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Napster. folk tradition or theft?

16 Apr 02 - 10:00 PM (#691692)
Subject: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: Celtic Soul

I've heard a lot of arguments for and against Napster. (I am personally against). The most recent argument for came as such; "You're a folk musician...how is Napster that different from the Folk tradition where people listened to a song, and then used it for their own purposes?"

What think ye all???


16 Apr 02 - 10:22 PM (#691707)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: Jerry Rasmussen

Nobody makes any money off of folk music anyway:

Hi, Celtic!

Jerry


16 Apr 02 - 10:58 PM (#691739)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: Stephen L. Rich

"folk trdition or theft?" Yes.


16 Apr 02 - 11:00 PM (#691740)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: Robin2

Hey Celtic,

Before the big guns did it in, my son called me to tell me that 9 of my songs were available on Napster. Believe it or not, my first reaction was "COOL, someone thinks I'm good enough to rip off!"

Is it any different than the woman that came up after a concert to tell me that she loved our tape so much, she made ten copies for all her friends?

More so than most music, the very name "folk" means that this music is thought of as belonging to everyone, and free to share. I'm not sure how that impacts those of us trying to make a living at it. My personal feeling is perhaps that lady robbed me of ten tape sales, but perhaps she made me ten more fans. Fans are worth more than one sale anytime, because they come back over and over, and bring more potential fans with them. I don't think I've been hurt by my music being "given" away, I think it has drawn more people to my music. Others may feel very different, I understand that.

Sorry for the long post, but you did ask!*wink*

Robin


16 Apr 02 - 11:05 PM (#691745)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: 53

Is Napster going to be up again? I haven't been able to find out any info.


16 Apr 02 - 11:15 PM (#691752)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: Anahootz

I think that if you are an unknown folksinger (oxymoron?) that any exposure is good exposure. .mp3 sharing is a great idea, and I have advocated its wise and responsible use before on this board.

If you find an artist you like, go buy their recording...as long as it isn't on Rounder.


16 Apr 02 - 11:18 PM (#691756)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: Robin2

Enlighten me...why not on Rounder?


16 Apr 02 - 11:23 PM (#691760)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: GUEST,.gargoyle

In the "early days" of the net. ALL was free. And, the enclave of citizens was limited to those intelligent/academic enough to gain access and learn the protocals.

Napster only made available to the masses,(the masses ARE asses) through an easy-to-use interface, those "skills" which had once been available to the few.

There will ALWAYS be an underlying elite who are willing to study and apply the protocals.

Napster is like the pre-corded left-hand buttons on a squeeze box....easy to use....but you will NEVER become a "musician" without learning the TRUE nature of chording.

In the interest of "folk tradition" I agree. It is accessable, and available Unfortunately, there is no skill required to copy and burn.

On the otherhand, it HAS made available an avenue for sharing original material across a much wider swath of humanity. Perhaps, this "new global audience" will result in improved amature performance. Because, in the end, FOLK is truly about AMATURE performance.


16 Apr 02 - 11:24 PM (#691761)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: Big Mick

I must disagree. The fundamental premise is skewed. Here is why. It implies that there is no difference between someone who hears a song and then performs it for his/her own benefit, and taking a CD (which is produced for sale and support of the artist) and subverting the property rights of that artist by allowing listeners/potential customers to get a copy without paying. And please don't raise the old "it's no different than copying a tape or recording off the radio" argument. Those aren't right either, but Napster and the Internet mean that no one other than the person that initially purchased the CD had to pay. It is theft, pure and simple.

I have yet to have anyone admit the simple reason that they defend Napster/Gnutella, etc., is that they want something for nothing. It has nothing to do anything more than that.

Mick


16 Apr 02 - 11:31 PM (#691765)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: Anahootz

This is enough to hate any label.

The Rounder group has vacuumed up many a small label by buying their artists away...then buying back-catalog rights to all of the same artists work. This is analogous to your boss getting paid every time you come to work in the morning.

I think that free music trading is better than corporate wage-art any day.


16 Apr 02 - 11:44 PM (#691776)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: Robin2

Anahootz,

Thanks for the link and the heads up.

Personal opinion here, I have long thought that labels have done more harm to most musicians than Napster, and wellmeaning fans that copy our tapes, could ever do

Robin


17 Apr 02 - 01:07 AM (#691807)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: Big Mick

I respect your opinion, Robin. Does that include Folk Legacy? You see, I could care less about the Sony's and BMG's of the world. Other than a philosophical reason for the stealing of music, I believe they hurt many artists. $15.00 to $18.00 for a CD that costs them less than $5.00 to produce and market certainly lends fuel to the fire. But labels that promote folk and a lot of blues are usually labels like Folk Legacy. For them, $15.00 barely keeps the lights on. That is the trouble with discussions like these, and opinions that make broad statements. They fail to make these distinguishments.

All the best,

Mick


17 Apr 02 - 01:46 AM (#691819)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: Doug Chadwick

If Napster is theft, doesn't the same thing apply to lyric requests posted on the Mudcat for which published sheet music is available?

Doug


17 Apr 02 - 02:13 AM (#691828)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: Big Mick

Very good point, Doug. Let me think on this one. You have given me pause, sir. I will get back to you on this one.

All the best,

Mick


17 Apr 02 - 03:12 AM (#691840)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: SeanM

Mick;

I'd disagree also on your statement of "Napster and the Internet mean that no one other than the person that initially purchased the CD had to pay" to differentiate that from someone making copies of a CD that they purchased for someone else. They're both the same thing, but Napster is on a wider scale.

I used Napster. I used it to research groups I'd heard of but couldn't hear due to the fact that they don't get airplay. I used it to download songs that aren't available any more because they aren't released. I also used it to download songs I already owned, but wanted on the computer in an easy to use format.

Then again, I'm in the minority on that one. None of my downloads were top 40 hits. None of them were (to my knowledge) available in any form that I could purchase (at least that I kept - I 'discarded' several bands because... well, they were shit).

Napster deeply expanded my knowledge of folk. I will NOT buy something unless I hear it first after being burned MANY times by getting a CD with one good track and 10 horrible ones - $20 is a bit steep for a single. I've severely curtailed my exploring new music because of this. There simply isn't a reliable source for folk music listening outside internet downloads and stations, and with Napster dead, not much available on the other services, and a slow and unreliable connection that makes Net Radio (which is also threatened) logistically unlikely, it's not likely I'll be buying much new music.

M


17 Apr 02 - 06:27 AM (#691906)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: McGrath of Harlow

Where this kind of technology becomes useful and totally moral is where recordings have ceased to be available.

Copying records that you might otherwise be buying, that means the people who make the record aren't getting money thye otherwise would, with a small bit of that going to the artiste.

But when a recording is no longer available, it's a whole different matter. The only way it can be passed on and the music shared is by copying. It's not cheating the artistes, it's honouring them.

That's why this business with honking duck being silenced (copyright on records pressed in 1924!) is so monstrous.


17 Apr 02 - 06:46 AM (#691914)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: greg stephens

I am pleased and feel complimented when I find people have copied versions of things I have recorded. But it would be kind of nice if one day someone came up to me and said "I've got a copy on tape of one of your albums. I like it. I would therefore love to buy you a drink, representing the money you'd have got if I'd bought a copy". It's never happened yet but I live in hope. As a rule of thumb, how about: if you earn more money than the person whose music you are copying, it's theft, and you should be ashamed of yourself.


17 Apr 02 - 07:05 AM (#691926)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: DMcG

DougR: As usual I find myself partially in agreement with you and partially opposed.

I would want to distinguish at least three kinds of lyrics.

Firstly, those of the singer/songwriter. Giving those freely over the Internet can, I think, be construed as theft, unless s/he gave permission.

Secondly, there are those of the 'true' folk song, learned only through the darkest of depths of history! These are 'owned' by the general population and it would be 'theft' for anyone to claim copyright in my view.

The third group is stuff explicitly collected, and there is some need to acknowledge their work. Copyright does not seem to be to be a very satisfactory way of doing this, but it is all we have. I am not at all happy with the idea that the Child Ballads are copyright but I have no problems with the copyright residing in the learned notes accompanying the ballads.

Lastly, I would want to distinguish between the performance/arrangement and the song. I don't have any problem with, say, Martin Carthy sueing over the 'Scarborough Fair' arrangement but I don't think it gives him any copyright over the song itself.


17 Apr 02 - 07:32 AM (#691940)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: gnu

The only good thing the "Napsters" did was bring down the price of CD's and tapes. I can undestand why many people would want to rip off music rather than be gouged at the till. For a while, it was almost insulting. I didn't turn to Napster, I just gave up expanding my collection.


17 Apr 02 - 07:39 AM (#691949)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: Stephen L. Rich

Robin2 -- Barvo! Your first reaction to Napster is one of the healtiest responses to just about anything of which I have heard in a long time.


17 Apr 02 - 07:51 AM (#691959)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: greg stephens

The habit of copyrighting trad tunes and songs when you record them should not be taken as meaning you'retrying to claim any special rightson the tune(in the sense of stopping otherpeople using them). We just do it to try toget some money into our pockets that would otherwise go to nobody( or possibly to other people like record companies, PPL coffers etc).If you spend half your life collecting and researching traditional music (with no grants available to help), there is no harm in trying to get a few pence back when you record them (and pence is what it tends to be!).Don't hold it against any one if you see "Soldiers Joy"Tradarranged Joe Bloggs copyright 2002. They're just trying to raise some beer money.


17 Apr 02 - 09:02 AM (#692000)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: harvey andrews

It's theft plain and simple.
Many minority artists now run their own label like me
I invest in my own albums and pay all my own costs and have to sell a specific amount before I am in profit.I manage to do this,but many others struggle to break even.My cd is my product for sale, my song is my product for singing. Please have my lyrics and my chords and sing my songs,I own the copyright as do many artists and can do this as I wish. But if you want to own my performance of my work that has cost me a lot of money to make available to you, then you should be prepared to pay for it as you would a sack of apples from a farmer.
This other spurious idea that the theft of the tracks increases the artists audience..only if he/she can get the bookings.An artist not booked cannot be seen and an artist who has no record of how many cds have been stolen has no way of knowing what their potential audience is, so they cannot risk booking venues themselves and finding them a third full.
It seems to me that what we have here is a classic case of "if you cannot defend it, I will take it". The thieves know it is theft and tie themselves in knots trying to justify it on moral, or other grounds. It is no more justifiable than stealing a cd player from a shop, or bread from a bakers. It's just that it can be done, so it is done as there is no fear of punishment.
But please spare us the justifications
It's my life's work and I am entitled as are all others, including you, whatever you do to put bread upon your table,to benefit from my own labours
I know very well that had i been able to download when I was a young man I would probably have done it and many artists who's singles and albums i bought who were struggling to have their voice heard above the general din of dross, would have suffered as a result. I hope I would not have tried to justify my actions by compromising my principles. Ihope I would have admitted to theft and had the moral fibre to refuse to do it again. But then..I'm only human too! And I have never downloaded an illegal track and I promise I never will.
It's just solidarity with my co-workers.


17 Apr 02 - 09:12 AM (#692012)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: Nigel Parsons

Harvey: it's good to know that you and I hold the moral high ground, never having used the ofice phone without paying, appropriated office stationery, recorded a song from the radio, video'd an episode of Star Trek to keep rather than watch once and record over.....
On second thoughts I had better exclude myself from the above comment, John:8:7


17 Apr 02 - 09:21 AM (#692024)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: greg stephens

Nigel, that's a very snide attack on Harvey.Of course all the things you cite are theft and we all do them. But there is a difference,and you have to judge how bad things are by the consequences they have.If you nick a couple of paperclips you know damn well nobody's going to go without their supper. If you nick from a verypoor musician they may well, and if you personally have an income that enables you to have the things you want you shouldn't steal from people who havent. hence my rule of thumb in an earlier posting, dont steal from people poorer than yourself. Ideally, dont steal from anyone, but we are all human.


17 Apr 02 - 09:36 AM (#692045)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: McGrath of Harlow

Harvey's right of course - where it's possible to buy a record, making a copy from a borrowed one, or off the internet is cheating them. Apart from when you might copy something in order to see whether you might want to hear it, which is no different from listening to a record in a shop before you buy it.

And there might also be times when there was a single good track on a record that you'd never dream of buying because the rest of it isn't much good, so there is no loss of revenue.

But where a record has been allowed to go out of circulation so you can't buy it, it's a different matter. Too many great records have been lost that way, and the singers and musicians effectively wiped out so far as most people are concerned. In those circumstances copying them isn't theft, it's more of a duty.


17 Apr 02 - 09:46 AM (#692051)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: Nigel Parsons

I retract!
I was merely making the point that it is all relative. The point at which it starts to become noticeable that it's theft is when it hits one personally.
Bumping up travel insurance claims seems to only be hitting the 'Corporations' unless you have shares, or until you notice your premiums going up. There is no 'victimless theft'.
And in the earlier posting I did accept that I had no right to occupy the moral high ground!


17 Apr 02 - 09:48 AM (#692053)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: Pseudolus

Videotaping a TV show to watch over and over is perfectly legal, you just can't sell it or charge someone to watch it with you....although to be honest, I can't think of many I would WANT to watch over and over......

Frank


17 Apr 02 - 09:48 AM (#692054)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: greg stephens

One kind of copying I do occasionally do, and I can't really morally justify is as follows: I get a record, i like it, and I have a friend I think might particularly like it, or might want a tune off it for their next record or whatever.I can't afford to buy a new one and sendit to them, and anyway that might be a scale of present i dont feel like making: I may not know them that well, or it's not their birthday.So I do the obvious thing, i copy the track or the whole thing and send it to them. Those are the sort of occasions where you shoud remember, and buy the musicians concerned a drink if you run into them. (Unless its an orchestra). Harvey Andrews: you're in the classic musician's dilemma: you're bloody angry if they copy your CDs, but you'ld be bloody depressed if they didn't.


17 Apr 02 - 09:54 AM (#692059)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: Big Mick

Sean, it is the wider scale that is precisely what makes the difference. It is like the difference of lifting a candy bar as opposed to stealing the whole truck of candy. It was bad enough with the cassette tape, but this literally removes all borders.

All the best,

Mick


17 Apr 02 - 09:59 AM (#692067)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: GUEST,Russ

Big Mick,

Even if I agree with you that downloading an MP3 file is theft, that does not make it "pure and simple."

There's theft and then there's theft. One of the reasons laws and the sorts of distinctions they make are so complicated is because life and the real world are so complicated.

For example, even if downloading an MP3 file is theft, it is clearly NOT analogous to my stealing a CD from your home. If I steal the CD then I possess a physical object and can enjoy the benefits of such possession. Because of my possession you can long longer enjoy the benefits of the possession of that physical object. Etc.

So, Even if it is theft, how exactly is it theft? Even if it is theft, and theft is bad, how bad is it? Even if it is theft, what level of guilt would be appropriate if I do it? Even if it is theft, what would be an appropriate punishment for it? Even if it is theft, what measures are justified in attempting to prevent it?

If raising such questions annoys you, I sincerely apologize.

If calling it theft "pure and simple" is simply intended to be a discussion stopper, that's OK. No one is obligated to engage in or even be interested in such an (at least moderately) abstract discussion.

However, Although, the world is full of lying, thieving, self-justifying bastards, there is a lot of honest uncertainty on the part of people who don't fall into that category about the status of music files and the acts of making them public and downloading them. I take the regularly reappearing debates about the topic on Mudcat as evidence of such honest uncertainty.


17 Apr 02 - 09:59 AM (#692068)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: McGrath of Harlow

There are some people who would be entitled to one hell of a lot of free drinks...


17 Apr 02 - 10:11 AM (#692083)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: harvey andrews

To give an example for guest Russ..a fellow pro musician friend of mine who is classed as minority music and therefore does it all himself for a discerning audience, was shown a site that had 42 of his tracks for free download. We worked out that he had invested just over £20,000 of his hard earned money to make these tracks available to people to take for no return to him.
Now, if this was washing machines, eventually there would be no one manufacturing them.
The same applies to all things within the arts. Support them or they will die. Although I know there are people in the folk world who believe it to be intrinsically wrong that someone should devote their life to developing their talent to the full and making a living from their skills, I'm not one of them. I give thanks each day for ther writers, songwriters, musicians, actors etc who give my life some meaning and I don't begrudge them a penny for their efforts.


17 Apr 02 - 10:28 AM (#692100)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: greg stephens

re harvey andrews previous posting: I've seen it claimed in Mudcat in all seriousness (I won't name names) that there can be no such thing as a professional folk musician, it has to be done for mutual pleasure and comfort.(This has been said in "what is folk " type discussions.) I'll join you Harvey in thanking them all, those to whose music I have danced and those whose songs I've listened to. You've worked hard for every penny.


17 Apr 02 - 10:33 AM (#692104)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: Big Mick

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 efolk.com) 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,

Mick


17 Apr 02 - 10:45 AM (#692116)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: harvey andrews

Amen, Mick!


17 Apr 02 - 11:02 AM (#692127)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: Pseudolus

Not to pick on your words Mick but I would like to suggest (and I think you'd agree) that even if the people hurt are Sony and BMG, it doesn't make it ok. I don't mean to imply that you said it was ok, I just wanted to make the point that if BMG and Sony are hurt, yeah they will survive but eventually they will need to make up that "lost" money and the way they will do that is increasing prices for those of us actually buying the CD's. It would be like the mentality of saying "Hey, the insurance companies are rich, they can afford my false claim." Again, I'm not trying to imply that that's what you meant, it's just something that popped into my head after reading your post.

Take Care,
Frank


17 Apr 02 - 11:10 AM (#692136)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: Big Mick

It's OK, Frank, and a very good point to re-emphasize. I think I might have implied that in an earlier post, or on an earlier thread on this subject. We have had several.

But let me second your thought. Theft is one of those absolutes. If you take it and it isn't yours to take, that is theft. In MOST cases there is no justification for it. All of these arguments presented to justify the taking of something that does not belong to them simply are attempts to mitigate the guilt. I have yet to see a compelling defense of the act. But I sure have heard lots of excuses.

Thanks for the assistance in clarifying that, Frank.

Mick


17 Apr 02 - 11:11 AM (#692137)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: greg stephens

Thank you, Big Mick, well said. Most of the time Mudcatters are going in the same direction (in areeling and rambling sort of way) but this is aseriously divisive topic: it is quite upsetting as a struggling professional musician to read another group of people cheerfully discussing the best ways of ripping us off, often not just in theory but actually advising each other how to do it technically .


17 Apr 02 - 11:52 AM (#692169)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: irishajo

I use an alternative to Napster to hear artists who've been recommended to me. If I like what I hear, I will buy a CD.

I am really not sure what to think about this issue. I am not an aspiring professional musician, but I have been an aspiring professional writer. I suppose if I were to have a novel published, I'd like everyone who read it to have bought a copy. But libraries kind of circumvent that, don't they? I don't think of people who read library books as thieves. Am I oversimplifying the issue?


17 Apr 02 - 12:52 PM (#692239)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: McGrath of Harlow

Theft is a bit more complicated sometimes. I think when someone or some organisation gets hold of the copyright of a record of some other person singing or playing and won't release it, and wont allow the person involved to release it either, as has happened often enough, that is a particularly nasty form of theft.

The same kind of thing arises when people succeed in enforcing a copyright restriction on something that should be public domain - taking into your private possession what belongs rightly to everyone is theft, and a very comfortable and profitable form of theft.


17 Apr 02 - 12:57 PM (#692244)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: MMario

irashajo - the rational for a library is that basically only one person at a time can read the book. Web-publishing an mps is the equivilant of the library photocopying the book for each person that checks it out.


17 Apr 02 - 01:12 PM (#692251)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: GUEST,Russ

Big Mick,

I appreciate your gracious and detailed reply. I am aware that the issue is a "hot button" for you and I was hoping that I would not sound as if I were nonchalantly socratizing.


17 Apr 02 - 01:13 PM (#692254)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: SeanM

Well, my apologies then. I'd guess that the Paul Clayton, Great Big Sea, Ashley MacIsaac and several other CDs that I bought solely because I was able to download a few tracks to hear what was on the disc before buying and liked them are figments of my imagination.

I'd also say that regardless of WHO owns the material, if it's out of print and no longer offered for sale, it's not hurting the label if it's not released. I can't believe that someone suffers damage when someone fails to buy a recording that doesn't exist to be purchased.

And as to the samples on the web... Unfortunately, that's not a reliable indicator of what the product will be. Most sites I've seen include only one or two tracks from any given album. If the album is weak, the artist (or label) is NOT going to include that material on the website. But it's not an indicator, as the lack of samples can also be indicative of a lack of storage space, a distaste for providing samples, creative disagreements within the deciding group, what have you. The lack of samples may be covering a horrible album, or it may be covering a true gem. Likewise, the samples themselves don't necessarily give a true feel for the songs on many occasions. It's easy to take a twenty second section of a hook filled chorus for a crap song.

I'll freely admit that MANY people seriously abused the service. Heck, I know people myself that had 2-3 gig of space of NOTHING but downloaded MP3s. But the fact is that I do not consider my uses of the service inappropriate. I can very truthfully state that any song I downloaded was either something I already owned, something I purchased, or was deleted once a decision was made. I know others that did the same.

M


17 Apr 02 - 01:18 PM (#692257)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: GUEST,Russ

Irishajo,

Very interesting point.

MMario,

But the library and the author and the publisher presumably wouldn't have a problem if I borrowed the book and read it aloud to a group? At lunch maybe? To the people I commute with?

What about libraries making material available online?


17 Apr 02 - 01:25 PM (#692262)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: Wolfgang

I've read a couple of old threads coming up in a search for 'Napster'. Below are three citations from old threads I have found interesting for different reasons. My opinion: If (even good) artists can't live from what they do, it will be our common loss.

Wolfgang

Somehow I can't see General Motors having someone give replicas of their cars away................. (Catspaw)

If one is hungry and one steals a loaf of bread... what then? Is that immoral?

But it is illegal... and you can be put in prison for it.

It is wrong to punish someone for a basic human need.

I also consider art to be a basic human need, particularly if you are poor in money. Art can keep you going when nothing else can. Art can lift you out of depression. Art is the inspiration that makes me determined to get healthy, so that I can make money someday. Should I just lay down and die because neither the goverment or the social support systems are willing to recognize my disability and help me? (hesperis)

It costs me, and other collector/producers like me, real money to make our artists' music available to those who enjoy it. If we sell one CD and five copies of it are given away to friends by the purchaser, we are deprived of the profit from the additional sales. Simply put, that means we won't be able to make any new CDs. Of course, like the farmer, we might win the lottery. Then we could just keep on doing what we're doing until the money runs out. If you can think of some way for us to produce new CDs (and also eat, pay the light bill, upgrade our equipment, heat the house, etc.) without any money, please let me know.

I've read that some 14 million people download free music through Napster regularly, while fewer than 2 million download music for which they pay a nominal sum to the producer. I realize that the kind of music we offer is not going to be in great demand on the 'net, but, with us, every individual CD sale helps. (Sandy Paton)


17 Apr 02 - 01:47 PM (#692268)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: MMario

Russ - *now* you are into performance rights in addition to copyright! (re: reading a book aloud. I believe technically to be legal it needs to be in private, which also has a strict legal definition. If you were to read itin public - then technically you should be paying performance copyright fees. (even if you didn't charge for it))

I think you will find libraries are very particular about having permissions regarding materials they post on the web - or making sure they are public domain.

For example - the Lester Levy sheet music site - if you see an image of the sheet music they have cleared it as being out of copyright. the *images* however are under copyright and may not be downloaded and used as the image without permission.


17 Apr 02 - 10:30 PM (#692544)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: Robin2

Oh my goodness, what a can of worms here has been opened!

I've read everyone's comments with more than usual attention. As one of those "folk artists" trying to make a living at this (an impossiblity, as another post has pointed out), I have more than a passing interest in the subject.

I think the real question here is not if it is theft or not (it most certainly is), but if the theft is detrimental to the artist. I am still not convinced that Napster, or any other site (I have found three sites that had my music for free download throughout the last several years)has cost me money.

On this note, I will say that I do not download anything I think is illegal. I don't make copies for friends. I also take fans with a grain of salt. I must remember most fans don't even realize they are taking money from an artist by copying a product...they think they are doing you a favor by passing you along to friends. And at the indi level, perhaps they are!

IMHO Robin


18 Apr 02 - 12:59 AM (#692598)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: Rick Fielding

Although this has been debated ad-nauseum for a couple of years, I'll recount a little story told by a friend of mine fairly recently. He posted this publicly on a Canadian forum called "Maplepost", but since I'm paraphrasing, (and haven't asked permission to tell his story) I'll leave his name out.

He tours for a living. Small concerts, at reasonably small money (compared to Airport security staff!) and needs to sell a lot of CDs at each venue to survive. He's VERY influential as an instrumentalist, and finds that a great many folks in his audience also play in his style. More and more folks are coming up to him after the show, showering him with compliments....and wanting to show him how well they can play his stuff....which they've downloaded off the net. Not only are they completely cheerful about where they heard his music.....but they often ask "If you've got an album that I CAN"T download, I'll buy it"!!

He's a pretty easy going guy, and I guess he explains to them why he'll probably not be able to afford to tour anymore, but my guess is, that they don't have a clue what they've done to his career. Should they even care? Is it THEIR responsibility? Would it even matter to them if they NEVER saw him live again....as long as they can parrot the tablature, and hear all his tunes for free?

It used to be that an album meant that you were a skilled enough performer to be noticed (and invested in) by more than just your immediate circle. A good album could get you paying gigs....and you might scratch a living from them. Today ANYONE can make an album with minimal cost and minimal ability.....and a club owner or Festival A.D. will have to wade through hundreds of submissions....and chances are by the time they get to a 'good one' they may be too desensitized to recognize the difference.

God knows, I've probably missed several fine performers over the last while who've sent albums for radio play on my show, simply because of the volume of submissions.

Truthfully I think the term "professional" folk singer will have gone the way of the dodo bird within a very few years. (save for those folks who made their reputations 20 or more years ago....or those who are sexy enough to warrant mainstream marketing money) Napster et al may well be the straw that breaks the camel's back.....because if you're gonna ask people to use "the honour system", you'd better start lookin' for a job outside live performing right now.

The question that I've always had was "What are ya gonna do to punish the kid who downloads (say) Harvey's songs and says 'hey, this is cooool, I'll share it with all my friends"? Take away their allowance? Put 'em in a Turkish Prison?

It all boils down to what percentage of your income can you afford to lose....and still stay in the pickin' and singin' game.

Rick


18 Apr 02 - 01:43 AM (#692604)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: John P

For me, one of the sticking points has always been whether or not I am getting paid for my work. It doesn't matter if I would have never gotten any money anyway because the person who got the copy would have never bought it anyway. So what? The fact is, I went to work and didn't get paid at the end of the day. I often ask people who try to defend pirating albums what they do for a living, and how I can get in touch with their boss so I can explain to this employer that they have an employee who thinks it's OK to work for free. In the case of someone who is selling or trading pirated albums, not only am I not getting paid, but someone else is getting paid for my work.

Sean M, I'm glad you are ethical about your downloading. I don't have a problem with that. But you must surely know that the vast majority of people who download albums, or copy them in other ways, do so in order to get the music without having to pay for it.

As for out of print albums, I have a problem with copying those as well. Our first album has been out of print for several years. We were trying to decide whether or not to release it on CD when we found out that one of our "fans" was making LOTS of copies for others of our fans. So now a lot of the people who might be tempted to buy it already have it. And we aren't releasing it, and we aren't getting paid for the work we did making the album, and a bunch of people have something of ours for free. Yes, some of them would buy the actual product, but most aren't CD collectors -- they just want the music and apparently don't care how they get it.

Someone asked about lyrics posted to Mudcat. Yes, it is unethical (and illegal) if the material is under copyright and the owner hasn't given permission.

John Peekstok


18 Apr 02 - 02:11 AM (#692614)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: Anahootz

From the "user agreement" of the ONLY .mp3 server that I use...

"Audiogalaxy's Copyright and Intellectual Property Agent for Notice Audiogalaxy respects the intellectual property of others, and we ask our users to do the same. Audiogalaxy may, at its own discretion, disable the accounts of users who may be infringing the intellectual property rights of others. If you believe that your copyrighted work has been copied and is accessible on this site in a way that constitutes copyright infringement, you may notify Audiogalaxy's copyright agent."

Napster is a thing of the past...and for those of you bitching and whining about .mp3 services taking money out of your pocket, why don't you get off of your dead ass and put your music on a server that also hosts artists? A good (read: legit) .mp3 server often has many services for artists, including some no-fee stuff.


18 Apr 02 - 02:19 AM (#692615)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: SeanM

"they just want the music and apparently don't care how they get it."

That is pretty much the core of a lot of this.

Specifically addressing out of print material - I hate to sound cruel about it, but that's a hazard of what's going on. If your fans don't have the ability to buy the material and REALLY want it, they're going to find a way. Whether it's someone selling bootlegs or informal trading or online downloading, it's going to happen somehow. When a performer lets material lapse out of print, the assumption is (hopefully) that the demand for said material is more or less over, and it's no longer financially viable to produce it. I personally believe that (at least on an independent level) the way to avoid this is to make sure that there's always material available. The group I'm with always keeps a stock of all of our releases laid in - we only run 1000 copy runs at a time, but this way we ALWAYS know that if a customer wants to buy the material, they can get it. It's not a huge expense, and it's covered us on several occasions - we don't ever have to tell a potential customer that something is out of print, even though our first release is around 10 years old.

BTW - most of our members either are or were Napster users. With Napster dead, others use edonkey2k, Morpheus and the like. I don't, mainly because I've not been able to find anything worth the pain of dealing with my slow connection. The general consensus is that we HAVE had several discs sold to customers who'd never have purchased our recordings without the online downloads - we've had people at our shows tell us very explicitly that they're there because they've downloaded and liked us.

Yes, there are abuses. But there are VERY definite positive points that can be made. To simply immediately define every single person that uses the services a thief, and to claim that they have no beneficial effects, is absolutely preposterous.

M


18 Apr 02 - 03:52 AM (#692644)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: Nigel Parsons

Irishajo: just on the point of libraries, here (U.K.) at least, a close record is kept of the number of times a particular book is borrowed by the public, and a payment is made to the copyright holder based on this figure.
This includes payments to the estates of dead authors whose work is still in copyright.


18 Apr 02 - 09:27 PM (#693310)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: Rick Fielding

Hmmmmmm....anyone old enough to remember when you could actually PLAY a record at the store....before deciding if you wanted to buy it or not. I THINK it was before my time...but I'm not sure. Memory can play tricks.

Rick


18 Apr 02 - 10:05 PM (#693342)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: SeanM

For a short time there was a resurgence in being able to listen at the store - Tower and one or two other 'megachains' still do it to a very limited extent (stations where a selection of CDs that the chain selects are available for listening).

Blockbuster Music, for all their hideous errors in other ways (limited selection, bizzare special order procedure, etc) tried a 'listen before you buy' on everything in the store. Unfortunately, I think the estimate was that somewhat under five percent of listens turned into sales.

Wherehouse music used to offer the same thing for used CDs at some stores (I worked at one that did, and was there when the order rescinded).

Too many 'one hit wonder' CDs out there...

M


19 Apr 02 - 05:26 AM (#693524)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: Nigel Parsons

Both our local "Tesco" and our local "Virgin record" stores have towers with a selection of CDs to play, with headphones.


19 Apr 02 - 05:37 AM (#693530)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: Joe in the'pool

Free Music For All!! That's the only way to rid ourselves of the Rip-off merchants called 'The Record Industry'

How do people like The Lice Girls manage to pursaude young girls to want to be 'Just like them' why is Geri of the opinion that she is an Ambassador for 'humanity' Oh! please.. save us from the industry..

I rather like the saying, which sums it up as to how music should be viewed..

'There is nothing more satisfying than the pounding of an old piano on this unavailing star' hear hear...

Now where's that 4 track!!

Joe


19 Apr 02 - 06:05 AM (#693545)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: SeanM

As noted, there are some stores that still have a selection you can listen to. Unfortunately, it's a selection usually determined by (in order of authority) the labels paying for the placement, the chain trying to promote what they think will sell, and finally the store staff posting what they either like or think will sell.

I've not seen a store offering full 'listening' since Blockbuster stopped theirs, shortly before they folded.

And as to 'free music for all'... Well, there HAS to be a middle ground. Napster and the like DO provide a useful service. Unfortunately, it's a service VERY easily abused. The current suggested alternatives (pay-to-subscribe with VERY limited catalogues) is not going to be an equivalent. The current appearance is that Napster has died only to be replaced with other services that can NOT be shut down.

Oh well. Kinda makes it moot.

M


19 Apr 02 - 06:13 AM (#693548)
Subject: RE: Napster. folk tradition or theft?
From: McGrath of Harlow

It seems to me that it's still normal practice to have listening facilities in record stores in England, as Nigel Parsons says. Another of those transatlantic differences that only get brought to light in the Mudcat.

Mind, since they hardly ever stock the records I'd want to buy I'm not too sure. I rely on the stalls at festivals, and on people selling their own CDs at the end of their performances.

As for out of print records - in many cases it's not in the power of the performers to keep their records in circulation or produce more copies. You get cases where against their wishes records are withheld for years against the wises of the musicians, and very much to their detriment. Nic Jones is a case in point which has been discussed on the Mudcat.

I look along my shelves, and for any number of the older records it would be impossible to get a copy - vinyl which has never been put onto CDs. The companies have folded, the artists have likely died.

I wish there was some easy way in which we could find a way of getting payment to the people who made the music when we want to make a copy and pass the music on to some new person. Maybe it would be possible to use the Mudcat forum to help in this sometimes.