back to article Should online pirates get the same sentences as offline ones?

New research commissioned by the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has asked whether a decade behind bars would deter online pirates. Physical copyright offences carry a maximum 10-year penalty, but online infringers can only be sentenced for up to two years. The report, carried out by Martin Brassell and Ian Goodyer for …

  1. Ashton Black

    10 years...

    For copying a song.

    Co-incidentally it's the same length of time you could get for manslaughter or large scale fraud.

    Madness.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 10 years...

      Yeah, but as we know from the 80's, home taping is killing music so as death is involved, it's only fitting the sentences should be the same. Home taping did kill music, right?

      On the subject of a more imminent demise, step forward Mike Wheatherley MP. Paper thin majority you have there Mike. I'd suggest he'll be at the job centre May 8th, possibly looking for work in the music industry.

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: 10 years...

        >>"Yeah, but as we know from the 80's, home taping is killing music"

        It's a little hypocritical of the 80's to accuse anything else of killing music. They did a good enough job of it themself.

        1. asdf Silver badge

          Re: 10 years...

          May Huey Lewis, and Devo haunt you for eternity for your blasphemy against the 80s.

          1. h4rm0ny

            Re: 10 years...

            >>"May Huey Lewis, and Devo haunt you for eternity for your blasphemy against the 80s."

            They can moan and rattle their chains all they like. Just so long as they don't sing.

      2. BlartVersenwaldIII

        Re: 10 years...

        >home taping is killing music so as death is involved, it's only fitting the sentences should be the same

        By that logic, it follows then that music is the same as a person. As Snap so rightly pointed out that rhythm is a dancer, as there are no dancing robots the dancer must be a person and thus music is indeed a person and thus copyright infringement is murder (a crime as serious as cancer). However according to precedent established by R v Morrissey (1985) this also means that copyright infringement is meat; so those arrested for copyright infringement will find much of the UK's prison space already full of sheep, pigs and cows.

        The prosecution rests.

      3. Sarah Balfour

        Re: 10 years...

        I can only HOPE that comment about home taping killing music was made in jest. Wanna know what's killing music…? The RIAA. The Big Four Labels. Stupid litigation. Simon Cowell. Didn't Bow Wow Wow release a PRO taping track - penned by Malcolm McLaren, their manager at the time, I believe - called summat like C30/C45/C60 -Go!…? I seem to recall the late Mr. Ravenscroft having a few choice words about the BPI, most of 'em.four letters in length and beginning with 'f'.

        Fuck the likes of the aptly named Robin Thicke, et al, most,talented musicians are actually PRO 'piracy', and many encourage it as they see it as fighting back against the increasing greed of many labels. When Trent Reznor noticeced that his label at the time (I forget the label and the title of the LP - and I call myself a NIN fan… ) saw that his label was flogging whatever album it was for almost three times the price in Oz than in the US, he ordered his Aussie fans to go and download it.

        Then there was a ska/punk project called Bomb The Music Industry!, founded by Jeff Rosenthal and members of NOFX, Mustard Plug, Reel Big Fish, Pennywise, etc, whose message was pro-piracy. Then there's Fat Mike Burkett who's spent years and thousands of dollars in litigation AGAINST the RIAA, as it kept adding his label, Fat Wreck Chords, to its roster, by hoping he'd overlook it if they simply kept on spelling it creatively (Fat Reck Cords, Fat Records, Phat Records, Fat Reck Khords…). He's even paid the fines of those convicted of stealing FWC's music.

        Finally System Of A Down released an LP entitled 'Steal This Album!'

        And who DIDN'T tape JP…?! Everyone I knew back then did. We all taped songs off the radio, too - I don't recall (too many) bands complaining, any exposure's good. Plenty complained about the BPI, as I recall.

        'Piracy' isn't killing music; the music industry is killing itself by CLAIMING piracy is killing music and lobbing sueballs at all and sundry. Most of the stuff I'm into is definitely underground and bands frequently offer whole LPs for download. The music industry seems determined to make creativity, individuality and personal copyright illegal.

        Okay, rant over. Gonna try kipping again now.

        1. h4rm0ny

          Re: 10 years...

          Logically any artist that is "pro-piracy" can forgo signing a contract and just upload their music for free. If they believe that unrestricted public sharing is the best thing for them, current law doesn't prevent them in the slightest. The converse, if piracy is tolerated is not true, you're removing the ability of artists to choose how they want to sell their work.

          TL;DR: an artist being in favour of free distribution is not an argument in favour of changing anything - they already have what they want.

    2. h4rm0ny

      Re: 10 years...

      But the vast majority of cases will not get anything like that. That upper limit is for big commercial scale pirates. Whereas for manslaughter you're not going to find the majority cases result in a fine of a few hundred or a thousand quid.

      One of the largest piracy convictions ever was the owner of iBackups.net, Nathan Peterson who got 7.5 years. He was running a massive online operation which traded around $20 million dollars in pirated software alone. 7.5 years. So it's not accurate to make casual comparisons between manslaughter and piracy based on the maximum possible sentence - that's Daily Mail style journalism.

      1. Trigonoceps occipitalis

        Re: 10 years...

        Manslaughter has the widest offense sentencing guidelines (UK) and may result in a life sentence.

      2. John Tserkezis

        Re: 10 years...

        "But the vast majority of cases will not get anything like that. That upper limit is for big commercial scale pirates. Whereas for manslaughter you're not going to find the majority cases result in a fine of a few hundred or a thousand quid."

        Fair statement. But let me bollocks it up for you.

        Explain why a registered child molester, who's identity and location are protected by law, can still go to the local swimming pool, when the law says they can't?

        Explain why career criminals can rip off the local 7-11 three times in a row, and, not having learnt anything, get "caught" every time, only to be soon released to do it yet again?

        Explain why, in some countries, you simply cannot buy factory-mastered DVDs, but find DVD+-R's aplenty, and a casual look in several homes finds mostly writable DVDs, with perhaps only one or two "real" ones?

        How about that lawyerboy? Do you really think 10 years (or a mere fine) is going to make a squat of difference to the industry?

      3. Brent Beach

        Re: 10 years...

        And Wall Street banksters stole a trillion dollars and not one of the bosses was every charged.

        I prefer to base the penalties for all property crimes on the Wall Street yardstick.

    3. phuzz Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: 10 years...

      I thought the punishment for large scale fraud was a promotion in the bank you work at?

      1. The Dude

        Re: 10 years...

        No... that's politics and government you are thinking of.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 10 years...

      Err no, I don't think that is what was being said...

      And as long as they keep the same rules, i.e. done for financial gain OR causes seriously financial harm,

      then I have no problem with a severer penalty... Again only when there is financial gain or serious financial damaged.. I.E. if you download a few songs/tv episodes, there is no crime simply a civil matter that a court should throw out...

      Of you consistently upload new albums and share widely causing sales to drop massively, or make money out of it, then you get a knock on your door.....

      Another thing I think is that IF the pirated material has not been released to the general public in any form, then punishments no matter what the financial damage (I.E. hacked photos, screener copies of films etc..)

      Conversely if the pirated material has been made available i.e. broadcast BUT (and this is crucial) it is not available to buy for a reasonable cost and in a transferable format (no DRM), then no punishment since there is no financial damage as there are no lost sales.... I.E. take US tv shows & UK TV shows that are heavily pirated, not because of cost, but of availability... i bet 95% of things that are pirated are broadcast late.. .Personally I hate watching broadcast TV since I never know when I want to watch something and would love a subscription service I could download from that covered all broadcast TV yet had no DRM (digital watermarks are fine with me though)..

      I do agree 10 years is a bit much, I'd say 5 max is about right..

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 10 years...

        The problem with those criteria is that merely downloading via a torrent is seen as widely sharing by the copyright industry. Availability means nothing to them and the laws will never be written to consider that as a factor. Calculation of damages is similarly fraught.

    5. Sarah Balfour

      Re: 10 years...

      I agree it's potty.

      (Poor pun to point out same length sentence is often meted out for having a herb garden. Except in the States where, in some states, the sentence can be life for a 3rd offence). If your 'hobby' is raping kids, expect just 5-8. Our sentencing system is incomprehensible).

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Consumers

    Will be the butt of this, if only from shady lawyer's frightening "pay us before we take you to court" letters aimed at individuals who aren't IT savvy.

  3. pyite

    The term "pirate" is a propaganda coup

    You make a good point here. The fact that most people refer to unauthorized copying (which neither hurts anyone physically nor takes anything away from them) as 'pirating' (when pirates kill people and steal their sh!t) is ridiculous.

    There is a case to be made that artificially-constituted "crimes" such as intellectual property are useful to society in a macro-economic sense. However, it should never be a criminal case and the police should never waste their time with it. Copyright holders should be required to file individual lawsuits and only for provable direct damages.

    1. h4rm0ny

      Re: The term "pirate" is a propaganda coup

      The same reasoning would lead to burglary being a civil matter where the victim should bring charges privately against the thieves (which they presumably tracked down themselves), It's only your personal views on intellectual property over physical that lead to you drawing a distinction - logically your reasoning would actually apply to both.

      And investigating and tracking down pirates is very difficult and many times more difficult still when you're a private entity rather than law enforcement who has the investigatory powers needed. Do you want only giant corporations to have the power to track down and seek redress whilst small content producers are powerless?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The term "pirate" is a propaganda coup

        "The same reasoning would lead to burglary being a civil matter where the victim should bring charges privately against the thieves (which they presumably tracked down themselves), It's only your personal views on intellectual property over physical that lead to you drawing a distinction - logically your reasoning would actually apply to both."

        well, only if burglary meant that someone never broke into your house, and never took away any of your property, and only much later did you discover that someone in a different house had the same things as you, and you didn't want them to have the same things as you, because they hadn't paid for them.

        "And investigating and tracking down pirates is very difficult and many times more difficult still when you're a private entity rather than law enforcement who has the investigatory powers needed. Do you want only giant corporations to have the power to track down and seek redress whilst small content producers are powerless?"

        -If you have had property seized at sea then your first port of call should be the police and your insurance company.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The term "pirate" is a propaganda coup

          "-If you have had property seized at sea then your first port of call should be the police and your insurance company"

          This response is hilariously formal ! Thanks for deraling with etiquette :-)

          1. DavCrav Silver badge

            Re: The term "pirate" is a propaganda coup

            "-If you have had property seized at sea then your first port of call should be the police and your insurance company"

            I'd have thought if you were at sea your first port of call would be a port.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Coat

              Re: The term "pirate" is a propaganda coup

              A Ruby Port,a White Port or a crusted port?

        2. VinceH Silver badge

          Re: The term "pirate" is a propaganda coup

          "well, only if burglary meant that someone never broke into your house, and never took away any of your property, and only much later did you discover that someone in a different house had the same things as you things you've put your time, effort and perhaps financial resources into creating, and you didn't want them to have the same things as you things you've put your time, effort and perhaps financial resources into creating, because they hadn't paid for them."

          FTFY!

      2. pyite

        Re: The term "pirate" is a propaganda coup

        > The same reasoning would lead to burglary being a civil matter

        No not at all. Burglary involves taking something away from someone else. Copying a song, book, or using a patented idea doesn't hurt the creator in any way whatsoever.

        Taking copyright royalties after they have been paid would be burglary, as would stealing a CD.

        > Do you want only giant corporations to have the power to

        > track down and seek redress whilst small content producers

        > are powerless?

        Would this be much different than the current scheme?

        I support the concept of intellectual property, but it shouldn't last forever and it isn't the kind of thing that should land people in jail. Copyright fails on both counts. Patents and trademarks are much more sensible.

        1. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

          Re: The term "pirate" is a propaganda coup

          Copying a song, book, or using a patented idea doesn't hurt the creator in any way whatsoever.

          As an obvious expert on the concept, can you describe for me how a person goes from having an idea in their head to having a song, book or patent that is of use to other people? If you could identify the exact point in time at which the person gets some money to feed themselves during this process, that would be great, thanks.

          You might also ask yourself how we ever got to the situation where you get to read a book that took its author two years of full-time writing to complete for less than the price of two shitty Starbucks coffees when it cost the author a hell of a lot more in lost wages to write it, even at minimum wage levels.

          You wanted the work enough to obtain it, so why did you then make the conscious decision to obtain it in a way that gives its authors nothing in exchange?

          And "exposure" comes under "nothing in exchange". There's no number big enough to turn zero cents per reader into a living wage.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The term "pirate" is a propaganda coup

      Widespread piracy does cause economic damage, however. It is only freetards who ever put "crime" in scare quotes. The pertinent question is: how do you administer this fairly?

      The punishment has to match the offence, and since the damage is in the aggregate, putting a teenager in jail for sharing 50 songs is not fair.

      Fining a hedge fund manager who after several warnings continues to pirate films from BitTorrent seems fair enough to me, and probably to most people.

    3. Old Handle
      Pirate

      Re: The term "pirate" is a propaganda coup

      I'm not so sure. Pirates are cool! The most famous torrent site even has "pirate" right in the name. Presumably this is why the MPAA et al are now trying to define it as just plain "theft".

    4. veti Silver badge

      Re: The term "pirate" is a propaganda coup

      The term "pirate" to describe intellectual property theft goes back further than you think. Further than the term "intellectual property", in fact. Certainly much, much further than the Internet.

      Citation.

      1. Yag
        Thumb Up

        Re: The term "pirate" is a propaganda coup

        Here is an upvote for this new bit of random knowledge for me.

  4. h4rm0ny

    I'm not a big believer in prison.

    I think it doesn't work as a deterrent, and it doesn't improve people. It's legitimate purpose is to protect society from the dangerous, and that's not likely to be your typical pirate. Usually when people want prison or capital punishment the motivation is revenge and I don't see that as a good thing.

    Fines seem the appropriate punishment to me. They take other people's stuff, you take theirs. Simple, clean and costs society a lot less than housing someone in prison. Also, it gives them a chance to improve rather than condemns them to what is effectively a training program for crime.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: I'm not a big believer in prison.

      And it is the correct place for people like VMWare, Sony, Microsoft, DLink and lots of other companies who used GPL software without obeying the license terms.

      Do just the management go down or are all the shareholders also guilty of profiting from the crime?

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: I'm not a big believer in prison.

        >>"Do just the management go down or are all the shareholders also guilty of profiting from the crime?"

        Management unless it can be shown that investors knew they were funding illegal behaviour. Which is as it should be. Would you like to buy some shares in a company and then go to prison unexpectedly a couple of years later?

        But prison is rare - generally the company is fined which again, is beneficial as that way you get restitution and prison usually only serves to drain our taxes and harden people. You have to do something like fraud to get the prison sentence usually. Licence violations rarely produce such a result. Which is pretty much the same as personal copyright infringement. It's an odd case you'll get a prison sentence for downloading movies - there would have to be some special circumstances attached. Generally you get a fine, same as the companies that do it.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: I'm not a big believer in prison.

          The proposal is that you could get upto 10years.

          Of course no ordinary movie downloader would get this - it will have to be somebody the police didn't like or somebody who refused to cooperate with them

          Fortunately the Met (motto "Total Policing") would never use having the threat of a 10year prison sentence to hold over just about anybody as a way to force "cooperating with the Police"

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I'm not a big believer in prison.

            I think you are missing either a sarc tag or a Joke Alert icon with that second paragraph. ref: CFAA here in the States.

      2. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

        GPL

        You might read the actual text of the GPL licences sometime. It'll stop you accusing people of violation when all they've done is read, and followed, the conditions that are actually written in it, not the ones you imagine should be in it.

        Curiously, your list of evildoers did not include Google, whose entire business is based on modified GPL software.

        I'm not saying that Google is in violation of the licence terms, only that, just like those companies you don't like, they got a legal advisor to read the licence and tell them how they could remain compliant with it without needing to give their source-code away.

        Personally, I would never release anything under GPL - the default clause of "or any later version" makes a mockery of the agreement, and allows for restrictions to be placed on the use of my works in future solely at the whim of whoever writes the next GPL.

        1. alisonken1

          Re: GPL

          Actually - you CAN specify a specific version of the GPL - just make it "This is licensed under the GPL v2.0 only and no later versions" and later clauses do no come into effect.

  5. Jim 59

    Catering

    Sorry for being totally off topic but to Reg staff ever cause a rumpus over catering ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Catering

      I downvoted you in another topic Jim, but have an upvote for proof of the old maxim 'repeat until funny'.

  6. auburnman

    "Physical copyright offences carry a maximum 10-year penalty, but online infringers can only be sentenced for up to two years."

    How do both of those stack up against shoplifting the equivalent priced item?

    1. h4rm0ny

      Depends how you do it. If you download a copy from some site the damages will be calculated according to the price of that item, plus similar fines as you would get for physical. But if you torrent it, you are also distributing it to many other people and aiding others in piracy. That is where the difference creeps in.

      1. Steven Raith

        So if you cripple your upload speed and have a low personal seed ratio, you have to pay £50, if you leave your seed box running 24/7 on an unmetered gigabit connection, £5000 fine?

        Steven "kidding a bit" R

        1. h4rm0ny

          Pretty much. If you are some regular, small scale home downloader who logs on, gets a movie they want and stops their torrenting afterwards, you'll likely get something a little bit more than going into a shop and stealing those movies. Your first instinct is to think that the fines you've heard of are a lot more but then realize that when was the last time you heard of someone only ever having downloaded one movie or song, instead of a dozen or more? Twenty... thirty movies. That actually adds up to quite a lot of shoplift equivalents.

          But in the example you talk of, seeding a library of movies 24/7 on a fat pipe, sure - you could well find yourself facing a £5k slap down for it because you've been effectively distributing, not just stealing.

          h4rm0ny "what is this kidding you speak of?" uh... h4rm0ny.

      2. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

        But if you torrent it, you are also distributing it to many other people and aiding others in piracy.

        This is the danger that needs to be dealt with in a sensible manner.

        When dealing with a distributor of pirated goods in the physical world, there is a pretty direct correlation between the "seriousness" of the crime and the amount of goods they distributed. They often make a lot of money from it.

        In the online world, most are making no money. It is like allowing all your friends to copy the CD you just bought from the market stall, but on a larger scale. This is not a serious crime. However, if the law makers are not careful, it will be looked on as such: You distributed to 10,000 people so it should be dealt with the same as selling 10,000 physical copies.

        1. h4rm0ny

          >>"You distributed to 10,000 people so it should be dealt with the same as selling 10,000 physical copies."

          Obviously this would be bad. Or maybe it's not obvious, so the reasons it's bad are broadly speaking (a) you are not the only seeder / participant. It's a collective act you are participating in so if 10,000 people downloaded from you, you're still not responsible for 10,000 actual distributions. You have facilitated that number so you still share a portion of the blame, but it wont be one for one. (b) It would be trivially easy for someone to go far beyond their ability to provide redress. A £5,000 fine is a very nasty thing but it's something you can overcome. Even for those on low-income. Courts set repayments at a level that typically you can afford. You'll be regretting it every time you pay your £15 part-payment, but it's not going to destroy your life. Charing 10,000 x £15 per movie - yes, that would. And what you want to achieve is stopping people doing this and some restitution for damages, not destroy lives. So just like your participation in the piracy was only a part of it, so your part in repayment should be only part of it.

          And I think, to some extent, that's where we're going. The talk of ten year sentences is highly unrepresentative. That's for massive commercial scale piracy, really.

          >>"It is like allowing all your friends to copy the CD you just bought from the market stall, but on a larger scale"

          And that's essentially why things are changing. Piracy types used to be some Del Boy type at the market flogging home copies... And it was fought as such. A copper might nick the seller, they'd get a fine typically. Wash and repeat. But now you get people able to do the same thing from home on a vastly larger scale and sometimes not even thinking of it as theft. Actions which are only mildly damaging when done occasionally, can be a major problem when done on the large scale. People used to have home fires in London when their were fewer houses there. As times changed, London became so bad that you got "pea soupers" where people would actually die prematurely from how bad the smog was. So the law shifted and you got the Clean Air act. It seems to me that piracy law is settling towards punishments being worse than shop-lifting due to the distribution aspect of torrenting, but not crippling in degree. Though obviously the ceiling is pretty high for the big commercial pirates or those who are First Sources for content.

          1. tfewster Silver badge
            Big Brother

            "...you are not the only seeder / participant. It's a collective act you are participating in..."

            Ah, so it's CONSPIRACY to commit a crime. Under UK & US law, that's the same as committing the crime, so all the seeders would get the same sentence as the original uploader.

          2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            So if I ripped off some GPL software and bundled it in millions of copies of my expensive enterprise virtual machine software - then the fine should be $0 because I haven't cost the copyright holder any money ?

        2. fruitoftheloon
          WTF?

          @Dr. Mouse - "this is not a serious crime"

          Dr Mouse,

          so would I be correct in interpreting your narrative that you feel it is perfectly OK for Joe (or Jane) Public to 'get hold of' (my words and intepretation) art/movies/imagery/music produced by someone else and not to have to pay for it, or them potentially not having any downstream liability when their actions can be proved to have lost the artist/photographer/indie film maker some not insignificant dosh?

          Granted nicking someone elses' IP (which is basically what this is all about) is different to bopping someone on the head then stealing their dosh/paintings/car/life; but there are folk who are having their income[s] curtailed byother folk not paying for stuff that they are enjoying.

          I will readily agree that some of the previous grounds that the big schmuck anti-piracy 'organisations' have come up with for estimating their losses are utter cow dung (i.e. one 'lost CD' pirated at £10 = £10 lost revenue); but clearly there is SOME loss of revenue going on isn't there?

          Cheers,

          jay

          1. The Dude

            Re: @Dr. Mouse - "this is not a serious crime"

            Revenue and monetary value has nothing to do with it. Steal something that has sentimental value only to the owner, and you will see what I mean.

          2. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

            Re: @Dr. Mouse - "this is not a serious crime"

            so would I be correct in interpreting your narrative that you feel it is perfectly OK for Joe (or Jane) Public to 'get hold of' (my words and intepretation) art/movies/imagery/music produced by someone else and not to have to pay for it, or them potentially not having any downstream liability when their actions can be proved to have lost the artist/photographer/indie film maker some not insignificant dosh?

            Not at all. The point I was making is that I could easily see this new legislation being written in a dangerous way which does not take into account the real world.

            If someone torrents a film, for example, what they are doing is the equivalent (IMHO) of buying a dodgy copy at a market stall, copying it and selling those copies on to friends to recover the cost they paid. Obviously this is wrong, but it is not a serious crime.

            The difference with torrents is that, to "recover the costs" (i.e. to get it free) you will be sharing with hundreds, thousands or even tens of thousands of other people. If the law is not written correctly, this could face the person with the same kind of punishment as a market-stall seller distributing 10s of thousands of copies.

            Personally, I haven't pirated anything for a very long time, and have never pirated a small-time producer's content. At a time when I could not afford to buy a film, I did pirate them, but I would never have bought them because I could not afford it, and would have had to have done without. For music, I bought the stuff I really wanted. I never deprived anyone of income with my own use of pirated content, although I guess it could have been argued that I did by seeding to people who potentially would have.

            Now I can afford it, I buy the films I want, and have a subscription to a music service. I also still buy CDs of music I really like.

            1. fruitoftheloon
              Thumb Up

              @Dr Mouse: Re: @Dr. Mouse - "this is not a serious crime"

              Dr Mouse,

              Legislation being written so that its' supposed intent bears minimal relation to that originally 'pitched' to the public-at-large; you are right on the money there methinks.

              Re your reluctance to rip-off the product of indie/small time studios, I expect that you (& I), are probably in a minority of not very many...

              Likewise our household finds Spotify premium and Netflix to be most useful indeed.

              Cheers,

              J.

          3. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

            Re: @Dr. Mouse - "this is not a serious crime"

            Isn't part of the issue whether society needs or wants people whose income is dependent on a monopoly on art? Musicians, photographers, authors etc are cited as saying that they are losing money to pirating, but they give no evidence that they actually have the same audience as they used to. Times and tastes change, and artist go out of fashion regularly - no copyright infringement required.

            There are so many amateur musicians, photographers, and authors able to get there stuff off their chests and out there using the internet, that it is difficult to see why we need an environment that protects those that want to do nothing else. "Professional" artists may have gone the way of buggy-whip manufacturers - time has passed them by.

      3. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. phil dude
    FAIL

    Nothing is missing...

    except exclusivity. The *massive* assumption by the media industries is that they can't sell it to you if you have a copy already, therefore this is lost profit.

    I challenge someone to find the correlation between:

    Set A the hollywood bombs

    Set B most downloaded as measured by torrent

    P.

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: Nothing is missing...

      So, the least popular movies are not most commonly downloaded. And that proves... what, exactly?

  8. Tzhx

    >> "Since 2000 I have seen an estimated 75% drop in sales and income. I have no doubt whatsoever that the well-known practice of downloading from pirate sites is the cause."

    I'd think for the great majority of artists, still getting 25% of the income they got 15 years ago when their music may have been slightly popular would be welcomed. When do you think the last time someone bought a Eifel 65 or New Radicals album at HMV was? Piracy may be contributing some amount, but unless you're Michael Jackson it's probably not the only cause of such a drop.

    1. h4rm0ny

      You ignore the second part of the paragraph where the artist says despite repeatedly issuing take-down requests, their material keeps getting put back up by people and shared.

      If their sales were down AND their material were not being pirated, that would indicate interest had dropped. If the sales drop and piracy of their material has risen as in this case, that indicates something else. Not every downloaded song or movie is a lost sale, but it's absurd to suggest that many aren't and that active piracy of a piece of content doesn't indicate interest in it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        <i>I have now almost given up releasing music 'for the consumer' and concentrate entirely on writing music for film, TV and commercials.</i>

        Not suggesting it proves or disproves anything. And I may be wrong; anyway, it's just my opinion. Which is that I can't think of anyone who'd do the latter above who would make a living doing the former. Except, perhaps, Mark Knopfler - only I'd expect him not to be so crass as to write for the advertising industry. So the statement tends to confirm my possibly-bigoted view that the kind of 'artists' we hear from in anti-piracy stories are the type of people who if their business was website content, rant about people who use ad-blockers, in much the same vein. The latter type always seems little more than a highly-vocal partner to the advertising industry (in it for and only for the money), while I am automatically inclined to think of 'artists' like this unnamed contributor to be an highly-vocal partner to the not-so-far-removed from the advertising industry at their ethical sensibilities of the RIAA and MPAA. In other words, even if such people have a point, they're still cunts.

    2. Kris Akabusi

      I did buy the new radicals album and I should be jailed because it was the worst album I ever owned.

      1. king of foo

        nothing competes with:

        my sister shoplifted this and I bring it up every time I see her.

        Every.

        Time.

        The way I see it, this is her penance for subjecting me to the mental scarring of having it on repeat 24/7 for what felt like YEARS as a child.

        Oh god, I'm having flashbacks now... The horror!

        Prison is too good for whoever produced this...

        1. Mephistro Silver badge
          Megaphone

          Warning!!! (Was Re: nothing competes with:)

          WARNING!!! WARNING!!! JEREMY CLARKSON IS IN THE VIDEO!!! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!!

        2. John Tserkezis

          Re: nothing competes with:

          "Oh god, I'm having flashbacks now... The horror! Prison is too good for whoever produced this..."

          Was that Jeremy Clarkeson in the convertable? The expression on his face says he regretted signing up for it.

          Says it all really.

          "WARNING!!! WARNING!!! JEREMY CLARKSON IS IN THE VIDEO!!!"

          Thanks for the warning, but too late, I already clicked on it.

    3. veti Silver badge

      Yep, that thought struck me too.

      If you can't hack it as an independent composer, if you make a better living writing commissioned works - then maybe that's a fair reflection of your ability level, maybe that's just where you belong in the market. In the same way as failed artists go to work in advertising, failed novelists become journalists, failed astronauts become engineers, failed entrepreneurs become middle managers...

      You're not alone in having to settle for something less than your dream. In the meantime, there's no shortage of new music being produced, so clearly somebody is willing to fill the gap you've left. And presumably they find it rewarding.

      Meanwhile, learn to be content with the niche you've found for yourself.

      1. VinceH Silver badge

        "If you can't hack it as"

        Is that not just a variation on blaming the victim?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When is theft not theft?

    In UK Law, theft is defined as:

    A person is guilty of theft if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it; and “thief” and “steal” shall be construed accordingly.

    So copyright theft is only correctly named, if the 'pirate' can be shown to have deprived the owner of some revenue. If the 'pirate' would never have paid for the work anyway, he/she has not deprived the owner of anything and no theft has taken place. Alternatively, they would have paid, in which case it sounds more like a breach of contract than a theft.

    Given we are all deemed innocent until proven guilty, shouldn't there be a burden on the owner to prove you probably would have bought it? Of course, I don't know quite how anybody might be expected to be able to prove this. But we do have different areas of law that deal with this - for example, "By parking here you agree to be bound by the terms of our contract and you owe us this cash". Similarly, you could have blanket terms covering ownership of music, whereby listening to a personal copy renders you liable to pay for owning it. By not paying you would be breaching the terms of the contract, which is very much a civil matter. Of course, big corporate bullies would not then be able to lock you up, or demand millions off you for sharing it on a torrent.

    Instead we have rules which appear to go against the core principles of UK Law so that content producers can extract money from anyone who listens to/reads/watches their creation, or lots of money if you stick it on a website for free download.

    1. h4rm0ny

      Re: When is theft not theft?

      As with many things, technology results in old definitions no longer being the best definitions. When that definition was created, there was no such thing as digitally reproducing content exactly the same, because there was no digital content. The "permanently deprive the owner of it" was simply a way of distinguishing it from cases where the taker was going to or did return the property afterwards. Something that I don't believe ever happens with illegal downloads. This hang-up some people have with the word is pretty much only done as a deflection tactic from criticism.

      Also, the word predates legal definitions. If you want to pretend every time someone uses a word they're using a term from English law, go ahead. But you know that they wont be.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: When is theft not theft?

        Also, the word predates legal definitions. If you want to pretend every time someone uses a word they're using a term from English law, go ahead. But you know that they wont be.

        You are correct when it comes to everyday usage, but in a Court of Law, the legal definitions of the words are important and cannot be ignored. If you are prosecuting someone for theft, and their actions do not meet the legal definition of theft, your prosecution fails. The definitions are *everything*.

        1. h4rm0ny

          Re: When is theft not theft?

          >>"You are correct when it comes to everyday usage, but in a Court of Law, the legal definitions of the words are important and cannot be ignored"

          One thing we can all be pretty certain of, is that El Reg. is not a court of law. ;) Here the definition works as follows: pro-piracy, "theft" does not include copyright infringement. Everyone else - familiar with the common English language meaning and gets it.

      2. theOtherJT

        Re: When is theft not theft?

        It might not be the best definition, but there's still an important difference between depriving someone of a thing they have (theft) and potentially depriving someone of something they might have otherwise had, but currently don't.

        If I break into your house and steal your record collection, it's gone. You can't have it and me have it both. If you're a recording artist and I break into your computer and copy your work and then release it on the internet I have done something quite different - deprived you of future earnings, presumably from people who would have paid for your work who now won't.

        Now, for sure that's A crime (and I agree totally with what you said upstream about the more correct response appearing to be paying a fine) but it's not the same crime, and it's not sensible to conflate the two. You really don't want the law treating "did" the same as "might in the future do"

        1. h4rm0ny

          Re: When is theft not theft?

          >>"It might not be the best definition, but there's still an important difference between depriving someone of a thing they have (theft) and potentially depriving someone of something they might have otherwise had, but currently don't."

          The thing someone "might have otherwise had", is called "income".

          1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

            Re: When is theft not theft? @ h4rm0ny

            "The thing someone "might have otherwise had", is called "income"."

            I don't usually disagree with you, but in this case I sort of do. To me, the operative word in the clause is "might". For a criminal case, using your argument that we are talking about income, the prosecution would have to prove, beyond all reasonable doubt, that accused had taken *actual* income from the artist, not possible income. This is not possible without torturing legal principles to death. One of the absurdities it could lead to is that I could have e.g. a taxi-driver arrested for not getting me to an interview on time, so that I lost the possible income from getting the job. Civil law has long recognised that there is no recompense for lost opportunities, and it would be daft for the criminal law to recognise such a claim.

    2. Kevin Johnston

      Re: When is theft not theft?

      You missed an important part of the definition...

      'obtains pecuniary advantage' ie either makes money by holding the item for ransom or saves money by not paying for using it. This is how they can define copying stuff as theft.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: When is theft not theft?

        You missed an important part of the definition...

        I took the definition from here:

        http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1968/60/section/1

        This bit:

        It is immaterial whether the appropriation is made with a view to gain, or is made for the thief’s own benefit.

        Would seem to imply that for it to be considered theft, it doesn't matter whether you have made a gain, simply that you have deprived the victim of something. This seems to fly in the face of 'obtains pecuniary advantage', which by this definition appears inconsequential.

        1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

          Re: When is theft not theft?

          "It is immaterial whether the appropriation is made with a view to gain, or is made for the thief’s own benefit."

          That's part 2 which is an amplification (interpretation) of part 1 in which the crime itself is defined. You cannot extract a part of a law and make out that the part of itself describes an offence - you have to read the law in its entirety. The ingredients that *must* be present in order for the offence of theft to be complete are (1) the DISHONEST (2) appropriation of property with (3) the INTENT to permanently DEPRIVE the owner of said property. Unless all 3 elements are present, it is not theft. They do not have to all occur at the same time. If you discovered that you received an erroneous £10000 bank deposit, that is not theft because there is no dishonesty. If however you decided to keep quiet and keep the money, then *at the moment you made that decision* you would become guilty of theft. (Proving it and gaining a conviction is a different matter).

          Several new offences had to be invented to cover things that were similar to theft but could not be prosecuted as theft because they do not contain all 3 factors. e.g. TWOCing (taking without consent) to cover the act of taking a car for a joyride without intending to keep the car. The legal definition of "property" covers many things both tangible and intangible, but does not cover things which do not yet exist but may exist in the future such as potential earnings or income. If it did, any act that reduced a person's earnings could be regarded as theft. Copyright infringement does not involve the *removal* of anything from the owner, so is not theft. It would require a fundamental legal redefinition of "theft" for it to become so.

        2. The Dude
          Boffin

          Re: When is theft not theft?

          It is immaterial whether the appropriation is made with a view to gain, or is made for the thief’s own benefit.

          So.... like taxes then, is it?

      2. Citizens untied

        Re: When is theft not theft?

        The idea that saved money is a a gain is a conceit of advertising agencies and other exploitative industries. Unspent currency has no analog in material by definition.This is also not copyright fraud, since no one is using the material to produce their own claimed original work, they are just listening/watching/reading it for crying out loud. The solution will never forcing an antiquated market model on a society that has moved on.

    3. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: When is theft not theft?

      So copyright theft is only correctly named, if the 'pirate' can be shown to have deprived the owner of some revenue. If the 'pirate' would never have paid for the work anyway, he/she has not deprived the owner of anything and no theft has taken place.

      In the real world it is pretty obvious to most people that having something which one could only legally have if paid for is theft.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: When is theft not theft?

        In the real world it is pretty obvious to most people that having something which one could only legally have if paid for is theft.

        Yes, but that's not music. I own lots of music, legally, which I didn't pay for.

        Some of it was free anyway.

        Some of it was gifts (birthdays etc)

        I listen to the radio frequently

        I've even been given music by record executives. They love giving the stuff away in one-to-one situations.

        If I found £10 in the street that no-one reported missing or even knew they had lost, is it theft to keep it? We have to come back to the definition - it's not even approaching theft unless you can show you have deprived someone of something by your actions.

    4. Cynic_999 Silver badge

      Re: When is theft not theft?

      "So copyright theft is only correctly named, if the 'pirate' can be shown to have deprived the owner of some revenue."

      No, because *potential* income is not property. Copyright infringement cannot be legally classified as theft by the most imaginative barrister, because no property, tangible or intangible was actually removed from anywhere. It was copied - hence why it is called "copyright".

      A "copyright theft" would be if someone took over the copyright of a work without being entitled to do so, and diverted all the royalties etc. into his own pocket. Which is possible - I might notice/suspect that a website is using a photograph that they do not have the right to use, and so I contact them claiming to be the copyright holder of said image and demanding payment.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: When is theft not theft?

      The problem with all the replies here is that you all believe that if you break a copyright law, that you will actually get charged with a copyright offense !!

      what are you going to do when the CPS decide that they don't have enough evidence for a criminal copyright infringement or even a trademark infringement, this happened to myself, when the CPS decided that copyright although obviously broken was done for no money and the swap from civil offense to criminal offense requires money or a provable loss to the copyright owners..

      so myself and others got charged with Conspiracy to Defraud "by putting at risk the intellectual rights of third parties" and this carries 10 yrs as against the 2yrs that a conspiracy copyright offense would carry, its easier to prove a 'risk' to someones righst, than prove money earned when there basically was none.

      Lawyers on both sides in private basically agreed that we had all only committed copyright offenses, but because there was no money, it couldn't be a criminal copyright offense, so the catch 22 was i had done what i did, admitted it, but still couldn't be charged for copyright and get a poss 2yrs so got charged with something that could have given me 10yrs just because noone could prove anyone made money from what I did and so allow the change to a 2yrs criminal conspiracy to a copyright offense.

      the legal costs on my own case 'v' Regina were over 18 million pounds, and for what.. The law on copyright is an arse, and its pointless having a new one if your not going to actually use it..

      Copyright just winds me up, I see people downloading and copying MP3's and songs and not considering anythings wrong, but the copyright law is a mess, and the younger tech generation don't even know what copyright is, so how the hell will they know where the line is, they copy photos, download songs, swap, post and never even think about it, copyright in my view is pointless.

    6. damworker

      Re: When is theft not theft?

      " If the 'pirate' would never have paid for the work anyway, he/she has not deprived the owner of anything and no theft has taken place."

      So when I took a bag of sugar from Sainsburys earlier, it wasn't stealing because, since I didn't have any money, I wouldn't have bought it anyway.

      I believe the young people's expression is "Lol".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: When is theft not theft?

        So when I took a bag of sugar from Sainsburys earlier, it wasn't stealing because, since I didn't have any money, I wouldn't have bought it anyway.

        How obtuse. Go back to the definition. You deprived Sainsburys of their bag of sugar - that's why it's theft.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Interestingly...

    One other group has seen profits fall dramatically.

    Care to guess?

    Serious and Organised Crime Groups.

    Yep. Those guys that used to peddle their copied wares at the local market and then funnel that money back into drugs have lost a massive profit maker now that every man & dog can download a film for free.

    Nobody makes any money from online pirating, other than perhaps the sites hosting the torrents and your ISP for data charges if it's set up like that.

    So... it's not all bad.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Interestingly...

      I once donated to an at the time small private tracker because of desperate pleadings from the site owner to pay bandwidth costs or the site would need to close since they didn't have advertising.

      The site had a graphic on the home page to show how close they were to hitting that months donations target. Based on how much I donated and how much the graphic changed back of a fag packet calculation gave a monthly target of $25,000 so 300k a year.

      Haven't owned my own domain for a number of years but would think that would be way above bandwidth costs of what is really a collection of links and a small forum. So you're quite correct the only people making money from piracy are the site owners and the law really needs to differentiate between someone at home torrenting Game of Thrones and someone raking in a small fortune on the back of others work.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    decade behind bars

    I thought waterboarding was the preferred deterrent? Or was it keeling?

  12. This post has been deleted by its author

  13. Jimmy2Cows

    "“I’m a musician,” explained one interviewee in the report. “Since 2000 I have seen an estimated 75% drop in sales and income. I have no doubt whatsoever that the well-known practice of downloading from pirate sites is the cause."

    This presupposes the drop in sales is not simply due to the artist becoming crap.

    And yes I know they went on to talk about take-down notices, but that could easily be for singular uploads that very few people actually torrented, hence the potential loss of income via that channel could be way lower than 75% of year 2000 earnings.

    People tend to exaggerate if they think it will benefit their case. Simples.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "“I’m a musician,” explained one interviewee in the report. “Since 2000 I have seen an estimated 75% drop in sales and income. I have no doubt whatsoever that the well-known practice of downloading from pirate sites is the cause."

      It was Shaggy, although he was also quoted as saying "It wasn't me".

      This presupposes the drop in sales is not simply due to the artist becoming crap.

      You guessed correctly.

  14. JaitcH
    FAIL

    Prison solves nothing and costs a fortune

    What really hurts is stopping similar behaviour like barring access to computers and the like.

    Or weekday absence from their homes - only to permit work.

  15. adnim Silver badge

    If

    copyright holders were not such greedy bastards and they were struggling to feed their children they would have my sympathy... And support

    We really need a "Fuck u" icon

    1. phil dude
      Joke

      Re: If

      I'd said Fcuk yes! but then the copyright trolls would have an RIAAgasm

      P.

  16. Pez92

    “Since 2000 I have seen an estimated 75% drop in sales and income. I have no doubt whatsoever that the well-known practice of downloading from pirate sites is the cause."

    Right, because let's not even fathom the possibility that a musician could lose popularity over the course of 15 years. Must be the pirates.

    1. Tom 35 Silver badge

      Or everyone finished buying everything on CD that they already have on LP/Tape and didn't get suckered into buying it again on AudioDVD.

      And now they just buy the one track they like on iTunes and not the 12 tracks of filler that's on the album.

      Sales of flat panel TVs are dropping off, people must be downloading them Pirate Bay.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm a 'Copyist' or 'Sharer', m'lud.

    Not a pirate. If i buy a packet of crisp and 'SHARE' them i don't expect a tap on the shoulder from Mr Walkers informing me that the packet of crisp is 'one licence-one user'. and that this is my 'First Strike'.

    Furgal Sharkey can f**k off.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can you steal a bitcoin?

    The arguments in this area often boil down to semantics over what constitutes "stealing". But I've been bothered for a while about the implications that bitcoins have for this.

    There have been several occasions (reported here on El Reg) where bitcoins have been "stolen". This terminology seems to have passed unremarked. But a bitcoin is entirely virtual. It exists only as a file. Someone stolen it? Restore the backup and you have your file back.

    1. Tom 35 Silver badge

      Re: Can you steal a bitcoin?

      Yes you can.

      If it worked like you think it does, you could also spend it and restore the backup. You also can't make a million copies of a bitcoin.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Can you steal a bitcoin?

        So the value of the bitcoin doesn't rest in the file, but what is done with it (the blockchain). And a "thief" can add to that, leaving the original file pristine, but now worthless.

        In the same way, somebody who seeds a music file to all and sundry can render it worthless (in the sense that it no longer generates revenue for the owner), despite the fact that they still have a perfect copy of the file. So how is that not theft?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In the US Constitution, it states that copyrights should only be for a brief limited period of time! The recording industry bribed the US Congress with the Sony Bono copy right extension act to extend copyrights to 120 years! Putting people jail for having pirated copies of 'the Wizzard of OZ' is a crime being committed by big business against the people. Putting a person in jail for 10 years because he copied a movie that he paid for is a crime against the people. I hope that billions of people start pirating movies if this stupid ill thought pro big business piece of legislation is passed

    1. h4rm0ny

      >>"In the US Constitution, it states that copyrights should only be for a brief limited period of time!"

      Ah that would be why people primarily pirate older stuff rather than the latest releases - they're

      protesting against the copyright terms being too long.

      >>"Putting a person in jail for 10 years because he copied a movie that he paid for is a crime against the people"

      Firstly, the 10 years isn't for a casual download of a few movies, it's for major league and probably commercial piracy. The typical pirate who is convicted gets a fine. Secondly it's your contention that most pirates are downloading things they've previously bought? Because that's rubbish. Before making arguments based on someone receiving 10 years in prison for downloading a movie they've already bought, see if that matches up to reality, because that's not what's being talked about here.

  20. The Dude
    Mushroom

    Government infringers....

    I'd be happy to see the Canadian government agency copyright thieving snakes suffer even a small fine or an overnight stay in the crowbar hotel. Even having prosecutors or cops send them a snotty letter would be an improvement. A harsh word from my Member of Parliament perhaps... nope. nada, nothing , zippo, they simply get away with it free and clear and nobody seems to care. So, maybe every "online copyright infringer" should face the same sort of penalty as the government online copyright infringers... no penalty at all.

    This is all negotiable, of course, anytime the Canadian government ratbag thieving scum wish to start following their own laws then maybe other people might also.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Count on it

    Punishment is meant to be a deterrent to crime. Allowing pirates to get away with just a 2 year prison sentence is foolish and a small deterrent. Make it 10 years for all who pirate and 25 years or longer for facilitators of piracy.

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: Count on it

      You forgot to put "perp" in there, AC.

      Whilst we're at it, let's do away with fines altogether - they don't deter crime. 35mph in a 30 zone? 5 years! Dropping litter? 3 years! Plugging your phone into someone else's electric socket without permission? 18 months! No time off for good behaviour - they have to be punished!!

      Out of interest, do you know the origins of the phrase "Might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb"?

  22. Boothy

    Costs

    Or just reduce the purchase costs of the item to a reasonable level, and the piracy would reduce all on its own.

    Simple market economies, charge more than people think something is actually worth, and piracy is inevitable.

  23. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    Martin Brassell is long out of date

    "

    The report, carried out by Martin Brassell and Ian Goodyer for the IPO, says that this means online copyright infringement “does not fall into the category of serious arrestable offences”.

    "

    In the UK the concept of "arrestable offences" was discarded years ago (IIRC around 2001), and it has long been the case that you can nowadays be arrested for *any* criminal offence regardless of severity. A police officer could, if he so wished, arrest you for driving at 45MPH in a 40MPH zone, detain you in a police cell for 24 hours and (with the permission of a senior police officer) send a team to search your home and car. And that power has been abused in order to search the home of "a person of interest" when there is insufficient grounds to obtain a search warrant.

    Copyright infringement is not even a criminal offence in the UK unless there is a commercial element present - e.g. ripping off CDs or DVD to sell at a car boot sale.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Savoy Theatre

    In short most people think "Let the Punishment firt the crime" and not be out of proportion to the Crime (if it is one)

  25. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Ridiculousness

    Obviously this is ridiculous. Physical pirates are offering up DVDs and CDs of pirated content for sale for their own personal profit. Online? These are people exchanging files. You might think "Well, the 10 years is for the worst offenders", but see how the Recording Industry Ass. of America and MPAA have already behaved. You know damned well one of their affiliated groups would decide to try to give someone 10 years for like 1 song "to make an example of them". Just saying, IF you decide to do this, you'd better have HARD AND FAST rules about what criteria must be met for various amounts of time -- and do make sure to exclude the little fantasy that a bittorrent counts as sharing a file with like 1000 people or whatever.

    As for someone's music sales dropping 75% since 2000 --- umm, maybe you're just not as popular as you once were? I've heard this excuse again and again from artists whos popularity has plateaued, that the levelling off and drop MUST be due to piracy. This ignores two big factors: 1) The industry as a whole has not seen this massive drop, and in fact last I heard was having record sales. 2) There's (surprisingly enough) a "Nielsen ratings" for pirated movies and music, and these artists that see dropoffs of sales usually see dropoffs in these ratings too.

  26. Bathrug

    There was once a time when a " record" was a promotional item to support a live band. The record would be distributed in order to get gigs etc. This promotional tool then became the product and the live artist became virtually non existent. Move forward even more and the artist becomes the employee of the record label and they become the sleeping partner of the corporate known as "insert artist name here".

    I don'y have an opinion as to whether "piracy" is legal or illegal as some business models only really succeeded due to the pirates. e.g do you really think that MS office would be the common place tool, if you could have not have got a dodgy copy, ergo increasing its popularity and familiarity and therefor its common place in the business community.

    Remember ... art is a form of creativity, there are multitudes of musicians who could be excellent, but have no real avenue to perform so upload to youtube, do they stop because they get no money .... no, because they are artists ... they need to create. Money on the other hand is the music business, they need to create wealth, and will whore out the artists work to who ever can pay.

    If you want to support a band .. steal the music, but go to their gigs, buy their merchandise and shitty t-shirts. after all then you ARE paying the band for a perfomance; rather than just a digital copy that cost ZERO to reproduce, has no physical media and has no distribution costs. When will the entertainment industry learn that its HOW something is released that impacts on the availability; i.e if a movie costs £5 and you could choose to watch it at home on your tv, would you choose that over a crappy cam with poor sound?

    Ultimately .. imm filling in time till I go home on Friday afternoon :D

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