Monthly Archives: April 2010

Thievery of Intellectual Property

It’s ten minutes til two in the morning on a Tuesday night. Sitting next to my girlfriend while she slaves over her pages of Reactors homework, I’m StumbleUponing, sometimes snorting with laughter awkwardly in the quiet study room, sometimes clicking and clicking and clicking, but I came across an image advocating file sharing, sharing music and creativity as a free trade commodity, of ideals and information regulated by “the man.” The flier can be read here.

Quotes include:

“Sharing, duplicating, and creating a copy of content, information, ideas, is NOT the same or even on par with STEALING property…. Illegally downloaded songs DO NOT translate into lost purchases or stolen profits.”

They make a case for declines of sales and music correlated to an increase in video game sales and generalize that artist profits have risen where record label profits have dropped, and that those who illegally fileshare pay more for music than those who don’t.

While I can’t make a case against what could be very accurate statistics, I feel like the flyer is missing a very important piece that needs advocating. They suggests explicitly that:

“Copy restrictions are NOT about due credit nor the interests of artist but merely the market control and EXPLOITATION of creative work for financial gain by a few corporate giants.”

Who’s thinking of the artist here? I’m a writer. I recognize that this is a struggling economy. I also recognize that art is on a decline or a skewed metamorphosis, where some in the music industry and a similar ratio in the writing market make bank for their work, but the vast majority of those chasing what they love and producing what stands the test of time and speaks to our hearts rather than our lifestyles don’t make enough from their talents to live.

While yes, much art is a franchise, and many artists are ripped off by Industry, the independent movement gaining more and more credibility in the last few years (though that’s a specific I know little detail of), Industry is in many cases the only vehicle for publication, especially for writers like me. Yes, the internet is giving a voice to even the quietest if you know how to manipulate it, but if I published my novels on my blog, I’m not going to make money from it. Yes, I’ve heard many bands make most of their money on tour and not from record sales, but I think artists NEED industry.

Some artists, the likes of Amanda Palmer and others, have put pride aside and asked for donations so that they could continue to produce what they are passionate about and good at. But that won’t cut it for most. We are in a world of Industry and notoriety is not a given promise based purely from talent.

But tell me what you guys think, because I’m curious and don’t know much of the details for many of these points. Am I wrong? Is sharing the new thing? I used to file share but of late I began considering the artist again and started paying, happily.

Read the flier and let me know what you guys are thinking, because I’m curious on this one…