tickets to a show, or to send the band money directly. Yes, in their current form, record labels are needed, but ther are many labels (Epitah and Fat Wreck to name but two) that give their artists a decent cut of the CD sales, and still manage to make a profit. If what you say is true, surely they should be going bankrupt?

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By: Isaac Schlueter http://isaacschlueter.com/2004/07/downhill_battle/#comment-129 Isaac Schlueter Tue, 30 Nov 1999 00:00:00 +0000 #comment-129 It's still stealing. Situation: I paint a picture. You tell me that you'd like to sell that picture to lots of people. You set the price, do all the marketing, etc. We agree that, up front, you'll give me $1000, and for each copy you sell, you'll give me $1. You sell the pictures for $20, and it costs you $10 to produce each one (including my royalty), so you're betting that you'll sell at least 100 of them to break even. If someone starts handing out copies of this picture for free, it's stealing intellectual property from <em>both</em> of us. If they send me $1 for each one, then they may not be taking money out of my pocket, but they're still stealing the picture I created, and destroying the market for my art - and they <i>are</i> taking money out of your pocket! Is it ok to steal from people who are not artists? Stealing is wrong, no matter how "big" the victim is. Stealing from an industry hurts all the people in that industry. If you couldn't make a profit selling my pictures, then why would you do it? And if you know how to sell them, and I don't, then I'm <acronym title="Shit Outta Luck">SOL</acronym> if you go out of business, ain't I? Regarding record labels that give artists a larger cut of the CD sales, that's perfectly fine. They're free to compete for artists, and if they provide the artists with the best deal, then they'll probably get them. You are free to not buy music published by the Big 5, and only stick to the labels you like - but you <em>don't</em> have the right to steal music that doesn't belong to you. If you like Pepsi, that doesn't make it OK for you to steal from Coka-Cola. It’s still stealing.

Situation:
I paint a picture. You tell me that you’d like to sell that picture to lots of people. You set the price, do all the marketing, etc. We agree that, up front, you’ll give me $1000, and for each copy you sell, you’ll give me $1. You sell the pictures for $20, and it costs you $10 to produce each one (including my royalty), so you’re betting that you’ll sell at least 100 of them to break even.

If someone starts handing out copies of this picture for free, it’s stealing intellectual property from both of us. If they send me $1 for each one, then they may not be taking money out of my pocket, but they’re still stealing the picture I created, and destroying the market for my art - and they are taking money out of your pocket! Is it ok to steal from people who are not artists?

Stealing is wrong, no matter how “big” the victim is. Stealing from an industry hurts all the people in that industry.

If you couldn’t make a profit selling my pictures, then why would you do it? And if you know how to sell them, and I don’t, then I’m SOL if you go out of business, ain’t I?

Regarding record labels that give artists a larger cut of the CD sales, that’s perfectly fine. They’re free to compete for artists, and if they provide the artists with the best deal, then they’ll probably get them. You are free to not buy music published by the Big 5, and only stick to the labels you like - but you don’t have the right to steal music that doesn’t belong to you. If you like Pepsi, that doesn’t make it OK for you to steal from Coka-Cola.

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By: tommyblack http://isaacschlueter.com/2004/07/downhill_battle/#comment-130 tommyblack Tue, 30 Nov 1999 00:00:00 +0000 #comment-130 a couple of interesting sites: <a href="http://www.azoz.com/music/features/0008.html" rel="nofollow">http://www.azoz.com/music/features/0008.html</a> <a href="http://www.projekt.com/projekt/napster01.asp" rel="nofollow">http://www.projekt.com/projekt/napster01.asp</a> The first has statistics which show the situation isn't as bad as the RIAA might have you believe. The second is a message from Projekt Records about why music sharing is good. While neither demonstrates that downloading music is never stealing nor that stealing is ever not wrong, they do suggest a case that prohibiting the downloading of music is irrational or immoral or both. a couple of interesting sites:

http://www.azoz.com/music/features/0008.html

http://www.projekt.com/projekt/napster01.asp

The first has statistics which show the situation isn’t as bad as the RIAA might have you believe. The second is a message from Projekt Records about why music sharing is good. While neither demonstrates that downloading music is never stealing nor that stealing is ever not wrong, they do suggest a case that prohibiting the downloading of music is irrational or immoral or both.

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By: Isaac Schlueter http://isaacschlueter.com/2004/07/downhill_battle/#comment-131 Isaac Schlueter Tue, 30 Nov 1999 00:00:00 +0000 #comment-131 Those are interesting articles. It's not surprising that the RIAA paints a particularly bleak picture. They're <em>lobbyists</em>, for chrissakes, that's their job. Regarding the issues of downloading music in order to decide what to buy, I'd consider that fair use. However, whether the RIAA is silly or not, it's the right of the copyright holders to say "No downloads," and get retribution from those who violate that right. You can call someone a meanie for not sharing their cookies, but you can't morally steal their cookies if they won't share. I think that the best solution is in new technology. What we need is a musical version of the timed PDF for exactly this situation. (Streaming audio is a good step in that direction, but much of the world is still using dial-up.) But you're right, TB, neither of them say that stealing is ever not wrong. Which puts them at odds with Downhill Battle. DB specifically encourages people to share music files in order to bankrupt the big record labels, and that's wrong whether the RIAA are doofs or not. Those are interesting articles.

It’s not surprising that the RIAA paints a particularly bleak picture. They’re lobbyists, for chrissakes, that’s their job.

Regarding the issues of downloading music in order to decide what to buy, I’d consider that fair use. However, whether the RIAA is silly or not, it’s the right of the copyright holders to say “No downloads,” and get retribution from those who violate that right. You can call someone a meanie for not sharing their cookies, but you can’t morally steal their cookies if they won’t share.

I think that the best solution is in new technology. What we need is a musical version of the timed PDF for exactly this situation. (Streaming audio is a good step in that direction, but much of the world is still using dial-up.)

But you’re right, TB, neither of them say that stealing is ever not wrong. Which puts them at odds with Downhill Battle. DB specifically encourages people to share music files in order to bankrupt the big record labels, and that’s wrong whether the RIAA are doofs or not.

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By: tommyblack http://isaacschlueter.com/2004/07/downhill_battle/#comment-132 tommyblack Tue, 30 Nov 1999 00:00:00 +0000 #comment-132 I think one important point that was missed in the first comment is that it's the artist's choice to sign with the label. There are, as was mentioned, other labels that give the artist a better cut, as well as other ways to get your music heard. And it seems like everybody I talk to knows that artists don't get a very good deal from major labels. So it sounds like either signing with a major label must have benefits that outweigh the problems, or it's just a case of buyer beware. I think one important point that was missed in the first comment is that it’s the artist’s choice to sign with the label. There are, as was mentioned, other labels that give the artist a better cut, as well as other ways to get your music heard. And it seems like everybody I talk to knows that artists don’t get a very good deal from major labels. So it sounds like either signing with a major label must have benefits that outweigh the problems, or it’s just a case of buyer beware.

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By: Isaac Schlueter http://isaacschlueter.com/2004/07/downhill_battle/#comment-133 Isaac Schlueter Tue, 30 Nov 1999 00:00:00 +0000 #comment-133 Good point. (That's what I tried to point out in my response - the artist gave the rights to the record company, so that's who has the right to say what's what, period.) If the artist entered into a binding agreement that screws them, then they get what they deserve for not reading the contract carefully and making a bad decision. Punish them by buying their CDs! <em>it seems like everybody I talk to knows that artists don't get a very good deal from major labels.</em> I keep hearing that as well, but then again, I don't talk to aspiring musicians much. It seems like there are a lot of artists dying for a record contract. (Some artists even embarrass themselves on national TV for the chance.) I find it hard to believe that the "big" artists - the Brittney Speareses and Eminems and Matchbox 20s - are really getting "exploited". I saw an unknown band called "Offspring" once upon a time (about 12 years ago, I believe) at the Tune Inn, in New Haven, CT. They sucked so bad I had to go outside to avoid the aweful aweful toneless pseudo-singing. A year later, they had a record contract, and I saw them on MTV. They still suck to this day, and haven't ever stopped. If anyone's getting exploited, it's my poor ears, not the so-called artist. .o0(I really gotta write a new post to get this thing off of the top spot...) Good point. (That’s what I tried to point out in my response - the artist gave the rights to the record company, so that’s who has the right to say what’s what, period.) If the artist entered into a binding agreement that screws them, then they get what they deserve for not reading the contract carefully and making a bad decision. Punish them by buying their CDs!

it seems like everybody I talk to knows that artists don’t get a very good deal from major labels.
I keep hearing that as well, but then again, I don’t talk to aspiring musicians much. It seems like there are a lot of artists dying for a record contract. (Some artists even embarrass themselves on national TV for the chance.)

I find it hard to believe that the “big” artists - the Brittney Speareses and Eminems and Matchbox 20s - are really getting “exploited”. I saw an unknown band called “Offspring” once upon a time (about 12 years ago, I believe) at the Tune Inn, in New Haven, CT. They sucked so bad I had to go outside to avoid the aweful aweful toneless pseudo-singing.
A year later, they had a record contract, and I saw them on MTV. They still suck to this day, and haven’t ever stopped. If anyone’s getting exploited, it’s my poor ears, not the so-called artist.

.o0(I really gotta write a new post to get this thing off of the top spot…)

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