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back to article What's copying your music really worth to you?

How much would your iPhone be worth to you if the only music it could play had been bought on the device itself, from Apple? If your answer is "a lot less" or "not very much", then you're not alone. New empirical research has attempted to measure how much we value the ability to copy our music across formats and devices – and it …

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Anonymous Coward

blah blah blah

http://www.tickld.com/images/content/10281.jpg

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Anonymous Coward

CDs are only a delivery mechanism now

The only reason people are buying CDs is so they can "infringe" and put them on their digital music player? Who actually uses these in CD players any longer?

How many sales would CDs rack up at their current prices if it wasn't for digital music players?

CDs are obviously over valued without being able to format shift. CDs would be a completely dead format without that. Halve the price of a CD and then maybe we can talk about format shifting royalties. Their so called infringing use is the only use now. They're just like the Internet, a means to deliver bits to your digital audio player.

Of course, the study authors again make the false assumption that they'd be worth the same as they're charging currently without the ability to format shift. Just another blind and ignorant justification for trying to get more money.

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MJI
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Re: CDs are only a delivery mechanism now

A lot of us still use the CDs as their primary source rather than delivery method.

You see not everyone has headphones stuck on all the time.

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Re: CDs are only a delivery mechanism now

Ok, so I don't have a portable music player, and the music on my phone hasn't been listened to for months. In that respect, I agree with you.

However, every CD I own is ripped to my external hard drive and indexed in Foobar. I can swap from Dr Dre's Chronic 2001 to AC/DC's Who Made Who to Kraftwerk's Die mensch Maschine with two clicks of the mouse. If I didn't, I'd be hunting through shelves of jewel cases for barely-remember spines of barely-remembered album art, risking permanent damage to the disc with each swap. I'd put at least a couple of minutes into finding the case for the existing CD, ejecting, putting in the case, putting back on the shelf (maybe in order to make searching easier, probably not), finding the next case, inserting the disc, waiting for it to spin up... That's music enjoyment time lost.

In an age when your car, kitchen stereo, TV are all able to index and play media from a digital music player, why would you carry CDs?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: CDs are only a delivery mechanism now

Sorry, you've got the wrong format then. You should be listening to vinyl.

I must be doing it wrong because I've been listening to digital music without headphones at home, in the car and at work. This technology stuff is crazy I tell ya!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: CDs are only a delivery mechanism now

I've not used a CD player for playing discs since 1995!

Ripped onto PC and played from the PC!

PC connected to the telly and the "Stereo" which is now just an amp/equalizer.

I though the whole world did the same thing?!?! No! Then where have you been for the past 17 years??

As for format shifting being illegal, fuck 'em! I paid my dues to listen the that music, and I will do so, in any format I wish (CD into a player or ripped onto PC/Digital format).

My advice to the industry is keep up or DIE! Ultraviolet should have been introduced a decade ago! They have themselves to blame.

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Mushroom

Re: CDs are only a delivery mechanism now

I don't listen to compressed music at all. Digital compression creates non-harmonic distortion: frequencies in the output that are non-integer multiples of the input frequency, that have no musical relationship whatsoever to the source. For anyone with a liking for tonal music and a decent ear, this is fairly close to torture.

It's nothing to do with headphones. Even a cheap pair of 'phones is quite a high-fidelity reproduction device, and if they distort at all, it's harmonic distortion unless you have the volume up dangerously high. As for vinyl vs CDs, one can prove by measurement that the vinyl introduces the greater distortion. However, it's pleasant-sounding low-harmonic distortion, so it's understandable if some folks actually prefer it ito a CD.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: CDs are only a delivery mechanism now

"For anyone with a liking for tonal music and a decent ear, this is fairly close to torture."

What utter bollox mate! Tell you what, next time I have guests I shall ask them. Don't think it's going to be close to torture, at all. Yes, quality isn't as good but the loss is acceptable and most people wouldn't know the difference. Get Real!

Yes some people prefer CD, I prefer CD quality, but they are too inconvenient and antiquated.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: CDs are only a delivery mechanism now

I'm wondering if we can do a double blind test on audiophile listening experience with digital music. I'll listen to my iPod whilst dipping audiophiles in liquid nitrogen to see if their bleating about how digital is horrible changes tonality.

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Re: CDs are only a delivery mechanism now

Speak for yourself, and read what I said. I have nothing against uncompressed or losslessly-compressed bitstreams on whatever media, and these days you can put tens of uncompressed CDs on a cheap memory stick. But if you can enjoy the sound of a C-major chord polluted with random C-sharps and E-flats and other tones that are not even a part of the twelve-note chromatic scale, then you do not have an ear for tonal music.

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Re: CDs are only a delivery mechanism now

>It's nothing to do with headphones. Even a cheap pair of 'phones is quite a high-fidelity reproduction device

Hah. Way to show that you don't know what you are talking about. Unless "cheap" means $200+ of course, to go with a "budget" $2000 amp.

I've always preferred splurging on the music itself, rather than droning about equipment. Or sampling/compression artefacts (http://blog.szynalski.com/2009/07/05/blind-testing-mp3-compression/). Basically I don't pretend my ears are special.

But get Sennheiser 555s or equiv ($250 reg, $75 sale when I got mine). Way, way better. I even use them for my work phone conferences now, much better at picking out people far from microphones.

No way cheap (< 80-100$ list) headphones are remotely comparable - I picked up lotsa nuances in songs I had never heard. Don't get me started on Apple-issue whites either. Headphones are the first kit to consider upgrading.

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Re: CDs are only a delivery mechanism now

I rip all my CDs to my computer and listen to them through the speakers attached to it. I could insert the CD into the drive and listen to it directly, but it is much easier to click on a file than find the CD I want to listen to.

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Re: CDs are only a delivery mechanism now

You can rip CDs to a lossless format, so that isn't a problem.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: CDs are only a delivery mechanism now

Give it up mate, audiophools are audiophools, they get off on outrage and looking down at people who don't believe they can hear the sound of a gnat farting in the background of a recording (but only if played through cables that cost more than a small family hatchback car)

They appear every time a new format comes out to rubbish it and tell us we're stupid neanderthals with no taste for listening to music on it.

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Re: CDs are only a delivery mechanism now

Re AC and audiophools.

Spot on. I never cease to be amazed by the number of people who just tolerate the music in order to listen to their equipment.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Re: CDs are only a delivery mechanism now

Me thinks you are being downvoted for sounding like a toff

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Re: @Obviously

Actually it's that fuck em attitude by the masses that makes it all possible. That's why no one you know got nabbed. Too many people said fuck em and made copies like you have.

I by the way never paid for a format. When I buy music I believe I am buying the right to play it for my enjoyment. I'm not interested in the shiny cd, only the bits on it. That's why I too would as a juvenile also say fuck you and I too refuse to carry bales of hay in the back of my car. I have thought to hit my wife with a stick no thicker than my thumb on occasion though.

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MJI
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Re: CDs are only a delivery mechanism now

I use vinyl as well but my turntable has failed.

Also I have no issues using a CD changer in the car, nor putting a CD SACD DVD-A on at home.

I am not listening to music all the time - only occasionally

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Re: CDs are only a delivery mechanism now

The same goes for DVDs or Blu-Rays. It's just inconvenient to use them directly, and since its digital you have no quality disadvantages from playing a copy.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Obviously

See, one person can be wrong!!!!"""???? (That’s my adolescent mind at it again!!)

W O W, the stupidity is off the scale!

I think the world is full of AC's making HUGE assumptions which are completely wrong.

Grow up, indeed!

How are "people like me" holding back change?

Then to preach about my format shifting not being legal when you are doing the same thing. PLEASE. Learn.

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Re: CDs are only a delivery mechanism now

re - DVDs and Blu-Rays..

No they are hardly the same. When you put a dvd film or Blu ray on you're expecting it to run for an hour maybe 2 or three in often a seperate room from the PC.

When you play Music you might want to change CD/track/playlist every 2-3 minutes.

Im not saying that people dont rip their DVD or Blu-Rays but its more likely they are doing to sor pirate reasons or are simply downloading them as opposed to a requirement to rip them due to the stresses of opening a CD box every so often.

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@terra

>I by the way never paid for a format. When I buy music I believe I am buying the right to play it for my enjoyment.

That might be the key to why no-one is prosecuting punters; last time I checked a CD the license stated that you were being sold a right to play the music (but not in public) and that there was a warranty covering the media - so they would replace a faulty CD for example.

So, while you are breaking copyright law by format shifting without permission it could be argued in court that the license allows format shifting. At best it would be a grey area which would need to be tested for every set of wording used on CD packaging.

Mustard mitt I haven't checked one recently, so the wording may have been tightened up by now, but that just makes things worse, somebody buying an album now might have a different license to that of someone who bought the album 10-15 years ago; it's almost impossible to police.

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FAIL

Economic harm?

What bullshit. We are meant to feel sorry for companies trying to rip us off by wanting us to buy the same music twice? What is the author thinking????

If I have paid for music on a CD that I can play in a car, on my computer or on a CD player, then there's no moral justification for stopping me listening to that same music on my iphone.

Don't give the music companies a single penny of "compensation" for this. I, for once, am proud that in the UK we're holding out and not paying this fee to the music companies.

Yes, Apple could afford to pay it - but that doesn't make it morally right.

Jolyon

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Bronze badge

Re: Economic harm?

If you think less in terms of companies and more in terms of musicians you can see where the problem lies - if Apple produced a device you could not possibly play pirated music on no one would buy it, so they profit from the ease with which they allow this piracy and for the artists this matters.

If we want both convenient devices and musicians who can afford to eat then we need to at least consider the option of trying to mitigate the impact of piracy and as the article says this process needs to be above board and must benefit the people making the music - artists, recording studios and so on.

We have almost certainly reached the point where big music companies are not required and no one would miss their drain on the finances of the industry - that's where the pain should be felt, not in the wallets of the people making the product.

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Re: Economic harm?

The authors point is that what we all do is illegal and perhaps we should attempt to do something so that we are not breaking the law. Some people are like that. :-)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Economic harm?

> If we want both convenient devices and musicians who can afford to eat

Bull

The vast majority of copyright is not owned by the original creator. Even the Beatles, collectively and individually, didn't own the copyright to their music, Michael Jackson owned it.

Its the music companies who own most of the copyright.

Now if they drafted the rules in such a way that recompense was only paid if the original creator still owned 100% of the copyright then I wouldn't object since so few copyrights would be eligible

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WTF?

Re: Economic harm?

I'm pretty sure that musicians ate before the recording industry existed, and will continue to do so if the music industry disappeared.

I think I may even have seen old (possibly mediaeval) paintings showing musicians eating even before there were any recording technologies, although of course those might have been posed by models, and not real musicians.

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FAIL

Re: Economic harm?

The original article, and my comment, had nothing to do with piracy, and everything to do with format shifting. Despite what record company executives may want to believe, the two are not the same thing.

If hungry musicians who sold me a CD want to eat, they can jolly well record a new album which I will buy, they should not expect me to bail them out because skanky kids are pirating their music. That's not my problem.

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Re: Economic harm?

"The original article, and my comment, had nothing to do with piracy, and everything to do with format shifting."

I can't believe you are stupid enough to think that there's a difference in the technology involved.

You may only 'format shift' and never pirate, in which case good for you, I thoroughly approve.

However the devices that allow you to do this allow easy piracy and providing this simplicity and breadth of use is vital to the profits they make - this is the opening thrust of the article; Apple could make a device that absolutely locked you to DRM that ensured, as far as is reasonably possible, that piracy did not happen but doing to would make the said device next to unsellable.

So, as Apple profit from facilitating piracy, albeit no doubt unwillingly, it is reasonable to look at the options for redressing this and it is possible that the fairest option would impact upon people who do not pirate as well as those who do.

"The vast majority of copyright is not owned by the original creator. Even the Beatles, collectively and individually, didn't own the copyright to their music, Michael Jackson owned it."

That's not really relevant to this discussion - the copyright had value and the original transfer of that value benefitted the creators, so in order to properly reward the creators it is important to protect the value of the copyright. Whether or not that transfer of copyright ought to be allowed is a different matter.

"I'm pretty sure that musicians ate before the recording industry existed, and will continue to do so if the music industry disappeared.

I think I may even have seen old (possibly mediaeval) paintings showing musicians eating even before there were any recording technologies, although of course those might have been posed by models, and not real musicians."

How reliable to you think the income of "mediaeval" musicians was? And then what about the songwriters, how secure was their income?

In all sorts of ways music has moved beyond simply paying the performers for each performance and just as we would object to a scenario whereby Google was making a fortune from publishing Harry Potter e-books royalty-free while J.K Rowling could only earn a living from those people willing to pay her to read them out, we should not expect people who write music and songs to have to scrape along as buskers while Apple (and others, I single them out only as the most successful of the relevant companies) become incredibly rich.

--

Just because an article is written by Orlowski does not mean it is completely irrational and without merit.

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Re: Economic harm?

Absolutely. Music peddlers have been regretting the decision to switch from sheet music (the original way of moving extra-performance music to the masses) to recorded music ever since the initial rush of money wore off and it dawned that they were selling however many repeat performances for free. Cylinders wore out quickly, but once more durable acetate and vinyl had hit the racks and the reproduction machinery became affordable the whole shooting match changed.

Add to that the indisputable fact that moving music from the radio and "disc jockeys" to a personal player caused massive changes in the music scene itself and the money to be made - and lost - became astronomical.

Digital reproduction tech means anyone can have a copy that is as good as the original - no loss from the re-recording as per tape - and so it is obvious the companies would move aggressively to lock it down. The history of DAT is the whole ball of wax compressed into a couple of years. "Open" at first, pulled form the shelves until a way could be found of nerfing the re-recording of tapes and that killed it stone dead.

What makes me laugh is the hysterical reaction of the iTune Tots when confronted by evidence that the CD isn't dying out any time soon.

But then, I remember when music came with artwork you could see and every record store was a modern art gallery, worth walking through just to feast the eyes. My kid spotted the booklet that came with "Pictures at an exhibition" and wondered why anyone would bother with those tiny paintings on the inside, so I showed her my vinyl copy. She's an artist and the reaction was interesting.

Shame that particular market for talent is drying up. No more Roger Deans bootstrapping to prominence on the cover of a great-selling album.

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Re: Economic harm?

OK, I know that technically format shifting is a nono under the UK's poor excuse for a law on the subject, but the only reason I buy CDs is because I can format shift them.

I went well over a decade buying CDs at the rate of less than 1 every couple of years. If that.

Then along came the ability to easily carry them around on my PC and eventually on an MP3 player or phone. At this point the consumption of music became much easier. So I started to shop again. Not sure what I spent on CDs last year, rough guess somewhere between £200->300.

Would I have bought them if I couldn't have used them as I do now?

Probably not.

At home I often listen from the CD, if not I listen from my desktop (my newer laptop doesn't have as good sound quality as my last one). But often with classic music I listen to the CD rather than the MP3s.

When I'm out I listen either on my phone or my antiquated Creative MP3 player.

While I'm away from home I listen a lot on my laptop (and grumble the sound isn't as good as the last one).

That is the package of I'm looking for. That is the package I'm prepared to put my hand in my pocket for and pay for the Artists time and effort.

What's the economic harm? A lot less than nothing.

If the rules change so that I can't do this then the cash will go back to staying in my pocket.

At the moment the market is at a stage where it is providing a product I choose to buy.

If the record companies chose to do what a number of the film companies have chosen to do recently and sell the media in packet with different formats included, for a small over head, I'd happily pay more - they just need to work at a level where the incremental cost is low enough that it's worth me paying for rather than ripping the CDs myself or beating the kids into ripping for me.

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Devil

Re: Economic harm?

@ John Sturdy:

<i?"I'm pretty sure that musicians ate before the recording industry existed, and will continue to do so if the music industry disappeared.

I think I may even have seen old (possibly mediaeval) paintings showing musicians eating even before there were any recording technologies"</i>

...If they were eating in the paintings, instead of playing how do you know that they were the musicians...?

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@Dazed & Confused

"If the rules change so that I can't do this then the cash will go back to staying in my pocket."

The rules are already that you cannot do that.

That's sort of the point.

Now (almost) no one thinks 'format shifting' is morally wrong but it is the same basic process as piracy, the same technology involved so it gets bound up in the same discussions.

It isn't about protecting the record industry - or at least it needn't be about that. These days Apple is the record industry; despite their slightly non-conformist image they are the Man, taking a cut on sales and at the same time making a fortune from selling today's home taping machines, it's all gravy for them as long as people want to listen to music.

So it's right to see if perhaps they should not make some sort of contribution to ensuring that the good music-making talent shares the joy.

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Re: Economic harm?

>> We have almost certainly reached the point where big music companies are not required and no one would miss their drain on the finances of the industry

Would you rather put a proposal for your next album to a music company or to your bank manager?

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Re: Economic harms

>> No more Roger Deans bootstrapping to prominence on the cover of a great-selling album.

So make the art the commodity (eg fine art print), and bootstrap the music on it.

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now you come to mention it...

Google won't find me any pictures of mediaeval musicians eating, instruments at the ready. I must therefore stand corrected, and assume they all starved to death.

However, the players for the El Reg Commentards pubmeet shown at http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c3/Pieter_Bruegel_d._%C3%84._011b.jpg/1280px-Pieter_Bruegel_d._%C3%84._011b.jpg don't look like they're on the point of death.

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@Luther Blissett

>> We have almost certainly reached the point where big music companies are not required and no one would miss their drain on the finances of the industry

>Would you rather put a proposal for your next album to a music company or to your bank manager?

To your audience via Kickstarter, perhaps?

I should perhaps have emphasised the big - the companies that attempt to decide what we will listen to when. Do we need to be funding pluggers and marketers to the extent they have been?

Is A&R even really as necessary to uncover the talent in the first place now we have global word-of-mouth via social media?

There's a benefit to a good record label providing advice, guidance and organisation and we obviously need good studios and producers but I do not think we need these all funding a management overhead and shareholder profits these days.

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@ John Sturdy - your 2nd comment

"Google won't find me any pictures of medieval musicians eating, instruments at the ready. I must therefore stand corrected, and assume they all starved to death."

You looked for medieval pictures. You should have looked for medieval videos instead.

Unfortunately the medieval folks here didn't have the technology to put English subtitles in their medieval videos, but if you skip to 3:45 you can see the people who were medievally singing and playing earlier on, sitting at a medieval table with medieval food on it.

You're welcome.

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Anonymous Coward

blah blah blah

Starving artists,

If they're starving then they're probably shit and the record company has called in the loans.

Good groups that don't sign with a major tend to make a fair amount of cash, tour a lot, live the life, then settle down as producers or marketers or indie label managers when their scene goes out of fashion.

Most people sulking are those who sign to a major not understanding all the money they get is a loan at a very high rate of interest and that once the label has no need for them, so long money hello debt, and wait, why do I have no marketable skills? Coz you're a face stuck on bland commercial crap, that's why. Your music wasn't worth squat when you were big and it's worth even less now.

Music scenes come and go you can't make a living out of it forever unless you're very determined, niche, or you rebrand every half decade.

I don't see UKF complaining about piracy or format shifting.

Fact of the matter only a retard would think that format shifting should be illegal or that you should be charged for the privilage, which is one of the reasons most media shy away from trying to enforce the stupid laws around it. They may be pig headed parasitic idiots, but they're not complete retards.

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Re: Economic harm?

How much money did UK customers pay for music in 2011?

How much money did musicians in the UK earn from their recordings in 2011?

They seem like two very obvious questions. But for some reason you won't find an answer to the 2nd question anywhere, presumably because the discrepancy between the two answers would demonstrate the absurdity of those who complain that 21st century is causing mass starvation for artists.

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FAIL

Re: Economic harm?

"I can't believe you are stupid enough to think that there's a difference in the technology involved."

Did I mention technology at all? The technology allows me to listen to music that I have legally paid for. The fact that it allows people to listen to music they haven't paid for doesn't stop the technology working well for my purposes. Should I have to subsidise those who pirate music by paying an additional fee on my music player? No, I don't think so.

The problem is DRM can't work with audio because CDs are unencrypted 16-bit uncompressed audio. By creating a system that requires DRM, you're preventing people from using music they have already paid for (ie, format shifting), it's not just the pirates who are getting annoyed.

So, without pissing everybody off, you can't make an audio player that refuses to play pirate files. Simply isn't going to happen. If you want to blame anyone, blame the music industry for really not thinking the whole thing through in the late 70s/early 80s when they dreamt up going to digital.

"Just because an article is written by Orlowski does not mean it is completely irrational and without merit."

As Carl Sagan said, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”. I've not seen any.

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Re: @Dazed & Confused

Oh bollocks! Who the hell do you work for? I will PAY for your fucking music just ONCE, not fucking TWICE! GOT IT?????

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Economic harm?

"the only reason I buy CDs is because I can format shift them"

Exactly. So any compensation required for format shifting is *already* factored into the price of the CD.

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MJI
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Re: Economic harm? (miffo)

Yes - change the law

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FAIL

Re: Economic harm?

I'd not involve either a record company or a bank manager. There are plenty of people who make a living from their music without involving either. They make money by teaching, playing lots of gigs, and flogging recordings and other merchandise, both at gigs and online. Thanks to t'interweb you don't need someone else to do your PR and you don't need massive up-front investment to manufacture your merchandise or distribute your recordings. You don't even need to spend much on studios and engineers these days, given how much you can do at home on your Mac.

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Re: Economic harm?

[quote]

If we want both convenient devices and musicians who can afford to eat then we need to at least consider the option of trying to mitigate the impact of piracy and as the article says this process needs to be above board and must benefit the people making the music - artists, recording studios and so on.

What utter codswallop. A musician typically gets a fixed amount of money for a performance (album/single/whatever) UNLESS they convince the publisher to give them a percentage (which nowadays is unlikely unless they have a few million album sales behind them, thus the publisher knows they will get a decent return). Therefore buying 'extra copies' for your iPod (or indeed any other and mostly superior portable player) is not going to magically give food to these hungry musicians.

If they are going hungry, they need to get a better deal from their publishers. IF I pay an extra amount of money for the 'privilege' of listening to music I already bought (even considering its just buying a license anyway, with a copy of the music in CD format), the average publisher will not pass this onto the performers, since the publisher has already fulfilled its contract for payment. The only exception would be (for example) a 1970s debut album of a NOW worldwide household and marketable act. They would then be in a position to re-negotiate the original 1970s contract.

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Stop

Re: @Dazed & Confused

Quote:

Now (almost) no one thinks 'format shifting' is morally wrong but it is the same basic process as piracy, the same technology involved so it gets bound up in the same discussions.

Except that with piracy, you haven't paid for the original copy. Format Shifting INHERANTLY requires you to already have bought and licensed a copy according to the publishers OWN guidelines and limitations. If the publisher does not want you to format shift a copy of music you have legally paid for, and now rescind the licenses they were already purchased under due to new technology issues, they are quite welcome to return to me the money I paid (plus interest of course) and I will return the recording to them.

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Where is the economic harm...

...in not paying "royalties" for format shifting that we already do (illicitly)?

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Re: Where is the economic harm...

My thoughts exactly - the economic "harm" would be zero.

Of course, if a load of bureaucrats started investigating this, quite a lot of people, including certain usual suspects (coughOrlowskicough), would waste no time complaining about the waste of taxpayer's money.

On the other hand, the economic benefits from liberalising the regime and allowing companies to officially target format-shifting as a service or feature, should be obvious to anybody (coughOrlowskicough) - if not so easily quantified.

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