… and a tear came to my eye. Go and see the film while it is being played. It’s fantastic… and so was Michael Jackson. RIP.
Yesterday, four people providing the The Pirate Bay service were sentenced to 1 year of emprisonment and a $905,000 fine each. The reason? For assisting in making copyright content available.
According to Wikipedia, “The Pirate Bay is a Swedish website that indexes, stores and tracks BitTorrent files. It bills itself as the world’s largest BitTorrent tracker.” In essence, The Pirate Bay allows people to search for and download files (audio, video, software, etc.) using peer-to-peer technology but does not host the files themselves. Naturally, and it’s stupid being hypocrites, most people use the service to download copyrighted material (MP3, DivX, etc.)
From an ethical point of view, I am against copyright violation. I believe that those who create should decide whether people should pay or not to get access to their creations. Some of them will decide that people need to pay (that’s fine!) and some will decide that their creations can be redistributed freely (that’s excellent!) And, from an ethical point of view, it’s important that people respect the will of creators or risk demotivating them. And without creations to enjoy, what is our existence worth?
From a pragmatic point of view, I like The Pirate Bay (Paulo Coelho is a fan too.) It’s important for people to be able to try things before they buy. For instance, as an avid user of Last.fm and Rate Your Music, I regularly come across new albums and I am happy that something like The Pirate Bay exists which allows me to download the albums and evaluate them before (eventually) buying them…
Because of this, I hope The Pirate Bay will survive (or something similar will emerge.)
To be frank, I only buy a few albums now because, well, obtaining them (more or less) freely is so painless. Music companies could have made their music collection downloadable at a very low price (say, of the order of Rs 100 ($3) per album) and I’m sure that a lot more people would have bought albums. In fact, if the music companies had intelligent people at their helm, they would have embraced P2P instead of condemning it because P2P solves the technical problem of delivering content in a scalable way.
The other day, I was listening to a French artist, AnaÃ¯s Croze, on TV and she was asked about piracy. She said something extremely interesting. As an artist, she is not happy about piracy. But the reason she gave was extremely interesting. She said that most people use P2P to download music but do not spend time listening. And she was afraid that we were losing our insight and understanding of music as a consequence…
I have to agree. Downloading music is a means towards discovering new horizons. It’s not an end. It’s not about filling our hard disks with thousands and thousands of MP3 and never listening and appreciating them. Music is about emotion. Not about codecs.
Let us be discerning pirates!
Yesterday, I was astounded to learn that Last.fm was going to charge people â‚¬3.00 per month to listen to streaming radio except those living in the US, the UK and Germany. And I thought that was Technological Racism from Last.fm.
Some people argued that streaming radio is expensive and it this should be a paid service. Of course! In fact, most sane people don’t have any problems paying some money provided everyone does it. As someone said, it would have been so much better to charge everyone â‚¬1.00 instead of selecting people based on place of birth. How the PR people of Last.fm came up with such a controversial idea and thought it was a good idea defies logic.
On the Last.fm blog, I proposed the following:
If I were you, I would have introduced some kind of quota for the radio. Say a few hours per day free, the rest (if any) being paid.
This would allow people like me (who have been contributing to the Last.fm database for years now) not to feel completely abandoned. Donâ€™t forget that last.fm is what it is because of us.
One hour ago, I starting receiving Twitter messages from friends telling me to have a look at an article on the BBC News website, Last.fm to charge for streaming, and that I would be surprised. I went there and, lo and behold, my proposition was there in the article. And as a bonus, I was presented as a blogger (blog poster?) and a Last.fm-contributing musician from Mauritius!
I’m sure Andy Warhol is smiling somewhere. I am having my 15 minutes of fame!
Will Last.fm come to its sense? I would be extatic as I love music!