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…
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6 thoughts on “Thievery of Intellectual Property

  1. Jason Korbus says:

    The argument that says downloading, file sharing, etc isn't steal is ludicrous. Of course it is. And it absolutely results in lost purchases or stolen profits. If I want the music off my favorite band's CD, the latest Nick Redfern book, or to watch the 4th season of Dexter…I can just go online and download them all for free. This means I'm not paying for the album at Best Buy, not buying the book at Barnes & Noble, and not subscribing to Showtime. I received all this entertainment for free. The artists involved in the writing, producing, acting, etc. got nothing from me. I took a product and didn't pay for it. That's stealing. And it is the artists who suffer.I have a lot of thoughts on this matter, but hey would probably echo those of one f my favorite professional musicians, Ben Weasel. He has written quite a bit about his feelings on internet piracy. I'll refer you to a blog he wrote some time ago because he says it better than I could anyway:http://benweasel.mu.nu/archives/288429.phpInteresting blog, Karl. I'm curious to see what kind of responses you'll get from folks. Take care,Jason KorbusStrange Frequencies Radio

  2. Jason Korbus says:

    HAHA, forgive those typos…I need to sleep.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I agree with both you, Karl, and to Jason. File sharing isn't stealing? It's the same thing as if you go on Napster and download. You're getting music and songs that those artists put hard work into, and in some cases, even parts of themselves into, for free. If it goes much longer, they are going to start -spending- money to produce their music, without getting anything in return. I've felt for years that people that download music, or movies (as I have a friend that does this, and I get onto his case for it constantly), are stealing, are taking away that work and respect that these people deserve.If you want music, even if you don't want the entire albumb because maybe you only like a single song, go to Itunes. Even using that, the artist gets that single doller profit because you bought it. If you like a band, buy their music, support what they represent, and help them out – buying their music, giving them back for their work is going to be what gives them the fight and drive to create even more music.Angela Hall, MissouriTwitter: twilight_tink09

  4. Tori Lennox says:

    It's theft, pure and simple. They can claim otherwise all they want but that doesn't make them right.

  5. Thanks for sharing, guys, I think you have some strong points. Jason, the link you posted is really fantastic. It shares a real honesty from the unheard musicians who aren't anti-industry and are similarly not making enough bang from merchandise and concert sales. While I love the internet for information-sharing, and the way that it has promoted many of the arts I love in a brand new form, of which we're still unaware what it will become, the artists are losing money and at the end of the day, it's thievery as much as any other form.

  6. Mark Rushing says:

    This issue that the Internet has made possible was brought to light much earlier, when considering software copyrights and patents.It is not likely the Internet would be anything as wild, wonderful and wide-spread as it is, were it not for using people's creative works that they gave out to the world, freely.There are very strong undercurrents in this oftentimes so easily-dismissed, and seemingly so patently obvious question.They have to do with human creativity, our potential, both individually and collectively, versus what we must or want to have for ourselves.Rather than so easily embracing that patently obvious answer, why not consider the wider question this all alludes to?The only definitive answer you'll get, so far, is "that's just the way the world works." Well, that it does, as it has, throughout all history, as it changed, and we evolved.It's not thievery for someone to experience what you have created, and shared, with them in mind, even as you created it. It's a beautiful, wonderful and terrible thing. Like the voices in their heads, the monks felt, as they read "magical" words that were written on a page, as our first experience with written language. Can you copyright a mathematical algorithm, that exists in nature as certainly as the laws of physics bind matter together into us? Is your music such a greater feat of magnificence that others must pay and supplicate to you, for the privilege of lapping up the crumbs from your experience?In there lies the counterargument. And it is the right and better one, but not yet fully arrived.

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