Guarding Piracy

Friday, February 08, 2008


Movie and record companies claim combined annual losses in the billions due to file-sharing, pitting the entertainment industry against those who believe all content wants to be free. Wired Magazine senior writer Daniel Roth describes one recent battle in the ongoing piracy wars.

Comments [4]


what song played at the begining of the piece?

Feb. 12 2008 12:25 PM
Lou Giordano from South Salem, NY

The way Ethan is portrayed as a champion against the big bad mean corporation Media Defender is horribly mistaken. He is a white collar thief, and should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Illegal file sharing is not anyone's right, and its not only big corporations that suffer. As Dean Roddey accurately states above, bands are forced to constant touring (and merchendise sales) to stay solvent. Unfortunately, there's collateral damage that no one seems to consider.

I am a music producer. My fee for a recording project is an advance against royalties. In my 25 years in the business, I've had a few big sellers. A double-platinum success before the illegal file sharing translated to less than 750k not quite ten years later. Its not a scientific comparison, but anyone in the music business will tell you that sales are half to a third of what they used to be.

The odd thing is, bands don't care! They make it up with touring and merch. My deal doesn't benefit from those income streams, and consequently, I've seen severely diminishing royalties as well as the initial advances. Labels had years to figure out copy protection and failed miserably. Now they're grasping at straws with companies like Media Defender. But to turn this story into anything other than theft, is doing a great disservice to all the intellectual property content-creation industries. You owe it to us to present the other side, show that individuals and not just "the man" are getting shafted.

Feb. 11 2008 08:44 PM
Dean Roddey from Mountain View, CA

These kids are destroying the music world basically. Of course the enormous anti-RIAA mythology that has grown up on the internet provides any number of convenient rationalizations for theft of music and movies, the most common one being that it only hurts the labels anyway. But it has reduced the music profession to a form of manual labor for all but the top couple percent of artists. The only way to make a living at music is constant touring now.

There is also the argument that the labels are to blame because they didn't immediately make their content available on the web, and that if they had this wouldn't have happened. This is also visibly untrue. Material has been legally available on the web for years, but the number of tracks sold legally is trivial compared to the number of tracks illegally downloaded. If those people out there only downloaded out of desparation, they'd have long since stopped. But of course they haven't stopped, they've continue to increase the rate of downloads.

Of course many of them are 16 year olds, for whom food magically appears on the table at home, so they have zero understanding of the realities of making a living or what the destruction of a whole industry means. But it's hardly limited to that group, and even wealthy people I've met have zero hestitation at stealing content. It's just an enormous moral failure on the part of human kind, and proves (yet again) that most people have no morals. It's the electronic Lord of the Flies.

Feb. 10 2008 05:48 PM
Sara from NYC

"Kids striking back"? Is that really an appropriate characterization of what that kid did? He listened to private phone conversations without permission and published individuals' SSN's. So you hope that he gets a job at the NSA? Huh. I live in a city where kids who take things without paying end up in jail, not lauded for "striking back" and promoted as future members of our government's security apparatus. This kid doesn't happen to be white and live in a suburb by any chance?

Feb. 10 2008 10:59 AM

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