When you “steal” an album, there is one sense in which you are not “stealing” anything. It costs a band or label nothing for you to download their album, in terms of distribution. In fact, you’ve just saved them a lot of trouble. You got that music all up in your earholes without troubling them with distribution one bit.
But, the problem, of course, is that this stuff isn’t “free” to produce. In fact, the number of hidden costs involved with producing media are pretty amazing, especially when you consider time and effort as the primary resources that humans represent, when viewed within the capitalist myth. As a producer of independent media in quite a few formats – not to mention working inside companies that have been burdened and seriously threatened by this change of paradigm – I think I can say I’m pretty well acquainted with the terror that drives labels to do idiotic things like suing potential customers.
Though there have been some recent signs of sanity in this ongoing battle, it continues to wage onward. For instance:
These have been some eventful weeks in the world of copyright trolling. Thousands of unnamed “John Does” in P2P file sharing lawsuits filed in California, Washington DC, Texas, and West Virginia have been severed, effectively dismissing over 40,000 defendants. The plaintiffs in these cases must now re-file against almost all of the Does individually rather than suing them en masse.”
They want to frame piracy as criminal in the way that punching an old lady in the face and stealing her purse is criminal. But the sad fact is, it isn’t. Instead, it is the painful reality of what could be an amazing paradigm shift.
Oftentimes, growth hurts. And so many of these companies (and artists) want to curl into a ball into pretend nothing changed.
What I want to ponder – what I want all of us to ponder – is the conundrum facing both the producers of media and the companies that “support” them. We’ll also look at some of the ways that these companies have failed to sufficiently understand the problem they’re facing. (Full Article)