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Rory Cellan-Jones

Lily unites musicians against file-sharing

  • Rory Cellan-Jones
  • 25 Sep 09, 11:24 GMT

Just when it seemed that everything was shaping up for a battle of the bands on the issue of illegal file-sharing, peace has broken out between musicians over the issue.

Previously, the likes of Lily Allen, Elton John and James Blunt were lining up to support the government's tougher stance, while artists like Billy Bragg and Radiohead's Ed O'Brien of the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) were warning against alienating fans: it looked as though there was little hope for harmony.

Ben Bradshaw, Leona Lewis, Peter MandelsonYesterday afternoon, as he visited the Brit School for the Performing Arts in the company of the Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw and Leona Lewis, Lord Mandelson was asked about the opposition to his plans from the FAC - which has argued that what's needed is more carrot and less stick.

He said that many more artists supported his proposals, which include temporary suspension of the internet accounts of repeat offenders, a measure he described as modest and fair:

"We can't see a situation where people are producing content without being compensated. We want to see talent protected and properly compensated."

Leona Lewis wasn't tempted to come to my microphone, but the BPI issued a statement with some comments from the star about how important it was "that people understand how copyright means that performers and writers can actually end up making a living out of their work", so it appeared she was in Peter and Lily's band rather than singing from the Radiohead hymn sheet.

Little common ground, then - but last night the Featured Artists Coalition held a meeting to hammer out a position on the whole issue. What emerged was a statement which first of all expressed the artists' support for Lily Allen and condemned the "vitriol" directed at her in recent days.

The FAC then went on to throw its weight behind a "three strikes and you're out" policy - not quite as draconian as the Mandelson disconnection plan, but a lot further than just about any country apart from France has gone in the battle against file sharers. This is a massive U-turn from an organisation which, a few weeks back, seemed to think that file-sharing might even be a good promotional tool for artists.

lily allenSo it looks as though Lily Allen has made quite an impact, despite shutting down her It's Not Alright blog, and retiring bruised from the battle after a lot of unkind comments about her stance. One American music industry pundit, Bob Lefsetz, even questioned whether artists were bright enough to comment on this issue.

But Lily has had the last laugh - her fellow artists have united behind her, and she appears to have shifted the terms of the debate. And Lord Mandelson must be even more pleased this morning. The initial reaction to his toughening up of the Digital Britain proposals was pretty negative - but now he's assembled quite an impressive chorus of approval.

All he's got to do now is convince the internet service providers that they should be happy to police their customers - and that will prove rather more tricky. But look out for the New Year's Honours list - how does Dame Lily sound?

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    I can understand the desire here to ensure that any music listened to is paid for, as musicians, just like every other person on the planet, are out for what they can get. But I'm really not sure what they hope to achieve.
    The arguments at this point are rather tired, so I'm not going to work my way through them, just point out that if seven million people really are file-sharing (it's entirly possible this number is exaggerated, or includes those using file-sharing protocols to share legitimate file), you're going to have a hell of a job managing that many problems. I really don't see any workable solution to what they're proposing, and frankly, I really think they should just give up.

    Ah well, if the feeling of the country runs the way it currently seems to come the next election, Mandelson and his ilk are going to lose any power on this. While the Tories aren't any more likely to be friendly to illegal activities, it'll still end up enough of a shambles to make no difference.

  • Comment number 3.

    Lily has won the battle but lost the war.

    She's made herself out to look like a spoilt brat throwing the teddies out the pram claiming that she couldn't take the abuse (what on earth did she expect by attacking her fans?) and was quitting music production as a result.

    The FACs massive u-turn also demonstrates a massive lack of spine and all good will is lost now. Before many people including myself had sympathy for the artists, as most people's problem was with big music- companies like Sony BMG, Warner Music and so forth, there was sympathy for the artists.

    Now there can be sympathy no more, I refuse to support the music industry, and if the artists have decided to back their plans then I cannot support the artists either.

    There is a more fundamental issue here than the right to stay rich off a few weeks work for 75 years afterwards through our over the top copyright laws that many of the artists are abusing. The issue is that there is still no way to actually catch an offender without being at their PC and catching them red handed. You cannot in any way link an IP address to a specific person and as such any suggestion of direct punishment for file sharing goes against the fundamental right to a fair trial, it destroys the idea of innocent until proven guilty and simply makes guilty whoever a particular music company wishes to knock togehter and easily faked screenshot of an IP address and a BitTorrent client for.

    The FAC has just backed this, backed the destruction of fundamental human and civil rights- these people simply cannot be supported, and Lily Allen has placed herself as the spoilt figurehead of this movement to destroy human and civil rights.

    It would perhaps not be as bad if it weren't for the case that Lily Allen had herself used copyrighted tracks illegaly (but claimed it was okay because she was naive, whilst suggesting file sharers can't use this defence). It wouldn't be so bad if she hadn't use free software, developed by people with a mindset against exactly what she's complaining for, and software that uses alternative business models (i.e. Twitter, MySpace) so that it doesn't cost her anything, exactly as the music industry should be doing rather than attacking fans. She is a hypocrit of the highest degree.

    No more money for big music, no more money for the artists supporting it.

  • Comment number 4.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 5.

    I have written about this on my blog.

    The ability to upload and download music across the Internet has radically changed the music reproduction industry. Change is change. Change does not necessarily mean that something has to be reversed. The music industry as it stands will likely be damaged but that is no justification to continue as we are. Things change. A lot of people would have jobs digging our roads but no longer do it because mechanical diggers were invented.

    Let's be clear about exactly what we mean by music. Only in the last few decades has music also meant something entirely different than its meaning through all of history. Music is the sound of people singing or playing instruments. This has always been true and is still true. Today it also covers the results of audio reproduction.

    The music industry deserves a kick in the teeth after ripping off the consumer by banning parallel imports.

    Changing copyright law does not in anyway affect the ability of a musician to make an excellent living given they can charge money for live concerts. It's up to you how you get into a secured music venue but buying a ticket is the easiest.

    The vast majority of music is simply a rehash of other music that went before anyway. The lines of who really deserves the rewards for a lot of music are extremely blurred. It's a huge grey area.

    If there was ever a case for wage controls it would be definitely be for a cap on extortionate wages in an industry that the government created. It would make more sense to me using a moral argument that music copyright should be there to offer musicians and the industry figures at least a guaranteed living wage but this just isn't the argument.

  • Comment number 6.

    Well, to be fair artists haven't united behind her at all Rory. You've missed the story here entirely. Including Lily's blog being filled with interesting counter-points that she couldn't answer (because she obviously didn't actually write the original statement, she isn't bright enough to have done) so she removed the blog because the majority of people took her to task on her points and asked why, if she didn't need the money she was complaining about not entering the industry, didn't she invest her own in the arts, like George Harrison did with Handmade Films for example, allowing the world to see the Python movies.

    She just didn't have an answer because all of the retorts on her blog were intelligent and well thought out, and her stance... wasn't.

    The FAC was always calling for controls on internet connections for those who file shared illegal files. It wasn't however calling for people to be cut off entirely like Lily was. Lily wanted to criminalise the very people who support her by going to gigs, where Lily actually makes money. Her recordings don't make her much, if at all. They never have, and never will for an artist. The record companies tie that deal up so tight that she'll get less than 5p of each recording with her name on them.

    Lily's main complaint was that A&R was being hurt by piracy. Again it is nonsense. The majority of music that is good enough, will be spotted via independent labels and artists. The throwaway hits that Allen is associated with will still get noticed via the hit factories like X-Factor, Britain's Got Talent and having a famous, poor actor of a father who appeared in a few Blur videos and sang a football anthem, working his connections in order to get his daughter a recording deal. It'll still happen. The X-Factor is a massive success because its cheap TV, and its cheap music making.

    Lily has infact fell into line with the FAC's position here. Lily also takes credit for the FAC meeting taking place, even though this meeting was going to take place months ago.

    The facts are still abundantly clear though. The problem is the music industries business structure, and the way that cash is being made. The consumer has found a different path, and they will continue on that path regardless. People will ignore bad legislation which is written hastily and released within a week after an unelected politician meets a rich record company executive to ask them to legislate to protect their failing business model.

    The consumer drives demand, not the business. The music industry for the last 30 years has shown this. They also claim that piracy hurts them financially (even the word piracy is a weasel word, I hasten to add) but have yet to provide a single shread of evidence that piracy does that.

    All legislation will do is drive file sharing underground, and make it harder and harder, because of encryption, for the music industry to do anything about it. When will they accept that they can't make recordings for profit anymore, and they should be used for promotional tools for touring. You know, real work?

    Where does the music industry stop? There are reports they want to charge iTunes for the 30 second previews on the store, because you want to listen to check you've got the right song. Or do the music industry want consumers to purchase before listening again, to make sure they have your money when you realise you have a dud?

    If they'd have embraced Napster in 1998 instead of laughing it off, then maybe they'd be in a different position now, and could've embraced a multitude of different models, including pay per download and subscription.

    I wonder how Jaguar Land Rover workers feel at the Government protecting the music industry and its multi millionaire (including Lily Allen) stars, and ignoring those who are on basic working wages.

    The horse has bolted and they aren't ever going to get this one back in its stable. Ever. The reform needs to come from their end by reshaping the business so it isn't designed to work as a lending bank to the artists, instead of legislation to penalise the consumer and fan.

  • Comment number 7.

    Surely, if the punishment is to target file-sharers then only the upload bandwidth need be throttled? If not then accessing (legal) streaming content may be impossible for the other occupants of the property.

    Taking any action would also punish those potentially not involved in illegal file-sharing activities at that address - punishing many for the actions of one.

    This doesn't seem to be compatible with the criminal justice system.

  • Comment number 8.

    I have vehemently opposed people illegally downloading music for years, both as a fan who didn't like seeing his favourite, lesser-known bands being cheated out of their money, and as a member of a band who couldn't see any way of making a proper living out of music, thus making it impossible to devote fully to our craft and ending up with life getting in the way of our dreams. However, I've been softening on this of late, and Lily Allen's stance has just about decided my change of heart.

    The only reason you need to make money out of your music is if a full-time job would hinder your progress as an artist. This doesn't really apply when it comes to just writing music, which someone doing it for their love of music will do in their spare time anyway. So the money aspect doesn't really get into it until it comes to recording music and trying to promote it.

    It really doesn't cost all that much to get music recorded these days. Even if you can't do it yourself, you can hire a pretty reasonable recording studio for a couple of days for around 100 quid - not that much really, if split between several band members, and generally solo artists get discounts. There is the cost of producing CDs, but if people are only downloading it anyway, then you needn't bother, so you can just upload it for free to Myspace etc. There are also pretty cheap ways of getting them onto iTunes etc, so you can get money for the tracks if some people decide they want to pay for your music.

    So that leaves the last reason for needing to be paid for your music: promotion. Obviously, this includes playing gigs. As any fledgling musician will know, it takes a while before you start getting paid for gigs - you need to play a lot of free ones first to enable you to get a following big enough for a promoter to put you on for a weekend gig, which are generally the only ones you get paid for. Even then, you're lucky to get 100 quid to share between you, which isn't even going to pay for travelling costs if you're playing an away gig. However, this is not the fault of illegal downloaders - this is the fault of venue owners and promoters, who think they can just put a few bands on to get punters in and then not pay the bands for bringing in that custom. It's dressed up as an opportunity to get more fans, and thus the band should be grateful for this chance, but if the bands are there to pull in trade, then they should be rewarded for doing so.

    The point is, there are so many factors in all this, and it's difficult to see what the truth is. With ticket prices for concerts getting increasingly ridiculous, is it in fact cheeky for bands to expect people to pay for their recorded music? Should albums really just be used to get people to come and see you on tour? Should the people who just churn out pop songs to set templates for X Factor winners to sing be making more money than the bands who write and perform their own material? If bands can only make money from gigs, could we see the power shifted back into their hands, rather than the record companies?

    It's all very complicated, made more difficult by our inclination to assume that people deserve to be paid for their creations. Perhaps our thinking needs to be more in-line with those who create open-source software in the computing world.

    Having said all that, many of my arguments against illegal downloading still have to be dealt with in a "free music" model (possible drop in quality of recorded music as it becomes a mere marketing tool, with no attention to little details; drop in quality of artwork, making the impact of the album as an overall piece of art lessen), but perhaps the onus should be more on those who financially gain from recorded music (radio, TV, clubs etc) to reward the creators, rather than those who go to the gigs.

  • Comment number 9.

    I am sorry, but to be honest as a musician (and more importantly a composer) I have followed this debate behind the scenes quite a bit.

    And there has NEVER been a "war" between musicians over what is going on.

    There are a whole plethora of opinions and discussions about what can be done basically because the whole issue is so complicated. Lilly Allen had one view, a thousand other musos have a thousand other views.

    But mostly everyone has been in agreement - there seems to be an attitude amongst some people that they have a "right" to download what they like and for free, and the musicians are just selfish and greedy to want to stop them.

    You can put all the penalties you like into force and be as clever, technically, as you are able, but in the end you are battling against something that has almost become a Cultural attitude. And that is very nearly impossible to shift.

    I think most in the industry (remembering the rich ones are in the tiny minority and the rest of us have moderate to low incomes from music) feel that some stick is needed, but also far more ideas like Spotify (though it has yet to be proved to work) where people are paying little or nothing but getting the music without having to resort to theft.

    Music written by someone else is a luxury item in that is is not a basic necessity or a right.

    I am idealistic to wish that if people cannot get music already done for them, they make their own instead for their own and their friends pleasure (or pain).

    Despite the plethora of music software and music initiatives out there, still very few people actually learn music or make music for themselves, which is a shame.

    Maybe if more did, they would appreciate the value those of us who do this for a living put on our work.

  • Comment number 10.

    Ok, here we go again ...

    Not ALL file-sharing is sharing of illegal material - for instance most popular linux distributions rely on P2P as it cuts their hosting costs - essential for the free software community to continue

    How is the ISP to determine if the content being shared is actually illegal? For example if the ISP decides that I shared 300 "MP3" files, who's to say that these MP3 files were illegal, I mean they could be voice clips or any audio - perhaps even something I wrote myself?

    This is a technological IMPOSSIBILITY, not to mention the number of people who'll be cut off (or speeds reduced) in error!

    I'm not going to mention the hypocracy of Lilly to berate the technology that got her discovered in the first place; nor the fact that I read the blog (as god-awful as it was white text on a black background and the font?! Argh! Glad it's off the internet!). I can't say I was surprised it was removed, although there was nothing abusive on there - just hundreds and hundreds of comments pointing out the obvious facts and flaws in her campaign to save the Media giants.

    I will leave it on this thought:
    Music was around before the likes of SONY BMG and so on came along (and creamed massive profits from the artists), and music will be around long after they have gone from the face of the earth.

    Music comes from the soul and heart and can not be bought or sold.

  • Comment number 11.

    It pains me to think that file sharing is so damaging for artists, but I cant see how they can stop it as technology advances. I remember as a teenager copying cassette tapes for my friends, was this illegal? if it was why did all stereos have the option for you to make copies? when it comes to music and film, download is the future. And file sharing is just part and parcel of this future.
    I dont want to lose emerging artists from the music scene and I dont want british talent to suffer at the hands of ilegal activity but I cant see how it can be stopped!

    P.S Lilly Allen withdrawing from the music scene would be such a welcomed gift it might actually inspire people to start file sharing. I dont think her support on this matter is going to inspire anyone to quit!

  • Comment number 12.

    I really fail to see how they are going to police this. Already anonymous methods of file-sharing and distribution are being used, developed and improving. All this because of these tougher stances sought by the media companies lobbying and pressuring governments. So in the end its just going to get even harder to track and find persistent file-sharers.

    Also I fail to see how they are to police people downloading and copying online streaming of radio stations - all this from legitimate sources.

    I really don't think this industry has got with the times and is looking at whats happening in the bigger picture.

    I also think the musicians and artists are shooting themselves in the foot. Here is a chance for them to break away from the shackles of the media companies so they have total control over their own works. Its going to be a slow transitional death for this industry at the expense of their legitimate customers and fans...

  • Comment number 13.

    I thought Lily's blog was a pretty significant intervention. I was leaning towards the idea that illegal file-sharing was inevitable, probably didn't impact CD sales as much as people think, etc. The sheer amount of testimony on the blog from a range of people across the industry, saying that file-sharing is really threatening small bands, made me uncertain again.

  • Comment number 14.

    Gurubear. Assuming you're the same one who makes the music for Wurm online, surely you're in a different position to the likes of Lily Allen?

  • Comment number 15.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 16.

    Well, it doesn't surprise me that a well funded pressure group can influence policy despite the serious technical hurdles in implementing the idea. Should my ISP start a 3 strikes and I'm out, I will simply mask my IP with any one of a number of methods. While I am a prolific downloader, I still pay for content that I keep.

    I downloaded Lily Allens album last night, found it to be not that great and deleted it, thank the net I didn't have to pay to find that out!

    On the other hand, I downloaded Regina Spektor's album a year or so ago and have since bought 2 copies of the CD, one for myself to support her and one as a birthday present for a friend.

  • Comment number 17.

    DuellistOrigins wrote:

    Gurubear. Assuming you're the same one who makes the music for Wurm online, surely you're in a different position to the likes of Lily Allen?

    ####

    I am, but that is only a very small part of what I do.

    And thanks for the plug! :)

  • Comment number 18.

    ChrisJWOwen wrote:

    "Let's be clear about exactly what we mean by music. Only in the last few decades has music also meant something entirely different than its meaning through all of history. Music is the sound of people singing or playing instruments. This has always been true and is still true. Today it also covers the results of audio reproduction."


    Chris, music was formalised as a set system by the Greeks and Romans (our A to G scale). Modern techniques mean that the actual "sound" can be recorded, but music and songs have been recorded on manuscript in one form or another for hundreds of years.

    Composers jealously guarded their scores and would sell copies for other musicians to perform, but this was only a licence and the work still remained the property of the original composer.

    This has also been the case with books and paintings, of course.

    Modern technology changes the way it is delivered, but the theory of ownership remains the same.

    If the owner of a work wants to utilise new technology to distribute their work, that is fine. But the existence of that technology does not give a person the right to steal the work - and yet that is exactly what many argue, hence my comment about culture.

  • Comment number 19.

    Option 1..
    The artist greedily takes the sum of money offered by big recording companies to sign on the dotted line. This results in stifled creativity, the big company making the lions share of the profits (well, they did invest in you and it costs a lot to advertise & produce CD's). The artists invariably get next to nothing.

    Option 2..
    The artist makes full use of the internet by uploading their albums onto file sharing networks for people to download. They set up a website to allow fans to make cash 'donations' to the band (however much they want to give) in return for downloading or sharing their album. Fans that donate could have their names listed on the band's website?
    The bands would have next to no overheads and all the money goes into their pockets. Fans getting legal, free (hopefully good) albums will blog it all over the net giving instant publicity and a massive demand for concert tickets (artists that work hard will make a fortune here).

    Reality..
    Unless the artists start doing it for themselves, their choice is always going to be motivated by greed (option 1).

    It's the easy option, but very short sighted.

  • Comment number 20.

    ravcasleygera, now would probably be a good time to point out that Lily's blog was extremely misleading.

    The artists listed on the right hand site were not, I repeat were NOT all in support of her.

    If you read through them, for example, 50 cent, you'd see that they were actually against Lily's stance. 50 cent stated he doesn't mind file sharing because it got more people to his concerts, but Lily for some reason added this to her list of artists.

    From what I could see, the list of artists that supported her on that blog weren't much more than Elton John and Glasvegas. The majority of the others were not in her favour, even though she gave the impression of such by listing them.

  • Comment number 21.

    I don’t disagree that music sharing is stealing, I do see that it is breaking the rules I am not that naive.

    Why are artists allowed to defend themselves and the huge profits they make in the current climate when so many people are being made unemployed and without income? Why are artists special? Industries have to evolve, why is the music industry immune to this? If I lose my job I cannot attack the new industry that caused it. Car manufacturers can’t complain that other countries can afford to make their product cheaper, they have to change to keep up.

    Let artists go back to playing concerts for money, do some actual work, not just become a celebrity and live off that self perpetuation, that’s not work.

    If they think they can beat shares, they are fooling themselves, if any area can evolve and find ways around measures to stop them, its file sharers. They can’t be stopped.

    I also see Apple for example who advertise that their ipods can hold 10,000 songs(example) and then to fill them legally at 99p a track would cost £10,000 after a hefty investment to buy the ipod originally.

    Evolve or die.

  • Comment number 22.

    Ah well, I for one will never pay for any of her music, after all its all for free on the net so why should I. In fact I allow others to download her music from me, the more who do it the easier it is. I haven't brought any music of films for 10 or more years. It's easier to sign up for mobile broadband on pay as you go and if you get disconnected, buy another for the price of a couple of CDs or a dvd!

  • Comment number 23.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 24.

    "Chris, music was formalised as a set system by the Greeks and Romans (our A to G scale). Modern techniques mean that the actual sound can be recorded, but music and songs have been recorded on manuscript in one form or another for hundreds of years."

    I am a musician myself so am fully aware of this.

    "Composers jealously guarded their scores and would sell copies for other musicians to perform, but this was only a licence and the work still remained the property of the original composer."

    The analogy would be whether someone with a telescope spying on a transaction should have his telescope forcefully taken from him for performing what he copied.

    "This has also been the case with books and paintings, of course."

    Painters can sell their originals, teach painting, and hold exhibitions. I believe Mark Twain made more money from touring and talks than selling books.

    "Modern technology changes the way it is delivered, but the theory of ownership remains the same."

    ...and I question whether you actually can ever own a copy of music you created. You clearly own yourself and the ability to perform it and claim credit.

    "If the owner of a work wants to utilise new technology to distribute their work, that is fine. But the existence of that technology does not give a person the right to steal the work - and yet that is exactly what many argue, hence my comment about culture."

    It's not stealing. If I steal your car you no longer have it. Not true for music.

  • Comment number 25.

    Some problems I can see:
    1 - IP addresses can be masked with a fake IP address, will the innocent person whose IP address got cloned be hit with a letter saying "naughty naughty"?
    2 - Private wi-fi even when 'secured' can be hacked into if you know how to do it, again the innocent person will be hit with a nasty letter
    3 - Public wi-fi, whose going to take the hit if someone logs on at an internet cafe and downloads copyrighted material?

    I download quite a lot of music and films from p2p networks, however they are either old enough so they are out of copyright or they are from unsigned artists whom don't claim copyright, am I going to get a letter because it appears I download a lot?

  • Comment number 26.

    RE: Post #19 NeilPeel3000


    You forget what the record companies, managers and publishing houses actually do for their cut and why artists need them.

    They:

    • Promote through advertising
    • Plug the music to radio station (450+ in the UK, 10,000+ in the US)
    • Handle all the manufacture, design
    • Arrange and manage distribution through a multitude of outlets
    • Handle and manage all press and PR
    • Work with fan clubs
    • Arrange gigs, equipment, travel and transport, food, clothing and so on
    • Liaise with copyright agencies and ensure good collection
    • Deal with all legal issues (of which there are plenty)
    • Prepay for various items where that is needed
    • Give the artists a range of creative advice and ensure they have good access to producers, musicians and so on

    And the list goes on and on. The business management behind even a small local band can get complicated. As soon as that band has any success or notoriety, the admin balloons, and cash flow becomes a nightmare. You suddenly get the opportunity to play at a 1000 seater, but your equipment is rubbish. Where do you get it from? How much will it cost? Have you got the money? Do you turn down this massive opportunity because you are a bit short that week?

    Trust me, the record companies have their uses, and many, even some very talented acts would have never made it without theirs.

  • Comment number 27.

    shigllgetcha wrote:

    Car manufacturers can’t complain that other countries can afford to make their product cheaper, they have to change to keep up.

    Yes they can. Their products are covered by patents and copyright all over the place and if another company tries to steal their design they take them to court.

  • Comment number 28.

    Lily Allen’s achievement in getting this issue discussed and thought about by so many is fantastic.

    Unauthorised downloading causes problems across the board for the creative industries and it’s not just the music industry which suffers.
    I work with the Industry Trust for IP Awareness and often hear people justify unauthorised downloading by saying they aren’t hurting anyone except the big companies.

    As Lily, the FAC and this debate is showing, it does affect a host of people. The film and television industry supports over 150,000 people. Choosing to buy the real deal means you support the hardworking, talented people that work in Britain’s film and TV industry from the carpenters and electricians to the script-writers and stunt performers.

  • Comment number 29.

    Step one - download lily's first album illegally - lily makes no money.

    Step two - buy lily's first album from a second hand shop - lily makes no money

    Step three - buy lily's second album from a record shop - lily makes about £1.50.

    if i'd never done step one, she'd have made nothing.
    why is step two legal? can i still lend a friend a CD? can I lend them a download?

    how many middle men are there in step three? (about 8 quids worth). if the industry look a look at itself and its methods, they might realise that they have forced this problem on themselves.

  • Comment number 30.

    The most famous advert is a perfect example of the misdirection the music industry uses:

    "You wouldn't steal a car, you wouldn't steal a handbag, you wouldn't steal a television."

    No, but then again the person who had them wouldn't have them anymore. However, if I could duplicate them for no cost, then yes. I would have copies of them.

  • Comment number 31.

    Record companies could exploit creative work when they owned the means of production, i.e. the machinery to make CDs, which used to be the only effective means of distributing music. Technology has removed that monopoly in that now anyone can copy and distribute a work without it costing anyone anything. That's a bit tough on performers, perhaps, just like it was a bit tough on scribes when people learned to read and write for themselves. Only a few score of people will be dismayed that they can't easily make fortunes from selling millions of copies of records, whereas millions of people are delighted that they can easily play anything they want any time. A good performer can always perform on a street corner and will likely find that many people are generous enough to provide enough coins for them to obtain enough calories to write or rehearse their next song. I think it's a good idea for performers actually to work for a living rather than live off the extortion enacted by copyright law. Long live the Pirate Party!

  • Comment number 32.

    Before I start my rant here, let me say that I think that Artists and Record Companies should be entitled to be paid for the work they produce. I personally do not download songs/movies illegally as I believe it is morally right to pay for them.

    However...

    The record companies and the artists involved (especially those that wished to punish file sharers) are wasting their energy totally. People will share files, and even if they managed to come up with a way of absolutely positively identifying those individuals who have copied files (which I seriously doubt), it will carry on regardless via other means. It is such an un-policable tactic that it makes it irrelevant. Besides this, there is no proof that someone who downloads a track illegaly would have otherwise bought it if they could not have source it for free - I suspect that the vast majority would not have done so.

    The recording (and Movie and TV) industry missed an opportunity to embrace the digital revolution at the start by immediately pushing against it rather than thinking of ways to benefit from it. Because of this, they will always be playing catch up.

    Their only possible way forward is to understand the market more and offer their products in such a way as to make it easier and cheaper for people to obtain.

    One of the biggest drawbacks with legally obtainable downloadable content is that it requires a credit card to buy (in most cases) - this immediately alientates a lot of people who would want to buy music as they do not have access to a credit card. What the industry should do is come up with a system that allows people to buy music online using mobile phone credits - every record company/mobile operator would need to sign up for this.

    At the same time, they need to adjust their pricing to make it more attractive option - this will be a hard pill to swallow for them, but unfortunately it needs to be swallowed - they have got to wake up to the fact that they simply cannot stop filesharing and their only way forward is to disinsentivise people from chosing this option.

  • Comment number 33.

    If a person borrows a CD from their local library and then copies it, is Lord Mandelson going to ban that person from going to the library in the future? What about those children who borrow CD's from mates whilst in the school playground, are they going to be banned from going to school?

  • Comment number 34.

    One of the biggest problems with Lily's blog is that for one posting she actually plagiarized another author's article. She quite rightly got a lot of negative comments about this. Rather a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

  • Comment number 35.

    I think for some of the musicians out there, people just wont bother listening to it. Lily talks about how hard it is for new musicians? What happens when people wont buy your CD as they don't want to take a chance on it.
    Lower the price of CDs & give extra incentives like bonus DVDs for people to buy it & they will.

  • Comment number 36.

    peej2k6 wrote:

    The most famous advert is a perfect example of the misdirection the music industry uses:

    "You wouldn't steal a car, you wouldn't steal a handbag, you wouldn't steal a television."

    No, but then again the person who had them wouldn't have them anymore. However, if I could duplicate them for no cost, then yes. I would have copies of them.


    ***

    It is theft under the law. It is called Theft of Copyright.

    To Steal is to take something illegally - it does not imply that you leave the person without a copy, it just means you take it without their consent.


    At the end of the day, if I do not give you permission to use or copy or distribute something of mine, then you should not do it. If nothing else just out of common courtesy.

    I think this is what annoys people who do music for a living more than anything else. It is the vast numbers of people who copy things without permission because they don't give a damn what the composer thinks or feels about it. (I am not saying you are one of them, by the way)

    What is more, when an artist like Lilly Allen stands up and says, "I don't like it" they and the media give her hell about it. And why? Because they all want something for nothing.

    It is not the greed of the entertainers, it is the greed of people who don't see why they should pay for something that belongs to someone else.

    This does not just apply to the pop stars who can sometimes seem a bit shallow - some of the musicians who play and contribute and write have studied music for years. They started at the age of six or so, practised every day, went to University to study what is regarded as one of the more difficult degrees you can do, and then they see the result of their labours ripped off and taken by people who really couldn't care less. Lovely world.

  • Comment number 37.

    What worries me more than Mandleson being a Lily Allen fan (because we know he has no taste anyway), but rather that she may be a Mandleson fan!

    Seriously though, it's time these 'hard up' musicians accepted that both file sharing is here to stay (and they should learn to profit from it instead of whine about it) and that their fat-cat music biz bosses are taking too high a cut of their profits and should make music more affordable.

    Incidentaly, why do artists not whinge about second-hand CD sales? They receive no royalties from those and the original owner may well have crunched the files down to MP3's to put on their computer anyway. I'd have thought this was loosing them far more money than file-sharing, after all, it's the same thing!

  • Comment number 38.

    iamacey wrote:

    What about those children who borrow CD's from mates whilst in the school playground, are they going to be banned from going to school?


    How about parents telling their children it is wrong?

  • Comment number 39.

    mstclair87 wrote:

    A good performer can always perform on a street corner and will likely find that many people are generous enough to provide enough coins for them to obtain enough calories to write or rehearse their next song. I think it's a good idea for performers actually to work for a living rather than live off the extortion enacted by copyright law. Long live the Pirate Party!

    ####



    When someone creates something it belongs to them, not to you. They study and practice for years and work damned hard to make some sort of living.

    Performing on street corners (especially away from designated places like covent garden) gets you spat at, insulted, told to shut up, mostly ignored, and if you are really lucky you get a few pounds in change out of it. That is the opinion of one friend who spent 4 years studying violin at the Royal College and used to busk to help pay his way.

    He has made his career out of playing violin and composing some bits, but because of the shortage of Orchestras (since in this country we don't pay for anything of value), he subsidises his income by mini-cabbing when work is short. That is pretty typical for a lot of musicians.

    It is NOT as you describe.

  • Comment number 40.

    Evergrowingbrain - in response to your step three:

    I can’t speak directly for the Music Industry – but I can for the Film and TV industry and I suspect there are many parallels:

    You ask how many middle men there are in step three – consider the studio equipment, the person who worked the equipment, the person who installed the equipment, the person who cleans the studio, the person who designed the artwork for the CD cover, the person who worked the machine which printed the artwork, the person in the shop selling the CD, the people who planned and implemented the marketing campaign for the CD ... the list is endless.

    For film and television, I believe it’s only about one in thirty films which recover their costs at Box office. Film-making is financially risky and finding investors to fund projects can be really tough. If people continue to download from unauthorised sources at the current rate, there’s a real risk that all our films in Britain will follow very mainstream, popular formats because they’ll be seen to be the least risky by investors.

    This will really affect those starting out in film who can’t get funding for their projects because unauthorised downloading means that its harder for the industry to support these projects.

    When you choose the real deal, you help the British film industry to keep making the diverse mix of flicks that it is famous for

  • Comment number 41.

    Ermm, no. Just no. No amount of "support" from musicians is going to help Mandelson here, he needs... how shall we put this... a clue.

    Seriously, what good is IT advice from a bunch of recording industry bods? Getting IT advise from Lily Allen is like getting financial advice from the spice girls! After all, they have lots of money, right!?

    What's needed is a level of specialist knowledge probably possessed by less than 1000 people in this country. These are the network engineers and programmers who are able to say, with absolute certainty, whether these plans can, or ever will, work. No number of musical artists can, or will, provide this.

    Note that it's never been done anywhere in the world, ever, except perhaps on a very small scale (think a select few schools/colleges/places of work) and so they'll be working mostly from scratch. What's more, they'll KNOW the system they're implementing is potentially dangerous, since that which can block and cut off customers using bittorrent on a national level can do the same for bank websites and ebay.

    Until Mandelson realizes this, he's just wasting everyone's time. Oh, what, did he think it was all going to happen by magic?

  • Comment number 42.

    I have no problem with illegal file sharers being punished.

    Musicians (and record companies) do deserve to be paid.

    But the music industry wants is the ability to be judge, jury and execution. They decide whether you have file shared, they get the right to require ISPs to send you letters and then cut you off.

    This is wrong. If I break the law, I go to court, the case is heard by a judge or magistrate and I get fined if it is proved I broke the law. If someone else hacks my wireless network and file shares, they broke the law not me. If my 14 year old daughter downloads, she breaks the law not me so she gets fined.

    The problem is that musicians and record companies do not want to go to the expense of court and proving their case.

  • Comment number 43.

    #31 mstclair87: A good performer can always perform on a street corner and will likely find that many people are generous enough to provide enough coins for them to obtain enough calories to write or rehearse their next song. I think it's a good idea for performers actually to work for a living rather than live off the extortion enacted by copyright law.

    This is the sort of rubbish that I've heard illegal downloaders use for years to try and justify their actions, and why I've had such difficulty coming to terms with the idea that free downloading is perhaps not totally immoral.

    Have you ever heard a street performer? If you worked in an office with several street performers outside for hours at a time (like I do), then you'd understand how ignorant your comment is. Street performers stand and play the same two or three songs over and over. They play famous songs, because this is the only way people will give them money, since the average person just wants to hear a familiar tune. Also, if all the musicians in a city tried to support themselves via busking, the population would soon get fed up of street performers on every corner, most of whom would be playing the same two or three songs (one of which would be Wonderwall). It just doesn't work.

    That's before you even take into consideration performers who rely on hi-tech equipment - I can't imagine Depeche Mode or The Prodigy would have gotten far as buskers.

    Street performing is a fair enough option for wannabe Bohemians with an acoustic guitar, but then they're pretty much the bottom of the barrel when it comes to musical creativity anyway. There are some good reasons in these blog comments as to why recorded music should perhaps no longer be paid for - you miss the point entirely, though.

  • Comment number 44.

    To Steal is to take something illegally - it does not imply that you leave the person without a copy, it just means you take it without their consent.

    Gurubear, you are absolutely, completely, wrong. The meaning of 'theft' is precisely to take something with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of it. This is not complicated or difficult to get right.

    On the main point, artists are not universally agreed that filesharing is a bad thing; there's an excellent interview with (one half of) Show of Hands on torrentfreak[1] putting the opposing point of view, from the perspective of a working musician.

    [1] http://torrentfreak.com/acoustic-band-utterly-depends-on-piracy-080826/

  • Comment number 45.

    RE Comment 38:

    Lending someone your CD is not wrong/illegal/whatever as they have the CD for the duration of the lending period while you do not. You have not copied the content. It would only be wrong if you kept a copy for yourself at the same time, or burned them a copy of the CD.

    Its no different from borrowing a book. Only one person can use the content of the book at once unless you photocopy or scan it.

  • Comment number 46.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 47.

    Ms Allen needn't worry. I wouldn't download her 'music', even if I was paid to!

  • Comment number 48.

    Ewan_ wrote:

    Gurubear, you are absolutely, completely, wrong. The meaning of 'theft' is precisely to take something with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of it. This is not complicated or difficult to get right.

    ###

    Well, I find it difficult because my dictionary says that to steal is to take something illegally.

    You steal something because YOU want it, not because you don't want the other person to have it.

    You don't steal an apple because you think the green grocer should not have the apple - you take it because you want to eat it.

    A thief does not care that the owner is deprived of something - be that the original object or the fee they get from licensing something. The thief, in greed, just wants it for nothing. THAT is the point of theft.

  • Comment number 49.

    My $0.02 on this, share it if you want...

    For me the record industry is shooting itself in the foot, Lily Allen started out on MySpace and yet she is attacked the very people who put her where she is today.

    Also there is a strong case for file sharing of music, smaller artists (I guess Gurubear isn't one of them) have actually come out and said they applaud file sharing because it gets their material out there and actually helps increase sales. Not only that but out of print, older music, cannot always be found for download or elsewhere online and when high street shops are closing it's getting even harder to find such music on the high street.

    As a NWOBHM and a metal fan in general I find that is the case very often.

    So what are people to do if they cannot find the music they want legally?

    Whilst I sympathise with the like of Gurubear who feel that "piracy" is cutting his earnings I must remind him that pre-WW2 possibly even earlier than that there wasn't a commercialised music industry as we know it and people didn't "get rich quick" by making a record in their bedrooms and getting it in the charts.

    I am of the opinion that if you wish to make music purely for profit, which is how Lily Allen and all the other complainants come across, and you find you cannot then get another job.

    The likes of Lily Allen are not hard up and in such economic times where the average joe is being squeezed harder and harder for each penny it is offensive for the likes of Ms Allen to carry on like they are.

  • Comment number 50.

    I do some work for a very small record label and do I love music. Until recently I was buying over 200 albums a year. I have never and will never download an illegal music file, but the industry and artists have been extremely stupid about the file sharing.

    The effect of illegal file sharing on the music industry has been largely overstated. The industry had faced illegal copying of their products for almost 100 years and has survived by changing its business model.

    The golden era in financial terms for the music industry was between 1986 and 2000. This was fuelled by the introduction of CDs with people replacing existing vinyl and other factors. This resulted in a bloated industry with very high overheads. As revenue has reduced, the overheads have not been cut back enough. The music industry employees (excluding the artists) generally have a high average salary. Decca Music (part of Universal Music), the average employee earned £76,000 per year in 2008 (Source: Decca Music Group Ltd Annual Accounts 2008).

    When you look at year on year sales of similar types of albums, the largest falls have been in best selling albums, which sell in the millions. While the fall in sales for the other albums have been much smaller. Although total sales are still historically high.

    You need to remember that these multi million selling albums by likes of Lilly Allen are more likely to be purchased by the casual music buyers.
    There has been increased competition for these buyers disposable income by other leisure goods and activities especially DVDs and Computer Games. Both of these sectors have seen large increases in sales during this decade, this money need to be diverted from somewhere, in this case it has been the music industry.

    The way in which music sales are calculated has been changed to have a negative effect on reported sales.
    In the last decade in the UK the sales have changed from number of units invoiced by the record companies/ distributors to retailers less returns. The album sales recorded was not the number of albums sold but the actual units contained within the album. e.g. a single CD counts as 1 sale, a double CD counts as 2 sales.
    This has now changed to the number of albums sold (double CD now counts as 1 sale) as recorded by the Official UK Chart Company (half owned by the trade organisation the BPI). Therefore if the retailer/website does not provided information to the OCC or the artists selling directly to their fans, these sales are not included.
    Therefore these changes in the accounting processes does result in a fall in album sales, even if the quantity of albums purchased by the public remain the same.

    The record companies by allowing the inclusion of premium products on free CDs with newspapers and magazines have reduced the perceived value of music. The consumer wonders why should I pay £10 for something that is free with a £1 newspaper

    In the UK and most other markets, the record industry in the late 1990s became more concerned with the supermarkets rather than the independent retailers. The supermarkets were able to sell large amounts of the bestsellers, but at a price lower than the independent retailers could buy them from the distributors. Besides devaluing the perceived value of the product, the independents lost a large share of their income and therefore profit, resulting in them closing down. The independent music retailer did help numerous acts and records to reach an audience that the supermarkets and online retailers are unable or unwilling to.

    The supermarkets now treats music like a can of bake beans, with a very limited range of music available to consumer in the high street with the closure of the independents, Woolworth and Virgin/Our Price/ Zavvi.

    Legal digital downloads from sites such as itunes are too expensive, why would a rational consumer pay the same or more for a digital download than a CD which has better sound and you have a physical backup.

    The industry should stop chasing shadows, because sales will not increase even if everyone who ever downloaded an illegal file is disconnected. This will lead to even less sales due to an even larger consumer backlash against the industry.
    They have been treating their customers/ fans as criminals by installing DRM and rootkits on their CDs, which is highly insulting to the consumer.

    It has also been argued that the music produced has become more formulaic, with 50% of people interviewed for a recent survey thought that music had become "samey".

    http://www.musicweek.com/story.asp?sectioncode=1&storycode=1038749&c=1

    If they spent the same money and effort producing music which people want to buy rather than trying to change the law, this will lead to an increase in sales.
    The trouble is it is easier for the record companies and artists to blame others (i.e. their own or potential customers & fans) than face the truth. If they do not, there will be no industry in ten years time.

  • Comment number 51.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 52.

    "Music is everybody's possession. It's only publishers who think that people own it." -John Lennon

  • Comment number 53.

    Gurubear wrote:

    "Well, I find it difficult because my dictionary says that to steal is to take something illegally."
    --

    You need a new dictionary. Theft is explicitly defined as taking with intent to deprive the rightful owner of something. Some ideas for you:

    1) "Music Piracy" is what happens when Blackbeard nicks your CD on the high seas.

    2) "Illegal" file sharing is naturally "unlawful" not "illegal". Turning it into a criminal offence is simply a land-grab for citizens' privacy rights - ie. one can have no private communication if everything you do is monitored for possible "criminal" content. Add to this that punishment for these so-called "illegal" activities will be meted out without due process in a court of law, and you have totalitarianism by default. These points are *infinitely* more important than propping up the state-sanctioned extortion that is copyright.

    3) "Copyright" is not a natural property right, it is a "right" bestowed by the by the state only.


    4) "Copyright infringement" is actually much more closely related to trespass than it is to larceny. For example walking over private land does not deprive the owner of the land itself.

    5) Just because something can be monetised to extreme levels, in no way implies that it is ethical to do so at the expense of more important things like personal privacy, for example.

  • Comment number 54.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 55.

    0xdeadbeef

    I have thought about all you have read.

    I don't agree with you at all.

    And my Oxford English dictionary is quite up to date, thank you.

  • Comment number 56.

    While i understand, and indeed sympathise with the music industry and artists on this, we need to assess the facts.

    During the 90's the music industry bosses sat in their huge offices, making loads of money while making a rough gustimate on what they thought where pennies being lost to people that "Taped Copies" (do you remember that phrase? it sounds so alian now dosent it?) of their albums; while reaping the benefits of this new CD gadget that has just came out. They also managed to convince the public to buy CD's because Vinal is getting phased out, and CD's sound so much better (they don’t imho).

    While all this money was pouring in, they thought they had it made.

    Then along came the internet that showed them just how many people where making illegal copies of the songs / films / albums etc. They then sat down and thought "Bugger me! How much has that cost us over the years, and what’s it costing us now!".

    A whisky fuelled panic ensues with Britney Spears playing in the background.

    The only thing they could think of doing at the time, is to learn more about this Napster thing that people appeared to be using.

    I can only assume that they had a look at it, and thought it was a "fad" and would die down along with this new internet lark, and that it will all blow over and die like many of their acts...

    10 years later.. and people are more tech savvy, technology has moved on a fair bit, and the music industry still go to work in horse and carts, and call their children Marther and Herbert.

    At this point they are getting a little heated under the collar, and their monocles keep falling out, so they call in the lawyers and ask them what they can do to help stop this.

    "Let’s get the government on our side and then get some bimbo singer that people appear to like to make it sound bad, and to remind people that it's a very naughty thing to do"

    "Good Idea!"

    "Thank you"

    The government pass a law (or attempt to) trying to cut off people who are sharing files using bit torrent or P2P.

    Mr. ISP says "Sod the music companies’ bottom line, what about ours?"

    And so a whiskey fuelled argument ensues.

    What they fail to remember is that with all this fancy Bit Torrent file sharing, Cloaked IP Addresses, and unsecured (and possibly hacked secured) wireless networks, then that can be a small problem, as it wouldn’t take to much time before, i would say a rough guestimate of 45% of people have wireless, so that’s potentially 45% of UK web surfers could face getting the wire clipped to the interflap.

    Such is life in the UK :(

  • Comment number 57.

    Gurubear

    From the Theft Act 1968
    "A person is guilty of theft, if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it".

    Your dictionary is up to date, and wrong.

    Ok, now we have established that copyright infringement is not criminal theft of property, we are left with tort law, under which the copyright holder must prove damages due to the tortious behaviour of the file-sharer. In no manner whatsoever have those representing Record companies, etc. ever proved anything like that.

    The public are being taken for a ride, and it is time to put a stop to it.

  • Comment number 58.

    "57. At 11:48pm on 25 Sep 2009, 0xdeadbeef wrote:

    Gurubear

    From the Theft Act 1968
    "A person is guilty of theft, if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it".

    Your dictionary is up to date, and wrong.

    Ok, now we have established that copyright infringement is not criminal theft of property, we are left with tort law, under which the copyright holder must prove damages due to the tortious behaviour of the file-sharer. In no manner whatsoever have those representing Record companies, etc. ever proved anything like that.

    The public are being taken for a ride, and it is time to put a stop to it."

    And who's going to put a stop to it? The Tories? Not likely. The general populace of this country? Again not likely, seeing as the majority of people in this country don't bother to vote in a general election. So how in gods name can something such as the music industry, in fact any consumer based industry, taking us for a ride be stopped?

    Apathy and material wealth rules in the UK, it's how we've come to be in the state we are in. Until that changes we will still get taken for a ride.

  • Comment number 59.

    REMOVE DRM =
    REMOVE THE RESTRICTION OF THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE MUSIC I PAID FOR

    Remove this barrier to purchasing music and I will happily accept any changes which are needed for the artists to be protected.
    Apart from the forward thinking Universal Records, No other label has openly supported DRM free purchased downloads in *MP3 format*, and this essentally means I cannot listen to my MP3s in my car without taking the host player with me... In this case, I am unwilling to take my desktop into my car and plug it into the Car stereo. In many cases, the only way to get DRM free music is to rip it from a CD or rip it off the internet, and from the internet file-sharing system, the quality of the MP3s are below average. the DRM status quo is unacceptable and will only continue to encourage those that want the freedom to what they want with their acquired music, to download illegally.

    Look at 7digital's sales after the started to remove DRM.. they shot up six-fold! In my opinion, it is the record industry that needs to wake up and smell the coffee, adapt to the change... More carrot please.. don't just think the stick is the only thing that's going to get you anywhere.

  • Comment number 60.

    “Ok, now we have established that copyright infringement is not criminal theft of property, we are left with tort law, under which the copyright holder must prove damages...” --ravenmorpheus2k (#58).

    No, we are left with the - excellent in principle but now massively unbalanced and misrepresented - copyright law.

    I sometimes wonder how this debate might be going (or even if it would be going at all) in a parallel world in which idiotic and idiotically named groups (like the Federation Against Copyright Theft) hadn't done such a great disservice to the people whose interests they pretend to represent by bringing the very idea of copyright to the brink of disrepute - with their absurd copyright term extensions, criminalisations of technological progress, their frothing Judge Dredd-ism and fantasy economics etc.

  • Comment number 61.

    "60. At 04:43am on 26 Sep 2009, Magwitch wrote:
    “Ok, now we have established that copyright infringement is not criminal theft of property, we are left with tort law, under which the copyright holder must prove damages...” --ravenmorpheus2k (#58).
    "

    Er actually you've attributed that quote to me incorrectly. It was quoted by me after 0xdeadbeef post it in post #57.

    I do agree with what you've in your post though. This debate probably wouldn't be taking place because it would not be needed.

  • Comment number 62.

    I am trying to work out whether people are splitting hairs over the definition of theft because they want to continue getting something for nothing or whether they are just puerile.

    My final position is this:

    With certain of my songs, since I do not believe I will ever get a record deal for them, I put on the web for people to listen to if they wish. If at a later date someone miraculously wants to sign them to a deal, that position will change.

    They are protected by copyright and registered with the PRS and MCPS so that if a radio station or other organisation who's business it is to play songs and make money out of playing them uses my songs or tunes, I get the few pence in royalties due to me.

    This also gives me some protection if another person takes my work and claims it is theirs (I have had that twice).

    Other work of mine I do NOT publish in full publicly for downloading and keeping for free - you would have to pay for it. It is my right to do that as the intellectual owner of the work. If someone then takes any of that music, for instance by using some sort of software to circumnavigate what ever system is there to protect them, they are then taking my work without my consent.

    As far as I am concerned, that is theft.

    If someone cannot afford or does not want to pay to have a piece of music or a film or a book, then they should not take it.

    As the OWNER of a work it is MY CHOICE to decide who can have what of my music and whether I charge for it or allow people to listen for free.

    Why people have so much difficulty in getting that through their heads I do not understand - unless it is simply that they want something for nothing and the rest of their arguments are just them trying to justify them taking what they have no right to.

  • Comment number 63.

    #62 Gurubear
    "I am trying to work out whether people are splitting hairs over the definition of theft "
    ---

    If you for example can't tell the difference between culpable homicide and murder, then it isn't others who are splitting hairs or being puerile.

    The "property" you are talking about isn't true property - it is a so-called "intangible" - which means it doesn't physically exist, and for our purposes that you can give it away as many times as you want and still have it. This is the reason it has always been treated differently under the law.

    Now in order to afford protection to producers of works (that's you and me as musicians), nearly all legal jurisdictions have established civil protections under tort law to allow redress for aggrieved parties if their works are used without their permission: ie. if Lily Allen takes part of a song and uses it in her own work without paying the owner, then the owner can sue Lily Allen for part of the income from her work. This is the basic law of Copyright, and of course that *never* happened, right? ;-)

    To protect consumers and to make sure that producers of works can't always "Have their cake and eat it" forever, copyright protections have traditionally been limited in time and in scope. All this because it is intangible property.

    I as a musician assert the right to be paid for my works and I as a consumer and private person assert the rights to privacy, due process of law, a fair trial, and freedom from arbitrary punishment. Furthermore, I expect any punishment for my transgressions to be proportional to the offence and delivered by an appropriate and legitimate authority ( ie. the state ).

    If you find anything unreasonable in the above paragraph, please feel free to point out where you do so.

    Much as I would personally like to be "punished" by the aforementioned Ms. Allen, I don't think it's reasonable for her, or her agents to:

    1) Inspect each and every private communication of mine without a warrant.
    2) Decide on their own behalf if their rights have been violated.
    3) Deliver punishment to me in the form of removal of my communications medium, rights and paid-for property without due process in a court of law.
    4) Allow the infrastructure put in place to allow 1) above be used by the state to monitor communications for political purposes.

    What Allen and her cronies are advocating is truly vile, and I suspect even you yourself would object to giving J.K. Rowling the right to open all your mail just in case there were photocopies of Harry Potter in there.

  • Comment number 64.

    For those who are interested, have a look on the Torrentfreak website and see what they have dug up. Infringement of copyright on said blog.

  • Comment number 65.

    #61: Yes, sorry about that, ravenmorpheus2k.

    #62 “Why people have so much difficulty in getting that through their heads I do not understand” --Gurubear

    Unfortunately (some of) our heads have been obstructed by knowledge of the theory, moral arguments, history and economics behind the copyright laws, forcing us to realise what an appallingly elementary mistake it is - especially for those of us who support (sane) copyright laws! - to erroneously conflate copyright infringement and theft.

    Some acts of copyright infringement can be construed as consequentially very like theft of course. But most can't really, and none can be equated with it. What I can't understand is why some people think it's a good idea to shout “Stop thief!” instead of “Stop infringer!” or something similar. It's totally unnecessary and increasingly counterproductive, in a Peter and the Wolf-ish sort of way IMHO.

  • Comment number 66.

    Here is a nice song for Lily Allen from Dan Bull called "Dear Lily". It is on topic and about the current debate here. For those who don't know Dan Bull is a UK musician, you can find his musical letter on You Tube:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HL9-esIM2CY&feature=player_embedded#t=92

  • Comment number 67.

    There has been a cultural backlash because record companies overcharged for CD's for years.

    I am really pleased that the retail price of CD's and DVD's has crashed since piracy came about... thanks to all you pirates I now get value for money.

    Piracy smashes the ego's of elitist musicians too... bonus.

  • Comment number 68.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 69.

    Some excellent thought provoking posts on here.
    I think the main one is that the Music Industry is desperately clinging to it's now old fashioned means of producing and distributing content.
    Ironically they are acting in a similar way to the original luddites, instead of burning mills, they want to disenfranchise their own customers.

    Let's just suppose for a minute that Joe Bloggs, buys content from iTunes etc, (Around £15 per month) he also occasionally file shares some other recordings, (You know some rare recordings or bootlegs that are unavailable elsewhere).

    His ISP bans him for 2 months. Well done that's £30 no longer going to the music industry.

    Personally I think that recorded music has been way overpriced for many years, illustrated by the lifestyles of some of the people now squealing the loudest. Like the pre-revolutionary French aristocrats, they can't see the writing on the wall.

    Face it the world has changed, artists need to recognise that in this brave new world it makes sense to distribute your recordings as widely as possible for minimal cost and then make the money from Live shows, merchandise, endorsements and t-shirts.

    I am delighted to say that I have never shared, nor do I have any plans to download any of Miss Allen's recordings.






  • Comment number 70.

    Lily Allen managed to become rich and successful at a time when a lot of media is pirated. So I don't see why she's complaining. Still, she's made something, and should be allowed to profit from it. If the price it too high then people won't buy it, or will turn to the black market (file sharing) - so the price is too high?

    I read people here moan about CDs being priced so high, say £10 or so but I bet a lot of the people complaining will happily pay £9 for a to see a film once in a cinema, and then £6.50 for a fizzy drink and some popcorn that probably cost less than £1 to make in total. That's the definition of being ripped off - not buying a piece of music that will make you happy, sad, mad or nostalgic and last forever. It's the free market though, and people are prepared to pay it - so fair play to the business-minds who came up with the idea of selling popcorn!

    Many folks here have said "I download songs, but I buy them if I like them" - so they are in essence suggesting the music business becomes a charity, and that buying music is a bit like leaving a tip in a restaurant. Could a restaurant survive on tips only? Would you invest in a restaurant who's business plan was to make money solely through tips? I wouldn't. Could Starbucks survive giving out free coffee by simply selling their branded Mugs in store? Of course not, like the record industry cannot supposedly survive off of ticket sales. It's a crazy idea.

    I am happy buying CDs (after all, they work on any device), but I've been using free services like Spotify to try out music for free. That way, I avoid wasting my money, I stay legit, and the person to made the music gets paid. Even Spotify get some money from adverts.

    What I do object to is DRM, which thankfully is on the way out for music, but not for video. DVDs and Blu-Ray and all online video stores I've used all use DRM. I own all seven series of The West Wing on DVD. To watch these on my iPhone I would need to buy them again from iTunes an a cost of £140 (£19.99 per season) - shocking when you consider the DVDs were only £50.
    That to me, is in inexcusable. The Music/TV/Movie industry need to sort it out. If you buy a film, then you should have legal rights to be able to put it on any device in any format you want.

  • Comment number 71.

    Hmm, for some reason my long comment has been "referred to the moderators". In the meantime, may I alert people to the fact that Lily Allen herself has apparently been sharing other artists' music in the past, to promote her own career, and she allegedly admitted to it:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/6226690/Lily-Allen-drops-fight-against-filesharing-after-Techdirt-spat.html

    http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2009/09/british-music-industry-split-on-whether-to-constrain-or-terminate-file-sharers-bandwidth/

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090924/0241556300.shtml

    It's a shame the BBC doesn't seem to investigate this - if there's uncertainty about it, why not ask Lily Allen about it? She doesn't seem to deny it.

  • Comment number 72.


    As for the alleged "vitriol" - take a look at this offensive rant by James Allan, made against those who dared to criticise Lily Allen and the planned law to disconnect suspected filesharers, that Lily Allen posted to her blog:

    http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/music/a178899/glasvegas-singer-slams-tight-students.html

    But instead, it's newsworthy to report on a few random comments that some may have made against her on the Internet? I saw the blog myself, and all the comments I saw were intelligent and polite. The debate may have been heated - but with her accusations of theft, she gave as good as she got.

  • Comment number 73.

    The only people to lose out from file-sharing are the major labels, and then only because the diet of pabulum they serve up to the public is inferior & only gets anywhere because of the massive promotion machine behind it. There's a great video from Dan Bull doing the rounds on YouTube at the moment about this - in practice, people download some music for free (mostly when they can't get it easily by legal methods or if they just want to listen to it a bit before buying the CD) - then they pass it around a bit & if it's good they buy the album legally or go to a gig. Many smaller labels are finding that releasing mp3s for free is a great loss-leader to get people interested in attending their bands' gigs.

    Music has been around since the stone age - the music industry since 1922. Would music survive without the music industry? Of course it would.

  • Comment number 74.

    Not much to add to this debate, other than state my position, this idea is outrageous. It is not justice under any test. I also add I don't do file sharing, that is not the point. Why others on here assume that every one who does not agree with Lilly Allen must be an aggrieved file sharer I have no idea... have you not heard heard of a thing called "A matter of Principle"

    For what it is worth, every time a busker plays "all along the watchtower" or an other tune that is not theirs including "Happy Birthday to you" they should be paying a royalty to "The Performing Rights Society" (I know they have changed their name recently) or be licenced by them to pay it... They (the Buskers) and bang to rights, you can prove they are the villain, come on Lilly and Crew, get out on the streets and demand your just deserves.. but watch out I think that they may feel moved to do a cover of Lilly's "**** You" ... come one let's all sing along.

  • Comment number 75.

    #70 blade82 wrote:

    "Could Starbucks survive giving out free coffee by simply selling their branded Mugs in store? Of course not, like the record industry cannot supposedly survive off of ticket sales. It's a crazy idea."
    --

    For one thing you seem to be making the assumption that an industry with a demonstrably outdated business model has the right to survive in the first place. If they won't adapt, they will die.

    This copyright debate is full of bad analogies - I have even punted a few myself to illustrate the yawning difference between copyright infringement and theft, but your Starbucks analogy, although as bad as any other, leads to a very important point! :-)

    It is a fact that without artificial restrictions in supply through controlling the means of production, as the marginal cost of a product approaches zero, so does it's value. The marginal cost of producing a copy of a music track today is for all intents and purposes zero.

    So. To make up for the fact they are punting products with a value of zero, media conglomerates are attempting, by any foul means, to implement a market of artificial scarcity. This is of course ludicrously unethical and an offence against consumers.

    Record companies saw this coming and had their chance to adapt, but instead have proceeded to assault their customer base. Where there were vast opportunities for diversification and the adding of value, they missed them completely and instead have attempted to corrupt the judicial process at the expense of us all to support their dying industry.

    Record companies do not represent the interests of artists, they represent the interests of shareholders, and as these interests diverge wildly in the modern world, I as a musician will shed no tears for their demise.


    Finally, cups of coffee have a small marginal cost, not zero, but coffee isn't actually what Starbucks are really selling, is it?

  • Comment number 76.


    I have just spent the last 8 years preparing, arranging, writing, hustling, recording, paying - session people, studios, marketeers, Mac Ops, artworkers, printers, blaggers and accoutants.

    .......but some expect all that for nothing in return?

    My kids need to eat... I can't download that.

    Could be you or yours next......

  • Comment number 77.

    "76. At 9:26pm on 26 Sep 2009, neilephipps wrote:

    I have just spent the last 8 years preparing, arranging, writing, hustling, recording, paying - session people, studios, marketeers, Mac Ops, artworkers, printers, blaggers and accoutants.

    .......but some expect all that for nothing in return?

    My kids need to eat... I can't download that.

    Could be you or yours next......"

    I need to eat also. I'm only on a salary of £15k pa and I frequently find myself squeezed for cash to pay for food to the point that I have to scrape each and every penny together at the end of the month.

    What salary are you on? Do your kids go hungry? Do you go hungry?

    Perhaps if you cannot make a living you should be questioning the way your industry works the same as anyone else would, or get into another industry.

    Instead of accusing and threatening your customers.

    Change or die. It's called evolution, I think it was discovered in the 19th century, it's a shame the music industry is still stuck in the 19th century!

  • Comment number 78.

    Often this debate seems to polarise between musicians saying "Why should I work for free", and everyone else whom they assume is not a musician. Well, leaving aside the many musicians who do oppose this law, and disagree with the stance of Lily Allen, I'd like to explain from my point of view.

    No, I'm not a professional musician. But I am a software programmer, so my work does require copyright. There are three main points:

    1. Yes, the software I produce relies on copyright. I do not argue for the abolition of copyright. It is a straw man argument to polarise the debate into pro/anti-copyright. However, I do not support this planned law on disconnecting or restricting Internet access. And do you know what? I think I'm damn lucky to be working on something where I can write it once, and it can be copied over and over again, with people paying me extra. Sure, there might be some additional copies made by people don't pay - but I don't care. I realise instead how lucky and privileged I am to be working in a job that I enjoy, making more money than most people do. Yet the creative control I have, and the money I earn, is still a mere fraction over that enjoyed by Lily Allen. Indeed, I'm a perfect example of the "little guy" that she, and many of you, like to speak for - "the guy who works in the studios" etc. I'm the little guy who hasn't made it rich, working for the company that sells content that could be pirated, and pays me a wage. Yet I oppose this law, and I think Lily Allen's arguments were flawed and badly made. And don't you dare claim to speak on my behalf.

    2. Back when I was a poor student, I sold software I wrote directly. The amount of money was trivial. I know for a fact that people had pirated my software, because I saw pirated keyfiles. Yeah, I might prefer they bought it, but equally I couldn't claim it was a lost sale. I got over it - it's not worth caring about. Instead I thought it was great that I was still earning a bit of extra money from something creative I enjoyed, instead of working a boring job at minimum wage (which I did have to do at times, too).

    3. Today, although I have a professional job, I still write open source software in my spare time. I do respect copyrights when I distribute my work. Unlike music, software is usually dependent on other software such as libraries, so we have to be careful to follow the licences. In particular, as a free author, I have to look for freely distributable libraries. Furthermore I like to write games, and as I can't do my own graphics, sound - including music - I have to seek out free content (e.g., Creative Commons licences). Even though I'm not making any money out of this, I still bend over backwards trying to find out such material and make sure that everything's properly licenced, keeping tracking of the details. And then, guess what - I find out that Lily Allen, the anti-filesharing crusader who is lobbying for a law I strongly oppose, is more than happy to completely abuse copyrights when it comes to promoting her own work, in the mix "tapes" (which were fileshared mp3s). You know, I would love to be able to just not have to worry - to pick the music and graphics that I would like to use, and put it in my games, just like she picked the songs she liked to go with her work on her mix.

    Yet, I'm the one being labelled the thieving pirate who gives nothing back (and receiving torrents of abusive filth) simply for disagreeing with her arguments and opposing the planned law, whilst she's portrayed as some moral crusader of content producers' rights, and how we should all feel sorry for the "vitriol" she's received. What's wrong with this picture?

  • Comment number 79.

    "78. At 01:53am on 27 Sep 2009, _mdwh_ wrote:

    What's wrong with this picture?"

    Money and PR. Lily Allen and co. have more money and better PR than you do.

    You can get away with murder if you have money and good lawyers/PR people.

  • Comment number 80.

    Why can't the music business not work out software and/or a program that would actually encourage file sharing in such a way that users could participate where they purchase music a la iTunes but subsequently could share it with their friends in a sort of sales way (but perhaps at a discount) where the more music shared (and sold) they could earn a bit of the profit?

    Thanks,

    -Scott

  • Comment number 81.

    #78 _mdwh_

    All good points, well made.

    I think we should bear in mind that most producers of works ( especially in the entertainment industries ) are pretty ignorant about copyright in general, and are getting taken for a ride by "right-holders" and their legal mafia just as much as Joe Public is. I think they are probably quite easily duped by these parasites into believing that intangible property is subject to the same legal principles as physical property and therefore becoming influential mouthpieces for the "stealing" mantra.

    The sheer audacity of the deception employed by these people is truly breathtaking and is making a mockery of justice systems worldwide - In Sweden, for example, the presiding judge in the copyright trial against The Pirate Bay was a member of an organisation that lobbies for stronger copyright laws - and this didn't even raise an eyebrow in the establishment! So deep is the corruption in the system that when he was accused of bias, the judge that cleared him of bias had been a member of the same organisation!

    Since copyright and intellectual property is the biggest goldmine imaginable for the legal system, I think looking to the law for a fair solution in these problems is naive and pointless. The rights holders mob, the legal profession, and the state are essentially in cahoots on this - they all have their reasons for making personal privacy a thing of the past.

    Being not only a musician, but a reasonable programmer myself, I've often thought about writing plugins for bittorrent clients that take the widely available RIAA/BPI IP blocklists, and instead of just blocking them, allows users to serve up public domain files to these ip adresses as "Lily Allen - Smile.mp3" and such - even maybe allowing users themselves to serve up their own, copyrighted material under false names. The idea being to obfuscate the situation as much as possible and create a legal quagmire around disconnection. A few "3 strikes and out" letters to the RIAA and friends would be a chuckle.

  • Comment number 82.

    77. At 00:55am on 27 Sep 2009, ravenmorpheus2k wrote:
    I need to eat also.


    And the money for that comes from...? Ah yes, your salary.

    Pity if your employer's industry also found itself 'evolved' into one in a world where those who expect to be looked after by others have decided that their fun needs to be funded at the expense of those who create.

    I am sure you will happily then get on your bike. And not be demanding protection left, right and centre.

    Careful what you wish for.

  • Comment number 83.

    They are going in the totally wrong direction here. Instead of threatening and punishing the people who don't support them, they need to make it more appealing. I used to buy my music from iTunes, but now that the record companies have forced Apple to increase the price on the more popular songs, I don't buy from there.

    The companies must have noticed declining sales, so instead of making it more appealing to buy the music, they just decided to milk the loyal customer base for what its worth, and in my situation at least, have lost a customer. I still try to buy my music, from Amazon, now, but who knows when that will be forced to up the prices, too.

    Stop the greed, and the threats, and you'll have me back for good, I'll go back to paying for all my music, happily.

  • Comment number 84.

    #82 JunkkMale wrote:

    "Pity if your employer's industry also found itself 'evolved' into one in a world where those who expect to be looked after by others have decided that their fun needs to be funded at the expense of those who create."
    ---


    Prove that file-sharing has decreased or increased sales one way or another, then think about accusing and vilifying your customers. Good grief, prove that the the entire, vast file-sharing ecosystem has resulted in ONE lost sale, nevermind proving it has resulted in enough of a financial hemorrhage to justify draconian changes to the law to accommodate financial interests at the expense of your customers' fundamental rights. Making the people who pay your wages the enemy is surely the right way to go, innit?

  • Comment number 85.

    "82. At 10:57am on 27 Sep 2009, JunkkMale wrote:

    77. At 00:55am on 27 Sep 2009, ravenmorpheus2k wrote:
    I need to eat also.

    And the money for that comes from...? Ah yes, your salary.

    Pity if your employer's industry also found itself 'evolved' into one in a world where those who expect to be looked after by others have decided that their fun needs to be funded at the expense of those who create.

    I am sure you will happily then get on your bike. And not be demanding protection left, right and centre.

    Careful what you wish for."

    If the company I work for does not move with the times and keep up with technology then yes I would be on my bike as I'd definitely be looking for alternative employment.

    I certainly wouldn't be accusing our customers of putting us out of business. Which is what the music industry seems intent on doing.

    But then I work for a BlackBerry support company in the UK so I guess being at the forefront of mobile communications technology it's easy to forget that some companies just don't understand progress and evolution of a business model.

    ------

    "84. At 11:26am on 27 Sep 2009, 0xdeadbeef wrote:

    #82 JunkkMale wrote:

    "Pity if your employer's industry also found itself 'evolved' into one in a world where those who expect to be looked after by others have decided that their fun needs to be funded at the expense of those who create."
    ---


    Prove that file-sharing has decreased or increased sales one way or another, then think about accusing and vilifying your customers. Good grief, prove that the the entire, vast file-sharing ecosystem has resulted in ONE lost sale, nevermind proving it has resulted in enough of a financial hemorrhage to justify draconian changes to the law to accommodate financial interests at the expense of your customers' fundamental rights. Making the people who pay your wages the enemy is surely the right way to go, innit?"

    Indeed. It's funny when challenged with that question that the music industry cannot prove their claims.

  • Comment number 86.

    All they have to do is look at King Crimsons system. They USE torrent. [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 87.

    The best way to curb illegal file sharing is to offer something better:

    1) Reduce prices so people can have large music collections without spending thousands of pounds

    2) Offer the mp3s at different qualities, a guaranteed high bit rate is attractive and adds value

    3) Invest in bandwidth, fans want their songs asap

    One place to get all songs fast and cheaply is the best model to increase revenues for the industry.

  • Comment number 88.

    We didn't ban cars because they put farriers out of business, they had to start selling petrol. There are whole sectors of business that have disappeared through technological advances. Record companies were happy enough with digital technology when they could resell us their back catalogues at inflated prices, now they've got hold of the other end of the stick. They have to learn the lesson from King Canute and adapt or die; that's if you believe their entirely unsubstantiated position that every file swap equates to a lost sale, which is costing them millions a year. The fact that they have flooded the market with undifferentiated product probably has nothing to do with the fact that consumers value it at considerably less than the companies want to charge for it and are therefore refusing to buy it. Or are they? There are no reliable figures in this debate, only hype, which is appropriate considering the record companies invented the practice.

  • Comment number 89.

    Lilly did it because she is has the aristocracy of the arts in her favour. As a recording muscian who hopes and dreams as much as anyone, Boo to it all I say give the artists the money and forget about the big 3 record label industry.

  • Comment number 90.

    The article itself music as being a product of money rather than a product of art, which in the articles main point one of very much irony.

  • Comment number 91.

    erm, pointless & outdated

    ill leave this here:

    http://listen.grooveshark.com/

    100% legal, everybody (including lily allen gets paid)
    I wonder if anyone will get cut off using sites like this, that would be funny.

  • Comment number 92.

    84. At 11:26am on 27 Sep 2009, 0xdeadbeef

    Prove that file-sharing has decreased or increased sales one way or another, then think about accusing and vilifying your customers.


    As you can't possibly, and hence don't know my circumstances, I have to hope you are directing your comment at the majors. They might be able to, but I am not in the position of successfully proving a negative.

    Though as the co-lyricist of a very talented composer, it is often sad to see our music posted online in places that seem to be making money out of it, when we are pretty sure we didn't get any money this end. And I still recall, if wryly, the time we donated a CD to a local charity raffle. The lady in charge called to say the winner loved it, and recommended it to all the committee. So I offered a bulk discount. 'No need,' she said, cheerfully, 'we've all made copies'.

    Making the people who pay your wages the enemy is surely the right way to go, innit?

    Tend to agree with your sentiment. But as with so many things, it is hardly black or white, and I merely shared some sympathy originally with another who also did not come across as 'the man' and, with some justification, seemed a bit concerned about the 'I have every right to take this without the creator being paid' mentality that is the other extreme of the less than stellar arguments and instruments used by much bigger fish... who I suspect do not spend much time here, and are unlikely to be troubled much.

    85. At 12:11pm on 27 Sep 2009, ravenmorpheus2k wrote:

    I do find that just sharing a snippet rather than pasting the whole thing saves so much time, and can often aid clarity.

    But then I work for a BlackBerry support company in the UK so I guess being at the forefront of mobile communications technology it's easy to forget that some companies just don't understand progress and evolution of a business model

    All the more valuable for the full cut and paste re-repetition to be sure, but hardly helpful to those using Blackberrys either, I'd hazard.

    At risk of setting off another analogy herring, I await, with interest, the consequences of the release of a Blackpenny mobile running knock-off apps that do the same job at 1/10th the price.

    It's funny when challenged with that question that the music industry cannot prove their claims.

    See above. I just rather suspect the 'music-industry' is more nuanced than you both imagine/suggest.

    Probably best to leave the tag-team to rail against the non-income generating execs who in turn rail against the more freely-motivated sharers, as I doubt seeing any middle ground is possible from either so entrenched a 'side'.

    Pity for the prospects of creators, punters and the future of fairly funded talent, mind. IMHO.

    Some good, balanced comments elsewhere though, so well worth staying to lurk. There may yet be solutions to satisfy those who make music, and those who wish to enjoy the fruits of their labours.

  • Comment number 93.

    @ Comment 70; you wrote "Many folks here have said "I download songs, but I buy them if I like them" - so they are in essence suggesting the music business becomes a charity, and that buying music is a bit like leaving a tip in a restaurant. Could a restaurant survive on tips only? Would you invest in a restaurant who's business plan was to make money solely through tips? I wouldn't. Could Starbucks survive giving out free coffee by simply selling their branded Mugs in store? Of course not, like the record industry cannot supposedly survive off of ticket sales. It's a crazy idea."

    A very fair point, but if you drank or ate their goods and found them to be bland, boring or downright awful, you can complain and get your money back. Can't do that with music

    "Hi {music store} I bought {album} here yesterday but think it's terrible, can I have my money back please?"

    Whereas ...

    Download music - did you like what you heard?
    Yes = Purchase CD or see live
    No = bin

    Of course, there will be some who answered "yes" but then don't go out and buy it but the question is "would they have bought it anyway had it not been available free on P2P?".

    This is what the music "industry" are claiming, that every single download = a missed sale.

    NOT TRUE.

    And that is a point they seem to be overlooking in order to make it sound a heck of a lot worse than it probably is.

  • Comment number 94.

    @post 59, ref DRM.

    The answer to your question is simple, only buy from the legal download sites which have scraped DRM, DRM protected tracks are (thankfully) dying out replaced with mp3s or aac files. Even iTunes has gotten rid of DRM (to some extent)

  • Comment number 95.

    It will be interesting to see who the contributors to Labour party coffers were after the next election.

    The music industry is banging on with an outdated business model that requires that ordinary citizens are criminalised for something as innocuous as listening to music. And they want to continue to sell what are after all just copies of other people's work. Trouble is, they have lots of their ill-gotten from the past to spend on it and it will be interesting to follow the money and see ow they have gone about diong that.

    And the artists... well, if you could sing a song and not ahev to work again for the rest of your life you would probably do the same. Assuming of course that you don't have any inconvenient burdens to bear such as a sense of social responsibility, ethics etc.

    I can only hope that the great unwashed vote with their wallets (I have - I never buy music even if that means not listening to it).

    But then again, part of their marketing strategy is to target the consciousness of the young and vulnerable (it has to eb new to eb good, if you don't have the latest you're not with it etc etc). All of which goes back to the other topic we debate a lot these days - companies without proper stewardship, governance, regulation, accountability and social responsibility.

    There's a lot to do in this respect and the so-called music "industry" should be an early casualty of any real attempt to sort it out. The internet provides an exciting new horizon for genuine artists, only those accepted by the status quo would defend the status quo - since the "industry" also controls what the public get to hear and that will be much harder if the net becomes the medium of choice for propagation of new art.

  • Comment number 96.

    #92 JunkkMale

    "As you can't possibly, and hence don't know my circumstances, I have to hope you are directing your comment at the majors. They might be able to, but I am not in the position of successfully proving a negative."

    ---

    This is the crux of the matter. It is a logical fallacy to attempt to prove a negative, even for major labels, no matter how many lawyers and millions of dollars they throw at the problem. And this is what gets my goat more than anything - people are going to be on the receiving end of vigilante justice because of the unprovable. The people behind these particular proposals are a lynch mob, nothing more. They get to open your mail, read it's contents and punish you themselves if they don't like the contents. That's pretty sick.

    ---

    "The lady in charge called to say the winner loved it, and recommended it to all the committee. So I offered a bulk discount. 'No need,' she said, cheerfully, 'we've all made copies'."

    This is what I alluded to earlier - like it or not, technology has made the intrinsic value of the product you punt zero, just like 90-odd years ago, technology gave it an actual value only because the means of production was in the hands of a very few people who milked the consumer time and again.

    The might seem like a blow, but for non-majors the downside is there might be a non-provable chance that someone, somewhere, sometime might have not bought a track as the result of downloading it and liking it, while the upside is you get fair crack at a market of 1 billion people and expanding.

    As for the majors, well - they lost. They are the British Leyland of the arts. Musicians like us are now in control of our own destiny and I for one have no trouble with that at all.

  • Comment number 97.

    One of the first real objectives of the music industry in their calls for the prevention of poeple copying music without paying for it, is to divert attention from the fact that that sales are down because quality is down!

    It is the same argument they took when people transferred CDs to cassettes in the 90s, before personal CD players and the ability to write your own compilations became widespread. Then it was blank CDs that got the attention.
    If/when we ever invent cyber implants that enable us to record and playback our own brain signals, no doubt they will argue we should pay them for keeping our own memories unless we delete their copyrighted material from the background!


    So far this year I have bought 5 CDs. Not one of them originally recorded after 1995! Why? Because of 2 factors:

    1) Not much of high enough quality for it to be worth while my spending money on it.

    2) What has been recorded that is worth while, is too expensive for what it is.


    Take a look at almost any big blockbuster film of the last few years, and look at the price to buy that film on DVD.
    Now look up the cost of the soundtrack. Almost inevitably the soundtrack will cost more, often 2 or 3 times the price! Surely I jest?
    Nope.
    A $150 million movie will cost half as much to own as the soundtrack that cost around 1% of that, and was already paid for in the aforementioned budget!


    I have around 500 DVDs on my shelves, most of which cost under a fiver and I had seen prior to purchasing them.
    It is the music industries wish that I take a completely different approach in purchasing music. That I buy before I try, and pay twice as much for something that costs a fraction to produce.

    And why do they take this attitude?

    They take it because the majority of those in the industry are no longer relevant in the world of modern digital technology.
    They take it because their huge profits, greater by far on every single CD or download sale than the artist will ever recieve, is threatened.
    But most of all, they take it because they can!

  • Comment number 98.

    "92. At 12:00pm on 28 Sep 2009, JunkkMale wrote:

    85. At 12:11pm on 27 Sep 2009, ravenmorpheus2k wrote:

    I do find that just sharing a snippet rather than pasting the whole thing saves so much time, and can often aid clarity.

    But then I work for a BlackBerry support company in the UK so I guess being at the forefront of mobile communications technology it's easy to forget that some companies just don't understand progress and evolution of a business model

    All the more valuable for the full cut and paste re-repetition to be sure, but hardly helpful to those using Blackberrys either, I'd hazard.

    At risk of setting off another analogy herring, I await, with interest, the consequences of the release of a Blackpenny mobile running knock-off apps that do the same job at 1/10th the price.

    It's funny when challenged with that question that the music industry cannot prove their claims.

    See above. I just rather suspect the 'music-industry' is more nuanced than you both imagine/suggest.

    Probably best to leave the tag-team to rail against the non-income generating execs who in turn rail against the more freely-motivated sharers, as I doubt seeing any middle ground is possible from either so entrenched a 'side'.

    Pity for the prospects of creators, punters and the future of fairly funded talent, mind. IMHO.

    Some good, balanced comments elsewhere though, so well worth staying to lurk. There may yet be solutions to satisfy those who make music, and those who wish to enjoy the fruits of their labours."

    -------------

    Sorry I know how much you love clarity but selectively quoting has it's uses, i.e. cutting down on post size so people don't have to re-read irrelevant bits when a person is not replying to the whole post.

    As for your point about "pirated" apps on a BlackBerry, I doubt that will happen as any apps made for the BlackBerry are generally third party or open source and the people who profit from apps on a BlackBerry are not RIM as they profit from the hardware itself, as does the company I work for.

    Also I would have thought that would have happened before now.

    And I am confident that RIM certainly would not go to the lengths of attempting to criminalise their customers.

    The argument that the music industry is using is that EVERYONE is downloading and not paying for what they download, and quite frankly that's a misleading fact at best. Sure there may be a small core of people who download without paying for what they download but would they pay for it anyway? No sales are lost from people who download a copy something they would otherwise not buy in the first place.

    And yes there is a middle ground - the "majors" as you call them can prove what they are claiming, that they are losing money due to file sharing, which doesn't appear to be the case if some of the reports about the current value of the music industry are to be believed.

    So far no-one has shown a shred of proof for or against the argument that downloading does indeed have an impact on the industry in terms of loss of income.

    If the music industry changes their business model to a model that suits the consumer instead of just ripping us off and then whining when they feel they aren't making enough profits then they might just find their profits will expand.

    But given their current stance I doubt that will happen.

    Bye bye music industry.

  • Comment number 99.

    Why does everyone think that the music industry is in trouble? It's merely changing.

    30 years ago, record companies lost money sending bands on tour but they hoped that the advertising would mean more sales and therefore bigger profits.
    Now, the reverse is true. Record companies (or the bands themselves, since labels are fast becoming obsolete) lose money releasing the album, but a live show is the one thing you cannot illegally copy.

    This is why artists like Madonna have started putting on regular shows after spending a couple of decades only making special appearances. They see the sales figures, they know where the money is now - concert tickets and merchandise.

    Actors are finding a similar issue - people are downloading movies which is why you see so many big Hollywood names appear in the far-harder-to-download weekly series.

    On one hand, this is a bad thing. Nobody wants to give their product away for free, especially when it's something as personal as a song lovingly created from your own heart and soul (yes I'm a musician myself - Albany Down, thanks for asking). But internet speeds, small file sizes and the availability of quality home recording software means that it's much easier for small unknown acts to get their music out there. And this is great news for anyone starting out.

    iTunes is only one of many platforms which can be used to set up your own store. Amazon requires an ISDN number, but you can get one of those without totally breaking the bank. And record labels are actually a hindrance there, since you keep 100% of the profits.

    They couldn't stop piracy when it was some shifty guy in a market with a load of blank cassettes; they certainly can't stop it now that it's global and anonymous. It's time the industry stopped focusing on what they've lost and start thinking about what they still have - their live show.
    Unless their problem is that they simply CAN'T perform live, in which case they have no business calling themselves musicians at all and the industry won't miss them.

  • Comment number 100.

    For those quoting the Theft Act 1968, rather than dictionaries, to claim they aren't thieves, perhaps read all of the act:

    Section 4 (1) "Property" includes money and all other property, real or personal including things in action and other intangible property.

    Section 6 (1) A person appropriating property belonging to another without meaning the other permanently to lose the thing itself is nevertheless to be regarded as having the intention of permanently depriving the other of it if his intention is to treat the thing as his own to dispose of regardless of the others rights

    If you take something that doesn't belong to you without permission from the owner it is theft. Morally, legally and ethically. There are all kinds of valid arguments for or against different methods to stop it happening, and business arguments for how the music industry needs to adapt to changing times etc, but I wish people who download illegally would at least admit that they're thieves. All this rationalisation to make people feel better about themselves does my head in.

 

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