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  • Internet, News - Written by on Thursday, August 23, 2012 14:37 - 116 Comments

    News Ltd chief slams “scumbag” Internet pirates

    news The chief executive of the Australian division of publisher News Limited has given a major speech slamming what he described as “copyright kleptomaniacs” supporting “scumbag theft”, arguing that Internet piracy was undermining the business case for the creation of great cultural works like never before.

    “If you want to know why you should care about copyright, here’s a little exercise you can all do,” News Ltd chief executive Kim Williams — who formerly led News Ltd joint venture Foxtel — said during his keynote speech to the Australian International Movie Convention. The full speech has been published in online by Mumbrella. “Think about the ten greatest pieces of art that you couldn’t live without.”

    “Then try to imagine a world in which those ten great works of art were never created. Because that’s what happens when there is no way for creators to enforce their rights … the copyright bandits of the paper age of Shakespeare and Dickens had nothing on the copyright kleptomaniacs of the digital age. And as a result, digital piracy is undermining the business case of cultural production to a greater extent than ever before.”

    Williams pointed to a report published last year by a group named the Intellectual Property Awareness Foundation, a group supported by the Australian film and TV industry, which purported to show through a survey of some 1,644 Australian that 37 percent of locals admitted to having downloaded material locally, with some 60 percent of downloaders infringing copyright at least once per week — usually TV programs and movies. “… these persistent downloaders are far less likely than others to purchase DVDs, download pay-per-view programming, buy content from iTunes or even go to the movies,” said Williams. “That’s money out of all our pockets. And culture taken from all our lives. And cultural development taken from our nation.”

    “All you have to do is type words like “download free UK TV” into a search engine and someone will tell you, quite brazenly, how to break the law and steal other people’s property and worse still ad serving technologies will deliver up ads supporting this scumbag theft with real Australian ads for major finance, telco and other products in Australia!”

    Williams said everyone involved in the process of creating and legislating around content — “content providers, media companies, ISPs and especially legislators” — needed to recognise that we were now in a new era, and that copyright laws needed to change to reflect that fact.

    “Digital property isn’t just a quirky add-on to our economy any more—increasingly it is dominating our economy, and it’s time we recognised its importance to our future prosperity. We have to protect it. Protecting it is not only fundamental to sustaining today’s creative industries and everyone they employ, but it’s fundamental to ensuring that we can build the bold digital companies of the future that politicians so often talk about.”

    One common complaint of Internet users is that the content they want is not available legally online in the format they want, at an acceptable price. Williams specifically rejected this complaint. “I reject the assertion that there is any sort of shortage of digital content. Even if there were, it constitutes a very poor defence,” he said. “The fact is, more and more legal content is going on line every day. And there are more sites offering legal content, more easily and at lower cost to you computers and mobile devices.”

    Williams’ comments come as debate continues to swirl within Australia’s technology sector about how the issue of Internet piracy should be handled.

    In late June, for example, national broadband provider iiNet renewed its public attack on the content industry, using a high-profile report published in February to push the argument that the overall global content ecosystem is booming and that content providers should stop trying to stop Internet piracy and instead focus on new business models. In making his argument at the time, iiNet regulatory chief Steve Dalby extensively cited evidence about the continued global growth of the content industry presented in a landmark report published in February this year by Floor64, the publisher of Techdirt, a well-known global media outlet which often focuses on copyright issues in the context of the changing technological landscape.

    The report, entitled ‘The Sky is Rising’, uses statistics published by the content industry itself to come to a number of conclusions positive about the future of content monetisation, including the ideas that for consumers, today is “an age of absolute abundance for content”, that for content creators, “it is an age of amazing opportunity”, and that for traditional middlemen, “the Internet represents both a challenge and an opportunity”.

    “The sky is not falling; the facts outlined in the report clearly show that things have never been better for rights holders,” wrote Dalby in his bog post, citing examples such as Valve Software, whose Steam online gaming store has been hailed by video game fans for its ease of use and ability to lure players back into the legal world and away from Internet piracy. “This online digital distribution model is a salutary lesson for other content distributors,” wrote Dalby. “Instead of insisting their non-paying players were pirates and thieves, Valve took the behavior as a marketing failure and addressed it head-on it by adding value.”

    iiNet itself has broadly failed in its own efforts to make films and TV episodes available to use userbase, with the company revealing last week that just 10,000 of its 824,000 customers had taken up the FetchTV platform it launched in mid-2010, representing only a tiny success rate. The jury is still out on how popular similar IPTV platforms such as Quickflix will be in Australia, although Telstra has signed up several hundred thousand customers for its T-Box product.

    opinion/analysis
    Are Internet pirates “scumbags”? Probably not, at least not most of them ;) Are their activities harming the broader content industry? Its not clear yet, and there is evidence on both sides. Do copyright laws need changing to reflect the new technological reality in Australia? I’m not sure.

    But one thing is clear: This kind of ridiculously hardline no mercy approach taken by the content industry isn’t going to get it anywhere in practice; it won’t stop Australians downloading content online illegally, it won’t result in tough government enforcement action on the issue, and it won’t result in a general mindset change towards the practice either. The video content industry needs to follow the video gaming and music industries (eg Steam and iTunes) and start making their content more widely available online. Only then will this problem be addressed. It cannot expect to keep on tying its content to physical distribution mediums such as cable TV and DVDs and expect customers to put up with that behaviour in the digital age.

    One more thing: It is important to note that Williams is mis-speaking here when he is labelling illegal downloads as “theft”. As Pirate Party Australia officer Mozart Olbrycht-Palmer recently documented exhaustively, downloading material online does not deprive the original creator of their property and is therefore copyright infringement — a breach of licence — rather than theft per se. This is an important legal point which often gets missed in this debate.

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    1. Posted 23/08/2012 at 2:45 pm | Permalink |

      Statement from Kim Williams, written, and authorised by R. Murdoch, 1211 Avenue of the Americas New York, NY 10036.

      • Paul Thompson
        Posted 23/08/2012 at 2:51 pm | Permalink |

        Indeed, Michael.

        I don’t read News Limited publications, because I don’t enjoy having Rupert Murdoch’s personal opinion on everything forced onto me. His somewhat extremist and self-centred views seem to be quite askew from reality.

        Having his pet editors bleat the same misinformation and disingenuous statements only lowers the (already lowered) credibility of his publications.

    2. Posted 23/08/2012 at 2:48 pm | Permalink |

      I welcome all of our new members, Thank you Mr. Williams!

    3. Hubert Cumberdale
      Posted 23/08/2012 at 2:52 pm | Permalink |

      Interesting tirade. I would take it a bit more seriously but since it’s from a “News Limited CEO” he is by default a “scumbag”. His opinion on this matter is null and void.

      • Fenixius
        Posted 23/08/2012 at 3:15 pm | Permalink |

        While I appreciate your sentiment and implications of bias/conflict of interest, Hubert, ad hominem is not a productive criticism of this speech.

        Indeed, one could argue that Mr Williams’ position as chief executive of a publishing company means that any and all rhetoric against “scumbag pirates” is profitable for him, regardless of lack of accuracy, lack of sources, lack of context, and so on.

        As has already been mentioned by others (including Renai): the publishing industry has never been wealthier, the current laws are extremely heavily in favour of publishers, local support is significantly lacking compared to elsewhere in the world, and Mr Williams’ speech did not include any independently verified statistics or authorities; only those which are from sources affiliated with Mr Williams’ employer.

        • Hubert Cumberdale
          Posted 23/08/2012 at 3:42 pm | Permalink |

          “ad hominem is not a productive criticism of this speech.”

          I’ll keep that in mind. LOL.

    4. Posted 23/08/2012 at 3:08 pm | Permalink |

      I love the examples of Shakespeare and Dickins:
      – There was no such thing as copyright in Shakespeare’s time. No statutory monopoly at all.
      – Dickins work was protected by a copyright term of 14 years under the Statute of Anne. Just slightly lower than the current period of Life + 70 years.

      Don’t let the facts get in the way of a good tirade.

      • GongGav
        Posted 23/08/2012 at 3:16 pm | Permalink |

        See my link below. Copyright is generally considered to have started around 1710, some 94 years after Shakespeares death…

        Even if copyright HAD existed in the day, it would still have been the Statue of Anne rules as you say, meaning copyright would have expired around 1630. When the only people that could buy books were the rich elite.

        It was actually the LACK of copyright laws, in places like Germany (again, see link below) that encouraged a cheaper method of printing and distribution, that got artists such as Shakespeare and Dickins known around the western world, and eventually the globe.

    5. GongGav
      Posted 23/08/2012 at 3:11 pm | Permalink |

      Counter argument against restrictive copyright laws:

      http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/no-copyright-law-the-real-reason-for-germany-s-industrial-expansion-a-710976.html

      Copyright laws can be a double edged sword. Used to limit the sharing of information, as they are today, you end up with a draconian system where the elite dictate to the masses what they can and cant do.

      Some 200 years ago, it was Germany that benefitted from such practices, educating their masses thanks to the lack of copyright laws in their region. Today, its Asia that is skilling up its masses thanks to their lax copyright regime.

      Copyright laws have their place, but not to the detriment of learning. The focussed view of the content holders of today, and their inability to either adapt or accept alternatives, only hurts their cause. It wont adjust the views of the downloaders, and it wont make the problem go away.

      Even if the problem DID go away, there would be something else they would find to justify not changing for a modern world. Carley Rae Jepsen has just had a global hit with Call Me Maybe, a song that didnt come through the regular hit machine, but through YouTube. It has, to date, had over 200 million views on YouTube, and sold some 8 million singles. Somehow the industry fails to see that this is despite their best efforts to control the industry, and an indicator on how the world works now.

      Does piracy play a role? Almost certainly it does. But its also been proven repeatedly that those that pirate and also those that spend the most. They download because they are interested, which does translate to sales. Most that dont download, arent interested in the product and wouldnt be a sale anyhow.

      The example given of Carley Rae Jepsen for example. 8 million sales is a big number, but when you compare it to the global population, its 0.1% that bought a copy. That other 99.9% certainly havent downloaded it illegally.

      • Muso1
        Posted 23/08/2012 at 5:04 pm | Permalink |

        “Copyright laws can be a double edged sword. Used to limit the sharing of information, as they are today, you end up with a draconian system where the elite dictate to the masses what they can and cant do.”

        Let’s get some much needed perspective on this.
        Thanks to modern technology and the internet, many ordinary individuals now control their own work through copyright. Whether it’s some boutique software product, independent film making, or independent music. This line so readily trotted out about ‘the elite controlling the masses’ is hyperbole, and belongs to the 20th century. I’m sure Renai controls the content of Delimiter for example.
        If it were only Dreamworks, Microsoft and Fox that were pirated for example, there may be a Robin Hood argument to be made, but actually people just want to own lots of stuff without paying and don’t care who created it and who is damaged in the process. I read a recent interview where a young, savvy, avant garde techno artist bemoaned the loss of control when people take his releases and plaster them all over the filesharing sites against his wishes. Many of these techno artists are living on pennies, or working part time. They feel helpless and abused when punters share their releases so they can’t sell them. It’s really not just the mega rich freaking out about losing some profit.

        • GongGav
          Posted 23/08/2012 at 7:55 pm | Permalink |

          You make good points muso1, and thank you for providing them. I know your background, and respect your position on the issues at stake. Likewise, we’ve butted heads on this enough that you know mine. Like most things though, there’s no one aspect to this that you can point to and say THATS the issue, or THATS the reason – that gos for both sides by the way, both mine and yours.

          I provided a link to an article that gives a very well explained point of view (I hope you read it, its a good read regardless), showing exactly how a small group’s efforts to protect content through copyright ultimately cost an empire their place at the head of the technological world.

          I am merely pointing out that the same mentality is starting to again prevail today. In the 1800’s it was a small group of publishers who made good profit through only dealing with the ruling class – the commoner couldnt afford the product, and they kept it that way. Fundamentally, the same is happening again today and its happening for every entertainment product.

          With music, its easier, as you have the radio to listen to and services like Spotify work well. But movies are hidden behind a pay barrier or a time barrier. This is a form of control, intended to maximise profit. Its not about protecting the content maker, its about making as much money as they can. TV is often hidden behind both a time barrier and TWO pay barriers. Despite Kim Williams opinion, Shakespeare and Dickins havent suffered for weak or non-existant copyright laws either.

          And around that, the MPAA and RIAA have had laws altered to protect that business approach. Copyright now goes for life + 70 years. How is that about protecting the content maker? Its about protecting the revenue stream. You know my stance around these bodies making individuals out to be no better than the real pirates out there that actually make profit by their actions.

          We’re not going to solve it here, but comments like Kim Williams dont go any way towards solving it either.

          By the way, I like debating this topic with you, you’re at least rational about it and willing to argue the points using valid facts. We also both know the answer is in the middle somewhere.

          • muso1
            Posted 24/08/2012 at 8:01 am | Permalink |

            Thank you. I’m open to different ideas on the way forward.
            My main frustration, which prompted me to enter the fray again, is the continued legitimacy placed on ‘The Sky Is Rising’. In addition, seeing a twenty something graduate from a suburban Sydney university with zero music industry experience being quoted as somewhat of an authority on copyright.

            • Ferretzor
              Posted 24/08/2012 at 11:00 am | Permalink |

              Just to nit pick…

              Copyright is not about music. Understand what you are saying, but music is a only a tiny portion of the creative works of mankind that copyright applies to. This seems to get a little lost at times.

              I grant you your point that a graduate commenting on copyright as it applies to the music industry has limited authority, but then the music industry has a fairly self serving opinion of copyright in general as well (hardly unexpected).

              • Muso1
                Posted 24/08/2012 at 12:46 pm | Permalink |

                Yes, I don’t disagree.
                I just quarantined my comments to music as that’s my area of expertise, or personal experience (including music software).
                The basic comment about the Palmer blog still stands.
                He has a legitimate opinion, but blocking commentary from people more experienced is a slippery slope (to say the least).

    6. Posted 23/08/2012 at 3:35 pm | Permalink |

      37% of Australians admit they are thieves. Let’s put them all behind bars!

    7. Marcus
      Posted 23/08/2012 at 3:38 pm | Permalink |

      Why is it taking them so bloody long to learn from the itunes/napster story?
      Make it affordable, make it available and their market will bloody grow.

      • Marcus
        Posted 23/08/2012 at 3:38 pm | Permalink |

        oh and copyright infringement is pretty close to trespass. A long long way from theft.

    8. BuildFTTP
      Posted 23/08/2012 at 3:57 pm | Permalink |

      Are people who lend legitimate physical copies of movies to their friends also scumbag thieves? Just curious if my parents belong in jail too.

      • Hubert Cumberdale
        Posted 23/08/2012 at 4:13 pm | Permalink |

        People who remember movies also fall into this category. You have an unauthorized copy in your brain.

        • Posted 23/08/2012 at 4:34 pm | Permalink |

          lol

        • Dean
          Posted 23/08/2012 at 8:49 pm | Permalink |

          I can recite almost every line from the movie “Spaceballs”. Am I a bad person?

          • Posted 23/08/2012 at 9:11 pm | Permalink |

            No, that makes you part of a club of awesomeness :)

        • Harimau
          Posted 19/09/2012 at 9:12 pm | Permalink |

          literally lol’d

    9. Steve
      Posted 23/08/2012 at 4:09 pm | Permalink |

      I grew up with Napster, Morpheus/Kazaa, and graduated onto bit torrent and usenet.

      I never really wanted to steal other peoples work but these avenues always seemed a helluva lot better than heading down to the video store or paying exorbitant prices through itunes every time I wanted to check something out.

      Enter spotify. I signed up for the free account just after the Australia launch and upgraded to an ad-free paying account within 24 hours and i’ve never looked back. I’ve also manage to convert numerous friends onto the service who are now also “doing the right thing” by musicians.

      The fat cats in the video content industry need to get it through their thick heads that people are perfectly willing to pay for content if it is available in a reliable, fast, affordable format, just like what spotify has done for music. We know it doesn’t cost $5 or $10 to electronically distribute a single movie so don’t even try.

      The ongoing whining by this industry has gotta be the world’s greatest ongoing saga of who moved my cheese and it is bordering on hilarious!

      • GongGav
        Posted 23/08/2012 at 4:18 pm | Permalink |

        +1000

        Pretty much the same here, down to Spotify. I buy content. I have a big 50″ 3D tele, a 7.2 surround sound system, and my DVD/blu ray collection is insured for $25,000 so its not like I just want to get something because its free. I enjoy my movies.

        But the content industry makes it VERY difficult to see something before forking over upwards of $50 for a movie.

        10 or so years ago, the content controllers should have learned from Napster. Instead, they let Apple take control, and have been whining about lost sales ever since. Got news for them, Apple sells more and more singles every year – its very much a growth industry. They just dont control it any more.

        Movie industry is going down the same path, and its 3rd party companies that are filling the gap – Netflix, Flixster, Hulu all provide a service the industry isnt willing to do themselves.

        Such a shame, they could have been getting even MORE profit if only they had learnt the lessons of Napster.

      • NPSF3000
        Posted 23/08/2012 at 10:07 pm | Permalink |

        “The fat cats in the video content industry need to get it through their thick heads that people are perfectly willing to pay for content if it is available in a reliable, fast, affordable format, just like what spotify has done for music. We know it doesn’t cost $5 or $10 to electronically distribute a single movie so don’t even try.”

        And what the consumer has to realize is that the fat cats aren’t the only ones with skin in the game. Every-time you pirate some fat cat entertainment, another smaller production just got less exposure, less following and less cash.

    10. Chuq
      Posted 23/08/2012 at 4:37 pm | Permalink |

      They still don’t seem to get it. make it convenient. Spotify and FetchTV make it easy to watch/listen to what I want, when I want. it costs a bit more than downloading illegaly, but is a lot faster and more convenient, and cheaper than the old fashioned way.

    11. Muso1
      Posted 23/08/2012 at 4:57 pm | Permalink |

      Renai,
      Please, please, PLEASE stop waving through ‘The Sky Is Rising’ without any critical commentary, which you so conscientiously do with regard to disinformation on the NBN. ‘The Sky Is Rising’ was funded by Google, includes sales of iPods and smart phones as ‘income’ for the entertainment industry (?????) and has been widely discredited by respected and creditable commentators on technology and the music industry.
      As for Mozart Palmer, I’ve posted on his blog respectfully questioning a lot of his theories and was blocked from posting. Censorship in it’s most basic form IMHO.
      Quite honestly the comment about intellectual property not actually being taken away from creative people when they are pirated makes me so angry, because it’s the ultimate in pedantry, not only that but I regard it to be highly disingenuous.
      Once again, I help to produce a music software instrument. When someone illegally downloads it I lose a sale, not EVERY time, but prove to me I have not lost at least one sale. You can’t it’s impossible.
      So I’m losing sales. When Mr Palmer claims I haven’t lost my intellectual property, he’s ignoring the elephant in the room, which is I’ve lost the ability to monetize that creativity. And when we lose the ability to monetize creativity, many of us lose the ability to pay our expenses to be creative.
      When I mentioned the pirate party position on copyright would render the music industry to a highly localized cottage industry, Mr Palmers reply was “what’s wrong with that” (I may have slightly paraphrased).

      • Alex
        Posted 23/08/2012 at 5:54 pm | Permalink |

        I am someone who can see both sides…and not really passionate about the subject to be honest, so I don’t really want to fight with my pro-NBN comrades (yes I used that word comrade to appease the anti-NBN circus…LOL).

        You see, I have a friend (cliche… no an actual friend) who is a very accomplished musician… many years of study… classical, jazz, done TV, radio countless performances…

        So as such, I tend to lean towards Muso1. But that wasn’t the case until my mate spelled out not only the study but the cost involved and the time…

        They pay to rehearse, record, for promotion, agents, management etc (no freebie downloads here… pay each and every time, again and again). Each member has on average $5000 worth of personal equipment.

        They receive on average, $700 for a 5 piece band to play a ‘gig’. Then have to pay out, $350 for the PA equipment hire, $80 for the agent, and that doesn’t include their fuel costs?

        They walk away with $54 each and no free drinks, by the time they do a shout or two they are left with SFA and start at 5 in the arvo and get home at 2 in the morning…

        So then, they pay to record a song, release it and we all download it…???

        Seriously, it’s all good and well to say, the “fat cats”, but the fat cats will always be fat cats, it’s the new artist who release a product and then have everyone download it for free who suffer…

        If I can just do an alain for a minute (the NBN guys know about our pedantic friend) here and say if downloading Muso1’s property is ok, because it’s just one product so why should he be able to sell it over and over for the next 20 years and profit, if you go into work each day and do the same thing, why should your boss pay you, over and over?

        Anyway, whatever.

        • Woolfe
          Posted 24/08/2012 at 6:43 am | Permalink |

          You make it sound as if those costs and expenses are “new”.

          Music has always been a popularity contest. If you aren’t popular, you don’t do well.

          If your mates band wants to earn more at the “gig” they need to be popular enough to demand a higher rate.

          Just because you own an instrument and can play well doesn’t entitle you to be able to earn big bucks in the industyr

        • Woolfe
          Posted 24/08/2012 at 7:00 am | Permalink |

          Oh and as to why my boss should pay me over and over again.

          Because I come in every day and provide a service that if he didn’t have would cause his business substantial costs. So by paying for me every day he reduces his own costs.

          But you know what, I am competing as well. I have to compete with every other IT person who wants my job, so I build up a resume that shows the areas that I am specifically competent in, and gives examples of the sort of work that I do, and the quality thereof. If I hadn’t built this up over time, I would not be on the rate I am currently on.

          My product is the service I provide. Your friends is the music they make.

          In the same way that I built a reputation in the industry, your friends need to as well.

          I too have a friend who is a Jazz/blues musician(played at my wedding) she has recorded a CD. She gets almost all her sales of that CD at her performances, either directly by having the cd there, or indirectly by word of mouth as people enjoy her music. Because of her popularity, she can now live comfortably off her skills.

          • Alex
            Posted 24/08/2012 at 10:41 am | Permalink |

            Just because you own PC and can bang away on the keyboard (pun intended) doesn’t entitle you to be able to earn big bucks in the industry :)

            Cya I’ll concentrate on commenting about the NBN.

            • Woolfe
              Posted 24/08/2012 at 12:00 pm | Permalink |

              “Just because you own PC and can bang away on the keyboard (pun intended) doesn’t entitle you to be able to earn big bucks in the industry :)”

              Well yes exactly, that is my point. I have built my skills and rep over the last 15 years, which is why I earn what I earn. Do you think I started on the money I am on now…. Hell no.

              15 years ago a muso would be in pretty much the same situation as now. Why because without being known they simply won’t get the coverage. Unless they have the backing of a label, who can afford to “advertise” them.

              The question to be answered, is who is being hurt most by piracy, the Artist, or the Producers?
              The follow on question is do you want to support the Artist or the producer?

              • Muso1
                Posted 24/08/2012 at 12:50 pm | Permalink |

                The answer is both, but certainly many artists.
                The follow on question is why would you punish artists if you have a difference of opinion with entertainment corps?

                • AJ
                  Posted 24/08/2012 at 1:09 pm | Permalink |

                  Here is a question for you Muso

                  If an album was released in the USA and it was region locked so it was impossible to obtain unless you wait 6 months would it be ok to download now and then purchase when it becomes avaliable here?

                  the thing is many people dont want to have to pirate anything but if you wait then someone will spoil it for you especially with the internet these days so what do you do because If I have to wait I WILL NOT buy it. If i download something I do buy it at the first avaliability.

                  • NPSF3000
                    Posted 24/08/2012 at 1:12 pm | Permalink |

                    “the thing is many people dont want to have to pirate anything but if you wait then someone will spoil it for you”

                    How can they spoil it for you… since you’ve decided to do the legitimate thing and support artists who don’t delay release in Aus?

                    The only thing you do by piracy is hurt the competition who are doing the *right* thing and rewarding those who do not.

                  • Muso1
                    Posted 24/08/2012 at 2:44 pm | Permalink |

                    Yes, it’s also funny how quickly we get into unreal hypotheticals.
                    I understand the argument over tv. I don’t pirate things that aren’t available in Australia. I guess I’m from an older generation that thinks if they have to wait for something it just ain’t the end of the world.
                    But yeah, there is NO region locking on albums, there is NO region locking on music software.
                    So of the two areas I have experience in, Aussies aren’t locked out of legal ownership, but Aussies still pirate the products. That’s not a hypothetical but a real observation.

        • Tom
          Posted 24/08/2012 at 11:51 pm | Permalink |

          That analogy works the other way.

          My boss pays me for each hour of work I do. I have to keep doing work if I expect to continue getting paid.

          Just because I worked on a piece of software a year ago doesn’t mean I don’t have to keep doing more work, even though that software is still being used.

          Unlike the expectations of the creative industry, I don’t get paid over an over again for the same piece of work.

      • Posted 23/08/2012 at 5:56 pm | Permalink |

        I haven’t gone into The Sky is Rising in any depth, but I am pretty sure it is a more legitimate study than most of those that have been put forward by the content industry claiming lost revenue.

        • muso1
          Posted 24/08/2012 at 8:14 am | Permalink |

          You really should go into it in depth if you are going to continue citing it in the debate.
          It was clearly funded by the computer industry including Google and Facebook. It’s obviously in the direct interest of those parties to suggest filesharing is doing nothing to damage the entertainment industry.
          I read a Twitter exchange between Mike Masnick and Robert Levine where Masnick was repeatedly invited to deny he included iPod and music instrument sales in his figures claiming big profits for the entertainment industry…… and he failed to deny it.

      • Posted 23/08/2012 at 8:13 pm | Permalink |

        Chris,

        You were blocked from posting comments, as I outlined to you numerous times, for your continued strawman and ad hominem attacks. I have responded to your reasonable emails, and do not mind you making them public because they reflect a rational side of you (heck, I’ll even publish them myself, with your permission). You need to realise that directly attacking an individual and arguing like a child is not the way to behave. I understand you feel strongly about these issues, but rationality and politeness is still important. Not that other commenters have not been blocked, even those who disagree, including fellow readers of The Trichordist.

        As for the cottage industry comment – I _personally_ posed the question of whether a localised industry is a bad thing, in comparison to widescale commercialisation. This was not a Pirate Party perspective; I have never claimed my articles are on behalf of the Party – and this was not even a perspective but a question. Thanks to you and others who were foolish enough to think my personal site speaks for all Pirates I’ve had to put up a disclaimer because I did not believe people would be, frankly, stupid enough to think otherwise.

        • muso1
          Posted 24/08/2012 at 8:07 am | Permalink |

          Mozart,
          I have 30 years experience as a professional musician. If I pose questions to you about your theories, it’s simply not possible that they are trolling, as you claimed in your blog on the day you deleted all my posts and banned me from commenting further.
          Your actions are not a far cry from a dictatorship.
          I suggested in fairness that you run your blog without a comment section, but sadly what you have done is continue to accept comments, but only those that basically agree with you.
          I expect this kind of thing from young websters, but find it beyond incredible for someone claiming to be passionate about free speech and fighting politically against censorship and a free internet.
          You either believe in democratic debate and the freedom of speech or you don’t. You don’t get to choose what other people say about you, or the questions they ask – if you value free speech and are against any censorship.

    12. Happy Heyoka
      Posted 23/08/2012 at 5:01 pm | Permalink |

      it’s fundamental to ensuring that we can build the bold digital companies of the future

      I once worked for a “bold digital company of the future” that was bought by News Ltd an systematically dismantled.
      Thanks Kim, what did you say your mobile phone number was again? :-^

    13. Glenn
      Posted 23/08/2012 at 6:22 pm | Permalink |

      “Think about the ten greatest pieces of art that you couldn’t live without.”

      Um… mind is blank.

      I do believe art is important, it enriches society and can be highly motivation to creative people, but ive never considered art to be essential to life.

      He must really like art.

    14. Echelen
      Posted 23/08/2012 at 7:08 pm | Permalink |

      One thing I’ve always wondered – say someone downloads something they would never actually purchase (whether due to not being able to afford it, not being capable, etc), who gets hurt? The creator isn’t losing a sale since if the illegal version would never have been uploaded, the pirate still wouldn’t have bought it.

      • NPSF3000
        Posted 23/08/2012 at 10:15 pm | Permalink |

        “One thing I’ve always wondered – say someone downloads something they would never actually purchase (whether due to not being able to afford it, not being capable, etc), who gets hurt? The creator isn’t losing a sale since if the illegal version would never have been uploaded, the pirate still wouldn’t have bought it.”

        Someone else loses out.

        For example, you could Pirate a $100 AAA game or you could:

        Buy a older release, play an indy game, play a mobile game, learn to make games, play free flash games, replay one of your existing games, go to the movies, listen to the radio, go to school, read a book, read delimiter ad infinitum.

        Pretty much every action you can possibly do has value attached to it – even staring at the wall might increase your interest in cleaning products! Piracy doesn’t necessarily damage the direct victim – anecdotal evidence suggest in some cases it might actually help them – but it damages the industry by preventing competition!

    15. PeterA
      Posted 23/08/2012 at 7:37 pm | Permalink |

      I mentioned the horrible example “art” to my family. I was thinking to myself, think of Van Gough, died a pauper. Somehow I’ve still seen his art.

      And my family pointed out the massive gaping black hole in his argument. How many pieces of art have you seen? How many originals? Without “pirates” (people that copy) how many people get to appreciate art?

      @Alex: so, your example of your artist friend, paying for studiotime etc. You argue that they dont get paid enough, and have to pay money for recording equipment etc.
      This is the market at work. Cost of entry to being an artist is VERY low. Therefore, pay rates are low (too much competition), equipment hire (management, studios, all that cruft) is high because demand for that equipment is high.

      Welcome to a low paying job in a crowded industry. Just like being a game developer means you get paid bugger all. Too many people want to be a game developer, therefore pay rates are horrible.

      These arguments don’t answer every statement made above, but at least don’t mischaracterise the problem when trying to win points.

      • Alex
        Posted 24/08/2012 at 12:43 am | Permalink |

        PeterA says…

        “Welcome to a low paying job in a crowded industry…”

        Wow what a comeback, that justifies it all… thanks Peter.

        Gee, that sounds like something the far right would say along with white elephant NBN :/ Nice.

        Err and here I was not taking sides (especially not wanting to fight with the pro-NBN crowd)… just telling you an actual, you know evidence based, scenario, but yet… so please continue.

        BTW – I haven’t “mischaracterised” anything and wasn’t trying to win any points, unlike “some” here! I was simply telling the side you don’t want to hear, because it’s all ok to take from the fat cats (and pass off the rest as … welcome to a low paying job).

        You know, having seen your NBN comments I expected more.

        • PeterA
          Posted 24/08/2012 at 12:32 pm | Permalink |

          warning, this is a longwinded meandering post with little discernable point

          My point was, that most examples given to characterize the “piracy” problem are predicated on flawed assumptions and reasoning.
          In the same way that many arguments against building the NBN are predicated on flawed assumptions and reasoning.

          Please note; I am being careful not to say copyright (and reasonable enforcement thereof) is wrong, but merely the arguments being used for it need to be reasonable. muso1 for instance often brings up his own experiences with piracy (software developer or author I think?) where people use his software without paying the price he has set for it. This is a *good* example to base an argument about copyright enforcement on (whether I agree with the measures being proposed or not, I at-least can’t disagree with his example!)

          The same goes with the NBN, I am happy to engage fully in an argument if the other side is saying things that are reasonable. Things like “the NBN is a waste of tax payer dollars”, is a gross misrepresentation of how the network will be funded. Especially when you take into account the funding model that the coalition will have to employ if they want the “market” to decide – and not a GBE. (It will have to be entirely on-budget, and as a result all of the government expenditure will have to be tax-payer funds). Even if this figure doesn’t exceed interest payments that come out of the budget forward estimates, the fact is there is no future plan to recoup this money from future revenue.

          Alex: I am sorry if the way I said what I was trying to say came out as too confrontational (or dismissive?), and it wasn’t really my intention, but I like a debate to be based upon the actual question at hand. In this case, Piracy and its effect on the content industry.

          If you want an outrageous solution to your musician friends problem – the right wingers will love this – unions.
          If there was a “musician” union, you could lobby for minimum performance wages.
          The musicians union could lobby against management, and recording studio’s to reduce prices.
          With enough support from the recording industry associations, you could even use things like the right to play radio in a venue unless they agree to the unions demands.

          If you think about it; it could give more power to the smaller musicians, in a similar way that the screen actors guild in the USA theoretically helps the younger actors in the USA.

          Unfortunately, the closest thing to a musicians union, is the RIA’s of the world, which is actually a union of middle-managers that own (valuable) copyrighted recordings. They also invest this money in the creation of more copyrighted material, but ultimately the RIA’s are in it for the middle-men, and not the artists.

          *shrug*. Intractable problems are fun.

          • Muso1
            Posted 24/08/2012 at 1:00 pm | Permalink |

            Why is my point unreasonable.
            And as there are powerful unions for both performers and songwriters in many music centres around the globe I can’t see any veracity in your long statement above.
            In addition, studios have radically reduced pricing, as have musicians reduced their fees and pay.
            So you seem to be making your case based on several misunderstandings. maybe you could explain it a different way?

            • PeterA
              Posted 24/08/2012 at 2:03 pm | Permalink |

              Why is my point unreasonable.
              Unless I misspoke, I was actually saying your point was reasonable. (it was the examples of “great artworks” not existing, and musicians not getting paid a lot for gigs that was unreasonable)

              And as there are powerful unions for both performers and songwriters in many music centres around the globe I can’t see any veracity in your long statement above.
              And how many of these unions seek to ensure that the pub down the road pays musicians reasonable rates?
              How many of these musicians are part of the unions you reference?
              Do the most successful artists in the industry ensure that their music is only “licensed” to be played by entities that guarantee they will pay musicians reasonable rates.

              You see, the way the union is meant to work, is it is meant to use the power of the scarcity they control (high-value music from the most succesful artists in this case) to ensure that all members of the union are receiving adequate compensation to continue the art. (ostensibly so they can afford to live, and potentially graduate to a producer of high-value music).

              If the union is not working in this way, it is because they don’t control enough of the “scarce resource”, and do not wield enough power. If the union was powerful enough, you wouldn’t be able to play a radio – let alone hire an artist – at your local pub, without ensuring that *when you do* hire a band, you are paying them enough. (indeed, if the union was really trying to help the lowest rungs of their profession, it would cost the same to pay a band, as it would to run the radio!)

              In addition, studios have radically reduced pricing, as have musicians reduced their fees and pay.
              I don’t see how this is contradictory to what I said above?
              If you can’t sell your studio time, you lower prices.
              If you can’t get a gig accepting $1000 per performance, but can getting only $750 per performance, you either get paid 0 or $750.
              The only way for these things to settle differently, is if you (or your union) exercises its power in your favor.

              To be honest, I was not aware there was a “Musician” union. I have certainly never heard of it exerting any influence (certainly not on local pubs etc).

              I was aware of the songwriters (as distinct from performers), screen actors and screen writers guilds/unions only.

          • SMEMatt
            Posted 24/08/2012 at 1:55 pm | Permalink |

            http://www.musicians.asn.au/

            • PeterA
              Posted 24/08/2012 at 2:06 pm | Permalink |

              Can I just clear up my point about unions?

              I wasn’t implying there were no unions, merely that one method to achieve change of the kinds mentioned (specifically: bands not getting paid enough to perform) would be wide-scale action by a union.

              Obviously, it is predicated on the union wielding enough power – which given that musicians aren’t universally getting paid like rockstars indicates that they are unwilling, or unable to exert the appropriate level of power.

              This could be due to many reasons, one of which may be their membership is not close enough to universal, or the power vested in them is not great enough (they can’t make unilateral descisions about who gets to license the recorded works of their members, etc.).

              • Muso1
                Posted 24/08/2012 at 2:50 pm | Permalink |

                The problem is musicians don’t want to exploit scarcity…. or remotely punish customers in any way. I think we price our services fairly, but people have just decided they can get away without paying us.
                As to pubs and clubs, yes, there are union rates for playing live. Also, both the musicians unions and performing rights societies regulate music in pubs and clubs and by law receive an agreed income from ANY business that uses music. So again, I think you are misinformed.
                Finally, I would happily see musicians go on strike over piracy, but as you can see from X-Factor and The Voice, there are hundreds of thousands of people who would DO ANYTHING to be given a spot in the music industry, including not being paid.
                So the question really is, do the public accept current laws that afford creative people the right to sell their services, or does the public exploit the fact others are so desperate to be seen as creative, they’ll accept any conditions just to put one record out, or play one gig?

                • PeterA
                  Posted 24/08/2012 at 3:51 pm | Permalink |

                  You appear to be arguing in agreement with what I am saying. Infact almost precisely. I actually find it difficult to understand what precisely you disagree with what I have said?

                  — I actually deleted a huge paragraph here, but I realise I have already gone way off topic —

                  Suffice to say my entire point with regard to musician pay, is it is almost entirely divorced from problem of piracy. There is no live-music piracy problem. Problems with pay rates in live music, can never stem from piracy in recorded music. Copyright reform makes no difference to pay-issues in live music, stop using bad pay rates in another industry as a reason to pursue copyright reform.

                  That is the argument I object to. It has no place in this debate.

                • PeterA
                  Posted 24/08/2012 at 3:55 pm | Permalink |

                  So the question really is, do the public accept current laws that afford creative people the right to sell their services, or does the public exploit the fact others are so desperate to be seen as creative, they’ll accept any conditions just to put one record out, or play one gig?

                  I fail to see how anything can be done to prevent this. I fail to see how it has any bearing what so-ever on the issue of music piracy. It is a straw-man in this context.

          • Alex
            Posted 24/08/2012 at 4:52 pm | Permalink |

            All good PeterA and my apologies for being somewhat sarcastic :-)

            I was just highlighting something which I think sometimes gets lost in all this… typically as is the case everywhere on earth, it’s always the little guys that cop it!

    16. Karl
      Posted 23/08/2012 at 7:42 pm | Permalink |

      Copyright holders, the only businesses in the world who think witholding their product and insulting their customers gets you more sales.

      • NPSF3000
        Posted 23/08/2012 at 10:17 pm | Permalink |

        You’re a copyright holder. Large portions of the open source software movement is copyright protected. Etc.

      • muso1
        Posted 24/08/2012 at 8:25 am | Permalink |

        “Copyright holders, the only businesses in the world who think witholding their product and insulting their customers gets you more sales.”

        Right, stick it to Renai, because this is what I found in this sites terms and conditions:

        “Intellectual Property Rights
        8. The copyright to all content on this website including applets, graphics, images, layouts and text belongs to us or we have a licence to use those materials.”

        The fact is the ‘greedy copyright holders’ argument is a giant furfy.
        With modern technology (cheap, powerful computers, software and broadband), many average individuals are creating content and owning their own copyright.

        • Karl
          Posted 24/08/2012 at 11:08 am | Permalink |

          It should have been clear that I was referring to the big businesses that make a business out of holding copyrights and nothing else. I would think intelligent people would be able to work that out, given they are the businesses at the heart of this article and I referred to them directly in my comment…

          • Muso1
            Posted 24/08/2012 at 12:52 pm | Permalink |

            It’s not unintelligent though to point out that ordinary individuals such as myself and Renai directly benefit from copyright and piracy is a blunt tool in that it doesn’t discriminate between Basement Records of unit 22 Albion Street, and Dreamworks.

      • Posted 25/08/2012 at 7:16 pm | Permalink |

        “Copyright holders, the only businesses in the world who think witholding their product and insulting their customers gets you more sales.”

        Hmmm, the doctors maintain artificial scarcity by running a strong union that controls how many doctors are allowed to practice — thus driving up prices and in some cases encouraging people to go overseas for surgery. The lawyers maintain artificial scarcity by running a strong union that controls who can be a lawyer — thus driving up prices. The architects also keep control over who can be accredited as an architect, and they have some limited monopoly rights within the building industry (awarded to them by government regulation). The accountants run the CPA system which works in a similar manner, although you can choose to just hire a regular bookkeeper for many jobs instead of a CPA (you would have to look up the details but I think that government regulations do require a full CPA for some audits). The engineers had a number of tries at getting legislation into place requiring registration with their union, but so far they haven’t done as well as the other professions.

        Then we could go into all the other unions out there, all of which exist for the purpose of creating artificial scarcity and driving up prices… some with more success than others.

        To quote from Adam Smith in the 18th Century:

        “People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. It is impossible indeed to prevent such meetings, by any law which either could be executed, or would be consistent with liberty and justice. But though the law cannot hinder people of the same trade from sometimes assembling together, it ought to do nothing to facilitate such assemblies; much less to render them necessary.”

        It does seem to me that restraint of free trade is the normal way of doing business in the modern world, and not the exception… and this has been the case for some time.

    17. Joe Green
      Posted 24/08/2012 at 4:34 am | Permalink |

      The distinction needs to be kept clear that there is a profound moral difference between sharing something with a friend and distributing, without permission, other people’s files for commercial gain. Music, art, photos, videos, etc still make huge amounts of money on the internet through advertising, it’s just that it’s not being shared with the creators, it’s being kept by the internet businessmen who get rich off the advertising. It’s exploitation and it’s not right.

      It’s analogous to a pawn shop allowing stolen merchandise to be sold and then using the excuse “I didn’t know it was stolen.” The money is being made by selling advertising on the internet pawn shop walls.

      A solution is that the same technology that websites like Google and Facebook use to track and sell people’s information to advertisers could be used to track and stop payments to sites that make money from distributing illegal files; and to stop search engines from generating advertising income from the search traffic to those illegal sites. Not anything more than what a pawnshop is required to do.

      Unethical behavior by businesses making money through advertising on others people’s creation can not be justified by the myth that principles, values and ethics need to change, principles are even more important than ever when change is happening. They were developed over time to guide us through the storm of human controversy or conflict. While circumstances may change, principles do not.

      The internet is not like the weather, it was created by humans it can be changed and made better by humans. Unethical for profit businesses can be regulated, just like in real life.

      • Karl
        Posted 24/08/2012 at 5:26 am | Permalink |

        There is no distinction between sharing between friends and distributing online, unless you are going to suggest one or both of these things:
        – the benefits of friendship are nothing compared to money
        – it is fine to break the law, as long as you do it with people you know

        Your pawn shop analogy is flawed on 2 levels:
        – copyright violation is not theft, try looking theft up in a dictionary
        – a customer in a pawn shop won’t know if it is stolen, a person downloading copyrighted works knows exactly what they are doing

        I also suggest you look up the words principles, values and ethics. I think you will find everybody has their own, you can’t project yours onto everybody else unless you’re a dictator.
        Thankfully there are no dictators on the internet, it is one of the last mediums for true democracy. The internet is the way it is because that is the way people want it – porn, flame wars, file sharing and all the rest. To deny that is to deny common sense.

        • muso1
          Posted 24/08/2012 at 8:20 am | Permalink |

          “I also suggest you look up the words principles, values and ethics. I think you will find everybody has their own, you can’t project yours onto everybody else unless you’re a dictator.
          Thankfully there are no dictators on the internet, it is one of the last mediums for true democracy. ”

          Come on man…. you really believe this stuff? It’s so far divorced from reality I’m quite aghast.
          Right now as I type, “principles, values and ethics” fully back my right to distribute my work as i choose, and charge a fee. If punters don’t regard my work favourably, I do not dictate to them they must buy them and pay. they have the ultimate freedom of choice to reject my work and ignore me.
          On the flipside, when someone illegally downloads my work, ignoring my choice to sell, ignoring my wish not to be pirated, they are dictating to me. Piracy is the ultimate dictatorship. It takes away every creative persons choices. And right now around the web, people who agree with the illegal filesharing lobby are dictating their view to anyone who disagrees with them.

          • Karl
            Posted 24/08/2012 at 11:27 am | Permalink |

            “Right now as I type, “principles, values and ethics” fully back my right to distribute my work as i choose, and charge a fee.”
            Your principles, values and ethics do, but everybody has different values. Clearly not everybody agrees with you, because they are different – shocking I know. It is impossible to force your own personal ethics on somebody else, which is why the MPAA et al will never get ‘their way’ until they change ‘their way’.

            “Piracy is the ultimate dictatorship.”
            No it isn’t. If you are the victim of piracy you have several options. You can use air instead of sea transportation, you can hire an armed vessel to escort you, you can report them to the authorities in the hopes they will be caught, you have several options. Though I don’t see why you changed subjects mid-paragraph.

            • Muso1
              Posted 24/08/2012 at 11:54 am | Permalink |

              But we live in a democratic, capitalist society.
              If you don’t like that, change via democratic means, don’t dictate my business practice to me by illegal means.
              That’s what you don’t seem to get.
              If you feel murderers deserve the death penalty, and disagree with democratically elected law makers in the Aussie parliament, you don’t get to apply your own “values and ethics” by bumping off the accused yourself (aka lynch mob).

              • Karl
                Posted 24/08/2012 at 2:06 pm | Permalink |

                “If you don’t like that, change via democratic means, don’t dictate my business practice to me by illegal means.
                That’s what you don’t seem to get.”
                No, what you don’t seem to get is that laws are not ethics. I have said nothing about the legality of something, yet you keep bringing them up. When a business model relies on a law that 37% of people admit they are breaking, you’re theoretically only 14% away from the business model being completely defunct. Maybe the business model needs to change?

                • Muso1
                  Posted 24/08/2012 at 2:51 pm | Permalink |

                  Lots of people speed on the roads. maybe traffic laws should change?

                  • Posted 24/08/2012 at 3:20 pm | Permalink |

                    We probably should. Most speeding regulations are enforced due to the need for funds (through fines) rather than safety. Many of our more famous roads are usually designed for speeds much higher than the enforced speed limits.
                    Our speed limits are therefore often political rather than evidence based.

            • NPSF3000
              Posted 24/08/2012 at 12:12 pm | Permalink |

              “No it isn’t. If you are the victim of piracy you have several options. You can use air instead of sea transportation, you can hire an armed vessel to escort you, you can report them to the authorities in the hopes they will be caught, you have several options.”

              And all of which are fairly ineffective in this day – just to give you an example of how poorly piracy is policed: http://delimiter.com.au/2012/04/26/nsw-police-under-fire-again-for-pirating-software/

    18. Nedkelly
      Posted 24/08/2012 at 6:05 am | Permalink |

      I remember reading a few studies a few years ago that suggested that people that pirate, are more often the people that spend more of their disposable income on what they pirate, eg movies, music. Here are a few articles that I found.

      http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110727/16233815292/another-day-another-study-that-says-pirates-are-best-customers-this-time-hadopi.shtml

      http://torrentfreak.com/suppressed-report-found-busted-pirate-site-users-were-good-consumers-110719/

      I know that from my own experiences that people will only buy a show or movie after watching it. And I find myself watch less and less TV due to what I perceive to be crap on most channels with the ads are too loud and too many.

      • muso1
        Posted 24/08/2012 at 9:00 am | Permalink |

        Sadly neither Techdirt or Torrentfreak are reliable sources of unbiased opinion in this debate.
        Look, I’m happy to completely admit the RIAA and MPAA have not served this debate well, but lets also admit the army of tech industry supported and financed bloggers who are also promoting a biased view.

        • Posted 24/08/2012 at 9:32 am | Permalink |

          they are linking to other reports, not reports they have commissioned themselves. it’s no different to you linking to reports that support your opinion…

          • muso1
            Posted 24/08/2012 at 10:15 am | Permalink |

            Which I haven’t done, as my opinion is formed by personal experience.
            I see my stuff on filesharing sites. I sit in on development meetings and budget discussions and know the negative effect piracy is having on our business.

            • Posted 24/08/2012 at 10:47 am | Permalink |

              you have missed my point. you said they were unreliable sources of unbiased opinion. they are just linking to other studies and reports that back up one side of the argument. granted, they are from one side of the argument, but that is irrelevant in this case. they are just the medium of distribution for these studies and reports.

              i didn’t say that you had linked to reports, but if you had, it would amount to the same thing.

              just because the reports and studies come from one side of the fence, doesn’t make them ‘biased’. they are just reporting on studies that have been done. if other, more reputable, sites linked to the same reports, would they be considered biased as well?

              instead of only blaming pirates, also blame those who have the opportunity, funding and reasons to change the model to help people just like YOU, but don’t because they are stupid.

              • muso1
                Posted 24/08/2012 at 11:07 am | Permalink |

                The claim that piracy only exists because of high pricing and unavailability is another red herring.
                I actually wrote my own blog about it:
                http://thetrichordist.wordpress.com/2012/05/12/the-paradox-of-pirate-logic-music-versus-music-software-full-post/

                The simple fact is, most people working in music software are young, tech savvy, owner operators of small business.
                they understand e-commerce, the new paradigm, and the attitudes of Gen Y and Gen X.
                They offer instant downloads of product, competitive pricing, free trails and even free products to a degree.
                And yet music software is heavily pirated.
                Most pirates aren’t interested in reasonable pricing, they want free. Most pirates aren’t interested in looking for five or ten minutes for a legitimate site, when the product, ALL products are available from their favourite filesharing site.
                So you really can’t compete with unfettered access and free. Therefore it’s disingenuous to suggest if access is easier and prices are lowered, rampant piracy will go away. The lesson of music software proves otherwise.

                • James
                  Posted 24/08/2012 at 11:28 am | Permalink |

                  “you really can’t compete with unfettered access and free. Therefore it’s disingenuous to suggest if access is easier and prices are lowered, rampant piracy will go away. The lesson of music software proves otherwise”

                  My download speed topped out at around 1.5MBps on uTorrent. I recently observed Steam downloading at over twice that. Couple that with support for older / less popular games (which download slowly on P2P), and it has completely won me over.

                  IMO it’s the service that is so valuable. Prices are important too, (usually around half of what they would be in a brick-and-mortar store) but a game purchased from Steam will finish in less than the time it takes me to drive to JBHiFi, find / buy what I want, drive home again, install the software and let it patch to the latest version. That’s why I love Steam.
                  Also it’s always open!

                  Rumour has it that Steam will soon support non-gaming software too.

                • Posted 24/08/2012 at 12:50 pm | Permalink |

                  Sure you can compete with free.
                  I consider the product Spotify offers me significantly superior to the pirate product despite the $12 monthly fee. I also consider Amazon’s Kindle service significantly superior to the pirate product (while lamenting its use of DRM). Both are incredibly easy to use and give me the contents I want the minute I want it and on the device I want to consume it with. The pirated solution cannot give me that.
                  Also note I do not consider piracy free. Sure, I don’t need to give my Swedish friends a credit card number, but the affair can take up a lot of time – a resource I’m quite short on.

                  • Muso1
                    Posted 24/08/2012 at 12:56 pm | Permalink |

                    You’ve joined Facebook and surrendered valuable personal data in order to use Spotify (free).
                    There is no free lunch.
                    The only truly free product is the one offered by the pirates, who don’t have to comply with employment law, copyright (obviously), paying creators (obviously) or any other civilized legislation.

                    • Posted 24/08/2012 at 1:26 pm | Permalink |

                      Let’s get the facts right first: I did not join Facebook to join Spotify.
                      I do, however, pay Spotify $12 a month, and I consider Spotify superior to the pirated solution. Hence I and four million other paying customers have revoked your claim (“So you really can’t compete with unfettered access and free”). Logic exercises do not come easier than that.

                      BTW, if I did join Facebook it would only prove I was willing to pay an even higher price to put my hands on a non free product.

                • Posted 24/08/2012 at 12:54 pm | Permalink |

                  “The claim that piracy only exists because of high pricing and unavailability is another red herring.”

                  I believe the statement that a great deal of piracy only exists because of high pricing and unavailability to be a factually correct statement. Not all, but a great deal.

                  • Muso1
                    Posted 24/08/2012 at 12:57 pm | Permalink |

                    Except the experience of music software proves differently.
                    Tell me how it doesn’t (specifically)?

                    • Posted 24/08/2012 at 1:09 pm | Permalink |

                      i think you mean, ‘YOUR’ experience of music software proves differently.

                      not all music software is pirated, some people pay for theirs, just like some people pay for media.

                      i agree with renai 100%, as i wrote in this article – http://delimiter.com.au/2011/02/24/why-are-media-giants-so-afraid-of-technology/

                      • Muso1
                        Posted 24/08/2012 at 2:54 pm | Permalink |

                        Not only my experience only.
                        http://www.imsta.org/myths.php

                        Do you create and distribute music software?

                      • Posted 24/08/2012 at 3:06 pm | Permalink |

                        Alright, that’s it Muso1. Shut the hell up about your goddamn music software, and start discussing the wider issue, or else you’re getting banned for a week. Linking to music software industry propaganda articles was the last straw for me. This is a niche case and I am tired of you dogmatically focusing on it.

                        From Delimiter’s comments policy, you will note that “Comments which are highly self-promoting” are banned.

                        Renai

                  • NPSF3000
                    Posted 24/08/2012 at 12:59 pm | Permalink |

                    “I believe the statement that a great deal of piracy only exists because of high pricing and unavailability to be a factually correct statement. Not all, but a great deal.”

                    It’s the excuse, not the actual reason. People don’t pirate because games are $100… they can’t – games aren’t $100! The problem is the game they want to play at this moment int time [thanks to good marketing generally] is $100 and they decide to go down the easy route of piracy instead of the myriad of alternatives!

                    • Muso1
                      Posted 24/08/2012 at 1:03 pm | Permalink |

                      I have to agree.
                      People who’ve camped outside the Apple store overnight to buy the latest iPad, will tell you they can’t afford $49 for some music software.
                      Many pirates are making purchasing choices between desirable objects they can’t obtain free, without risking criminal prosecution for shoplifting, and desirable software products they can obtain free without negative consequence.

                      • Posted 24/08/2012 at 1:55 pm | Permalink |

                        hey Muso1,

                        your comments on this issue are appreciated, but I am beginning to suspect you of having a very fixed mindset on this issue. In addition, you are continually bringing up the issue of music software piracy (one I suspect very few readers care about), even though this article was primarily in the context of content piracy.

                        I am not going to stop you posting, But bear in mind that I do not often tolerate people on Delimiter who have a fixed point of view without an open mind. At the moment your comments, as you are intractable on this issue, are starting to harm the discussion, and that isn’t something I’ll tolerate.

                        http://delimiter.com.au/comments-policy/

                        NPSF3000, I also note that you are being a bit hyperbolic on this issue. Let’s calm down a bit, shall we?

                        Some context for the discussion: It is a fact that successful online platforms such as Steam, iTunes, and others have provided avenues for content and software to be distributed that is strongly challenging the piracy market. It appears that it is not this concept per se that is challenging for content companies; rather the execution of this concept.

                        I hope we can agree on these facts. I will note that even News Ltd, who Williams is an employee of, uses some of these platforms to distribute its content.

                        Cheers,

                        Renai

                      • NPSF3000
                        Posted 24/08/2012 at 1:58 pm | Permalink |

                        “NPSF3000, I also note that you are being a bit hyperbolic on this issue. Let’s calm down a bit, shall we?”

                        Hyperbolic?

                        What have I said that was an exaggeration?

                      • Posted 24/08/2012 at 2:04 pm | Permalink |

                        Quite a bit.

                    • Posted 24/08/2012 at 1:13 pm | Permalink |

                      whether it’s the excuse or the reason is pure symantics….

                      i am willing to bet that a great number of people pirate tv, movie, music, etc because it is EASIER and QUICKER to get what they want, NOT because it is free.

                      if media companies implemented distribution channels that replicated pirating distribution techniques (ie: torrents, usenet, etc) then they would happily pay for the privilege.

                      i know i would.

                      • NPSF3000
                        Posted 24/08/2012 at 1:28 pm | Permalink |

                        “whether it’s the excuse or the reason is pure symantics….”

                        Nope. For example, let’s take a look at your own ‘excuse':

                        “i am willing to bet that a great number of people pirate tv, movie, music, etc because it is EASIER and QUICKER to get what they want, NOT because it is free.”

                        What’s quicker and easier than turning on the TV? Than going to ABC iView? Than YouTube? Than…

                        When you pirate, you *HURT* those doing the *right* thing and support those who don’t.

                      • Posted 24/08/2012 at 1:43 pm | Permalink |

                        using me as the example again:

                        whether it is my excuse or reason is irrelevant. it’s being done.

                        some questions for you:

                        what if it isn’t on australian tv?
                        what if it isn’t on abc iview?
                        what if it isn’t on youtube?
                        what if i can’t afford the EXORBITANT high prices of paytv?
                        what if i can’t get naked dsl for streaming?
                        what if i can’t afford a tv that handles streaming media (smart tv)?

                        all of these roadblocks can be overcome by simple, already in use and proven, distribution methods.

                        i don’t want to watch media on my computer, that’s why i have a tv. i don’t want to have to pay for a tv, just so i can stream abc iview or youtube to it.

                        i am not syaing it is morally right to pirate, because i know it isn’t. what frustrates me and thousands like me is the refusal of media companies to embrace a new distribution method that won’t replace the old ways, but will ADD VALUE.

                        one more thing:

                        have you EVER recorded a tv show to watch later? have you EVER lent a cd/dvd to a friend? if the answer to either of these questions is YES, than you are no better than me and HURT those doing the right thing.

                      • NPSF3000
                        Posted 24/08/2012 at 1:47 pm | Permalink |

                        “what if it isn’t on australian tv?
                        what if it isn’t on abc iview?
                        what if it isn’t on youtube?
                        what if i can’t afford the EXORBITANT high prices of paytv?
                        what if i can’t get naked dsl for streaming?
                        what if i can’t afford a tv that handles streaming media (smart tv)?”

                        Then watch something else.

                        Pirates CANNOT be upset with the “refusal of media companies to embrace a new distribution method” when pirates BLATANTLY and WILLINGLY IGNORE those that do.

                      • Posted 24/08/2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink |

                        “Then watch something else.”

                        ok, mate. i’ll stay in the dark ages, then…

                        interesting that you didn’t answer my question: have you EVER recorded a tv show to watch later? have you EVER lent a cd/dvd to a friend?

                      • NPSF3000
                        Posted 24/08/2012 at 2:03 pm | Permalink |

                        “ok, mate. i’ll stay in the dark ages, then…”

                        Yep, on demand media is sooo dark ages. [Renai – that’s not hyperbole but sarcasm].

                        “interesting that you didn’t answer my question: have you EVER recorded a tv show to watch later? have you EVER lent a cd/dvd to a friend?”

                        Recorded a TV show? Nope.

                        Lent a DVD to a friend… not that I can recall, though I believe that falls under *fair use* or similar anyhow.

                        That said, what’s your argument? If you’ve been bad in the past then all transgressions should be allowed? I’m not saying pirates should be hung or some other excessive punishment – merely that piracy IMO is detrimental to the claimed objectives of many pirates.

                      • Posted 24/08/2012 at 2:09 pm | Permalink |

                        on demand media is only ‘on demand’ if you can get it, which a lot can’t.

                        what if your friend then copied the dvd/cd?

                        anyways: we are obviously on different sides of the fence with this issue, so maybe we should just call it a day…

                        it’s friday, after all… :)

                      • NPSF3000
                        Posted 24/08/2012 at 2:10 pm | Permalink |

                        “on demand media is only ‘on demand’ if you can get it, which a lot can’t.”

                        BS.

                      • Karl
                        Posted 24/08/2012 at 2:14 pm | Permalink |

                        “Then watch something else.”
                        You’ve really just proved the point. When the choices are ‘don’t watch it’ and ‘watch it illegally for free’ a lot of people will take the second choice. Why shouldn’t there be a better choice?

                      • Posted 24/08/2012 at 2:16 pm | Permalink |

                        i tried to close gracefully, but:

                        what part of that statement is ‘BS”, as you so succinctly put it?

                        on demand media is not available to 100% of australian citizens for a variety of reasons. agree?

                        if you don’t agree, maybe you should take a visit to some regional areas in qld and wa and get a real-world perspective on life.

                      • NPSF3000
                        Posted 24/08/2012 at 2:20 pm | Permalink |

                        “what part of that statement is ‘BS”, as you so succinctly put it?”

                        You don’t have access to a TV or Radio and your internet is either non existent, or so poor you cannot even download stories.

                        And yet you can freely pirate?

                        Please explain to me how this bizarre circumstance not only occurs, but applies to a “lot” of Australians?

                      • Posted 24/08/2012 at 2:25 pm | Permalink |

                        radio?? stories?? you are so far off the original topic that it’s making me laugh. i thought we were talking about mainstream, 21st century media. give me a break. you cannot possibly consider radio as part of what normal people call ‘on demand’? maybe digital radio, but not normal radio. i don’t need to pirate normal radio, thanks mate.

                        oh, and by way, there are plenty of people out there who don’t have access to television, radio or the internet, for a myriad of reasons.

                        i’m done arguing with you, champ. have a great weekend.

                      • Posted 24/08/2012 at 2:32 pm | Permalink |

                        Alright guys, break it up.

                        “BS” is not a technical term and it’s not polite.

                        http://delimiter.com.au/comments-policy/

                        Anything further along these lines will result in people getting banned.

                        “Firstly, as before, comments must be more or less ‘polite’, as measured by Australian social standards. This doesn’t mean you need to maintain the sort of conversation level you would use with your mother. It just basically means don’t be rude to other commenters. You may disagree with their opinions, but you should respect their right to hold them.

                        Secondly, from today, I am imposing a second condition: Comments on Delimiter must not harm the discussion.”

                        If you want to go scream at each other, do it somewhere else. I won’t tolerate it on my turf.

                      • NPSF3000
                        Posted 24/08/2012 at 2:34 pm | Permalink |

                        ““BS” is not a technical term and it’s not polite.”

                        Hmm… we must have different experiences of IT :P

                        But, since I do respect both your articles and your moderation I’ll shutup for now :)

                • Tom
                  Posted 25/08/2012 at 1:12 am | Permalink |

                  “So you really can’t compete with unfettered access and free. Therefore it’s disingenuous to suggest if access is easier and prices are lowered, rampant piracy will go away. The lesson of music software proves otherwise.”
                  Better call Microsoft and tell them to give up on this operating system thing. There’s absolutely no way they can compete with Linux.

                  Adobe should give up on selling Photoshop, there’s now way it could compete with the free GIMP.

                  • muso1
                    Posted 25/08/2012 at 6:55 am | Permalink |

                    Yes, I’ve always said I’m 100% happy to compete with free….. legally free.
                    In my comment on illegally free maybe you missed the stuff about employment law, paying legitimate expenses etc….
                    If a creator does everything they should legally, I’m perfectly happy for them to offer their creation at zero cost to the consumer.

                    • Harimau
                      Posted 19/09/2012 at 11:16 pm | Permalink |

                      If piracy is a reality, and your comments seem to imply that you believe it is a reality, then as a producer of whatever it is you produce you need to compete with piracy, else you would be closing your eyes to reality. Legally free and illegally free are effectively the same thing from your perspective except for your personal emotional investment in a product that you rightfully believe you own, but, well, /the market doesn’t care/. Capitalism, ho!

                      You keep talking about this music software that you produce, but since I don’t know what products you offer or your business model (how you offer them), it’s very difficult to comment on it: are your prices too high? is your product worth anything? do you advertise? does anyone care?. So I can either take your words as gospel or take it with a large grain of salt. I’m more inclined to do the latter. Basically, your music software perspective is not constructive, valuable or believable unless you give it some context. I’m not sure what the policy is on “advertising” your software here, but at this point, with all your very nebulous references to “music software”, it’s just gotten a bit ridiculous.

                      So, in conclusion, you can either choose to discuss the broader issue of piracy in which you can afford to speak in generalisations, or you can talk about how it affects you personally in which case we’ll need some more context. It’s just not helpful to anyone otherwise.

                      /too many words

    19. anthony
      Posted 24/08/2012 at 10:03 am | Permalink |

      All I heard when I read his comments where “Blah blah blah, The Distribution model for media has changed, blah blah blah, we don’t want to adapt, blah blah blah, Why is the pay TV model failing?!?.”

    20. NPSF3000
      Posted 24/08/2012 at 2:31 pm | Permalink |

      “radio?? stories?? you are so far off the original topic that it’s making me laugh”

      I’m just asking you to be consistent.

      You can’t claim that pirating X is good because someone doesn’t have the internet-connection…. to consume legitimate X. If you have the technological capabilities to pirate, then there’s no reason you can’t put the same abilities towards legitimate uses.

      I also find it amusing that radio & books aren’t 21st century, but TV shows are? The actual entertainment dates back millenia in both instances, and they are all consumed [and pirates] en mass today. But that’s another debate.

    21. Stephen
      Posted 24/08/2012 at 4:37 pm | Permalink |

      Kim, wake me up when you or anyone in News Limited comes up with a “great cultural work”.

      You could also do a bit of work on your business model, and try to inject some logic into your argument. Shakespeare became famous because there was no copyright – his plays were copied by anyone and everyone. Dickens’ works were routinely stolen. Gilbert and Sullivan travelled to the United States to put on the Pirates of Penzance there in order to get copyright protection – nope, still got their stuff copied.

      In fact, the lengthening of copyrights has only encouraged people to copy unlawfully. Movies from 50 years ago are still copyrighted! Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings was only possible because JRR Tolkien couldn’t rise from his grave and strangle Jackson. The modern copyright isn’t to protect the creator or artist, it’s to protect the company that buys the rights for a pittance and sells them… forever.

    22. BobbySmith
      Posted 26/08/2012 at 11:17 am | Permalink |

      Towards the music bit – why must an artist make music and sell it digitaly ?
      There are other ways, and to respond to that like – oh but its 2012, is just a crap answer and following suit
      Hollywood has made the whole industry seem like ‘if you do it, you will make a million dollars a year’
      What about engineers, school teachers, law enforcement etc – get with reality of what people should and are paid.
      Musicians want to get paid for not performing live .. thats all it is – it has been happening for so long that it may even cause a ‘lightbulb’ moment for some
      In days of old people use to physicaly share records and tapes, now its done the 2012 way
      Artists arent getting paid only by legit downloads, they can get it more ways that an average job
      Money for not performing ? wouldnt we all love that

      • muso1
        Posted 26/08/2012 at 2:10 pm | Permalink |

        Well we are creating something from nothing.
        The fact is a recording is as much a valuable product as the live performance. Would you tell actors they should make tv and film for free, and only earn income from theatre?
        On the consumers side, if you are an Aussie Madonna fan for example, you only have the albums. She just cancelled her second tour in a row and last played Down Under in 1993.
        Last time McCartney was here was 1991! Despite playing the USA nearly every year since then.

    23. Poo2
      Posted 07/09/2012 at 12:51 pm | Permalink |

      “News Ltd chief executive Kim Williams” – the basiton of social bullshit.

      Fuck him.

      Hath he (Murdock) not sent me to the men (his chief executives) that sit upon the wall, that they may eat their own dung, and drink their own piss with you?

      Kim Williams – eater of shit, spewer of shit.

      End of story.

    24. Kane
      Posted 14/09/2012 at 1:10 pm | Permalink |

      Hmmm, Someone just may have to investigate the set-up of a site that allows people to bypass New. Ltd new “pay walls” since pirates are “scum bags”… Gotta live up to the title after all ;)




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