Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: And we may never meet again ...

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  • Paul Williams, in reply to Dale Griffiths,

    Dale, although it's sometime after the discussion, I finally found the photo I took at an '80s exhibition recently - initial/original lyrics for what I think is a damn fine INXS song, Kiss the Dirt.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2191 posts Report Reply

  • chris,

    I deeply dislike the phenomenon of people who can damn well afford to pay for work grabbing artists’ entire catalogues in one torrent.

    Russell, while you deeply dislike these people, you (and correct me if I’m wrong here) do seem to hold a great deal of respect for hardware and software companies such as Apple and Microsoft that have facilitated this sea change, companies who make billions of dollars of profit facilitating people’s desire to share media.

    And I don’t think it’s an inaccurate to suggest that a significant amount of this profit generated by these hardware/software companies comes from people who bought these products for the specific purpose of sharing media.

    Given that these companies are the facilitators of piracy, and certainly they do have billions to show for it, and collectively could easily afford to pay for all loss incurred by the creative industries, why on earth is the venom directed at the user who does little more than use the equipment/ OS/ software etc according to factory recommendations?

    中国 • Since Jan 2010 • 890 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Russell, while you deeply dislike these people, you (and correct me if I’m wrong here) do seem to hold a great deal of respect for hardware and software companies such as Apple and Microsoft that have facilitated this sea change, companies who make billions of dollars of profit facilitating people’s desire to share media.

    This doesn’t make much sense given that Apple are a leader in the legal digital music market.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6151 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to chris,

    Russell, while you deeply dislike these people, you (and correct me if I’m wrong here) do seem to hold a great deal of respect for hardware and software companies such as Apple and Microsoft that have facilitated this sea change, companies who make billions of dollars of profit facilitating people’s desire to share media.

    I don't buy that logic at all. Apple, Microsoft, Google, Sony, etc etc don't make anyone behave in that way. (BTW, I didn't say I deeply disliked people who grab entire catalogues via BitTorrent -- I dislike it as a way of acting. It's a bullshit way of being a music fan.)

    And as Kyle notes, Apple is he leading digital music retailer. I don't have the info to hand, but from memory it has returned about $16 billion to artists and their labels. The new cloud music services will multiply that return.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18521 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    I learned recently that in Brazil, things revert to the public domain IF they haven’t been published in a long time. So I am merrily downloading Brazilian music that’s out of copyright there because the holders can’t be arsed making it available.

    That strikes me as sound. The publishing cost in making high quality audio files available is fuck-all, other than the actual data transfer cost. Yet so much is locked up in analogue media that we just can’t get.

    Chris: this ability is inherent in the combination of the general purpose computer and stupid networks. Both these things are the product of many small, indeed often long-dead companies, and a great deal of publicly funded research. It makes no sense to blame whatever technology company is currently dominant. They merely added a little convenience to things that were already ambient, and if they hadn’t done it, another company would have. The success of those particular companies is a consequence of chance and network effects more than anything else. Capturing sounds as bits and shipping those bits around is an obvious and inevitable development.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2919 posts Report Reply

  • chris,

    This doesn’t make much sense given that Apple are a leader in the legal digital music market.

    As well as making copious amounts of money selling hardware in markets with massive IPR issues, with an awareness of how these products will be used. To be fair I'm not singling out Apple, they are one of many such companies, that have facilitated this revolution. But they'll market their products in countries where 90% of media consumed breaches IPR, as hard as the next company.

    I don't buy that logic at all. Apple, Microsoft, Google, Sony, etc etc don't make anyone behave in that way. (BTW, I didn't say I deeply disliked people who grab entire catalogues via BitTorrent -- I dislike it as a way of acting. It's a bullshit way of being a music fan.)

    My apologies for that misquote their Russell, when I went to change it, my 15 minutes was up. I don't mean to imply that these companies force behaviour, people have been sharing forever, that's the single biggest reason our species has survived. I'm maintaining that they are knowingly and willfully (Apple less so than others) enabling this process, that they are the facilitators of this, and such such are making fortunes from it. That to me is also in it's way a bullshit way of supporting music.

    The fundamental difference between the multinational corporation and the insidious downloader is their respective financial positions. We can judge this phenomenon, but our judgement won't pay the artists. The billions lossed by the entertainment industries will never be recouped from individual breaches, and whether we like it or not this shift in public behaviour and attitudes and habits are here to stay.

    In all fairness I do agree that Apple does make more effort than most (in the west). Compared to say Microsoft whose new messenger has a movie sharing capability, they don't seem to be actively undermining the western IPR laws as much as say the Android compliant mobiles, which offer a greater degree of flexibility. But ultimately, they have the money (billions) to show from this shift in attitudes to IPR, and the means to rectify the issue. To me, finding legally binding solutions via big business to ensure the artists get paid seems significantly more pragmatic and sensible than attempting to alter public behaviour via punitive schemes that net the artist nothing. And it would seem that the biggest profit from this shift is very visible.

    To be fair Stephen, I'm not really concerned with assigning blame here, as I don't consider this a crime as such, I'm not talking about past innovations, I'm referring to companies, now making absolutely massive profits from this behaviour,

    Capturing sounds as bits and shipping those bits around is an obvious and inevitable development.

    I agree. And some companies lost a billions of dollars in the process, and now their scratching in the dirt to recoup that, and it's quite clear to me, that without my Intel chip, my Microsoft operating system, my Sony DVD burner, my Hitachi portable hard drive, my Asus motherboard, and my China Unicom internet connection I wouldn't be able to do that. These companies are not long dead. They're are generally speaking, thriving.

    And conclusively, they are doing very well marketing their products in developing countries where there virtually no consciousness at all that sharing media is any kind of violation at all. That's half the world. The companies didn't cause this behaviour, it's a natural use of the technology they provide. No significant shift in attitudes is imminent or likely.

    Samsung The world's No.2 mobile phone maker reported its fourth-quarter net profit rose 12.6% from a year ago.

    April 2011, Apple reported quarterly net profits of $5.99bn (£3.6bn), nearly double what it made a year ago. Revenue was $24.67bn, a rise of 83%.

    $5.41 Billion Microsoft Profit In 1st Quarter Of 2011 Fiscal Year

    April 2011. Intel posted blockbuster first-quarter net income of $3.2 billion, up 29 percent over the same period last year. Revenue came in at $12.8 billion, up 25 percent year-over-year.

    Simply , the losses to the industry due to IP violation are non-recoupable as long as the the armaments remain aimed at the average citizen. Why one would want to make a case for why the Entertainment industry shouldn't seek renumeration from parties who are well positioned to pay out and knowingly enabling this behaviour in huge markets, seems to a degree anti-artist.

    I don't think you or any of us are anti-artist, but I do think we've become quite accustomed to accepting and blame for (relatively innocuous human behaviour) crimes from which big business cynically derives huge profits.

    中国 • Since Jan 2010 • 890 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    I don't think words like crimes, armament or anti-artist are really very helpful here. Even you Chris seem to be ambivalent about the "crime" label.

    One might look at the old slogan that guns don't kill people, people kill people. Apple doesn't share files, users of Apple devices share files. I've never really bought that in the context of gun control, but then again, sharing bits doesn't kill anybody and each incremental act is nearly damage free.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2919 posts Report Reply

  • chris,

    Certainly Stephen, my words are often picked from the pantry willy-nilly I apologize if I misrepresent. I use armament and crimes specifically in reference to the recently implemented NZ legislation which I feel is remarkably hard line compared to the relative freedom accorded to citizens, by other governments.

    With regards to guns not killing people and related morality issues, I think it's unwise to underestimate just how ensconced file sharing behaviour is in Asia, it's not even an issue, it's just the way it is, and so pragmatic financial solutions would ultimately seem to be a must. Obviously I'm no lawyer Stephen, I don't know if there's any kind of case. But to me it seems pretty obvious that a lot of this profit generated by technology is done so by capitalizing on this very human desire to freely share media, whilst someone somewhere has lost billions.

    For me it seems mainly that many technology companies make very little effort to ensure their products are not exploited in this way, and therein lies a degree of accountability.

    中国 • Since Jan 2010 • 890 posts Report Reply

  • chris,

    Damn the 15 minutes...

    And please excuse this omission, but it's not limited to technology companies, As I watch my nightly movie on one of the free Chinese movie sites, exposed to ads by Hyundai, Acer, Apple, Maybelline and for a while there even the NZ company Zespri, knowing that this money is not going to the IPR holders, it's pretty difficult to feel much in the way of personal accountability for this twist of fortune. I'm still at the bottom of the food chain.

    When the government enacted the most recent law to prevent file sharing by citizens did they also enact any legislation to dissuade New Zealand companies from exploiting piracy by advertising on intellectual property right violating platforms?

    中国 • Since Jan 2010 • 890 posts Report Reply

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