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  1. #1
    Eye suffacozza YEWW! Goo's Avatar
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    Default Music Piracy/Downloading debate thread

    Here it is. GO at it, be cival please

    It's non-specific to just the issues around the new VH album, hence it's home here. Movies, music, video games.. any digital content

    Play nice, Don't fall off soapboxes, theres no insurance cover for injuries sustained whilst clamoring for the high ground..
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    Eye suffacozza YEWW! Goo's Avatar
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    I do too
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  4. #4
    Sinner's Swing! Jesus H Christ's Avatar
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    Convicted? No. Never convicted.

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  5. #5
    Atomic Punk lovemachine97(Version 2)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by C Brown View Post
    The labels were definitely slow to get on board the digital train. That said, the primary reason there is so much bootlegging is because intellectual property laws are not respected; they are easy to break and there are few, if any, consequences for breaking them.
    This is ALL the labels fault. This is long, but an interesting read if you want to see how close the labels came to fucking everything up. Steve Jobs saved the music industry. This is how:

    By 2002, with CD sales dropping, labels were scrambling after completely ignoring the problem that everyone knew was coming except for them. Paul Viddich of Warner Music and Bill Raduchel of AOL Time Warner were talking to Sony about Digital Rights Management. They ended up deciding that Apple would be someone good to talk to, and made the move to see Jobs in January of 2002.

    They started to present to him their ideas so far for DRM protection, and after four slides, Jobs said, "You have your heads up your asses." Paul Viddich of Warner Music replied, "You're right. We don't know what to do. You need to help us figure it out."

    The music companies couldn't agree on a universal copyright protection. After the meeting with Jobs, Sony pulled out of talks and decided to develop their own. Sony America head Howard Stringer said, "Trying to get together would be a waste of time."

    Instead, Sony and Universal teamed up for Pressplay, while AOL Time Warner, Bertelsmann, EMI, and RealNetworks developed MusicNet. Neither Pressplya nor MusicNet would license their songs to the other, so you had two places for digital music that had different formats and different DRM. The restrictions were numerous and complicated; their interfaces difficult to maneuver. PC World named them collectively on their list of the 25 Worst Tech Products of All Time.

    Meanwhile, piracy ran through the roof. People didn't want full, store-bought CDs anymore. They wanted digital files that they could use to make CDR playlists (by 2000, with only a population of 280 million, the US bought 320 million blank CDs) or put on their iPods. The labels reacted too slowly and gave customers limited options that were more difficult to use than the "free" option.

    "We believe that 80% of the people stealing stuff don't want to be, there's just no legal alternative," said Jobs. So he set out to create the iTunes Store by persuading the top 5 labels to allow it. "I've never spent so much of my time trying to convince people to do the right thing for themselves," he said.

    In fact, one of the only reasons the labels agreed was because Jobs promised that the store would only be available on Mac--5% of the marketplace, because the labels were scared to death over A) pricing, and B) the unbundling of albums (you know, the stuff people had found a way to do on their own that the labels ignored). The labels wanted monthly subscriptions. Jobs knew people wanted to "own" the songs, not "rent" them, and that contributed to piracy. The labels also said individual song purchases were a deal breaker. Trent Reznor argued, "There's a flow to a good album. The songs support each other. That's the way I like to make music."

    What the labels didn't understand, though, was that "Piracy and online downloads had already deconstructed the album. You couldn't compete with piracy unless you sold the songs individually," which was Jobs' argument. The artists and labels promoted artistry, other companies promoted technology. Apple was at the axis of both. The labels still weren't convinced.

    Jobs went to Barry Schuler (CEO AOL unit of Time Warner) and asked his advice. Schuler said, "Piracy is flipping everyone's circuit breakers. You should use the argument that because you have an integrated end-to-end service, from iPods to the store, you can best protect how the music is used." He still couldn't get the labels to agree. He did, however, have some believers, such as Warner Music's John Ames. He said, "When I did digital downloading using AOL, I could never find the song on my shitty computer. [iTunes is] exactly what we [had] been waiting for."

    It took Universal's Doug Morris, who was fed up with piracy AND the caliber of technology (digital music stores) at the labels. The advice from Schuler worked on him. "Steve did something brilliant," Morris said. "He proposed this complete system: the iTunes Store, the music-management software (DRM), the iPod itself. It was so smooth. He had the whole package."

    Universal and it's artists was the first domino to fall. Morris had to keep ordering his technology people (that he had called failures) to go along with Jobs, though they continually objected. Universal did bring in one idea--to limit the amount of devices/burns a song could have. Morris told Interscope-Geffen-A&M CEO Jimmy Iovine to go see Jobs, and he did. He'd spent two years working with Sony, who'd failed. Iovine said, "How Sony missed this is completely mind-boggling to me, a historic fuck up."

    Sony, though, wanted a share of each iPod in order to agree to sell their songs on iTunes. Jobs agreed--then never did it. Sony continued to hold out. Jobs said he was a "dick" through the entire process.

    Then the next problem: Labels hadn't worked out digital distribution in artists' contracts. many artists retained the right to personally manage digital distribution, disallowing their songs to be unbunbled from albums in the iTunes Store. Before the launch of iTunes, Jobs met with 2 dozen major artists, including Bono, Sheryl Crow, Mick Jagger, Dr. Dre. when Dre came to Apple to see it, he said, "Man, somebody finally got it right."

    iTunes was unveiled in April of 2003 with 200,000 songs. It sold 6 million songs in 6 days.


    Now the biggest problem is global distribution and release dates. Many release do not leak anymore--until they're released somewhere, and then they're global in minutes. Just like Jobs' argument in introducing iTunes--piracy prevailed because there was no alternative--the same thing is happening now. There is no legal alternative to get an album once it is released somewhere else and not in your own country.
    Last edited by lovemachine97(Version 2); 02.02.12 at 02:14 PM.

  6. #6
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    There's no doubt that downloading a song that you didn't pay for is illegal (except in obvious cases) and the same thing as stealing an album from the store. I will stipulate that from the beginning.

    But I think there's plenty of grey area. A good example is the current VH album. I preordered the Vinyl. It was charged to my card already. Haven't I already paid for the license to the album? So who exactly is being harmed if I download the album early? To me, that isn't anywhere near the same thing as stealing an album from the store.

    As Steve Jobs has said, it isn't that people want music for free (for the most part) it's that labels don't give consumers better alternatives.

    One day soon, the labels will get it. Many artists already do. Apple definitely does. We want access to the music of our favorite artists as soon as it's available and everywhere we are. VH's album is finished and ready to go -why can't everyone everywhere have it right now? Record label stupidity is the only reason I can think of.

  7. #7
    Atomic Punk Dave's Dreidel's Avatar
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    Van Halen planned their release date to get a #1 album, that's the reason for the VH delay, at least in my opinion.
    Taylor Swift is nice to look at. Adele can sing.

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  8. #8
    Atomic Punk lovemachine97(Version 2)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Puddinman View Post
    There's no doubt that downloading a song that you didn't pay for is illegal (except in obvious cases) and the same thing as stealing an album from the store. I will stipulate that from the beginning.

    But I think there's plenty of grey area. A good example is the current VH album. I preordered the Vinyl. It was charged to my card already. Haven't I already paid for the license to the album? So who exactly is being harmed if I download the album early? To me, that isn't anywhere near the same thing as stealing an album from the store.

    As Steve Jobs has said, it isn't that people want music for free (for the most part) it's that labels don't give consumers better alternatives.

    One day soon, the labels will get it. Many artists already do. Apple definitely does. We want access to the music of our favorite artists as soon as it's available and everywhere we are. VH's album is finished and ready to go -why can't everyone everywhere have it right now? Record label stupidity is the only reason I can think of.
    The thing about the grey area is that it is, once again, antiquated ideas on how to protect their property. Obviously you don't "own" a song when you buy it, though most people don't think about it that way. Most intuitively know that it's not theirs to resell, receive royalties on, or call their own. However, if you do think about it, what does "buying" a song get you? This is "solved" through licensing. When you buy a song in a certain format, you get a license to store it limited ways, use it in limited ways, and listen to it in limited ways. Any use outside of that is an illegal use of the song. When it comes to authorized digital stores, they sell you the license as part of the download. (Music licensing is so fucked up that it's actually a different license for a studio to use in a TV and broadcast over air than it is to use on the DVD package of that season. Because of this, many shows use different, cheaper songs on their DVD packages than what aired on broadcast TV).

    When it comes to buying from, say, an overseas digital store, that store is only authorized by the labels/publishers to sell that license to people within their borders, hence those here that purchased that way don't own the license to use, store, or listen to the music they bought and are therefore just as "illegal" as those that downloaded the same unlicensed music for free.

    So technically there is no "grey area," but your point isn't lost on me. This is what I mean about the labels not "getting it" and still promoting piracy by trying to control what people have already gotten around.

    Labels must give people the options they are begging for, or people will continue to steal music.

    TV experienced some of this, though Hulu and Netflix have helped studios lot, as has Amazon Prime and Amazon Instant Video. However, the satellite/cable providers are in for a RUDE awakening. People overwhelmingly want to time shift what they watch, take it with them, and pick and choose what they watch. They also don't watch most of the stations that they pay for. iTV will change this, as apparently Apple is in negotiations with channels to be offered "a la carte" to consumers, along with internet TV options and pay-for-what-you-watch TV purchases.
    Last edited by lovemachine97(Version 2); 02.02.12 at 03:10 PM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by lovemachine97(Version 2) View Post
    When it comes to buying from, say, an overseas digital store, that store is only authorized by the labels/publishers to sell that license to people within their borders, hence those here that purchased that way don't own the license to use, store, or listen to the music they bought and are therefore just as "illegal" as those that downloaded the same unlicensed music for free.
    I wonder how they consider this compared to buying an import CD? They probably don't see it as the same thing, but how is it not? The UK version of The Clash was being sold in America for over a year before Epic finally got the idea to actually release (a version of) the album here. And I don't imagine there was this big crackdown on record stores, telling them "you can't sell that". If someone is willing to pay their money to an authorised seller, what should it matter where that seller is?

  10. #10
    Forum Frontman It's Mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billy007 View Post
    I wonder how they consider this compared to buying an import CD? They probably don't see it as the same thing, but how is it not? The UK version of The Clash was being sold in America for over a year before Epic finally got the idea to actually release (a version of) the album here. And I don't imagine there was this big crackdown on record stores, telling them "you can't sell that". If someone is willing to pay their money to an authorised seller, what should it matter where that seller is?
    We actually had a very large debate up here years ago because of Direct TV and Canadians getting Direct TV dishes by claiming to have a US address. One could say that they aren't harming anyone since they're paying for the product but they are also effectively destroying the Canadian cable industry by doing that. I agreed with the cable companies who fought like hell to put a stop to this practice.

    Those against the companies would argue "look we're not being offered this service by a Canadian company so we should be allowed to buy it from someone else". I guess one could argue the same thing with the VH record. If it was for sale on Itunes, no one in North America would buy it from a site in New Zealand. But for me it comes down to a question of giving the artist reasonable control over his work. The VH album will be available for sale in a week. I think we should respect the band and wait it out. If they said it would not be available for sale on this continent then i think we have a different debate.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by lovemachine97(Version 2) View Post

    When it comes to buying from, say, an overseas digital store, that store is only authorized by the labels/publishers to sell that license to people within their borders, hence those here that purchased that way don't own the license to use, store, or listen to the music they bought and are therefore just as "illegal" as those that downloaded the same unlicensed music for free.

    So technically there is no "grey area," but your point isn't lost on me. This is what I mean about the labels not "getting it" and still promoting piracy by trying to control what people have already gotten around.
    Technically there is no grey area, I agree 100%. But practically, there is plenty. For instance, the label/artist got the money from these "illegal" purchases just as much as if one had purchased them "legally." Absolutely no money was lost by the label/artist, therefore, how could they possibly prosecute such purchases successfully? If I visit the UK and buy an album that is not yet available in the US, I can legally bring it back with me -absolutely no issue. How is virtually visiting the UK any different, practically speaking? I'm sure there's some convoluted technical reason why it's different, but that doesn't change the fact that it's the same thing with the same effect.

    Labels must give people the options they are begging for, or people will continue to steal music.
    Yes. The internet has nullified their old way of business. It's a global marketplace; timezones and borders are meaningless. People will get what they want one way or another and it's not difficult for labels to get a piece of all the action. They are just too stubborn to change.

    Quote Originally Posted by It's Mike
    One could say that they aren't harming anyone since they're paying for the product but they are also effectively destroying the Canadian cable industry by doing that. I agreed with the cable companies who fought like hell to put a stop to this practice.
    OK, but maybe the cable companies need to be "destroyed" in order to finally offer what the consumer actually wants.

    But for me it comes down to a question of giving the artist reasonable control over his work. The VH album will be available for sale in a week. I think we should respect the band and wait it out. If they said it would not be available for sale on this continent then i think we have a different debate.
    I happen to agree with you. We've waited this long; what's another week? But not everyone else agrees. If new music from a band like VH is available illegally on the net, but not for legal sale, there is very little stopping them from illegally downloading it. And all that does is cannibalize sales.
    I think it would have been infinitely smarter to make a single worldwide release date, it would have curbed some of that illegal downloading.

  12. #12
    Forum Frontman It's Mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Puddinman View Post
    e.

    OK, but maybe the cable companies need to be "destroyed" in order to finally offer what the consumer actually wants.

    I happen to agree with you. We've waited this long; what's another week? But not everyone else agrees. If new music from a band like VH is available illegally on the net, but not for legal sale, there is very little stopping them from illegally downloading it. And all that does is cannibalize sales.
    I think it would have been infinitely smarter to make a single worldwide release date, it would have curbed some of that illegal downloading.
    The rules are different up here but Direct TV was able to offer things that our cable companies were not legally allowed to offer.

    I agree that record companies would be well served to release music at the same time around the world.

  13. #13
    5150 C Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lovemachine97(Version 2) View Post
    This is ALL the labels fault. This is long, but an interesting read if you want to see how close the labels came to fucking everything up. Steve Jobs saved the music industry. This is how:

    By 2002, with CD sales dropping, labels were scrambling after completely ignoring the problem that everyone knew was coming except for them. Paul Viddich of Warner Music and Bill Raduchel of AOL Time Warner were talking to Sony about Digital Rights Management. They ended up deciding that Apple would be someone good to talk to, and made the move to see Jobs in January of 2002.

    They started to present to him their ideas so far for DRM protection, and after four slides, Jobs said, "You have your heads up your asses." Paul Viddich of Warner Music replied, "You're right. We don't know what to do. You need to help us figure it out."

    The music companies couldn't agree on a universal copyright protection. After the meeting with Jobs, Sony pulled out of talks and decided to develop their own. Sony America head Howard Stringer said, "Trying to get together would be a waste of time."

    Instead, Sony and Universal teamed up for Pressplay, while AOL Time Warner, Bertelsmann, EMI, and RealNetworks developed MusicNet. Neither Pressplya nor MusicNet would license their songs to the other, so you had two places for digital music that had different formats and different DRM. The restrictions were numerous and complicated; their interfaces difficult to maneuver. PC World named them collectively on their list of the 25 Worst Tech Products of All Time.

    Meanwhile, piracy ran through the roof. People didn't want full, store-bought CDs anymore. They wanted digital files that they could use to make CDR playlists (by 2000, with only a population of 280 million, the US bought 320 million blank CDs) or put on their iPods. The labels reacted too slowly and gave customers limited options that were more difficult to use than the "free" option.

    "We believe that 80% of the people stealing stuff don't want to be, there's just no legal alternative," said Jobs. So he set out to create the iTunes Store by persuading the top 5 labels to allow it. "I've never spent so much of my time trying to convince people to do the right thing for themselves," he said.

    In fact, one of the only reasons the labels agreed was because Jobs promised that the store would only be available on Mac--5% of the marketplace, because the labels were scared to death over A) pricing, and B) the unbundling of albums (you know, the stuff people had found a way to do on their own that the labels ignored). The labels wanted monthly subscriptions. Jobs knew people wanted to "own" the songs, not "rent" them, and that contributed to piracy. The labels also said individual song purchases were a deal breaker. Trent Reznor argued, "There's a flow to a good album. The songs support each other. That's the way I like to make music."

    What the labels didn't understand, though, was that "Piracy and online downloads had already deconstructed the album. You couldn't compete with piracy unless you sold the songs individually," which was Jobs' argument. The artists and labels promoted artistry, other companies promoted technology. Apple was at the axis of both. The labels still weren't convinced.

    Jobs went to Barry Schuler (CEO AOL unit of Time Warner) and asked his advice. Schuler said, "Piracy is flipping everyone's circuit breakers. You should use the argument that because you have an integrated end-to-end service, from iPods to the store, you can best protect how the music is used." He still couldn't get the labels to agree. He did, however, have some believers, such as Warner Music's John Ames. He said, "When I did digital downloading using AOL, I could never find the song on my shitty computer. [iTunes is] exactly what we [had] been waiting for."

    It took Universal's Doug Morris, who was fed up with piracy AND the caliber of technology (digital music stores) at the labels. The advice from Schuler worked on him. "Steve did something brilliant," Morris said. "He proposed this complete system: the iTunes Store, the music-management software (DRM), the iPod itself. It was so smooth. He had the whole package."

    Universal and it's artists was the first domino to fall. Morris had to keep ordering his technology people (that he had called failures) to go along with Jobs, though they continually objected. Universal did bring in one idea--to limit the amount of devices/burns a song could have. Morris told Interscope-Geffen-A&M CEO Jimmy Iovine to go see Jobs, and he did. He'd spent two years working with Sony, who'd failed. Iovine said, "How Sony missed this is completely mind-boggling to me, a historic fuck up."

    Sony, though, wanted a share of each iPod in order to agree to sell their songs on iTunes. Jobs agreed--then never did it. Sony continued to hold out. Jobs said he was a "dick" through the entire process.

    Then the next problem: Labels hadn't worked out digital distribution in artists' contracts. many artists retained the right to personally manage digital distribution, disallowing their songs to be unbunbled from albums in the iTunes Store. Before the launch of iTunes, Jobs met with 2 dozen major artists, including Bono, Sheryl Crow, Mick Jagger, Dr. Dre. when Dre came to Apple to see it, he said, "Man, somebody finally got it right."

    iTunes was unveiled in April of 2003 with 200,000 songs. It sold 6 million songs in 6 days.


    Now the biggest problem is global distribution and release dates. Many release do not leak anymore--until they're released somewhere, and then they're global in minutes. Just like Jobs' argument in introducing iTunes--piracy prevailed because there was no alternative--the same thing is happening now. There is no legal alternative to get an album once it is released somewhere else and not in your own country.
    I think I may have read that in Rolling Stone. It's a very good article. Napster (and all the file sharing sites that emerged in its wake) changed the way music is consumed. Steve Jobs created a product to leverage the change. He also had the charisma, vision and power to persuade labels to get on board. I think it's a stretch to say he saved the music industry, but he certainly helped the labels pull their heads out of their asses.

    I'm not suggesting that the business model of the record labels isn't still flawed in many respects. It obviously is. What I'm saying is that no model can compete with free and unrestricted. There are now plenty of legal ways access digital music online that are cheap and convenient, and yet piracy persists.

    In my opinion, this is largely because intellectual property laws simply aren't respected. There are an increasing number of people who believe music should be free as part of some broad "culture sharing" experience. That's great unless you happen to be trying to feed your family as a musician, producer, or engineer....or any number of folks who make large investments in the recording industry from labels to studio owners to software/hardware/instrument manufacturers.
    ~Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.~

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    Top Of The World mcstravi's Avatar
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    I think Interscope knows EXACTLY what they are doing.
    WB was internet paranoid...Interscope embraces it...look at all of their other artists...Youtube is FULL of stuff from them and they don't really care..

    They released the album a week early in smaller markets knowing what would happen...All they did was ramp up the buzz and excitement for the Album.
    The deadbeat downloaders aren't the true fans waiting in anticipation for the release..only the fans, who are likely to purchase the album anyway, will be searching for the downloads....now that they are readily available we'll all talk about it to our friends who may be casual fans, and they'll get all hyped about it..then it will turn into album sales and concert tickets....brilliant marketing on their part really.
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    Atomic Punk lovemachine97(Version 2)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by It's Mike View Post
    The rules are different up here but Direct TV was able to offer things that our cable companies were not legally allowed to offer.

    I agree that record companies would be well served to release music at the same time around the world.
    That'll change when Apple gets iTV right and ready for release. Studios, providers, AND stations will see a new paradigm, just like music.

    Quote Originally Posted by C Brown View Post
    I think I may have read that in Rolling Stone. It's a very good article. Napster (and all the file sharing sites that emerged in its wake) changed the way music is consumed. Steve Jobs created a product to leverage the change. He also had the charisma, vision and power to persuade labels to get on board. I think it's a stretch to say he saved the music industry, but he certainly helped the labels pull their heads out of their asses.

    I'm not suggesting that the business model of the record labels isn't still flawed in many respects. It obviously is. What I'm saying is that no model can compete with free and unrestricted. There are now plenty of legal ways access digital music online that are cheap and convenient, and yet piracy persists.

    In my opinion, this is largely because intellectual property laws simply aren't respected. There are an increasing number of people who believe music should be free as part of some broad "culture sharing" experience. That's great unless you happen to be trying to feed your family as a musician, producer, or engineer....or any number of folks who make large investments in the recording industry from labels to studio owners to software/hardware/instrument manufacturers.
    I actually typed that up from Steve Jobs' bio. I didn't use it verbatim, I used the info to create a narrative for this conversation.

    The bigger problem with piracy being pervasive now is that they didn't do something early. People got a taste of something free and easy and it's tough to give that up. People were still buying CDs AND CD-Rs AND iPods yet the record companies did nothing to service those people. Eventually it just became easier to download the album in 5 minutes than go to the store, wait in line, lay down $13-$20 for the CD and a few bucks for a pack of blank CD-Rs, go home, decide what the good songs were, put this on a CD-R playlist and/or put the album and/or best songs on your iPod.

    Once that became the easiest option for a period of a few years, the industry was going to deal with that for YEARS to come. But most people want to pay for music, and most people want the reliability of official music, not something an 8-year old ripped at low quality.

    True people will continue to pirate, but the labels have themselves to blame for how much is done, I believe.

 

 

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