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Ethics of Downloading Music; need some opinions on this

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bdb

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LukeA said:
The music business model is ill-suited for this economy where users are creating content for themselves.
People creating music for themselves isn't having any noticeable effect on the market. The two biggest change with digital music are that people are able to copy and distribute much more easily, and buying singles (and not the whole album) is much more feasible. DRM will have an effect once more people begin to understand it.

Glorybox3737 said:
If the RIAA had it's way we'd probably have a system set up like the current subscription services... pay monthly....
Actually the RIAA has already articulated how they would have it - no space-shifting or format-shifting. You can buy a CD, but if you want a copy on your iPod, you buy another copy in that format. If you want a copy in your car, you buy another copy. They justify this because music is so "inexpensive" that you can "affordably" buy as many copies as you want to use.
 

melsmusic

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bdb said:
Actually the RIAA has already articulated how they would have it - no space-shifting or format-shifting. You can buy a CD, but if you want a copy on your iPod, you buy another copy in that format. If you want a copy in your car, you buy another copy. They justify this because music is so "inexpensive" that you can "affordably" buy as many copies as you want to use.
I could only see that leading to an increase in illegal downloading. I remember this guy's podcast when the whole Sony rootkit problem arose. I won't name it as he said the following. "#### Sonys rootkit, I did not, repeat, I did not go to allofmp3 to download xxxx album. Remember, you should not go to allofmp3 to download xxxx album." I think he repeated #### Sony a few more times in the podcast. It was very funny. :D

Now this guy talks about music as his living, buys cds, but the rootkit obviously annoyed him enough to go to the extent of downloading it at allofmp3.

If they want to impose that type of action, I can't see it doing any favours for them.
 

cks2006

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jhollington said:
The issue of downloading music if you already own a recording of it in some form is a much more grey area, and while I don't think there are any ethical issues with that (any more than there are in making your own copy), the reality is that such behaviour would probably be construed as a violation of copyright in the most technical of terms. Again, there is no express permission for this in the copyright law, and copying from other sources would not likely be construed as "fair use"
It has been considered a violation in the USA, in the mp3.com case.
For you to legally posess a copy based on your posession of an original, the copy has to be duplicated from your original, to the degree you are legally entitled to duplicate that original and posess the copy in the first place.

neb said:
I do not see why some people are taking it upon themselves to try and distinguish a loaf of bread and a song; in an economics environment they are both the same. This means that theft occurs in exactly the same way.
They are justifying their "theft", by saying that the copyright holder hasn't physically lost anything for their gain, where the baker has lost something phyisical in their "theft"

bdb said:
I downloaded an album a few days ago, and listened to it but wasn't impressed, so I deleted it. Exactly how much income did I "steal" from the artist?
Their share of the album sale. The fact you Listened to it once and deleted it doesn't erase the fact you downloaded it probably against their will.

bdb said:
So you believe that buying used CDs is "stealing"?
No, because, for an original CD, your license is for the content is the physical CD. The record company and artist has been paid. The license is trasnferred from the original owner (who has presumable not duplicated it, or has erased or included duplicates).

If you make it a practice of purchasing CDs, copying them , and reselling just the original, you are stealing.
 
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cks2006 said:
It has been considered a violation in the USA, in the mp3.com case.
For you to legally posess a copy based on your posession of an original, the copy has to be duplicated from your original, to the degree you are legally entitled to duplicate that original and posess the copy in the first place.
Actually, in the MP3.COM case the issue was with the distribution of that content, not the downloading of it.

It's illegal for somebody to run a site that provides this content, even in the midst of disclaimers and other proofs that you must already own the content, but it didn't really answer the question as to whether it's legal for the people downloading that content.

I realize it's a fine line, but the case was based on mp3.com attempting to distribute content on the basis of people already owning that content. This was most definitely a violation of copyright for a multitude of reasons, but this was based on the fact that they were producing copies and distributing them.

The jury is still out, as it were, on whether it's legal or not for the person who is downloading the content. In the very least, it would be relatively difficult to prove that you didn't rip it from your own source media unless they could trace it back to the download, the reality of the RIAA or anybody else being able to successfully win a case against you in court on this would be extremely unlikely.

From an ethical point of view, I really wouldn't have an issue with downloading a song or movie that I already own, except for the fact that I really don't see the point (that's usually far more trouble than simply ripping it -- even in the case of a DVD).
 

bdb

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cks2006 said:
Their share of the album sale. The fact you Listened to it once and deleted it doesn't erase the fact you downloaded it probably against their will.
A download and single listen is not much different than borrowing a CD. In some stores, you can pick out a CD and listen to it one time in the store. As with these cases, it doesn't result in an album sale, and it is not a substitute for an album sale since it doesn't result in me having anything but very temporary possession of the content. If there was a value set for a single play, as Jacko has pointed out, that might be the actual loss, but there is no such thing. The closest to thing this temporary use is the playcount authorized for free with the Zune - 3 plays in three days.

As I said earlier, I never was discounting the bread analogy to justify downloading of music as a substitute for purchasing a CD. One doesn't have to agree with a barely-relevant analogy to agree that it is theft. The rules, laws, and standards for intellectual property aren't the same as those for physical property, and pretending they are doesn't make an effective argument. Jhollington presented a clear definition of how copyright violation can be theft, and no one tried to disagree in order to "justify" something.

Also, as I pointed out ealier, labels don't all have the same feelings about downloads - the RIAA labels of course make it clear that they have a huge problem with it, so I agree you shouldn't download their music (from an ethical standpoint, I don't think you should buy from them either).

Finally, as Jacko pointed out, this probably isn't a common behavior anyway so its probably not worth a lot of discussion. The vast majority of people don't download music purely for research purposes.

Perhaps you should read the thread instead of making me re-hash it.
 
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cks2006

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bdb said:
A download and single listen is not much different than borrowing a CD. In some stores, you can pick out a CD and listen to it one time in the store. As with these cases, it doesn't result in an album sale, and it is not a substitute for an album sale since it doesn't result in me having anything but very temporary possession of the content. If there was a value set for a single play, as Jacko has pointed out, that might be the actual loss, but there is no such thing. The closest to thing this temporary use is the playcount authorized for free with the Zune - 3 plays in three days.
The store is more than likely to have the right to supply in-store CD sampling, as does the Zune and other legit online services.

The P2P download site/service likely has no authorisation to supply samples, let alone permanent tracks.

The fact you were downloading form a P2P site for the claimed purposes of sampling is a non point, as you downloaded an unauthorised copy period.
 

bdb

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This thread is about ethics, not about authorization. If the net effect is the same (or more restrictive) than existing authorized use, what is so unethical about it? In many cases, I've bought music I wouldn't otherwise have even known about - how is it unethical for me to do what is in the best interest of the content owner? What is so ethical about forcing me to decide based on misleading 30-second samples?

In any case, you needn't convince me; as I stated earlier in this thread, I've decided to take whatever is officially "authorized" to heart, and mostly remain in the dark about new music. I've bought a lot of music, and a lot of people have bought music they've heard about through me, so its a net loss for the industry...it baffles me how this is a "good" thing, but people on this board who are closer to content owners than me seem to think so. Its not as if indie music is easy to find out about...

I'll have to say I found it suprising how many people feel I'm so wrong for simply demanding that I should be allowed to actually hear what I'm about to buy, before I have to choose to buy it. Perhaps your willingness to put up with this nonsense is why we're in this situation - if they had to let you actually hear the music first, they might not get away with releasing such lousy music. I don't see it any different from feeling I should have the right to try on a shirt before buying it.
 
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baggss

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bdb said:
Actually the RIAA has already articulated how they would have it - no space-shifting or format-shifting. You can buy a CD, but if you want a copy on your iPod, you buy another copy in that format. If you want a copy in your car, you buy another copy. They justify this because music is so "inexpensive" that you can "affordably" buy as many copies as you want to use.
At $18.99 a pop in many stores, "cheap" is not the word I would use to describe lots of music these days. If they think that's cheap, someone needs to put down the crack pipe for a bit.
 

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And that's why RIAA isn't getting #### and will continue if they plan on staying that greedy. xD
 

neb

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cks2006 said:
They are justifying their "theft", by saying that the copyright holder hasn't physically lost anything for their gain, where the baker has lost something physical in their "theft".
Not physical no, but that is completely frivolous and irrelevant. In economic terms they are both the same, a good. A good provides you with income upon selling it on the market. If both were stole then the respective owner would lose the ability to accumulate income. If the law was decided on whether the stolen good can be physically represented then I am sure you would agree this would cause a lot more problems then it would solve. You cannot distinguish between the two when they are essentially the same.

This justification is very weak and not a good basis for stealing in the first place. No one in this thread has been able to distinguish between that loaf of bread and a music download. Until you do I will believe you are no more than a petty thief. One which prides themselves on skirting around the law and wallowing in their own sense of achievement without a due care for anyone else, least of all the people they are stealing from.
 

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^^You have no pirated software? Never downloaded music off of a p2p? I'm just curious, either way to me it does not matter, as you make a very compelling statement in the above.
 

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toothpaste said:
^^You have no pirated software? Never downloaded music off of a p2p? I'm just curious, either way to me it does not matter, as you make a very compelling statement in the above.
I can honestly say: no.

I don't feel the need to when there are ample ways to accumulate music cheaply, whether it be discounted CDs or services such as eMusic. Our drive to find a cheaper alternative is sometimes damaging. People will continue to use allofmp3 because it is the cheapest music service going, that is without downloading for free over a p2p network.

This is in much the same way as certain people continuing to buy Nescafé (amongst others) coffee because it's cheaper than fair trade, yet they have little knowledge about what implications their economic decisions have on the third world coffee growers. I do not want to sound righteous here, but to only promote awareness. Music has a similar chain whereby we need to ensure artists have enough money to continue making the music we all love. It seems right to pay that bit extra to invest in the future.
 

bdb

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neb said:
No one in this thread has been able to distinguish between that loaf of bread and a music download.
Actually we have; you just didn't like the differences. Jacko just wrote them off as "irrelevant". Music can be consumed in its entirety and still exist as it was originally. When bread is consumed in its entirety, the resulting product is...well, quite different. Bread cannot be loaned and then returned exactly as it originally was, music can.

While it may not be all that common, it is possible to treat downloads like a "loan". As in the case of borrowing a CD, one is not paying the vendor for their product, and both consume it in its entirety. This sort of scenario simply can't exist with bread.

People who visit music blogs are "thieves" by the bread analogy, though it is a significant form of networking that results in a lot of sales. For all I can tell its a recognized method of advertising, even though every blog doesn't get authorization from the dozens of labels whose music they post.

The only reason I can think of to insist on the bread analogy is to keep things the way they have been, and refuse to recognize new technology. The "social networking" in the Zune, while probably doomed to failure by its limited scope, represents my view of a better world. You can download anything you like, and listen to it a few times. The content owner can use whatever DRM they like (since they've transferred no ownership yet) - in fact, it would be better if this "preview-only" DRM were designed to break every few days, to discourage cracks. Unfortunately, the labels see DRM only as a way to control the music after they've sold it to you.

Music has a similar chain whereby we need to ensure artists have enough money to continue making the music we all love. It seems right to pay that bit extra to invest in the future.
Given the all-too-common scenario of the album with "two good songs and the rest is crap", most of the buyers' money is invested in music they don't even like. By buying music when they only let us hear a tiny bit of it, this behavior is encouraged.

Its like buying clothes from a store that won't let you try them on - a lot won't fit, but hey, 'they have families to feed'. Its odd how many who insist on using analogies to physical goods don't hold the music companies to the same standards of ethics of those who sell physical goods.

Like you, I'm interested in what benefits the artists (and producers, etc), and for that reason I reject the bread analogy. Everyone else who has insisted on the bread analogy has also insisted that it didn't matter if the content owner profited from the activity, and thus it is better to do something that is authorized but makes little or no money for the content owner.
 
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LukeA

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baggss said:
At $18.99 a pop in many stores, "cheap" is not the word I would use to describe lots of music these days. If they think that's cheap, someone needs to put down the crack pipe for a bit.
To quote Whitney Houston: "[We're] rich. Crack is cheap. Why would [we] do crack?"

They need to put away the nose candy.
 
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