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The artist's labour has the same value regardless of how it's distributed. People that think that digital bits have no value are missing the point. Music distributed on a two cent piece of plastic doesn't have more value then music distributed via download. People have paid to watch live performances and received no physical property. It still has value.
The digital age means very inexpensive distribution costs so the distributors are trying to keep themselves relevant by implementing digital locks. This way they can keep control and collect money on every transaction. The problem is digital locks don't work and will never work. The distributors recognize this so now they want tougher laws that make "criminals" of people that remove their twist tie locks. The Canadian government needs to recognize this reality and not make the same mistake as other countries.
Apple and Amazon have demonstrated that people will pay for guaranteed quality music downloads at a reasonable price without digital locks. They are not necessary and only degrade the value of purchased media . They also promote illegal downloads (that don't have digital locks).
Levies are not the answer. They were a bad idea when they were implemented and as a tax payer and consumer I will never accept them. It becomes an industry of it's own and does nothing to stimulate creativity. The existing levies need to be removed.
Instead of levies I believe the government should consider minimum compensation amounts. For example each song purchase requires the artist to be paid a minimum of x cents and the songwriter to be paid y cents. I think the artists are receiving much reduced compensation per unit sale because the album purchase has been reduced from $18 to $10 but this needs to be coming out of the distributor pocket and not the artist.
The bureaucracy involved in this frankly scares me but if the government needs to intervene to protect the artists I think it would be more effective strategy. I think it should be extended not only to sales but the same minimum compensation should be applied when books, music or movies are borrowed from the libraries. The government would be officially recognizing the value and it would help to change the free mentality.
sjbrown [2009-09-02 18:22] Comment ID: 2176 Reply to: 2165
There have been several comments regarding how artists get screwed by the terms of the contracts that they sign with distributors. The extreme free-marketeer will say that "it's their choice", but I think a *real* choice isn't available to many creators. It would be appropriate for the government to step in and declare a minimum set of rights / compensation that cannot be superseded by any contract.
If "personal use" of music justifies that it should be free to the consumer, what about my "personal use" of gasoline and alcohol?
Rai [2009-09-01 13:24] Comment ID: 2156 Reply to: 2153
Under our current system, "personal use" (or 'fair use' or 'fair dealing') validates how people can legally use pieces of art. It basically says that you can use (make copies of) types of art in certain ways without breaking copyright laws.
Personal/Fair use allows us to copy music from one device to another. To do a 1-to-1 comparison based on your example (which I believe is inaccurate, considering they are two completely different things, but for the sake of argument), it could be said that without 'fair use' it would be similar to not being able to remove gasoline or alcohol from the container in which you purchased it in.
Just for fun, I'm going to give my own example which I believe is more accurately related to copyright issues (although still, completely different). Say I buy a peach from a local market. I then eat the peach and plant the seed. It grows into a full tree, along with growing its own peaches. I then give those peaches away to my friends and family. The original farmer from the local market makes no money from me giving away my peaches.
At this point many questions could be asked which are similar to copyright questions, 'Does the farmer deserve to be compensated for his "lost revenue"?', 'Has the farmer actually "lost" any revenue?', 'Was I violating the purchasing agreement by using the peach in this way?' etc. At the same time many arguments could be made as to why this is an inaccurate comparison.
I'm not sure its worth trying to validate or argue against either of our comparisons since neither of them ARE copyright, they are distinct issues with each being handled with consideration of their own environments and uses.
Copyright issues need to be considered independently of other examples, not clouded with comparisons.
Zac [2009-09-10 18:29] Comment ID: 2417 Reply to: 2156
Of course, the peach has been engineered and modified by agri-business to be nicer-looking and better-survive transport. To protect their investment in making a more profitable peach, the peaches are also not viable.
Your purchase of a nice-looking, transportable peach does not include the right use subsequently profit from the work the agri-business did to "improve" the peach.
Rai [2009-09-10 19:00] Comment ID: 2418 Reply to: 2417
I have to respectfully and completely disagree with your opinion.
I've read recently an article about how plant companies are engineering seeds that will not produce their own seeds when the plants mature, which would force farmers to purchase new seeds every year instead of just using ones they have grown themselves. This would effectively create a monopoly for their industry and manipulatively increase their profits.
This is effectively what the music industry has already done to some extent in Canada and much more in the US.
You may believe that this is an acceptable business practice (and I can understand your reasoning), but I do believe this is fair. I respect our difference of opinion, but I am weary of the damage that can, has, and will be caused by allowing companies to manipulate markets in such a way.
Zac [2009-09-11 03:00] Comment ID: 2428 Reply to: 2418
I don't believe I expressed a particular opinion regarding agri-business.
I am attempting to illustrate that the peach-art analogy is flawed. The farmer did not create the peach, she simply produced it. For your analogy to relate to copyright, the creator of the peach deserves protection for their work. If the peach is a product of nature rather than a derived work, then it would fall under the public domain, and yes, you would be free to do with it what you will.
Further, copyright is, at it's heart, about the right to copy, and you don't make a copy of a peach: a function of the peach is reproduction (or not, for the derived peach).
Rai [2009-09-11 12:54] Comment ID: 2452 Reply to: 2428
True, this is not a perfect analogy relating to copyright; as I stated originally, copyright should be considered in its own environment, not clouded by comparisons that can't truly reflect all the issues involved.
Apologies for assuming that your statement was reflecting your opinion, I was perhaps reading too much into things.
BloodyIron [2009-09-09 09:52] Comment ID: 2356 Reply to: 2153
Fair use of software differs from physical objects. The "sharing" of software does not remove something from someone else. Whereas if you were to take (or buy) fuel from someone else, you are physically removing that item from another person.
dendee [2009-09-10 07:43] Comment ID: 2382 Reply to: 2356
tell that to the people that invent software...and see if they still want to write software
Zac [2009-09-11 03:16] Comment ID: 2431 Reply to: 2382
Software is different from other copyright-able works, because even though it's purely "information", it's value is in how computer systems follow its instructions: what it *does*.
The software industry is, in droves, moving toward software-as-a-service business models, where client software is provided for free, but the actual functionality is provided from servers owned by the software owners, access to which is provided for a fee (either advertising, or direct licensing). Think: World of Warcraft, Salesforce, Google. Even Microsoft has online versions of their productivity software.
The other movement in software is, of course, open source, where copyright is not only explicitly granted, but that grant is foisted upon derived works as well.
DenisT [2009-09-13 19:31] Comment ID: 2511 Reply to: 2153
Your comment is outrageous. It is typical of people that try to equate unauthorized use of copyrighted works with "theft".
Sure, you can have a "copy" of my gasoline and alcohol, as long as I still have mine.
While I respect the rights and needs of copyright holders, comments such as yours only serve to show your misunderstanding of those same rights and needs, and their limitations.
Let me repeat in big letters so you can understand, MAKING AN UNAUTHORIZED COPY IS NOT THEFT. It is copyright infringement, nothing more, nothing less.
As long as you continue to equate copyright infringement with the concept of theft, you are not qualified to contribute to the debate.
rinzertanz [2009-09-10 16:21] Comment ID: 2406 Reply to: 2152
FoxyScribe [2009-09-10 16:34] Comment ID: 2408 Reply to: 2152
Artists are always getting screwed. What's new? Maybe it's time to go back to the days of a wealthy patron who butters our bread and owns our works.