Piracy - The Best Policy?

A discussion over the dilemma of the rightfulness of pirated music. Valid arguments and explanations put up and more are required.

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Hi, I'm FlameGame and I wanted to write an article on the dilemma that I have about the rightfulness of pirated music. Well, piracy does not exist only in the fields of music, but in other art-forms such as movies as well. But the question still exists - Is piracy the right thing to do?

[NOTE : This is not an article which supports piracy, or is against it. Read it to know what it is about]

The answer is what you decide to be. Piracy is prohibited by law in most countries (or all). I think everyone of us agrees that it is a form of stealing.

A proper definition of 'stealing' (as given on a dictionary) is "The act of taking something from someone unlawfully".

As I said earlier, piracy of music is unlawful in most countries, so it fis perfectly into the definition of stealing.

Anyways, I thought I would share my personal 'encounters' with piracy. I live in India, and believe me or not, piracy exists at its top-form here. Though metal music is not quite popular, there are some decent shops where you can buy good CDs. Only the very very very famous stuff reach here. Good stuff is not released here so soon, or it takes a lot of searching. So I tend to go where everyone on the planet can - THE INTERNET (It is not even a powerful term anymore to be put in block). You can find every piece of music on the Internet, fully downloadable and free. (FREE - now thats a powerful term).

I respect music a lot and respect every musician who takes the time to put his inspiration together and compose his own music. Therefore, my heart wants to give the musician whatever he deserves.

Now, on the respect of buying records, I see many people saying that musicians/bands get very little amounts of money on the purchase of a CD/records. They tell me that most money goes to the recording companies and those big label companies.

Two objections here:

1. The simple principle of tiny droplets filling up a bucket. If we all get pirated music, the musicians would be a handful poorer. You can't deny a person what he deserves just because he would be getting little of what you pay. When a rich person wins a lottery, you can't deny him a small car because he already owns a limo. 2. There are people working and earning their livelihoods at the recording companies too. They need a bit of the action, too. They work like people, they deserve like people. And the fact that the musician knows what percentage of the money he will be getting, he is the one who signed the contract, remember?

We all can't leave old habits. So, once you downloaded music for free, you get addicted to it and download lots and lots. Believe me, I know some guys who get freaky when they don't download something regularly.

Here is an explanation for why we should download or support pirated music, I quote:

"OK, lets take it this way:

1. A guy named X made a tool called the SCREWDRIVER. 2. It got patented by a company, which started selling screwdrivers. Now, if a person A buys a screwdriver and makes an exact copy of it, would you call it stealing? Because the guy is a factor in reducing the sales a little of the company that patented the screwdriver. And now if A makes million copies of the screwdriver and gives them away for free and I take it from him, not from the company that patented the screwdriver, would I be stealing the company? Of course not! If this keeps happening, I'm sure you lil' teenagers who throw a lot of crap like they know, you wouldn't be able to make you cute little kaleidoscopes and magnifying glasses for projects, because these objects are patented by one or the other company. SO START DOWNLOADING GUYS, YOU ARE JUST TAKING IT FOR FREE FROM THE GUY, WHO MADE A COPY OF THE MATERIAL HE GOT AND STARTED DISTRIBUTING."

For all of you who have ever downloaded music illegally, you may agree that downloaded music isn't always good quality, but it does the work.

Another good fight I get to see on UG and everywhere is a good one. It is called "TESTING A BAND" explanation. Here, two dudes fight over the rightfulness of piracy. Person A supports downloading music illegally and Person B is his counter-part.

A: Hey man! I downloaded this band, it's really cool, listen to it. B: Nice stuff man, but why would you download music illegally? A: Well, I was just testing the band..you know.. B: There's YouTube for that idiot. You know it's illegal and I'm against it! A: Whatever, I would never walk all the way to a music store just to buy a CD! B: iTunes idiot. THERE'S iTunes to download whatever you want. A: Whatever. B: Get out.

Yea, this is quite common. What most of us fail to know that uploading music without attaining the permission of the owner of the music is illegal, even on YouTube. You would know this if you ever saw a video whose audio or video has been recorded over and dubbed. The disclaimer helps sometimes, otherwise its just your luck. And by the way, there are numerous legal and legitimate free software that allow you download stuff directly from YouTube, it worsens the quality sometimes, but its still good enough to listen to.

For the iTunes part, all the countries do not have access to downloading all the stuff on iTunes. So for them, they have to look for other ways. I do not know how the condition has improved, but I checked sometime back and I couldn't download a Quo Vadis song from iTunes, got the message:

"This song is unavailable in your country or region, please try later" or something like that.

But I like the band because they have made 3 songs from every one of their albums for free download off their official site.

Piracy seems bittersweet. You may get caught for copyright infringement or whatever. You have to pay a lot and serve some time at prison.

That's all the points and objections I got. Don't rate the article on whether you support pirated music or not. Rate it low if you think this is a waste of time and I have missed numerous points and explanations. Please comment with your opinions.

As I stated in the beginning, this is not an article which supports piracy of music or is against it. I am still 15 and in a state of dilemma, if you have a valid explanation to any of the sides, please comment.

26 comments sorted by best / new / date

    ChucklesMginty
    You're going to get a lot of people saying it's not stealing because the original file is copied not removed.
    FlameGame
    alaub1491 wrote: This is poorly constructed. It doesn't really say much of anything at all other then people pirate music because they want to hear it. And btw, torrenting music offers some of the highest quality available as far as mp3s go, better then iTunes. And of course if you download FLAC then it's in lossless so...yeah I didn't get what you were talking about there. This article needs to be 10 times longer and properly researched to be valid.
    go ahead, do it.
    rob904
    Tarsplitter wrote: buttcord wrote: Sorry, I don't think it's fair for a band to charge me money for something I may or may not like. If they're worth a damn, I'll buy merch or see them tour, but I'm not gonna pay for the music itself unless I enjoy every song I'm paying for. If more people did this, maybe the industry wouldn't be so oversaturated."I'm not gonna buy a video game unless I enjoy every single thing about it. If there's one level I dislike I'll just download it and not pay a shit".
    I download video games as well as music
    Axim Bassist
    I download illegally..there is honestly no way i could afford all the music I listen too...even with a job. I still have many expenses and not enough money to cover it. I will continue to download illegally as long as I can. only thing that'll stop me is if I get caught, or if I get a well paying career that allows me to pay for songs...sorry
    zarreph
    I've decided that I will eventually own all the albums in my iTunes library, but at this moment I simply don't have the money to do that (at the moment I have Aerosmith's and Alter Bridge's discographies). So I listen to it, enjoy it, try to turn my friends on to it, and go to a few concerts if I can scrape the funds together. Down the road I'll go hunting for back catalogs of the rest of them, but for now that's the best I can do. (and besides, lots of what I listen to now is older stuff that I'd get at a Barnes & Noble or some small music shop, that's 'already been paid for' as far as the record company is concerned, so the only people missing my money are those running the music shops)
    Tarsplitter
    buttcord wrote: Sorry, I don't think it's fair for a band to charge me money for something I may or may not like. If they're worth a damn, I'll buy merch or see them tour, but I'm not gonna pay for the music itself unless I enjoy every song I'm paying for. If more people did this, maybe the industry wouldn't be so oversaturated.
    "I'm not gonna buy a video game unless I enjoy every single thing about it. If there's one level I dislike I'll just download it and not pay a shit".
    Fender Dane.
    If you enjoy the music, I think you should spend a little of your pocketmoney and support the artist by buying the cd. Even AC/DC like to feel the love from good album sales. I will miss cds when everything comes out of a iPod og a Ipod speaker.
    that guy Strife
    ''you lil'teenagers'' man, you're 15. Sometimes you gotta wonder what the hell are UG's standards for articles ... 'cause this is pretty low. The ramblings of a kid quoting other kids ... damn. Anyways, I believe downloading music is a delicate subject, and there are many ways of seing it. Sure, it's not cool for the artist that you get the song free instead of buying it. But at the same time, you're gonna go see artists you like perform live (if possible) and maybe you'll also buy merch. As for me, I must have about 120 gigs of dl'ed music, and I also buy CD's, when I know I like the music on it. And please no BS - like you said, the internet. You can't order the CD online maybe ?
    RATMRUSH
    Well I do pay and download, but I'm definitely not gonna pay for bands like Metallica since they already have enough money.
    hildesaw
    buttcord wrote: Sorry, I don't think it's fair for a band to charge me money for something I may or may not like. If they're worth a damn, I'll buy merch or see them tour, but I'm not gonna pay for the music itself unless I enjoy every song I'm paying for. If more people did this, maybe the industry wouldn't be so oversaturated.
    You can listen to every song on in album on youtube, so there for you have no reason not to know what an album sounds like. I wouldn't even download something I didn't think I was going to like, thats just kind of idiotic to me.
    Chromex
    This is pointless. You don't really seem to know what you're talking about, and it doesn't go anywhere.
    FlameGame
    Slash_is_a_God wrote: Each individual argument made is flimsy and needs more support. Even your connection to the definition of stealing implies that it's stealing just because the government says it's stealing, lol. Support your points more next time and more of us may take your article more seriously.
    Obviously, the law factor is involved, if you were in a country where piracy is not against the law, you wouldn't be reading this article. And believe me you don't steal psychically because the law prohibits it.
    alaub1491
    This is poorly constructed. It doesn't really say much of anything at all other then people pirate music because they want to hear it. And btw, torrenting music offers some of the highest quality available as far as mp3s go, better then iTunes. And of course if you download FLAC then it's in lossless so...yeah I didn't get what you were talking about there. This article needs to be 10 times longer and properly researched to be valid.
    FlameGame
    buttcord wrote: Just because you pick up a guitar and make an album doesn't mean you deserve a dime for it, sorry -- Even if you trick me into buying the album by putting cool art on it or putting the best song on myspace. Maybe once stores and iTunes allows me to get a refund because I didn't like the songs, I'll pay for them, but until then I only spend money on products with a satisfaction guarantee.
    if it is so easy to get signed with a major record label, why don't you try it? if you do, i'll buy your cd for sure even if its hip-hop and even if it costs a million....seriously wake up and get the cord outta your butt
    jamsking
    why does everyone revert back to recent past and assume that is how it has to be. quite frankly "record companies" are the worst thing that ever happened to music. it is the artist responsibility to realize the game has changed and if they don't want to play anymore get off the field. and the folks working at the record companies have had plenty of warning the ship has been sinking for a while now it's their own fault if they drown.
    buttcord
    Just because you pick up a guitar and make an album doesn't mean you deserve a dime for it, sorry -- Even if you trick me into buying the album by putting cool art on it or putting the best song on myspace. Maybe once stores and iTunes allows me to get a refund because I didn't like the songs, I'll pay for them, but until then I only spend money on products with a satisfaction guarantee.
    buttcord
    Murder is unlawful in most countries, so it fits perfectly into the definition of stealing
    buttcord
    Sorry, I don't think it's fair for a band to charge me money for something I may or may not like. If they're worth a damn, I'll buy merch or see them tour, but I'm not gonna pay for the music itself unless I enjoy every song I'm paying for. If more people did this, maybe the industry wouldn't be so oversaturated. Plus this statement is pretty stupid: A proper definition of 'stealing' (as given on a dictionary) is "The act of taking something from someone unlawfully". As I said earlier, piracy of music is unlawful in most countries, so it fis perfectly into the definition of stealing. " This is circular reasoning. You state that stealing is "unlawful taking" then say that "piracy is unlawful, so it is stealing". First off, making a copy isn't "taking", but more important is that you're making the old argument "It's illegal because it's bad, it's bad because it's illegal"
    p_a_morgan
    This is pretty good. I like how you left the argument for us to decide what we think instead of taking a side. I feel for you over there man. I know that downloading music against the band's will is, indeed, stealing and preventing them from making money from that CD you should have bought, but I see your predicament over in India. I know how much it costs to record and distribute an album and when people are getting it and listening to it all day long for free, it can be frustrating to the musicians. The downloading movement will never end. I think from here on out people will always steal music from the internet because they think they are too good to pay for the CD. There will soon be some kind of system that bands will figure out how to make money again. Record sales are certainly not going to be the main source of income for them and it's not right now. In order to stay out of the road, the band's label must give them money to survive and if the label doesn't have much money (like the shape the industry is these days) then they can't really afford to keep bands out of the road and making new records. Album sales don't go to most bands, you're right, but the label is what keeps the band in motion, so they need cash flow more than the bands do. People may disagree with that, but that is just the way it is.
    Slash_is_a_God
    Each individual argument made is flimsy and needs more support. Even your connection to the definition of stealing implies that it's stealing just because the government says it's stealing, lol. Support your points more next time and more of us may take your article more seriously.
    masterp666
    haha, i like how you said that you could use 'legal and legitimate' programs to rip the song from youtube. thats just as much stealing as torrenting etc. any bittorrent client is 'legal and legitimate'.
    FuruiShin
    alaub so construct it better ;]. This is article is written from perspective of guys faaar away from really big cities where u can get everything. You would say: BUY ON THE INTERNET! I said no becouse i don't have money for it anyway . I spend my whole savings for guitar/amp/multi-effect and i don't regret that i didn't spend all of it on my favourite band discography. I will buy it someday propably... But i now is still prefer to save for a better guitar/amp. I think that downloading for ''free'' is a form of stealing there is no explanation for it. As a guitar player I still have dilemma: to buy something connected with guitar or to buy cd... Guess what do i choose ;/. I don't say that if you are playing some instrument you don't have to buy cd's or whatever! Hell no! The fact that buying my fav. cd from the internet would cost same amount of money as... 5 packs of strings. For a 16yrs old who still doesn't work in any way and don't make any money- that's a lot -.-.
    Zeletros
    I don't need this topic to justify me. I admitedly admit that I'm a internet pirate, and you can't catch me.
    hawk_kst
    My only point in this is that you wouldn't pick up food in the supermarket, try it and if you didn't like it then refuse to pay for the goods you had just consumed... Also, it isn't circular logic to give the definition of theft and then apply that definition to the action concluding that it is infact theft. In England theft is defined as "the dishonest appropriation of property belonging to another with the intention to permenantly deprive" If you pirate music, it does fit in this sentence as has been proved by cases that have gone to court over piracy... However, the article itself wasn't great... I didn't hear any of the authors own views in it...