Filesharing and Thailand: a discussion

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11 thoughts on “Filesharing and Thailand: a discussion

  1. I'm pro-filesharing, although I agree it's a form of stealing. On the other hand, the record companies have maintained such a high price for cd's that they were stealing from us too.

    And if you see what you have to pay now for a concert, they are stealing on another front.

    Also, the record companies were much too late with their reaction on the development of the internet. For a long time, it was not possible to buy music legally on the web, while you could download illegally.

    And if shops close saturday 5 am and at 6 am you want to hear a record, are you going to wait till monday 9 pm if you can download it in 10 minutes? Don't think so.

    But yes, I used KaZaA and now I'm using BitTorrent.

  2. I don't think you can use price to justify intellectual property theft, but I would agree that publishers can do more on that front.
    I can see this arguement from both sides. I work for a publishing company and I have seen other media steal our stories. It's the same as the music and dvd industry in many ways, and why should we allow others to benefit from something that is costly for us to produce? We will continue to take action against any companies that infringe our copyright.
    Back to Matt's original question, to which I have a very boring answer. I have not used file-sharing myself. Accepting it is okay to steal sets dangerous prescedents, although enforcement is difficult because each country has different laws and different views on how seriously they should tackle this problem. It will probably take pressure from overseas for Thailand to start to take its piracy problem more seriously.

  3. I'm a big fan of Mike Masnick of, who has more sense in his pinky finger than all the record labels combined. The point he has been making for years (to deaf ears, of course) is that this is an issue of business model. The RIAA, MPAA and sister organizations worldwide have been committing suicide by failing to realize any of this. One of the biggest flaws was failing to make legitimate channels as quick and convenient and easy, with as good a selection as the internet. They need to realize they're not in content business directly, but rather in the business of selling the whole artist, or the whole marketing package. Music and movies are a way of promoting all of the other things they want to sell: concert tickets, t-shirts, endless other merchandise. People want these things, too, and you can't download those. But because they don't or won't see it, they've blown huge opportunities.
    First you simply couldn't download legally. Then it was only through iTunes with heavy DRM. Now, nearly a decade after Napster, DRM-free music tracks are finally starting to appear.

    They've created such resentment against themselves that in my experience lots of people actually feel entitled to steal from them. If you could steal anonymously from the mafia without any effort and with a statistically minuscule chance of getting caught, wouldn't you? They've made themselves into enemies. Everyone thinks they take advantage of consumers. From back in the pre-P2P days when they went to court with Best Buy for daring to sell CDs below the strictly-controlled $15-$18 level, to shutting down popular P2P networks, to making enemies out of internet radio sites that give them free promotion like, to suing individual consumers on virtually zero evidence as part of a clear racketeering scheme that will eventually be looked back on with disgust at its blatant abuse of rights by our descendants, etc. etc.

    Me, I download. It's probably wrong, techncially. But I guess on this front I'm a moral mathematician. I firmly believe Big Content is trampling our fair use rights, and has been abusing its lobbying power against the public good (1999 Sonny Bony Copyright Act, anyone?). They've so twisted and distorted the original intents of copyright that they've made more money than they deserve to. So I justify what is wrong according to the letter of the law (downloading whatever I feel like) with my sense of outrage. I have probably purchased statistically far more CDs and DVDs than the average person. And I've also downloaded way more. But don't ask me to feel bad for taking a dollar out of the pocket of John Gotti. Would you feel bad for kicking a mugger in the nuts to save your own wallet? This is the situation we find ourselves in. Big Content dug its own grave and is now taking its last swipes at us with the shovel.

  4. Exactly. The record industry was far too late to the game. One point of interest is the announcement that the "big 4" will team up with Last.FM to offer streaming audio of all of their tracks. You can listen to a track up to three times before you must then pay for the download through iTunes or another service. That's smart. If something like that had been implemented before the filesharing debate got out of control, things would surely have turned out very different.

    As it is, there are so many places where people can get free music, both legally and illegally. The Internet has created this perception that consumers don't need to pay for music. Look at all the indie bands who offer up their music for free. There are thousands and thousands of them. People have come to expect free music because for so long, that was all they could get on the Internet.

  5. i have actually been very surprised at the number of Thai dj's legally downloading and paying for mp3's from services such as Beatport, Traxsource and Juno download. i am sure they could find these tracks on a file sharing service, but guess like myself they simply got fed up waiting to find all the parts only for it to hang 5% towards the end.

    Nowadays when a product (movie, music or software) doesnt have to be physically made, it is a lot easier for the creator to deal direct with the public, cutting out the middlemen and in turn bringing the price down, Radiohead's last album being a prime example.

    Turning back the clock slightly, the advent of Amstrad's tape to tape machine was the start of it all, however
    In the Amstrad case (CBS Songs Ltd v Amstrad Consumer Electronics plc [1988] AC 1013), still the leading case in the United Kingdom in this area, one of the factors working against Amstrad being liable for the offence of authorization (for selling tape-to-tape decks) was that it did not ‘sanction, approve or countenance’ the infringement of copyright. In fact, Amstrad had expressly stated in its advertising that the permission of a copyright holder may be required to make such copies. This is in stark contrast to the position taken by the Grokster filesharing service.

    Also Amstrad did not have any continuing interest in its customers' use of the product. This is again in contrast to the Grokster case, where one of the key points taken into account by the Supreme Court was that the peer-to-peer networks have a continuing interest given that they receive advertising revenue from use.

    i do not condone or condemn filesharing, but suppose the bottom line is if you respect the artist, then you will make every effort to support them.

  6. Two main reasons driving me to download music & movies are:
    1. Convenience
    2. I don't know if I will like the content. I delete 80% of what I downloaded, keep 10%, and go out and buy the other 10%

    Question: Why hasn't the porn industry come out and sue peoples over pirated content?

  7. I think the porn industry has always been more in tune with how to exploit potential streams of income. There would be no point in the porn biz trying to tackle filesharing, so it actually takes the opposite stance and profits from it. Although people are getting stuff for free through filesharing, it's still possible to leverage that massive traffic and turn it into profit.

  8. You're probably right. Recall the case of Perfect10 vs. Google, though. They sued because Google image search used thumbnails of their porn in its image search results, in effect giving their product away for free, they argued. So far they've lost, as Google has successfully argued fair use, not to mention that they are undoubtedly sending plenty of traffic Perfect10's way. Which makes me wonder if Perfect10 wasn't just using the "Streisand effect" to drum up publicity. I guess it depends on how much they spent on legal expenses!

  9. Hmmm, difficult one. I always wonder if stealing music isn't just counter-productive, eventually if everyone steals and doesn't pay then I guess no one is going to make (good) music/movies.

    Radiohead's recent experiment with offering their new CD online and you get to choose how much you pay was a great idea. Sure lots of people just ripped it for free but there were plenty prepared to pay a tribute for a copy. I seem to remember the average amount paid being around four quid.

  10. More thoughts in response to Bob. When it's easier to find it legally in its complete form, with good sound quality, then that's a win for the recording industry and the consumer. It actually goes back farther than 1988, too. See Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, 464 U.S. 417, 455 (1984), which had to do with using a VCR to record TV shows. It's clear that Big Content has fought every innovation tooth and nail, not thinking to adapt until they're forced to, whether by losing in the courts. The court of public opinion isn't even enough to make them realize their boneheaded ways. The entire state of IP law in the U.S. is pathetic, with patent trolls making millions, and major corporations even playing the patent troll game. It's all symptomatic of a need to rethink the laws. Most laws passed recently have all been regressive and anti-consumer. The DMCA is the Patriot Act of intellectual property law. We need more laws like this one, which are actually designed to prevent lawsuit-happy corporations from stripping away consumer rights. Too bad they've managed to do it anyway. Few dare assert their fair use anymore. It's just too difficult to fight for your rights. Not to mention the clueless grandmothers and poor working families–those either falsely or unfairly accused in P2P-related lawsuits. The RIAA has actually suggested that college students sued for filesharing would be better to drop out of school to pay off the $3000 extortion fee that Big Content demands in this case. It's madness, madness I say.

    And to respond to Andrew, I think the difference needs to be made clear between exploiting copyrighted material for profit, and personal filesharing by consumers. Most people agree that filesharing is at least "less bad" than profiting off of copyrighted content. Many folks are willing to download a movie or even buy a bootleg DVD, but most folks probably aren't willing to sell them. Which brings up a question: ff something is technically wrong on the lawbooks, but few people feel like it's morally wrong (other than that the law says it's wrong), is it time to rethink the law? There are ways to strike a balance between fair use and copyright law, mostly that involve Big Content to adapt to the new world, instead of sue everyone back into the good old days. Unfortunately, as it stands, the ever-stricter copyright laws just serve to encourage corporate welfare by subsidizing Big Content's inability to adapt on the backs of the people. Look at a company like Google. There's no shortage of money out there to be had, you just have to be smart enough to know how to make it. You can't assume one business model will work forever. Newspapers find themselves in a similar situation, constantly bitching and moaning about their decline. You don't sell news, people. You can get that for free on Google. Your news is promotional material to sell advertisements, both in print and on the web.

    There are all sorts of holes to be poked in my comments. Folks smarter than me have said it all before me and said it better. So it goes.

    And to thaiqa, the Radiohead experiment is a great example of experimenting with new things. But even if not everyone pays for the album, they have all of those people who are potential consumers for t-shirts, concert tickets, and anything else Radiohead and their management can come up with to monetize themselves. Content can be a promotional good as well as a product. Why do you think Microsoft has never been too hard on piracy (Windows Genuine Advantage notwithstanding)? Because piracy has given them a the lion's share of the market. They may not admit it publicly, but they know it's true. And this is why in countries like China they've started having popups offering discounted price on legit Windows to people who have pirated copies of the operating system on their computer. You can actually get a better price if you pirate it first and pay later! Piracy is a very gray issue at best.

  11. I knew it went back before Amstrad and that Sony was the first real case, but I was talking more about music than movies or tv content.
    Also only mentioned Amstrad because I had one, used it to tape the Top40, then copy these recordings on to another tape to give to friends.

    This was 20 years ago and now in a way we are talking about the same subject only a different medium and method of distribution.
    In less than 5 years CD and even DVD will go the same way as vinyl – for collectors only.
    HD storage space is ever increasing, while the size of the medium is ever decreasing. It borders on the ridiculous that an entire room of music could be put onto a piece of plastic that you can hardly see! Eg 8GB MicroSD.

    Next we will be talking about how the Majors are trying to tackle the HD manufacturers for allowing all this content to be ripped and stored so cheaply.
    Quality not quantity is what we say ;-)

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