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What do YOU think?

Okay, so I have a question that has been bugging me for a long time now, and now that I've discovered how beautiful LiveJournal is, I want to ask all of you.

I am an artist. Well, an artist of words. I'm publishing my first book in a few weeks, actually, but I consider photographers, writers, artists and musicians all artists.

I download music illegally from limewire, and I feel odd. I never thought of it from a musician's point of view, but as an artist, I would not want people to go and steal my work through programs like limewire and bearshare, things like that. As an artist I would want to be paid for my works, if my art was free I would be very upset about that.

I am also a christian, and of course, stealing is wrong.

I never really had an issue with piracy, I guess, I never called it that. I just called it free music.

What do you think? If you were an artist, a musician, would it offend you if people stole your music? Then again, you'd have to be popular enough, so does popularity matter? If you were famous would it make a difference to you? And do you yourself download music like this?

Any advice or answers would be much appreciated. :)

Thank you.



( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 15th, 2008 02:57 am (UTC)
I think if I were a musician, I would be pretty happy that anybody were listening to my music at all. I am not (I've owned some, and I felt a little protectiveness of them, but at the same time, exposure was everything, so, I told them to buy an album or go to a concert, eventually), and other musicians have a different take on this. Though I think if record companies didn't charge $20 a CD, people wouldn't see a need to download illegally. And the companies don't really need to, they just do it so they can live a little more luxuriously.

What I hate, and have less leniancy with is the illegal downloading of movies. Though I've watched some online myself and allowed the downloading of one once (to be fair, it was Jackass, I'm not sure what kind of "budget" they had that I was exactly robbing). But people don't understand, the actors, the major ones, they get paid residuals, but most of their money from the movie is prior to the film's release...however a good sum of everyone else's paycheck comes from ticket sales. And there are so many people -- from so many different class lines -- that work on films...But then I am one who prefers a theatre -- any kind of outlet, indie, major, classic -- to home video. There's something to be said for the experience...though...as the problem with the record companies, some of the major film venues get a little overpriced than I'm not sure is entirely necessary. I know they blame the movies they can get or something to do with the films ratings, but, the filmmakers blame them, so something sounds wrong with the system or somebody's story.

And no, it wouldn't make a difference if I were famous or not.

But congratulations on getting published.
May. 15th, 2008 03:03 am (UTC)
The second you release something it is free.
People who think that they will be able to have full control over their creative content after they release it are naive.

I am an artist and the first time an image was used without my express permission was when I was 13. I was upset then, but I've learned a lot since. I now give express permission for people to use and share anything I create for non-commercial purposes.

Stealing means you take something and someone else doesn't have it anymore.

The use of the word "steal" in relation to file sharing is a propagandistic usage encouraged by areas with purely financial interest in the files.

watch Good Copy Bad Copy
May. 15th, 2008 03:16 am (UTC)
Limewire charges a fee. Part of that money goes to the musicians. If I download music from Limewire and like it, I go out and purchase the entire CD. I like limewire.

People steal my art all the time. It's ok.
May. 15th, 2008 03:55 am (UTC)

Two points:

1. The idea of property right is much younger than that of consumption.

2. Folks only seem to regulate the most convenient crimes (outside of having one's bowels ripped out, which is self-evident).

May. 15th, 2008 04:18 am (UTC)
Are you really confused on this point? You obviously feel it's wrong.
But of course you still want the music. And I can't blame you for wanting it.
Different artists feel differently about it. Some (like Metallica for example) are willing to sue over it.
So yes the behavior is likely to offend someone. I won't offend everyone though.
Usually artists, if they want to give away free downloads of their music they will. You just have to find it.
This site has a fair amount of free mp3s, but they were all put up by the artists. http://music.download.com/
May. 15th, 2008 04:47 am (UTC)
This is from Wikipedia about Limewire.
"As with all file-sharing programs, using LimeWire to download or upload copyrighted files without permission from the authors is generally illegal. Using it to distribute files with permission from the authors, or files that are out of copyright, is generally legal. For more information, see File sharing and the law."

So yah, obviously there's a legal issue. I'm guessing you're trying to figure out if it's wrong. Which is not the same thing exactly though there is some relation tween the two.
Truth is if you tried hard enough you probably could come up with a justification. But anything can be justified. Anything, really. That's how powerful our minds are.

For me I figure it's a matter of respecting the artists' wishes. Some are ok with the illegal downloading cause they think it serves as advertising. Others aren't for their own reasons, whatever they are.
Ask yourself this: if you were the artist who made the work, would you want your wishes regarding it honored?

There are plenty of options for listening to music via the interweb too. I've already mentioned the
http://music.download.com/ Which has both streaming music and downloadable music all that was put up by the artist. There are plenty of internet radio stations too.
http://www.playlist.com seems to be legal as far as I can tell and you can search for music and save it to an online profile that you can then play later. But you can't download it.
I do think they strike a nice balance in allowing people to share information and music and honoring the wishes of the artists.
The Terms of Service are here: http://www.playlist.com/static/node/8912.html
May. 15th, 2008 05:28 am (UTC)
I was in a serious touring band for seven years. I very rarely saw any income from record sales. The record companies are the ones who really suffer from internet piracy, not so much musicians. Musicians mostly see their money come from the merchandise they sell at live shows.

Then again, I may be biased. My band was no platinum selling rock-machine, and so free downloading only helped our popularity. I'm not sure how much my opinion would differ if we had have been selling millions of records - if bands still do sell millions of records anymore.

Anyway, congrats on having your first book published, must be very exciting! Thanks for the add.
May. 15th, 2008 11:15 am (UTC)
If I like an artist's music and if artists want me to pay for it, I will comply with their wishes. It's only fair since they spend time and resources to create their songs, they should ask for something in return. I would feel the same if I were a musician.
May. 15th, 2008 01:56 pm (UTC)
I am a musician. I'm also writing a book, and I paint. I think downloading is fine as preview system. In other words, buy what you like. If you don't like my shit, don't pay for it, but I'm still gonna give you a listen. And when I'm good enough to be recognized as a contemporary artist, people will choose to pay me so that I can continue making art. Popularity does matter in a matter of speaking. Big bands with huge contracts don't actually see a lot of money when they sell CDs. Most of it goes to the corporation, then it's divided amongst the engineers and material distributors, then whatever is left after cost and profit goes to the artist, which is usually a few cents or a few bucks. The CD only costs about 20 cents to make anyway.

It's different for struggling or self-distributed groups. When I put out my album in a few months, I'm going to take 100% of the profits, minus what I spent making it. So if you bought my five dollar album, you contribute a lot more to me than you do to, say, Courtney Love when you buy a Nirvana album. Besides, working artists make most of their money touring. It comes down to this: if you don't check them out somewhere, how will you know if you like them enough to buy them? So buy what you like as often as you can afford it. It's nice to have the words and pictures that the band felt best accompanied the musical experience. And, uh, look up and support underground artists too, it's your Christian moral obligation as an artistic consumer. :)
May. 15th, 2008 08:28 pm (UTC)
I still buy CDs...partly because ipods annoy me and I can't figure them out. haha I also see it as stealing and I did it a little and I'd much rather just buy the CD than go through all the trouble of downloading the song.
May. 16th, 2008 12:46 am (UTC)
Yay. ^_^ Plus Limewire or similar programs often find you the wrong song or a bad file.

It's not stealing in the same sense as removing something, but you are getting a copy of something you'd normally have to pay for the right to own a copy of.
May. 16th, 2008 11:57 am (UTC)
I do not like downloading music-if I like a certain musical artist I buy their CD's-is downloading music stealing? let your conscience be your guide
May. 18th, 2008 04:57 am (UTC)
Piracy and morals...
I don't bother justifying my actions...

When I pirate something, I KNOW I'm stealing.

There's no way to justify it.

Major Artists loose millions of dollars (individually) every year from Piracy, and the investment in contracting people takes a lot of money. They get day jobs like normal people, because of this.

Christian or not, there is NO justification for piracy. It is theft, it is a crime, and I do it myself.

Trying to justify yourself for stealing is just silly. You're stealing, and you're costing people money. It's as simple as that.

I'm a thief, and if I had the money I'd pay for it.


Does the artist care?
In a lot of Japanese Anime, for example, fan subs (pre-releases) of Anime are release with captions... A lot of Anime companies support this as long as when a contractor buys the series for American production it is released, and the full set of episodes (rather than the highlight fan subs favorite episodes) are released.

If the company or artist WANTS you to spread their product, whether music or video, they will let you know. But usually, this is not the case, especially with music.

This theft cost millions of dollars for major artists, and thousands for struggling artists, and is a crime.

When I pirate something, I can totally acknowledge I am stealing something, and if the artist complains, I understand why.

It's that simple. Theft is thief. If your gonna steal, you need to at least say "I am a criminal and a thief, and I deserve to be seen as one."

That is Karma. (Karma = Math, and Intertia) It will hit you back even harder if you don't, by people denying they have done anything wrong to you. But it will hit you back either way.

"What you sow, you shall reap," as the Bible says.

God forgives you for your sins, but you will still receive judgement for them in THIS life through Karma.
May. 18th, 2008 05:07 am (UTC)
Interesting twist...
Here's an interesting twist on things...

I made this comic book, using a 3D Anime styled chat program (IMVU) combined with Comic Book Creator (TM)...

It's kinda a hidden promotion for Genetic Alteration for kids also...

Technically, I cannot use the graphics from IMVU to make this comic book, as the products are copyrighted by individual users.

Anyway, I didn't register a copyright (but something is TECHNICALLY copyrighted without paying the fee just by declaring it your property with the word copyright, year, and your name / pen name/ company name), but whatever...

When something is copyrighted, for a mere $30 filing fee (unless it's been raised again), you can sue the pirater for infringing on your copyright.

As the author of a book (is that correct? I got it based on your comments...) you should be aware of my quote:

"Karma (math) is a b-tch, until you get to know her"

If you steal music, people will steal you stuff too, or it will come back on you somehow.

Anyway, my solution is that I intend to have this whole comic book hand painted, and use IMVU as the basic sketch up idea for it, then there is no infringement in any way. But I listed the copyright so nobody would steal the plot line.
May. 20th, 2008 04:54 am (UTC)
This entry didn't even make sense. If you, as a writer, would feel upset if someone stole your book without paying you for it, why the hell would you think downloading music illegally is "free music"?
May. 22nd, 2008 02:46 am (UTC)
Good point, I've downloaded a ton of music from limewire. Idk how that program is even still up, it's so well known about, and it really is stealing.
I wouldn't want anybody jacking anything from me, no matter what it was.
Jun. 21st, 2008 08:07 am (UTC)
It may not make a visible difference if one person illegally downloaded my music (if I were a musician), but it's never just one problem. Frankly I'd find it hurtful that someone liked my music enough to listen to it - and steal it - but not enough to pay for it and give me the credit I'm due.

This being said, I can happily and honestly say that I don't (and never have) download music.
Jun. 21st, 2008 08:08 am (UTC)
"It;s never one PERSON", I meant.
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )