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Sunday, June 8, 2008

Media Musings

I believe people should be given proper credit where credit is due.

I believe artists, of any kind, should receive proper recognition and remuneration for their work.

I also believe the people behind the artist (e.g., producers) should receive fair compensation for their labour.

So, this may surprise you, but…

I believe unauthorised file-sharing should not be illegal.

Yes, most file-sharing is criminal, but it is not immoral – it is simply illegal. In North America (and likely the rest of the world too, but I don’t make assumptions), our government spends a small fortune on creating advertisements, generally targeted to adolescents, designed to make anyone who downloads anything (unauthorised) look like a hard criminal. The advertisement at the end of the post claims “piracy is stealing” and states “stealing is a crime”. I do not deny that stealing is a crime. I do, however, question the logic of the entire argument presented through the advertisement. I believe the comparisons used are inappropriate – downloading a song (or movie, as described in the ad.) is hardly equivalent to stealing a car, or someone’s handbag.

The majority of people who download music or videos/movies from the internet are people who will go out and buy the exact (or similar) product. Or, quite often, someone is just sampling a song before putting a tidy sum of money out for a C.D. Sometimes, depending on where the person lives, the person simply can’t find the artist’s work. Generally, unauthorised downloading will build up an audience for the artist, which makes it likely the artist will bring in more revenue.

The producer, however, will bring in less revenue… so, why do I think that’s fine? Well, the recording and film industries make a fortune while the artists receive a very small amount of the profits; the industries seem to forget they have nothing to sell if they have no artists, but they put their own interests before the interests of the artists.

I believe if anything about this should be illegal, it should be the crime committed by the entertainment industries. We often forget the definition of “crime” includes offence against morality… and I believe it is immoral for huge corporations to make large sums of money off hard-working artists and their fans. I also believe it is immoral to take legal action against a low-wage, hard-working citizen simply because they shared a file (although I, thankfully, don’t know anyone to whom this happened).

So… why is it that the bigger, richer, and more influential you are, the more you’re allowed to legally commit crimes?


G8rBryan said...

Good post, you make some valid points. Will be back to read more. :)

Pelster said...

Very true. We should not put the blame on the file-sharers, but the creators of the file sharing sites (limewire).