Thursday, January 13, 2011

why, because you have no soul?

Thanks to LA's Music Technology Policy blog for pointing me to this video. And thanks to New York City for being so cool.

The last time I was in NYC, I saw what must have been a seven-year-old girl selling illegal DVDs from a blanket spread out on the subway platform at the 14th Street-Union Square Station.

And that's what's wrong with everything.

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Crockett said...

A good video John. Of course people selling counterfeit is wrong. Piracy, of which I do not partake in, can also be harmful (or beneficial in some circumstances).

While movies have a different sales dynamic than music, this linked article asks some interesting questions about the impact of piracy (or not).

It is always good to consider the source of statistics and the ones from the content industry have been debunked by even the normally supportive US government.

Pieter Hulshoff said...

It does show what's wrong with the world... We have certain actors making 10-50 million (!) from successful movies, the movie industry having their best year ever, but that sound woman will lose her job over copyright infringement?

I'm not at all in favor of copyright infringement, but so far the numbers don't support any causality between copyright infringement and loss of sales. If we're going to debate copyright, the reasons for it, and its needed scope and duration, let's at least do it without the strawman arguments, shall we?

John said...


Which "strawman" do you want removed from this discussion. Is it the overpaid Hollywood actor strawman you introduced, or the oversuccessful movie industry strawman you also introduced?

It's a morality tale, along the lines of The Monkey's Paw, or the old Twilight Zone question of "if you don't know and can't see who your actions hurt, do you need to consider them?"

We all know the answer. Some of us choose to respect it.

Darryl said...

Which "strawman" do you want removed from this discussion. Is it the overpaid Hollywood actor strawman you introduced, or the oversuccessful movie industry strawman you also introduced?


I'd prefer to remove the downloading movies == lost jobs strawman myself.

I mean all I can say to this is that "the VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone." and you don't support the Boston strangler do you?????

John said...


As usual, there's little evidence of a point to your comment.

First of all "illegal downloading = lost jobs" could never be considered a strawman by the very defintion of that rhetorical term. I've learned not to expect that the defenders of illegal downloading will actually understand argumentation, but I never tire of pointing it out. If the terms strawman and ad hominen were never invented, I'm not sure anti-copyright folks would have anything to say at all.

And to answer your question, I do not support the Boston Strangler. Do you? Interestingly, the reason VCRs did not destroy film and television is... wait for it... strong copyright protection.

Darryl said...

John, just 'cause you can't (or wont) see it, does not mean it is not there.

Illegal downloading of media leads to the loss of jobs in the same what that US prohibition led to the social decay of America. Being illegal does not make it 'wrong', unless you have a very simple understanding of morals, it also does not let you make arbitrary associations simply because it helps your argument.

This last one is a hoot:
"Interestingly, the reason VCRs did not destroy film and television is... wait for it... strong copyright protection."

Actually I'd say VCRs, and the film and television industry prospered DESPITE strong copyright protection. I assume you are aware that it is currently illegal to use a VCR to record a television show? Have you ever used a VCR John? Just curious.

John said...


What colour is the sky in your world? Is water wet?

I tell you, it heartens me to see that the anti-copyright arguments have stagnated so completely. That's all you've got, still? Prohibition and VCRs?

I don't own one, but when I did, I watched legally obtained movies on my VCR. Of course, I also happily pay a levy to engage in private copying and I DON'T try to get my movies for free, either over the Internet or on 5th Avenue.

I try as much as possible to understand the consequences of my actions - the real consequences, not fantasy ones I read on some other anti-copyright discussion group.

But please, keep arguing publicly that it's okay to illegally download content. I want every politician on the C-32 Committee to hear as much of you saying that as possible.

Darryl said...

John, in your world there is no no sky, and if there was it certainly would not be a limit for the copyright control you wish to impose on the rest of us.

Wow. Incredible. What levy is it you pay so that you can make private recordings with your VCR?

There are a lot of times when downloading videos may be considered wrong as well as illegal, but there are a lot of times when it is no different than using your VCR or PVR. Also illegal, but rarely considered wrong.

Your demand for absolute control over content on the Internet is exactly the same as Jack Valenti's demand for absolute control over the VCR. The VCR and the movie industry prospered despite his efforts. The Internet and the movie industry will prosper again despite Valenti's echoing calls for absolute control coming from you and others.

I too would like it if the politicians heard these arguments. The ones who aren't in the industries pocket might be less swayed by their arguments, and fairer copyright might be the result.

It is interesting that anything which is less than the copyright maximalism you promote, you label anti-copyright.

Crockett said...

@Daryl "It is interesting that anything which is less than the copyright maximalism you promote, you label anti-copyright."

Labels are a poor mans attempt to discredit others as a group. In the same vein as those who are concerned for the sanctity of life are all of a sudden 'anti-choice' (or vise versa pro-death).

Boiling complex views and opinions of people down to a catch all moniker does not move the discussion forward.

Crockett said...

And to clarify my position on piracy John, I do not participate in it nor promote it. It is a valid discussion though to ask what are the root causes and solutions to this problem.

I would posit that stronger copyright may not be the main or even the most effective way to approach the issue. It is even possible that the current copyright framework may collapse under it's own weight without some intelligent rebuilding.

Neither I nor you have all the answers John but there does need to be more of an openness and willingness from both sides to move forward into this digital age. I think there are solutions out there that will benefit creators and consumers alike.

Lobbing dirty snowballs at each other is not going to get the work done.

Crockett said...


There certainly has been a lot of opinions running around out there on this issue, most understandably concerned with the impact upon one's self. But when it comes down to it there are two main players, the creator and the consumer. All the various middlemen in all their forms are there to facilitate moving the art to the consumer and payment back to the artist. There is of course art for arts own sake but I think that most creators are concerned with and expect compensation for their efforts.

It's the middlemen who have been crying the loudest in this transition to the digital age. Yes, creators are concerned with people using their works without compensation, but as creators get only the smallest share of the pie to begin with, it is the industry who is seeing the gravy train drying up. The relationship between the creator and their audience has traditionally been an intimate one. Industry in this last century has changed that into a maximize the profits business.

Crockett said...

Con't ...

Now I'm not against anyone making money but I think it should be the creator who gets the lion's share of the returns and I don't think that is the reality we see today. Now with this huge shift in control and distribution that the digital age has brought upon us, I can see an opportunity for the creator to step back into their role both as the benefactor and beneficiary of their craft. Using technology to bring control of distribution back into their hands they could keep a greater portion of profits. Using the social aspects of technology in the digital age would give them back some of that intimacy lost in the cookie cutter pop-song era.

It's a 'age old' phrase spoken here on these forums but a parable with some truth 'You can't put old business models into new wine skins'. The distribution infrastructure of the last century does not fit well into this new digital age. Now is an opportunity for creators to create something new and take back the art and craft.

This will require a reciprocal relationship between the artist and audience that the big industries has destroyed. To that end I am supportive of not only the music creators receiving support from the government, but others who contribute as well (to a degree where they become self supporting).
Art and culture is important, and I am for supporting it, but I do not have any desire though to pad the wallets of big content.

It is time for creators to take back their craft.

John said...


PLEASE, stop cross-posting your comments from Geist's blog over here. I'm not interested in rehash.

I see Geist is trying to claim the middle ground again with his phantom compromise position. That's the kind of blog that deserves a naive attack on the padded wallets of big content, not this one.

Crockett said...


I always write my comments with you in mind. I'm actually cross posting TO Geist's site not yours. If it will make you happy, I'll refrain from posting from here to there ;)

So John, I would be interesting in hearing a compromise position from you? Because it is obvious that without such there will be no solutions.

Crockett said...

John I came across this video which I think is more illustrative of the reasons the nice lady with the boom mike is likely to loose her job.

Technology, both in creation and distribution, for good or for bad, is changing the creative landscape by putting professional level tools in the hands of just about anyone. And this is what is keeping the RI/MPAA up at night.

Crockett said...

And here is data, from the content industry itself, showing losses due to infringement is not a largely significant factor, at least in the music industry.

While some industry spokespersons say "95% of music is pirated", their own data shows it to be closer to 15%. With side benefits of pirates being cross promoters.

While any infringement is a problem, I would contend that losses from animosity generated by the industry itself is on par with these numbers.

Creators should, I think, have reasons to be concerned. I wonder, for those industry suits, if a lack of basic math skills is not the only area where more self development is necessary?