Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Inimical to the public good

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  • Don Christie,

    But I don't think I'm the only person who can't understand what sane person would let 92A out of the first draft alive.

    Not just 1st draft, but actually go back on select committee changes. *If* the recording industry's main concern is that it doesn't want to go to court to enforce every Copyright breach why in God's name was the potential fine for frivolous removal take down notices removed?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I personally believe that if you are going to sell a service (broadband) then you have a responsibility to make sure it is used legally and fairly.

    Woah. Lots of people sell goods and services that might not be used legally and fairly, including telephone companies -- I don't think they're expected to stalk their customers.

    Russell’s original comment that ISP’s shouldn’t cut connections because a mother might be penalised due to the actions of her son makes no sense, it likes saying that if the same son went out and used his mothers car to speed around the neighbourhood then he shouldn’t be punished in some form (including losing the car) because the mother might need it to take the sister to the hospital

    It's hardly the same thing. 400-odd people die every year on the roads, and many more are injured.

    Junior would probably be in for a suspended license or a 28-day impounding. And Mum would have the chance to demonstrate she'd taken reasonable steps to prevent junior joyriding in her car -- which in some ways is the biggest difference.

    At any rate, my point was more that internet access is becoming a component of citizenship, and having it summarily removed without due process, over a civil matter, is draconian.

    And thanks for turning up to discuss it, Mark. I appreciate it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    What I haven’t heard from anyone on this thread is a suggestion of how you balance fair use of the Internet with the rights of people who are having their property stolen using it. So please if you have a suggestion I am all ears.

    the problem is that the business model of controlling distribution and wailing about "theft" is broken, and will never ever be repaired. so my personal opinion is to change the business model.

    you're pushing sand uphill to try and stop people downloading stuff, so why expend resources doing it? instead, encourage them to download *even more* and extract revenue at another point in the chain. or... create a chain.

    for instance, offer value-added services to complement the downloaded material. selling self-printing liner-notes online so that downloaders can "make their own CDs" is a (slightly weak) example.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    if you are going to sell a service (broadband) then you have a responsibility to make sure it is used legally and fairly

    Doesn't apply to many other services. Car makers and oil companies aren't responsible for the dangerous use of their products.

    I think the media industry's current business model is akin to somebody getting a bunch of white bicycles with collection boxes attached, scattering them around town, and expecting that people will borrow the bikes and put gold coins in the tin to pay for them. (This has been tried with predictable results).

    To follow this analogy, section 92 is like the wannabee bike rental firm demanding that cops be sent to break into peoples houses and yards to try and find the stolen bikes.

    It isn't going to work. There are things that might:
    - make legitimate content more attractive so that people pay a dollar to download off iTunes rather than fluff around.
    - try and make more money from revenue sources other than recorded media
    - lobby for a broadband levy, but for this to work the money needs to go to artists rather than being salami-sliced by middle men.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Harris,

    What Russell said, but he types quicker

    Waikanae • Since Jul 2008 • 1343 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    We had a chance to license Napster in 2001 and we choose to prosecute instead, we failed to embrace new trends in downloading and how people wanted to consume music and mainly we tried to dictate to music fans instead of listening to them.

    And yet, Napster did eventually lead to iTunes. Sometimes consumer piracy drives innovation.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    Mark Kneebone - many thanks for posting.

    we tried to dictate to music fans instead of listening to them.

    Well, the Copyright Act is *still* doing that on your behalf and at the same time having unfortunate effects on other parts of the economy *without* (I would argue) achieving your laudable goals, which I understand to be "selling more music".

    I personally believe that if you are going to sell a service (broadband) then you have a responsibility to make sure it is used legally and fairly.

    I struggle with this strange concept. If you build a road do you make sure thieves are not allowed to drive on them?

    pragmatic balance to this problem, so like I said if you have any ideas I’d love to hear them

    First, let's remove any doubt that this act could be used in nefarious ways. As I have said up thread, at least can we have the fine for frivolous take down notices put back. Then can we have an understanding with the ISPs "notice notice" model was given such short thrift.

    Finally, I think we need to look at your goal - as stated above. We need to find ways of helping the local industry to act nimbly as technology changes and use those changes to find new channels to market, not to restrict how they are used. If MED were any use this is what they would be focusing on. Have a chat to software developers and geeks rather than lawyers - we can help, we have helped and we want to help some more.

    But if you want to donate to the local music industry, please feel free to buy the new album from Cut Off Your Hands which came out last week or wait another week for the new Cobra Kahn, which is equally wicked

    I'll check it out. Is there a youtube video I can sample before I buy?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    Is there a youtube video I can sample before I buy?

    Why, yes there is. I think I might buy now.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    But the need remains that if people are going to invest in these artists (including the artists themselves) they need to have a return on it.

    I think that dovetails to Che's point - the current model of "$ per person listening" may need a revamp.

    My brother for example has played (and is playing) for three bands of very minor commercial but comparatively significant "critical/fan" success for some time now. The removal of the existing industry around music certainly wouldn't stop him playing, it wouldn't stop him performing live, and it wouldn't stop him providing his "output" any way he can. On the flipside, the band he's dedicated himself to know was chosen partly because of possible commercial success, and I've witnessed his good natured financial struggle to make ends meet while providing the world with indie pop and afrobeat =>

    A drastic change in the distribution of music, may not, IMHO, change the creation and performance of that music in the way it is sometimes held up. Although, yes - Britney wouldn't stack up.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    Is there a youtube video I can sample before I buy?

    Why, yes there is. I think I might buy now.

    be nice to the environment and buy that off itunes.

    i'm assuming they are on itunes, aren't they?

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Roger,

    Russell’s original comment that ISP’s shouldn’t cut connections because a mother might be penalised due to the actions of her son makes no sense, it likes saying that if the same son went out and used his mothers

    Perhaps, but what of the situation mentioned above of people hacking your improperly secured WiFi network... not as easy to do as say for some routers!

    However thinking off on a tangent; could this be used against people/companies that place spyware on my system and 'take' my 'content' or monitor my use?

    Thought not... bugger!

    Hamilton • Since Jun 2007 • 179 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Doesn't apply to many other services. Car makers and oil companies aren't responsible for the dangerous use of their products.

    Well, neither of those things are services.

    Maybe car rental company would be a better example.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    Is there a youtube video I can sample before I buy?

    otoh, *everything* pop is post-__The Strokes__ these days, innit...

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Roger,

    Well, neither of those things are services

    Maybe they should employ a team to run around the suburbs removing TV aerials from the houses of people they suspect of using video recorders?

    Hamilton • Since Jun 2007 • 179 posts Report Reply

  • mark kneebone,

    It is a fair point that Russell makes about people dying on roads, no they are not the same thing. But I don't believe that if you are going to provide a service that people can use then you cannot be held to have any responsibility whatsoever once it is plugged in and running (and of course you are billing for it). Again there has to be some balance here and quite frankly the notice and notice provision put forward by the ISP's was a joke and completely unworkable. Roads have speed cameras and while they aren't the same thing as we are discussing the principal is the same, use it legally and there won't be any need to do anything about it


    Again fair comments about leaving recorded music behind and moving into other areas in order to monetise your investment, our company like many others has been doing this for some time but currently record labels are still the engine that drives new and established acts. This model is of course is changing rapidly as are record companies themselves are changing but at least for the short term future the investment and expertise to take a small indie band and get them out to enough people to reach a level of sustainability is going to come from labels. These labels need to make a return and the artists need to be exposed to people in order to open up these other revenue streams (live shows/merchandise etc) but as it stands record sales are still worth over 100 million dollars a year to the local industry, so we aren't ready to throw in the towel quite yet and go and be a touring agent. This is a fight that has real value

    The thing that drives me on this is that I fundamentally believe that no one has the right to steal my property, and these bands recorded music is exactly that, property in the same way that your car is yours and your shirt is yours and you should be able to protect yourself from someone taking it or even building a video sharing website around its broadcast and selling it for 1.5 billion dollars without compensating me for it (which is a whole other thread)

    I don't want to restrict anybody’s right to do anything, but stealing music isn't a right nor a privilege, its people taking what isn't there’s at someone else’s expense. Whole genres of music in NZ (this is not an exaggeration) no longer sell in any significant volume and the investment in those genres has fallen along with their sales. This is largely (but not solely) due to piracy and a whole generation who don't pay for music anymore. Education only goes so far and there has to be something put in place to stop the wholesale theft of people’s life’s work. Like I said it is a balance that so far has no real solution

    And yes Cut Off Your Hands can be purchased on I Tunes

    Since Oct 2008 • 11 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    record labels are still the engine that drives new and established acts.

    yeah, i wasn't at all suggesting that you stop recording music. there will probably always in money in distribution. do you have projections on how much the distribution market will shrink if people are downloading your recordings for free?

    which takes me to:

    The thing that drives me on this is that I fundamentally believe that no one has the right to steal my property, and these bands recorded music is exactly that

    again, the problem is the attempted control of the product. you've acknowledged that piracy is a problem, so obviously there is demand for recordings.

    this is very left field, but... the pirated recordings must be sourced from legally distributed material (which i acknowledge is a shrinking pool of money). once it's past that point of origin what you actually have is a market that is distributing your recordings for you, at no cost.

    personally i don't see that as theft, i see it as suckers saving me money.

    the trick is, as you say, monetising the activity an entire generation of internet users takes for granted.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Harris,

    Maybe car rental company would be a better example.

    I pay the district and regional councils for my water (via rates). Are they responsible if I drown someone? I don't think so.

    Waikanae • Since Jul 2008 • 1343 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    Again there has to be some balance here and quite frankly the notice and notice provision put forward by the ISP's was a joke and completely unworkable.

    Come on. Do better than that. Describe to us why it is "a joke and completely unworkable".

    I have got to say that your second comment hardly comes across as trying to find common ground.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Harris,

    See the other thread for anything I have to say about copyright != property

    Waikanae • Since Jul 2008 • 1343 posts Report Reply

  • Mikaere Curtis,

    the trick is, as you say, monetising the activity an entire generation of internet users takes for granted.

    I suspect there is some inertia in the recording/music industry relevant to how it has been historically monetised. Back in the day, every single copy of every single album or single represented a discrete unit of income. I suspect that "the industry" view monetisation via this historical lens.

    They had total control of distribution, and could clip the ticket on each sale. Not so in the age of perfect personal data copying and transmission.

    Although illegally downloading an album may cost $0, this does not make it cost-free. I envisage that time spent finding the album, slow download speeds, low quality encoding, incomplete album art and album metadata, all contribute to the "cost" of the download.

    I propose that lowering the $ cost of a legal download to something like $1 per album would make it more advantageous (i.e. less total cost) to legally download than illegally download.

    Elasticity of demand is higher for luxuries, so conventional economic theory would support this proposal.

    Tamaki Makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 528 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I struggle with this strange concept. If you build a road do you make sure thieves are not allowed to drive on them?

    Well, governments build roads, and they tend to provide traffic policing. And city councils build roads and they provide parking inspectors.

    I guess my point is, Rich said responsibility for how a service is used, doesn't apply to "many other services". There are a bunch of services that it does apply to, in one way or the other, and a bunch that it doesn't.

    It's not an argument that strengthens either side, because we can all think of examples in society that fall on either side, there's no principle in play here.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I pay the district and regional councils for my water (via rates). Are they responsible if I drown someone

    District councils have the job, if you install a swimming pool at your house, of making sure that it is fenced, and safe.

    For every example you come up with, there's an exception which disproves it, or a counter-example. It's a null argument.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • James Harton,

    The thing that drives me on this is that I fundamentally believe that no one has the right to steal my property, and these bands recorded music is exactly that, property in the same way that your car is yours and your shirt is yours and you should be able to protect yourself from someone taking it or even building a video sharing website around its broadcast and selling it for 1.5 billion dollars without compensating me for it (which is a whole other thread)

    The flaw in your analogy Mark is that if I steal your car you can no longer drive it (or sell it), if I steal your shirt you can no longer wear it (or sell it). If I copy your album I do not deprive you of the ability to sell it because these bits were made for copying.

    Cory Doctorow likes to say: "as a science fiction author my greatest problem isn't people downloading and reading my books for free, it's obscurity!"
    Look, I buy hard copies of creative commons books I have read online, I buy downloads of albums I have gotten off bittorrent - provided that the quality of the product is better and easier to use than my free copy. I buy DVDs of TV shows and movies I have downloaded off bittorrent. I've alluded to the DRM debate here, but really I think the issue is one of quality. I don't mind paying $17 for an album on iTunes, but I resent not being able to do the same thing I could do with my free copy or the CD - let my family listen to it, lend it to a friend, take it with me wherever I go, not have to worry whether it's going to play or not on different devices. All of these things I can do with downloaded files - what you as a music distributor has to do to get my dollar is provide a better than free service. This isn't hard; as already mentioned here, metadata is a key feature, high resolution album art, lyrics, notes and trivia - all these are easy add ons using existing technology.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2007 • 51 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    time spent finding the album, slow download speeds, low quality encoding, incomplete album art and album metadata, all contribute to the "cost" of the download.

    damn right. let alone dealing with fake torrents, spyware, malware, etc...

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • James Harton,

    @Kyle. Sure but it's not the council's job to make sure that I don't drown people in it. Look, you have to get a warrant to tap someone's phone - it's a serious invasion of privacy. If you open someone else's mail you can get in very serious trouble. Why would there be a lesser level of protection for my personal communications just because their over one sort of network and not another?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2007 • 51 posts Report Reply

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