Stealing Just One Copy

I read last year that a T.V. executive claimed that those who TIVO as show, then watch it later and skip the commercials, are stealing a product.  I do this all the time.  It is my feeling that I pay a hefty fee each month for the privilege of watching television, including a fee to watch my local channels.  Maybe, and its a big maybe, if I got all my shows off the airwaves with an antennae, and then recorded the shows to watch sans commercials, I might be accused of being a tad unethical.  I realize that without sponsors, I couldn’t enjoy these shows, but HBO and others manage to use a different business model, so why can’t the networks?

Then, this morning, I saw this,  an article in which an attorney actually claimed that the act of downloading a CD onto your computer was an illegal copy.  I admit to being a bit of a Luddite, but one must download a CD so that it can be converted to an MP3 format to listen on an MP3 player, right?  Are they suggesting that a person must buy music in each and every format necessary?  I thought this was settled with the advent of VCRs, you know, back in the stone age.

I know that copyright law promises to be a huge area of litigation in the coming years, and I’ll admit that there are valid considerations on all sides, but frankly, I’m a little tired of the idea that I am paying money for a product, but I really don’t own it.

I have felt for years that writers of all kinds were horribly underpaid, and that producers, distributors, and hell, even artists all got way too fat off of someone else’s work.  I applauded the strike, though I thought they set their sights way too low.
Personally, I think the digital age did to cds and albums what the car did to liveries.

Besides, the kids will figure out a way around any laws on the books.



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10 responses to “Stealing Just One Copy

  1. democommie

    Morning, Mack:

    I have a Sony Atrac (proprietary MP3) program that cheerfully downloaded all of my CD’s and made them into files I could copy, play, whatever. The problem is that when I moved them from one hard drive to another (both mine) they became unplayable. I only know one way to deal with that sort of thing (I’m advised by a friend that Sony is the worst of the lot in the “download wars”)–never, ever, again buy a product that they make.

  2. Yes. You are supposed to pay for the same song on cassette, 8-track, reel-to-reel, vinyl and now MP3.

    I could see “rebuying” a song if you upgraded your playing machine, because the record company has to pay for the cassette, 8-track, vinyl or other delivery mechanism.

    Frankly, though, with CDs I feel I paid to listen to the music. If I choose to listen to the music through an MP3 player that’s my business.

    Those of us libertarian nut jobs out there have been protesting the Digital Millenium Copyright Act for about 10 years now. Passed when most Americans weren’t looking, this abominable law effectively destroys private ownership of any book, song, movie or software.

  3. All in the name of protecting Mickey Mouse!

    My favorite part is how they always send some schmoe to lecture us about how we can’t behave during the Grammys. I wonder if they’ll use that time this year to threaten us into paying them repeatedly for the same item.

  4. nm

    “They” already tried this, when casette recorders came out, and lost. Completely lost the case. It is legal to copy a recording one owns legally into another medium for one’s own use. There’s no reason to think that the precedent won’t stand. This is just an attempt to scare people into not doing it for a while.

  5. Second time I’ve said this in 5 minutes, but nm is right. Although DMCA may have changed things; I’m no lawyer.

    One little quibble: in the music business, writers do pretty well for themselves. Many a band has broken up because the non-writing members discover how much more the writing members make in royalties than they do. Pure, nonwriting musicians only make good money via live performances.

    Now, I’ll admit, the producers and distributors are making exponentially more, but had I written, say “Boot Scoot Boogie”, I don’t think I’d care. I’d take that pittance.

  6. To Slarti’s point, that’s why Roger Daltrey does infomercials or plays the bad guy in an episode of “Lois and Clark” while Pete Townsend doesn’t.

  7. an article in which an attorney actually claimed that the act of downloading a CD onto your computer was an illegal copy.

    #1 – I understand that this is yet another example of the WaPo’s stellar reportage. The case in question actually involves someone who was wanting to download massive quantities of mp3’s and make them available on the internet. That is my understanding.

    #2- I’m sure assholes like this lawyer make xerox copies of magazine articles, newspaper articles or even pages from books and don’t think anything of it.

    For some reason, those of us who create the written word are never held in the same regard as these other folks. Why is that?

    Anyway, the RIAA first battled this issue when blank cassette tapes came on the scene, and the boys in the suits saw their revenue stream go down the toilet as people could tape LPs onto cassettes.

    I do believe that it has already been determined that non-commercial taping of music (i.e., home taping) is NOT a copyright violation.

  8. Jon

    >a T.V. executive claimed that those who TIVO as show, then watch it later and skip the commercials, are stealing a product.

    I wonder how said executive feels about people who don’t use TIVO but simply get up to go to the bathroom, flip channels, etc. during commercials. Would he suggest an IP police force to ensure all eyeballs are watching the screens at the required times? Or is he hoping for a technical/legal hybrid solution, perhaps ammending the DMCA to require all couches to be fitted with laser restraints?

  9. That guy’s probably just anal-log.

  10. Pingback: Dumb and Dumber - AKA Major Record Companies & the RIAA « The Lynnster Zone

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