The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #46601   Message #692104
Posted By: Big Mick
17-Apr-02 - 10:33 AM
Thread Name: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
Russ, you do not offend me with your questions. That is one of the problems in our little village with regard to our discussions. Some folks don't recognize that engaging in vigorous debate is not personal attack. It is just debate. About the only part of your post that I took exception with was your characterization of "pure and simple" as a discussion stopper. It was not meant to be that at all, rather a statement of an absolute position on my part. Context is hard to transmit sometimes.

Now, on to your statements.

It is exactly analagous to stealing ones property. But to understand this, one must understand the difference between intellectual property, and physical property. I don't mean for that to sound patronizing or demeaning, it is just that a lot of folks that post to these discussions on this subject don't seem to get it. Harvey explained it above very well. It isn't the physical CD that you are paying for, rather it is the PERFORMANCE that resides on the disc. It is the hours spent arranging, recording, editing, mixing, etc. It is the money spent mastering, printing, pressing and distributing the CD. All of those costs are incurred for the sole purpose of bringing ones music to people, and still being able to provide for ones family needs. The performance is intended solely for the use of the person who owns the physical CD. As such, they can copy it and use the copies personally, as in a car tape player, or for the enjoyment of another family member. If they choose to give away the CD, that is fine too. Here is an analogy that I think will aid understanding. Say you buy a new car. That car is yours and you can do any damn thing with it you please. Suppose that you loved it so much that you decided to build an exact copy (hang in with me here, this is just intended to be illustrative.......LOL) and give it to your buddy. In fact you decided to build copies for all your buddies. What do you suppose the owner of that design and model would do? You may own the physical car, but the design is the intellectual property of the company. One could apply any number of better examples to illustrate. When you factor in the net that the performer and the small labels (such as Folk Legacy), the theft becomes even more egregious (sp?).

But what really bothers me most about these discussions (and we have had a number of them), is the basic unwillingness for those that defend this activity to just admit one thing. This isn't about "big labels ripping us off". Hell, you can say that about most of the international capitalist community. It isn't about "sampling before you buy", because that is easily solved (as on with the use of sound clip downloads and MP3's. You can even download one song for about eighty cents US, if only one interests you. About the only somewhat reasonable use is what Keving McGrath refers to (out of print material) but even that is owned by someone. Again I refer to Folk Legacy and others like them. Sandy and Caroline have a great deal of material that they are simply trying to gather the resources to transfer and release them on CD. They own it, and it will be the source of their income. Someone comes along and puts up an old LP on a website, with limited appeal, and there goes their ability to earn a living and stay in business providing us the music we love.

Nope, it ain't about any of that. It is a very simple equation. Despite all the rhetoric used to justify this practice, it comes down to this, PURE AND SIMPLE. You want the ability to have something for nothing. There is nothing more to it. The only shade of gray is who will be hurt by it and to what extent. BMG and Sony? Yeah, but they will survive. Folk Legacy, Camsco, et. al. who are the only sources for much of the music we love? Yeah, and it will likely kill them. Independent artists such as myself? Absolutely, and to a major degree. If I can't recover my pre-production, production, and distribution costs, I am out of the business of making this music.

All the best,