Yarr, he stole my song!

by Simon Thompson on September 20, 2013 - 11:55pm

As a student and young adult, who may or may not use the Internet for less-than-legal reasons, I am concerned by the storm of controversy surrounding the subject of Internet piracy. I try to keep myself up to date on worldwide news about the legal ramifications of things such as peer-to-peer sharing. It was during one of my searches that I stumbled across an article, written earlier this year, about a new system put in place in the United States of America. This system, called the Copyright Alert System, was the Center for Copyright Information's newest method of mitigating piracy on the web. It does so by sending infringement notices to people who are suspected of peer-to-peer sharing. If the notices are ignored, then internet service providers have the right to take "mitigating actions" as they see fit. American web surfers are complaining that the recent push in anti-piracy laws is motivated by greed, pointing out that the Center for Copyright Information is owned by companies such as Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, Cablevision and Time Warner Cable. On the other hand, major companies denounce Internet pirates as criminals who steal from artists and content producers, effectively crippling the industry. This leads to ask:

Should Internet piracy be considered stealing, not only in the USA but across the world?

My point of view, and that of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, is that piracy should not be considered stealing. Before widespread use of the Internet, music and movies were shared between friends or burned onto CDs and no big deal was made over that. Since the popularization of peer-to-peer sharing through sites such as uTorrent, sharing music skyrocketed from a few friends to millions of downloaders. It's only now that companies a decrying the free sharing of content as morally wrong, which shows that their underlying motive might be related to a loss in profits. Licensing companies are feeling a loss of control over their industry and are trying to bully common citizens into respecting their absolute authority over the media industry. Unfortunately, no method has so far proven to be even remotely effective at stopping Internet piracy, and the Copyright Alert System is no exception. It would be good for the major firms to realize that in order to stay on top of things, they have to respect the autonomy of its clients and adapt to the new age of media.

On the other hand, companies and artists blame the peer-to-peer sharers for cutting into their profits and stifling growth. Since pirates don't pay for content which would normally be sold for money, pirating is stealing and stealing is against the law. Artists who take their profession seriously and dedicate their lives to it depend on a steady income from sales. With a continuous rise in pirated content being linked to a decrease in online and in-store sales, it is getting harder and harder for fledgeling content creators to rise to success through the traditional means. Peer-to-peer sharers are putting their own desires in front of the financial well-being of artists and companies, using the safety found in anonimity to freely download whatever they want, when they want. Peer-to-peer networks should not be allowed to monetize the distribution of free content, because doing so boils down to indirectly stealing money from the original creators and taking advantage of people in such a way is wrong. 

Do you think that companies should be allowed to control the flow of content on the web, or should they adapt to the times and invent a new way?

Comments

I honestly think that your post is great ! Lots of information were given and you are a very good writer ! I also think that you are right, people tend to pirate their songs/movies/games/books and even more and they don't see why it is bad. For my part, I cannot say I am perfectly legal since I have been exposed to peer-to-peer sharing and I think the concept is great (for data that is not stolen). My friend scream at me when I tell them that I have bought over 400$ of songs on iTunes ! They ask me why? I always answer by a question : whats the importance of music in your life ? They usually answer by "Very important" or "I listen a lot of music". Then I ask them : "what do you think would happen if artists like Ed sheeran wouldn't get payed for what they do ? From there, people realize that by pirating songs, they are not supporting the artists/programmer/writers/producers and more from the content they are using !

So, I strongly think that downloading content illegally should be controlled.. But how ? The internet is so vast and there is so much variables to control that it would require billions of dollars to create a institution that would be able to control the entire internet with efficiency and even with that, people still would find a way not to pay for their music, movies and such.

http://www.dartmouth.edu/copyright/peer2peer/

This is a very interesting subject to me, because I must admit that I often choose the pirate life when it comes to music. I love music, and I wouldn’t have the money to pay for every single song I like, so I frequently download tracks illegally. When it comes to movies however, I have found a very practical solution: Netflix.

To answer your question, I think that companies do have a certain right over the content they produce. However, they do need to find a new system that will benefit both the client and the artist. I do think that Internet piracy is a form of stealing. You compare it to burning a CD for friends, but since this is at such a larger scale, I think that it’s really affecting the real sales, and therefore has a real impact on the industry. While it is true that companies are mainly motivated by profit during their fight against piracy, I do think, like fleming.Shamuel, that most artists deserve recognition and remuneration for their work. Still, I think it’s a very narrow-minded belief to consider that people should keep buying CD’s, or else. Companies have to adapt, and create a system similar to Netflix. I think that paying $8 a month for access to tons of movies and series is a very good deal. Now, something has to be thought of for musical content. Already, free streaming softwares and apps have been surfacing: Songza has been here for a while, and iTunes just launched their own. I believe that this is the first step towards the future, where digital purchase, peer-to-peer sharing and others will exist without being at the expense of the artist.

Here is an article I found that shows just how much legal streaming services such as Netflix are a step towards ending piracy: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/02/netflixs-antipiracy-tactic-ted-...

As a college student of this generation, I am both used to the tools of the internet and without disposable income. This means that piracy is the most practical way to acquire media, be it music, games or TV shows. Therefore, I owe most of my cultural education to piracy, and while I do understand why people may be opposed to it, I have a lot of gratitude to piracy to expanding my cultural horizon.
I believe that companies should find a new way to monetize content, as they rely on a system that is no longer up to date. The economic system used to justify paying for music, movies or others is based on scarcity of resources. People payed because records were physical objects that cost for the raw materials. To make a second record, one needed acquire and therefore pay for the record again. However, digital files effectively cost no resources to duplicate. By this logic, it should be free. I don't think that this is the right solution, as what is being payed for is the work of the artists. However, the system will require a significant redesign to be justifiable.
For the same reason, I don't believe that pirating should be considered stealing. The most cited argument for this is that stealing something removes the original item, while pirating it makes an identical copy while leaving the original. While this is true, the counter argument is that it removes a potential sale. However, this argument is an economic one. In my opinion, piracy also gives something back to the artist and to humanity on a cultural level. Allowing an open sharing of culture allows a greater diversity in culture, and open doors to cross-polination that would've never happened before. Additionally, piracy allows listeners to get to know an artist, which reinforces their connection with him. As context is now as important as the art itself, this is a huge bonus.
As for your arguments, while I agree that the decision to crack down on piracy seems to be due of an economic nature, the way it is presented is of mainly accusatory. Using specific examples would strengthen the argument a lot.
Finally, here's a link to a video on how piracy helps Game of Thrones: http://youtu.be/0U3RE_NB0EA

oops double post

I was immediately drawn to your article because pirating is a huge part of my life since I am always on the Internet watching television shows or downloading music illegally.

I will start by answering your question on whether or not companies should be allowed to control the flow of content on the web, or should they adapt to the times and invent a new way. I personally, think that companies should not be allowed to control the flow of content on the Internet because of the demand of these contents. Websites that offer content paid by the users do not exist in great number and they lack in variety and choices. I am subscribed to Netflix but I still resort to pirating because Netflix only acquires television shows per seasons and since I do not possess American channels on my television, my only resort to keep myself up to date with my favourite shows is to go the pirate way. I think if companies would find a way to publish their shows or music on their website like CTV does or create a system like iTunes does and make people pay for their content while offering a huge variety of content, piracy would definitely decrease. So, instead on focusing on the reason they are losing money, I think that companies should create ways to make their content accessible to everybody while still making money.

In your blog, you said “It would be good for the major firms to realize that in order to stay on top of things, they have to respect the autonomy of its clients and adapt to the new age of media.” And I completely agree with you on this point. Clients is what makes these firms work and if they do not agree to follow the majority of the opinion then nothing stops these client to go to a company who will respect their needs. No company will survive it they are set on following what they used to do twenty years ago, especially in the media world where technology is now an important part. They need to adapt to the evolution the media world did during the past few years.

If you are interested in finding more about piracy, here is an article that shows that the American government sees the benefits of piracy:

http://torrentfreak.com/u-s-government-recognizes-benefits-of-piracy-100...

Before I start I have to say that was a very nice article to read, great job!

You mention that people have always been sharing music and movies forever but also innovations in technologies have also worried the music industries in the past. When the cassette player/recorder came out they said that this would be the end of the music industry, after that when they walkman's came out and you could burn mix CD for free, they also said that would be the end of the industry. However each and every time they barely faltered, you can even argue that it grew the music industry because right now it's bigger than ever.
In my opinion this is just the media industry trying to pull back power onto their side because they think the "3rd times the charm", and that maybe this time the music industry will die out THIS time. Honestly I don't think that's the case and I think it will stay strong for years to come.

Before I start I have to say that was a very nice article to read, great job!

You mention that people have always been sharing music and movies forever but also innovations in technologies have also worried the music industries in the past. When the cassette player/recorder came out they said that this would be the end of the music industry, after that when they walkman's came out and you could burn mix CD for free, they also said that would be the end of the industry. However each and every time they barely faltered, you can even argue that it grew the music industry because right now it's bigger than ever.
In my opinion this is just the media industry trying to pull back power onto their side because they think the "3rd times the charm", and that maybe this time the music industry will die out THIS time. Honestly I don't think that's the case and I think it will stay strong for years to come.