Neil Young sez: "Piracy is the new radio."

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Snarl 12/8
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Post by Snarl 12/8 » Wed Jun 20, 2012 3:56 am

rogersbarton wrote:I really do hope it happens. I just hate our dependency nations as India and China. Two countries that have managed to rape the world's natural resources with greed and overpopulation.
I'm assuming you're american? In which case I gotta "pot/kettle" you.
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Post by KendricK » Thu Jun 28, 2012 1:48 am

rogersbarton wrote:I really do hope it happens. I just hate our dependency nations as India and China. Two countries that have managed to rape the world's natural resources with greed and overpopulation.
I'm with you on that one. Too much power being given to two very unstable countries is not good.

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Post by jhharvest » Thu Nov 15, 2012 9:56 pm

http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/6699/125/
NPD Group Fails Basic Math: Data Shows P2P Users Spend Nearly 50% More on Music Than Non-P2P Users
Of course methodology of statistical studies can change the outcome radically. Are the respondents in the non-P2P group equally interested in music as the P2P respondents? How would you even find a control group of non-P2P users large enough to create statistical validations? But it is an indication, at least. If even the cooked up statistics of a pro-copyright enforcement organisation do not support their own claims, then it probably isn't so.

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Post by fossiltooth » Sun Nov 18, 2012 10:44 am

jharvest, all that studies like that show is that music fans are more likely than non-music fans to both A ) Buy music sometimes and B ) Steal music sometimes.

I'd file that one under "D" for "Duh"! : )

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Post by jhharvest » Sun Nov 18, 2012 12:52 pm

Maybe it's obvious to you and me but I think this is actually quite significant. Because the copyright enforcement organisations say that this is unacceptable and they want to cut internet connection from everyone who does this. The whole argument for strong copyright enforcement hinges on if piracy costs sales or not. If there is no credible evidence of that (but perhaps the opposite) then we should consider if we actually want to incriminate a whole generation.

But then again, evidence doesn't seem to mean much in this debate.

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Post by fossiltooth » Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:52 pm

I agree that evidence doesn't factor into this debate enough, but TechDirt is one of the last places to go looking for it! They're like the Fox News of tech and music.

Here's some hard evidence for you: When the Swedes started levying small, reasonable fines against repeat downloaders in 2009, music sales immediately jumped up by 80%! (You can read about that here: http://trustmeimascientist.com/2012/03/ ... ht-piracy/ )

The positive effects of cracking down on piracy are pretty well established. To deny them, as TechDirt so frequently does, is like denying climate change or evolution or that austerity programs are further weakening many European economies.

The jury is not out on this stuff! Just as the experts have reached consensus about evolution and climate change and many key economic issues, there is clear evidence that increases in piracy lead to decreases in record sales and vice-versa. Of course, there are unscrupulous undercover PR agents who are out to construct a false debate through misinformation. TechDirt, like Fox News, is chief among them.

Here's another fun fact: Over the past decade we lost between 20% and 40% of our working musicians. Don't ask me, ask the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics! And here's anther fun fact: Pirate sites profit by linking to stolen work, and technology companies benefit from public access to stolen work. Real money is being made, and the content creators are the only ones being cut out.

It's certainly okay to advocate for a deeply-held position, as TechDirt does. But it's not okay to use anecdotes and speculation and wishful thinking as a replacement for an empirical, systemic look at the real-world effects of different policies. For instance, I do like to read The Trichordist which is arguably as fervent in its pro-copyright stance as TechDirt is with its anti-rights stance. But I only like to read it because it reached that stance by looking at the hard data. (Here's a good one on that: http://thetrichordist.com/2012/04/15/me ... full-post/ )

If TechDirt were half this rigorous, I'd have a lot more respect for them. Of course, if they were half this rigorous, they'd probably come to a different set of conclusions.

jharvest - I don't fault you at all for reading them on occasion -- they are master rhetoricians -- but please understand that they are just that. Sophists. Few websites annoy me so much. Just them and Fox, really.

Yes, piracy reduces sales. Yes, there is a real empirical link. In fact, the very data-point you quoted is itself evidence of that! It says, plainly and simply, that music fans both steal and buy. They do both, because both are options. There are very many ways to make theft less of a widespread option, without doing anything to the freedom of speech.

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Post by ubertar » Mon Nov 19, 2012 2:24 pm

Yes, piracy reduces sales. Yes, there is a real empirical link. In fact, the very data-point you quoted is itself evidence of that! It says, plainly and simply, that music fans both steal and buy.
I'm not going to argue one way or the other whether piracy reduces sales or not. But I have to say it takes a leap of something to go straight from "music fans both steal and buy" to "piracy reduces sales". In itself it's not evidence in favor of either position.
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Post by fossiltooth » Mon Nov 19, 2012 9:42 pm

Sure. But there are mountains of additional evidence. For instance: Every nation that has cracked down on piracy has seen an unprecedented increase of digital revenues beginning when the new policies were adopted.

Granted, this doesn't always lead to a net increase in old school physical sales (it did in Sweden, but in France, which adopted the policy later and less comprehensively, it merely slowed physical losses) It has however, always led to an unprecedented and otherwise unexplainable increase in legal download purchases and paid streaming services. We're talking huge increases: 50%, 70%, 80%, 90%. That kind of thing.

This goes far beyond correlation. As with climate change and evolution, this has ceased to be a matter of actual debate among truly independent analysts who study this kind of thing. Piracy bites into legal downloading and legal streaming significantly. Cracking down on it increases revenues. That is an established fact.

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Post by jhharvest » Tue Nov 20, 2012 12:21 am

fossiltooth wrote:Yes, piracy reduces sales. Yes, there is a real empirical link. In fact, the very data-point you quoted is itself evidence of that! It says, plainly and simply, that music fans both steal and buy. They do both, because both are options. There are very many ways to make theft less of a widespread option, without doing anything to the freedom of speech.
I'm really not so sure about this. I'm also not convinced that there being fewer professional musicians necessarily is caused by piracy. In the same time frame games industry has been biting a larger portion of the expendable incomes which correlates to people spending less on films and music.

However all I'm advocating is that government organisations would dispassionately look at evidence and make their conclusions without buckling in to pressure from corporations. I like the concluding paragraph in your TMIaS article: we need to pair legal protection and policing with easy access to legally acquired products.

The Swedish model of sensible fines also seems to make sense to me. If you speed, you get a speeding ticket. You don't get slapped with a million dollar lawsuit. Because in the actual reality at the moment the general attitude towards illegal downloading is that it's a misdemeanour, like littering or jaywalking.

As for TechDirt being partisan I have no opinion. I get all my news from aggregate sites rather than any outlet in particular (edit: admittedly partisan aggregate sites, namely BoingBoing). The point of the article was that an organisation published a paper on reforming the copyright law and then pulled it out without adequate explanation.

---

Edit2: Now that I've read the Trichordist article. I agree with a lot of what he says. The revenues of music business have definitely dropped since the advent of P2P. The artists (the ones who got record deals) certainly had it better in the old days and earner more. New technology has broken down old models. The question is how do we fix this or do we (and by "we" I mean the general public, not musicians and recordists) even want it fixed?

However I don't understand his obsession with the strawman arguments and his hatred for the Digerati (who are these people anyway? users from a website like Reddit? what's it called, the Dig? some pun on digital?).

For some background on my stance on this issue: I am not American. I grew up in a small Scandinavian country in the 80s when education and healthcare were free. Musicians, who did not work on commercial music, were essentially paid by the government in the form of grants and professorships. Illegal copying was rampant: home-taping was the norm and was declared legal as long as it was for personal use (including your friends and family).

There were, from today's perspective, issues with this. People were poor. Foreign imports (high import tax) and locally produced goods (high cost of labour) were expensive. Because of high progressive taxation very, very few people earned enough to become millionaires. Things were fixed rather than thrown out. Again in hindsight (probably because I was a kid back then and didn't really know any better), I thought this system worked pretty well.

Clearly, because of technological progress and new expectations, the country will never return to this. University now costs money (albeit a nominal fee of a couple of hundred dollars per year). Healthcare is increasingly privatised (and very costly) and public transport keeps getting more expensive. High-earning people can avoid taxes by taking part of it as share options and other incentives. Home-taping still happens but now it's digital downloads and it's illegal. So, dunno.

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