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Thoughts on downloading music and movies online

How about the topic that everyone has been raving about for the past couple of months. Should downloading movies and music (without paying) be ok or should it stay illegal with even more peanalties attatched to it? I mean, come on ... a grandfather getting sued by the movie industry (that's already worth more than they can chew) for $600,000 because his 8-year old, innocent grandson downloaded a couple of childrens movies ... thats kind of a harsh way of getting your message across. What happened to the ole' slap on the hand or time out?

Mixed Feelings...

I in no way try to justify the fact that downloading copywrited material is illegal. I know it is and if i get caught for doing it i will probably desearve it. I love small bands, I love to hear thier music and i like to support them. I do not however have any love for the recording industry, I feel like they cheapen music and make it boring. I also feel that they steal from the own artists that sign with them paying them pennies for the CD's they sell.

Like i said i won't try to say that downloading music is right, but i feel like i support the artists a lot more by going to thier shows and telling my friends about them then by purchasing CD's

Well, downloading anything

Well, downloading anything that is copyrighted is illegal. I'd consider it wrong if you're doing it to avoid paying for it. Then again, I think it's kinda good that piracy has happened. It's welcomed us to the wonderful world of legitimate single downloads for a dollar. I hadn't bought any music for six years because I thought it was so stupid to pay twenty bucks for a CD that had two songs I liked on it. But I'm happy to pay two bucks for two good songs.


How about the topic that everyone has been raving about for the past couple of months.

Actually Napster was all the rave. There's relatively less discussion about illegal downloading now as there was a few years ago.

Should downloading movies and music (without paying) be ok or should it stay illegal with even more peanalties attatched to it?

Downloading content without paying is not illegal.

Well, downloading anything that is copyrighted is illegal.

No it isn't. We download web pages all the time that are copyrighted.

I also feel that they steal from the own artists that sign with them paying them pennies for the CD's they sell.

Abidding by a contract willingly entered in to is not exactly stealing. Recording is a competetive industry and if artists don't like the deals offered to them by one label they are at will to go find a better one. That most artists take the deals from the big recording studio indicates that they think they're the best option, despite what their miscreant fans suggest (see Death Cab for Cutie, popular indie group signing with major label). One of the reasons they command such a huge share of the profits on successful records is that they have to put up millions on lots of acts that fail in order to get a winner.

Anyway, for my opinion on the matter: It's a copyright infraction, and should be a completely civil matter, not criminal.

Soft data

I've always pondered:

If it's on a soft copy, if it's nothing but the old 0's and 1's, if the cost of spreading it is virtually nothing, do you really own it?

No way in hell am I going to try to back this idea up, so don't get all over me about it, but it's the concept of owning the air. Indians were baffled at how we owned land.

I suppose someone can protect. I mean, if you have an art piece or an old school freak show, you can charge someone to see it. You can put a price on the very lightwaves and vibrations of air we call sound. That may seem out of the way, but what if I mention that the same lightwaves can be represented on film? Suddenly, the sight of something can't be sold so well.

Anyway, if it's just data, be it music, movies, games, images, text, programs, you only have legalities as a shield on your "property". And obviously we're not so confident; we take plenty of precautions to try and make our stuff inaccessible. But if your site shows a movie, the fact is, people have that movie. It's not exclusive. Pop open the page's HTML source, and suddenly anyone can download it.

I don't know where I'm going with this, I just pondered it, which I invite you to.

Hoqenishy... You Rock!!

Way to say it like it is.

Abuzachary weighs in

If anyone's interested, I wrote a lengthy piece on this a few years ago. I think it remains quite relevant (from my blatantly subjective point of view).

Here it is:

You got me....

Ok so they don't actually steal from anyone... They are just out to make the world a better place. What did you think of the last Death Cab album anyway? Yah I noticed a difference too.

The point behind my comment you missed was that you can support an artist a lot more by going to a show or by telling others about them then buying a CD.

Before i get slammed again. Yes downloading music withought paying for it is wrong, and finally some artists create thier own labels to produce their own records. I would happily buy one of their CD's to support them in continuing to create something i love.

Thoughts on this from a band i like...

You guys are my favorite band right now, I've downloaded all your stuff.

Thanks for your honesty. We know that the economy sucks and actually appreciate what technology has done for the music industry. However, we'd be lying if said we didn't prefer you bought our records instead of downloading them. It's good that you listen, but we would some day like to be able to sprinkle some kind of shrub or pork product on top of the slice of pizza we scrounge for, instead of just having to eat it plain. If you think we don't deserve as much, you'll be fine with the inevitable truth that we'll eventually realize our love for our craft no longer outweighs our debts and starvation. You'll be fine when we stop making music and go to law school instead.


The interesting thing is, is that at point, they've essentially copyrighted the sequence in which the ones and zeros are arranged. Pretty bizarre, huh?

I for one am an advocate against the recording industry. When you buy a CD, a musician gets a small percentage of that in royalties. Most of it goes to the "big, bad, RIAA". Think about it - the musicians write a song, sing it in a studio, go on tour and everything else, and when you buy a CD, you're paying the RIAA? How does that figure? They had no part of the creative process, they don't do the tours, they don't write the music... basically, they're just trying to wedge themselves in for a cut. Screw them, says I.

Read this article:

Now, for the interesting commentary. Cue the block-quotes!

From Napster to Grokster and right up until last week, the RIAA has claimed to anyone that would listen to them, some that didn't want to, Congress, and the Supreme Court, that 90% of the peer-to-peer content was unauthorized, pirated goods... yet given the opportunity to be specific, they only requested "protection" for 2 million of the 17 million tunes that iMesh has collected. A little less than 12 percent of the content.

The other 15 million songs -- 88 percent of the available content -- were safe to share all along because no one really cared. The 15,000 people whom the RIAA have filed lawsuits against so far (and the ones they will announce in the next week) simply made the mistake of liking the wrong music. Bummer.

Six years after Napster, the RIAA is back to where it could have started if they hadn't tried to be evil overlords. Just think, if they had only come up with a list of the "illegal" music back then -- repeatedly requested and obviously much smaller than compiling a list of everything that IS legal to share -- those "protected" songs would all be compartmentalized, locked away, screened out and forgotten by now. No lawsuits would have been necessary, no one's college education had to be ruined, it wouldn't have been necessary to go all the way to the Supreme Court with the big pile of now obvious bullshit data that was delivered there by the RIAA.

More can be read at

The bottom line is, the RIAA doesn't care about protecting music, or creativity, or anything like that. Nope, they're just trying to cajole money out of what will make them richer. Just because someone says something is stealing doesn't make it stealing. For instance, the CEO of Turner broadcasting mentioned that any time you turn on the TV, watch a show, and don't watch the commercials, you're stealing. I think the word "stealing" gets thrown around a lot because it's dishonorable to steal and nobody wants to be a thief - yet, you never hear any legitimate cries of contempt when the recording industry charges $18 for a CD that cost them .75 to print, and who pass on a negligible percentage to the artist, and frankly, that's "stealing" to me more than downloading some crappy pop music.

Want to argue intellectual property? This post is intellectual property, and you're stealing from me by not paying for it. C'mon, get real, folks - you can't claim that piracy is responsible for a gazillion dollars a year of lost profit because that many people downloaded your songs, because you're assuming that they would've paid for it had they not had the chance to download it. That's like saying that for every dollar that all of you readers aren't giving me, you're stealing from me.

*Whew*, okay, angry rant off.