..of music piracy and its outcome.
Actually I wanted to push my achievement points and am a bit lazy at the moment and thought this is a topic where I can say something without looking too much up even though no one will ever read this.
So, it's rather funny how there are not only but basically three sides (including sub-sides of course).
1) Die-hard musicians who refuse any liberal solution to this problem and demand the hardest-ever-to-think-of-punishment for copying music. Something at least 95% of all people do. (I just assume that) Musicians who deny to accept the most obvious facts and reasons that can/will lead to piracy. No tolerance at all in this topic. Everyone is bad!
2) Pragmatists who try to see it from a neutral aspect and explain the whole situation creators and consumers are in. Including a well-thought argumentation for their case. People who do not take one side but understand both sides but are still rather in favor of piracy, i.e. milder punishments, explicitly without any legalisation of piracy. No one is bad, the system is!
3) Pirates, the nemesis of artists of all kinds. Pure evil with black hats and parrots. No, just kidding. But they are people who do piracy and defend their actions. They know it's bad but they do it anyway. They know it better and try to explain why they do it. They have a lot of comprehensible arguments but they are incapable of seeing the whole problems piracy comes with for artists. Society is bad and laws are bad! Freedom!
Those three sides (and all minor sides and sub-sides) are all talking at cross-purposes. No one wants to understand each other, Group 1 bashs against everything in their way, 3 doesn't care/listen or just knows everything better and 2 tries to put them all on one table, bringing them to talk to each other without responding to any claims in detail.
As long as everyone denies to understand the whole picture, they will never be able to solve this conflict.
I just throw some random thoughts in the room now (therefore no "full picture"): Harsher laws hurt everyone, softer laws hurt the artists and misunderstanding leads to lobbyism what leads to harsher laws with more money you have to pay for piracy and the artists will see a tiny little bit of if at all.
What really looses and a lot of people don't care anymore about is art itself.
When you do music you create art, you shouldn't do it because you want to make millions like Metallica, U2, Britney Spears or whoever. Serving the mainstream to fill your pockets with their money. Shame on you!
You should do music because you like to do it not because you want to sell it. When you want to sell it you create a product. A product can fail, can be copied by someone else who does it better than you do. Or it can be a win but it mustn't.
There's no way of saying that your product is actually needed. It can be unnecessary and forgettable. It's like a tree in a forest. Maybe a very pretty one but still one in a million trees.
Don't blame people who still want your product to a price they prefer or to get your product in the only way they can, or, or, or.
You can't make good music when the only aim is to sell it as good as possible.
It surely is okay to dream of a major contract, to make a living of it, doing compromises to achieve it but it shouldn't be the aim. In this case you're not fully focussed on creating music, the way to your "living".
Look at the whole mainstream shit. Yes, shit. It sounds the same, it's dull. It doesn't give you anything in return except an empty pocket.
Now look to a music scene with bands that is not pushed with hundred of thousands of Euros or Dollars. There are still thousands of bands and they are usually better than any mainstream band that's pushed by its lable.
Why? Because they have a dream, they like to do what they do and they are good in it or have nothing else to do. They put their own time in writing music for themselves, they put their very heart in it until they are fine with it. Of course not all, but still a lot. Just a little amount of them will ever get a contract. Why? Remember the forest. It's applicable on art, too.
Now think of this:
You have an unknown band, put out a record and this record is shared through usual filesharing all over the world. It's a very 'succesful record'. It get's donwloaded over 100.000 times. People all over the world are listening to your own music, enjoying it, get to sleep with it or get awake with it in the morning, hail to you on your website, your shoutboxes and whatnot. People who are able to identify themselves with your music, your lyrics, being able to get through a difficult time of their lives.
Downside: You're making little money. You can't effort it to make another record with your band (costs for recording i.e. etc.). Is this fair to you? Of course not. Will your fans be confident with this downside? Most likely not and it's their fault.
But from the artists perspective, isn't it still somehow great to know so many people are listening to your music and enjoying it? People who are eager to listen to more of your stuff even if they may never be able to?
What's left from a products perspective? The missing money.
When you are a musician what do you care most about?
If it's the artists perspective congratulation, but does it make it possible to make you go on with making music? Maybe not. And again, is that fair? No, of course not. But should you now go on a rampage to punish every downloader with all you've got? Is that fair? Maybe, maybe not. It depends.
A little 12 y/o girl downloads a song from a youtube video in shitty quality, burns it on CD (one song on one CD? Well, for this example, yes) and shares it with her friends who like it, too. That is so-called "piracy".
Make her pay now a penalty in astronomous amounts? To teach her a lesson?
A forum spreads links of records with add-supported links. Making money with your, let's call it now, work. Punish 'em?
What about someone who downloaded your CD illegally but likes very much what he hears, buys Merchandise, goes to some concerts of you if possible and recommends your music to his friends? Keep the story of a meal at a restaurant in mind, where you're not able to pay the food and have to make the dishes afterwards.
All of them is piracy and somehow wrong in their own ways but should you really even consider to punish all of them? Or punish it in the same scale? One does it unintentionally, one intentionally but makes it up and one makes it intentionally to make money. Where to draw the line?
There is no general solution for all of this. Not an easy one, not a difficult one. There is not enough space to think all of it through. It's like literally banning every crime, giving everyone a job or even something to eat. There will always be someone who has no job, will suffer of hunger or copy your music, intentionally or unintentionally. Does it mean to give up (your) copyright? No, it means face the facts that it will always be difficult to make laws that apply appropriate according to the situation and to care more about the art itself than just your money that you think you're losing.