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Harvard Study Says Weak Copyright Benefits Society

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the free-is-good dept.

The Internet 326

An anonymous reader writes "Michael Geist summarizes an important new study on file sharing from economists Felix Oberholzer-Gee and Koleman Strumpf. The Harvard Business School working paper finds that given the increase in artistic production along with the greater public access conclude that 'weaker copyright protection, it seems, has benefited society.' The authors point out that file sharing may not result in reduced incentives to create if the willingness to pay for 'complements' such as concerts or author speaking tours increases."

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326 comments

Pointless (5, Insightful)

Razalhague (1497249) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371169)

These kind of studies are largely pointless. We already know this, and the media industry will not believe it regardless of how many studies come to this conclusion.

So what? (5, Insightful)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371203)

The media industry is not society. Why would they care if society benefits if their bottom line does not also benefit?

Re:So what? (5, Interesting)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371233)

But ... their bottom line *could* benefit if they add value to the physical items they sell (eg. if their CD comes with an official t-shirt, sew-on patch, etc).

Re:So what? (5, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371335)

You know, that's something I just simply don't understand: Why don't they bundle some crap with the CDs? Cheap trinkets that cost close to zero but make the fans happy?

You needn't go fancy. How about the "official, signed photograph"? Of course the signature is printed, but who cares? You can ONLY get it with THIS CD! (sure, others may exist, but THIS very special autograph picture is only available that way)

It's not like this would break the bank. But then again, they don't even include booklets anymore in CDs, why would I assume they could spend half a buck for a cheap crappy picture print?

Re:So what? (3, Interesting)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371539)

Personally, I couldn't give a crap who the artist is, much less about having their signed photograph. To paraphrase a common saying, "It's the information, stupid." People want information, because they know information is power. Anything that gets in their way will be mown down. It's really that simple.

What can big media distribution companies do for money now that the internet has replaced their distribution model? Well, it's simple: they do the same thing spinning wheel operators did when the industrial revolution made it easy to get quality thread. They retrain, and get a new job --- one that's relevant and useful to the newer, more evolved society. They could become specialist, old-school, niche-market distributors for a select few, much like you can still go to a craft store and find hand-woven fabrics etc., but in that case, they'll need to be happy with their niche status, and their much reduced income. Not least, because people in hobbyist niche markets expect their suppliers to be decent people doing it for the love of tradition, rather than hate.

Re:So what? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371865)

You probably don't care about picture autographs of a star, but I'm talking about the main target market, teenagers and their craze for overhyped one hit wonders. You only have to market it that way that it's uncool to copy the song instead of buying it, because you wouldn't have that superspecialawesome only-with-the-CD picture to show off how much of a fan you really are.

C'mon, they're masters of PR and marketing, at least they used to be. Fire some of those lawyers and hire some markedroids!

Re:So what? (3, Interesting)

R0UTE (807673) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371705)

This is one way the game industry have attempted to over come piracy I think but to a slightly larger extent and I think we will see more and more of it.

Look at games like Guitar Hero, excellent, fun games that could quite easily be pirated but what is the point of having the game without the nice guitar to play it with. Same goes for rock band etc. More bespoke controllers and extras that make the game worth playing and consumers are quite happy to pay through the nose for it and not bother trying to pirate it.

Maybe as you said, something similar could be done by the music industry to provide an extra incentive to get out there and buy the cd's as opposed to pirating, or even downloading the mp3's legally.

Re:So what? (3, Insightful)

gaspyy (514539) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371711)

Years ago we've done some work for a record label to promote an artist. When the job was over, we received a few "special" complimentary CDs - a lot better packaging, hand-signed, lots of extras. It was really nice and it succeeded in making us feel, well, special. It was probably a short-run that was given to press and so on as part of the promotion.

So they CAN do it. If, instead of a cheap plastic holder and some paper they'd add something of value, people would have an extra incentive to buy the CD as opposed to download the mp3 (legally or not).

Re:So what? (1)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371933)

Dsft Punk did this with Discovery - you got an access code to the (initially horribly DRM'd) Daft Club website where you could download remixes. Of course someone could de-DRM the remixes but share them but people with the code got new stuff earlier.

Re:So what? (5, Insightful)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371387)

I read the first ten or so pages of the PDF before posting, and the intended audience was obviously not the media companies. I would guess that that audience would be law makers. The paper clearly states that social welfare for artists is not the intended consequence of copyrights, but that encouraging production is.

I found most of the arguments in the front section (which were probably more general and less supported than ones later in the paper) to be logical and well-reasoned, except for the part about authors generating income through speaking tours, which I doubt would be effective for any but the most famous.

I'll definitely read the rest of the paper this weekend.

Re:So what? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#28372003)

Considering the current nature of media production, "touring" is about the
only way the smaller act is going to make ANY money. That's just the nature
of the business and it is clear across many forms of media. You just have to
bother to pay attention.

Most bands or authors don't really get any support from their label or publisher
and are forced to market themselves. They don't end up making much of any money
from physical media distribution or end up in debt to the label. This leads to
"touring" of some form or another.

Even before the net, the motivated artist/author needed to do their own promotion
and tour. The net makes it easier to spread information and makes some things more
transparent. ...it was on the tip of everyone's tongue, the net just gave it a name...

Re:So what? (1)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 3 years ago | (#28372087)

I didn't mention bands. I have no confusion about people paying to see a band. Paying to see an author speak is another matter. I could understand book (signing) tours, but the author is going to have to be quite famous to get any audience to care to see him/her speak.

Re:So what? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#28372155)

Anyone who isn't Stephen King is going to have to go out and self-promote.

Re:So what? (1)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 3 years ago | (#28372225)

They're not going to make any serious money by charging at the door for it, though, which was what the paper was talking about.

Re:Pointless (5, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371209)

the media industry will not believe it

Indeed, since the media "industry" - the guys that buy the lawyers and Senators - have no interest in "creating" anything. Their job is to exploit other peoples' creations. Whether the creators get rewarded or not is utterly irrelevant to them.

Re:Pointless (0, Troll)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371225)

Studies or the truth don't matter.
What matters is the amount of people and money spent on lobbying.

(Politicians: representatives of lobbyists - this word originates from "Polis" which means "great gathering of lobbyists" in ancient Greek).

Sad but true.

Re:Pointless (5, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371349)

Really? And here I was under the impression that "politics" stems from "poly" meaning many, and "ticks" meaning "little blood sucking pests".

Re:Pointless (3, Informative)

addsalt (985163) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371787)

"Polis" which means "great gathering of lobbyists"

What? Did you just make that up? If politicians are nothing but lobbyists, whom exactly would they be lobbying?

Polis is the greek word for their contemporary city/state. Politics would be things "of the state" (e.g. governance).

Re:Pointless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28371827)

Polis meant "city" in Ancient Greek, and was also used to mean the people of the city.

Politics comes from "Politikos" meaning "of or concerning the city"

Re:Pointless (1)

andreicio (1209692) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371581)

The media industry knows this, but their business model is based on percentage of sales. Quote from the paper in question: "While album sales have generally fallen since 2000, the number of albums being created has exploded.". The media industry is strictly interested in album sales, not in revenues to the artists. The fact that they invoke the artists in order to cause public outrage against copyright infringement is only normal: they use whatever means necessary to stay in business.

The unwillingness to change their business is another matter altogether, and can be discussed about all major industries. The bigger they are, the more difficult the change, and the more blindly stubborn their struggle to keep things the way they are. They will fall at one point though, when all possible sources of profit will be gone. Until then, they will make life difficult, or at least try.

Re:Pointless (2, Interesting)

Vintermann (400722) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371807)

They will learn. They will learn, or they will die.

The recent Virgin/Universal deal [slashdot.org] that was covered here on slashdot is an example of things moving in the right direction. In case you don't remember: A UK ISP will offer something very close to Magnatune, for Virgin/Universal's music. You can make a monthly payment for an all-you-can-eat buffet. Yeah, there are still some minor issues (they still want to disconnect people without any trial, and they still won't let you give a friend a copy), but it's a huge step forward.

What's even more interesting, is that deals like these will give artists incentive to reduce copyright terms. The reason is that there is a pool of income (the subscription fees) that is divided among the artists according to popularity. New and current artists will not want to share with the old-timers forever. "Move over! While people still love your music, it's our new music that keeps them subscribing!", they might say. It will probably be true, too.

Re:Pointless (2, Insightful)

rundgren (550942) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371943)

These kind of studies are largely pointless. We already know this, and the media industry will not believe it regardless of how many studies come to this conclusion.

You're right, but the important part is convincing society in general, and of course politicans. And at least some of them _do_ listen to/read academic papers.

Re:Pointless (1)

smchris (464899) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371983)

Yes, Harvard has caught up with the Grateful Dead. But I'll bet the Harvard study publishes in approved form and cites references.

Obongo's health care power grab infomercial (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28372033)

Why the hell would you want the government to take over one of the few sectors that's actually ADDING jobs right now? Leave it alone, Obongo. Your cronies have already done such a shitty job with MediCare and MedicAid and Social Security. Why should the bulk of us just hand over our healthcare decisions to some slow-witted, slothful, affirmative action product bureaucratic bean counter?

Media Frenzy (2, Insightful)

Techmeology (1426095) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371189)

Now, where's a media frenzy when you need one? Anyone on here work for a major news corporation?

Re:Media Frenzy (2, Funny)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371285)

You want media companies to run stories on how copyright might be bad?

Email me privately, I've got an offer you'll be interested in.

in today's America (4, Insightful)

joeyspqr (629639) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371223)

laws are not passed to benefit society, laws are bought to protect business models.

Re:in today's America (0, Flamebait)

gnupun (752725) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371583)

Laws are also passed to protect the minority (artists) from exploitation by the majority (art consumers). The current copyright laws benefit both artists and consumers and are more or less fair.

However, current law doesn't do that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28371971)

It exploits the majority (consumers) and the creators (artists) to protect the minority (middlemen).

Re:in today's America (4, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#28372021)

Lets see...

      70 year copyright terms that continue to be perpetually extended.
      150K per song statutory damages for individuals.
      Tools that allow you to put your own DVD on your own iPod are illegal.

Re:in today's America (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28372191)

Fair use is fair. It's just possible to use the tools in illegal ways.

Also, I should tell you 'perpetually' implies continuation. You only needed one of those words.

Re:in today's America (1)

HyperQuantum (1032422) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371921)

laws are not passed to benefit society, laws are bought to protect business models.

...added to my list of insightful quotes.

Other studies tell the same story (5, Informative)

Boetsj (1247700) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371247)

A similar study has been conducted before in the Netherlands: [weblogs3.nrc.nl] Downloading benefits the Dutch economy (in Dutch, Google Translation [74.125.77.132]). This study had been ordered by the department of Education, Culture and Science, the department of Economic Affairs and the Justice department.

A downloaded movie, CD or game is not equal to a product not sold, say the researchers. Also, "Amongst downloaders of music and film, the percentage of buyers is as high as with non-downloaders, in games, the percentage of buyers even higher. Music downloaders are also more likely to concerts and buy more merchandise. Downloaders buy more games than gamers who never downloaded and movies downloaders buy more DVDs than non-downloaders."

It is a little more in depth than that. (1)

Saysys (976276) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371823)

This is a study that looks at other study's major findings, they are:

Illegal burning of DVDs and downloading make up 5.2% of movie viewing; unpaid consumption reduces paid consumption by 3.5%.

For every pirated CD, sales fall by 0.42 units. Estimated effect is not robust to including year fixed effects and estimating separate displacement effects for high- and low-income countries.

Students with faster internet connections are more likely to sample music; sampling increases the propensity to buy.

Free broadcasts of movies on TV increase DVD sales on Amazon by 118% during the first week after the broadcast. Piracy does not affect this increase in demand.

Re:Other studies tell the same story (2, Interesting)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371861)

Did the study consider questions of causality?

Meet Alice. She buys two games per year. Now meet Bob. He downloads five games per year, and buys five.

If Alice started downloading two games per year instead of buying, would she start playing more games? At the current state, why isn't she playing more games?

If it's the price, letting her download wouldn't seem to change things. If it's her lack of interest, offering her something she doesn't want for free isn't going to change things.

It seems that the observations you put forth leave several important questions unanswered. I hope the answers come out in favor of downloading stuff for free ;-)

Err.. (3, Interesting)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371275)

What if you're an artist but only want to create art and not tour all over the place just to make money? I realise that most musicians seem to like doing concerts, but what if that's not what you want to do and just want to record albums?

Re:Err.. (5, Insightful)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371325)

The same question would be: What if you are a painter and you paint only for a niche of the market? You make less money. But if you love the art, that's where your hart lies and that's what will make you happy.

Sure, you can go commercial and make more money, but that would probably negatively affect your happiness so you will have to choose and possible compromise.

Re:Err.. (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371651)

Yeah, the only difference is, like it or not, right now the studio artist makes $1-2 for each album sold, without it, well, he'd make nothing.

Re:Err.. (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371767)

Simple, sell the original for a lot of money .... it is unique, and if someone values it then they will pay for it ...

Don't keep the original and try and sell copies for the same cumulative value

Re:Err.. (4, Insightful)

richie2000 (159732) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371337)

They can still do that.

I swear to God, sometimes it's like people equate "loss of some monopoly privileges" with "absolutely forbidden to sell a disc ever again".

Yes, some people will download instead of buying the CD or paying for it on iTunes. Others will find the artist through file-sharing sites and buy something to either support the artist, own the physical CD or just to feel good inside. On the whole, these effects evens out pretty well, except for the minority of really big artists who lose a bit of income and the majority of really small artists who gain from being more exposed. This is, generally speaking, a good thing since the incomes in the copyright industry is very uneven compared to other industries.

Re:Err.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28371381)

Given the prices the companies charge for CD's, "loss of monopoly privileges" actually would mean "absolutely forbidden to sell a disc ever again."

Re:Err.. (2, Funny)

grenthar (1488647) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371341)

Carve a statue. Nobody forced you to create with a medium that can be digitally reproduced.

Re:Err.. (1)

gnupun (752725) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371343)

Musicians probably earn more performing concerts because the music labels take a huge percentage of the revenue from selling CDs, leaving only a tiny percent for the musicians. The number of concerts would drop if musicians got a bigger percentage of the CDs.

The powers that be want to weaken/destroy copyright so that musicians/writers/programmers/designers/etc cannot make any income from selling the final product -- rather they expect these people to become salaried professionals, getting paid by the hour or work for free. Programmers are already in that group.

The day copyright dies, the artistic output quality will drop drastically as few artists will work to benefit the leechers who will directly rip or remix existing art for personal use/gain.

Re:Err.. (2, Insightful)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371455)

You obviously don't know any true artists. They produce whether anyone is buying their stuff or not. The ones that desire admiration do it in public. Most, however, would be just as happy trying to create the perfect piece and put it in a box which would only be discovered after the artist's death. Money has no meaning except to pay for the materials needed to produce the art, and food, shelter and drugs if there's enough money left after the art.

Look into history to find examples. You could, I guess, just find the musicians living out of their cars but which haven't pawned their guitars.

Re:Err.. (2, Insightful)

gnupun (752725) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371555)

Mozart, Beethoven, Picasso all died more or less penniless, while the business-savvy people who owned their works made a fortune. It's true most artists create stuff for the sake of creating it. But good artists have very poor business sense, which means they will get taken advantage of by the business people. The situation has become so terrible that the creator of many copyrighted works has no right over his/her own work, and will not gain royalty, nor credit -- especially computer programmers.

In the end, it all boils down to fairness -- does the consuming public, government, and business want to reward artists fairly, with money. Or just be a cunning shylock and pay them with only words and superficial admiration. Lack of financial rewards will force the artists to work second jobs, and most of them are quite poor at any job other than their art. Just because you can take advantage of someone doesn't mean you should.

Re:Err.. (0, Troll)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371605)

The number of concerts would drop if musicians got a bigger percentage of the CDs.

The day copyright dies, the artistic output quality will drop drastically as few artists will work to benefit the leechers who will directly rip or remix existing art for personal use/gain.

I was rebutting these points, which are demonstrably false for artists who love their craft.

Artists being taken advantage of of is completely different issue. Don't conflate.

Re:Err.. (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371707)

Yes, but why did Mozart do all the things he did? Because he was commissioned for them, in other words paid. He died broke, but he still tried to make a living from his art. My point being, if no one had commissioned anything, then he wouldn't have done anywhere near as much as he did.

Re:Err.. (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371697)

Well, I think the difference between making a living out of being an artist and being an artist for free is that when you're being paid you have more time and resources to devote to it, while if you have to make a living on the side then you're too busy flipping burgers to devote all your time to what you like to do.

Re:Err.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28371509)

Err...

I don't know how you equate output quality with financial incentive/copyright. From my experience, the more commercially-oriented the art, the more watered down it is to appeal to the lowest common denominator.

I'd love to see the proof that copyright is necessary to maintain a high level of artistic output. Because, as an artist, nothing would give me greater pleasure than everyone having free, unlimited use of art. Access to art is what inspires others to create art.

It's not wrong that artists should seek to make money off their work. But don't connect artistic quality with financial rewards, because that's a fallacy.

Re:Err.. (1)

gnupun (752725) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371675)

It's not wrong that artists should seek to make money off their work. But don't connect artistic quality with financial rewards, because that's a fallacy.

But there is a rather big connection -- creating good art requires a lot of time, talent, effort and money. If art does not pay, then the artist cannot devote time to this endeavor. For example, "Star Trek, the TV series" is of lower production quality than "Star Trek, the Movie" because revenue from TV advertising is tiny compared to revenue from ticket and DVD sales of movies.

Another example -- quality of a dead-tree written book very often exceeds the quality of free web blogs. The book was written by an experienced author who was paid an advance by the publisher so that he can afford to expend time creating high-quality work. Meanwhile the blog was written by an amateur who cannot expend as much time creating his work because of the tiny amount of advertising revenue from his blog.

Re:Err.. (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#28372081)

> "Star Trek, the TV series" is of lower production quality than "Star Trek, the Movie"

So?

It's a whole lot better.

The quality of your sets is ultimately not the most important part of a play or movie.

Having lots of money didn't help Voyager to be better or most of Enterprise.

It also didn't help Star Trek V or Nemesis.

How do you work that out? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28371551)

Leerchers will remix existing art WHY?

Because according to you, NOBODY will create new art (which is what a remix is), so therefore no remixing.

But if there's no remixing of art, there's then no reason for new art not to be created.

But if there's new art, it will be remixed so people won't make new art.

But if there's remixing, that IS new art.

So they won't remix.

But it there's no remixing of art, there's no reason for new art not to be created.

.
.
.

Re:Err.. (1)

minsk (805035) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371369)

Then you sell albums.

There is a funny thing about people. Many of us like to reward people for producing enjoyable media.

The question is, really, whether you're willing to settle for that. Or whether you also demand we punishing anyone with unapproved copies. I, for one, refuse to support anyone invoking force to support their business model. If you decide to send politicians, cops, and lawyers after your desired customers... I am not bloody going to be one of them. And I hope nobody else is.

Re:Err.. (1)

gnupun (752725) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371411)

Then you sell albums.

They cannot. Once they sign a contract with the label, the label becomes the publisher/distributor. And unless the artists have money/talent to market their album, signing that contract is the only way to make any decent profit.

Re:Err.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28371489)

Yeah, and what if I'm a programmer and only want to write obscure software that no one wants? Or what if I'm just lazy and want to get money for free?

The right to work for money should not be confused with getting money for whatever you like to do. The world changes, and you've got to keep up with it or you'll get left behind.

Re:Err.. (2, Insightful)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371745)

Sorry but I really don't get your point. What does getting a cut on albums actually sold have anything to do with "being lazy and wanting to get money for free"?

Re:Err.. (3, Interesting)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371497)

Well I only want to play video games and roleplay with friends, but I can't make money this way...

By the way, just record music, distribute music and ask donation to make another album. If people are unwilling to pay you for that, well, maybe it is better for you to stop. Or not. Not very long ago, most musicians did not expect to earn any money at all. Those surviving thanks to their art only had music-hall pays. Records were a new thing, that changed the landscape completely and now it changes again. Now even a novice artist can reach millions of people if he manages to make ONE good tune. But he lost the ability to win millions of dollars once he established a trademark.

Re:Err.. (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371765)

Well I only want to play video games and roleplay with friends, but I can't make money this way...

What the hell does it have to do with anything? I'm talking about artists getting a cut of the money on albums they sell. If the market will buy, it means you created value, value which you should get.

Not very long ago, most musicians did not expect to earn any money at all.

Bullshit. If you knew anything about classical music you'd know that all these guys whose compositions you heard were being paid for the works they produced. Their work was commissioned, i.e. they were paid to make it by someone who wanted them to make it.

But you AREN'T saying that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28371847)

You said: What if you're an artist but only want to create art and not tour all over the place just to make money? I realise that most musicians seem to like doing concerts, but what if that's not what you want to do and just want to record albums?

So? If you only like making albums, make albums. But don't expect to be paid to do what you WANT to do. Just like the GP wants to play RPG's and hang out with their friends, but isn't going to get paid for that.

And it DEFINITELY isn't "I'm talking about artists getting a cut of the money on albums they sell. If the market will buy, it means you created value, value which you should get."

It's about "he doesn't want to do work that pays, he wants paying for work he does want to do".

Well Boo Hoo.

Captcha appropriate: violins.

Here's a small one for you.

Re:But you AREN'T saying that (0, Troll)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371967)

You're a retard. If something pays because people are willing to pay for it, then it pays. It's not because a bunch of armchair pirates want to force anyone to give it up for free that it changes anything to that fact. Basically you decide arbitrarily that studio recorded music should be free, and therefore as a sort of feedback loop that makes it inherently unworthy of any money. You can't just say "this should be free, make it free" for something that's not free and that the market validated as something you can ask money for.

Most Slashdotters are libertarians, but when it comes to stuff you want for free you all turn to commies.

Re:Err.. (4, Insightful)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371925)

What the hell does it have to do with anything? I'm talking about artists getting a cut of the money on albums they sell. If the market will buy, it means you created value, value which you should get.

But if the market won't buy, what does it mean ? That you didn't create value or that someone steals from you ?

Bullshit. If you knew anything about classical music...

I'm talking about the 1900' before the record industry went up. But yes if we go further back in time, we find composers (not musicians, musicians just had a regular salary when part of an orchestra or were itinerant artists if not) that are paid for commissioned work. A model that worked well enough to provide us with Mozart's and Bach's music. Why could this model not be used today ? Instead of some rich aristocrat, you would have donation from thousands or millions of people asking for new songs, et voila...

Re:Err.. (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 3 years ago | (#28372011)

But if the market won't buy, what does it mean ?

No if, the market DOES buy. And it gives good money. Ask Steve Jobs.

you would have donation from thousands or millions of people asking for new songs, et voila...

Yeah sure, imagine what would have happened to Axl Rose when people would have got tired of waiting for the Chinese Democracy they'd paid for a dozen years earlier. Or when artists would decide to retire. Or when artists would have announced to retire but came back. Either way that idea doesn't work, find something else.

Oh I have an idea, how about an artist makes an album, and when he's done making it he releases it, and people buy it if they want it? I'm pretty sure that could work...

Re:Err.. (1)

Lalo Martins (2050) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371587)

Then you want as many people as possible to hear about your work, otherwise you'll drown in the competition. If you don't have millions of bucks for advertising, maybe uploading to the Pirate Bay will do the trick.

Get a job. (5, Insightful)

remmelt (837671) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371959)

Get a job like the rest of us? You can't just label yourself an artist and go around whining about loss of income if you don't want to go the extra mile. I'm terribly sorry for people's overly romantic view of stardom, but it just sucks, especially if you're not a star (yet).

By the way, pretty much any artist has a side job. In my experience, the more serious the job is, the less serious the artist is about being an artist and vice versa. There is only a very limited subset of artists that can make a living from their art.

Re:Get a job. (0, Troll)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 3 years ago | (#28372101)

OK, what the hell is wrong with you people? Here's reality : studio artists make albums, sell albums, make money. Yet in two thirds of Slashdot's distorted mind, they should stop doing that and look for "a real job instead". What the fuck is wrong with you people? Do I have to explain a bunch of libertarians how the market basically works?! You have a bunch of people willing to buy what you want to sell, so why on Earth should you give up on that and give it up for free??

Re:Err.. (1)

johannesg (664142) | more than 3 years ago | (#28372149)

What if you're an artist but only want to create art and not tour all over the place just to make money? I realise that most musicians seem to like doing concerts, but what if that's not what you want to do and just want to record albums?

What if you are a programmer but only want to work on things that actually interest you? I realize that most programmers enjoy sitting in cubicles all day long... Wait, there's something wrong here.

Being an artist doesn't exempt you from having to work for your money. And if your chosen line of work provides too little income, you will have to do something else to supplement it.

Re:Err.. (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 3 years ago | (#28372315)

You're all saying the same thing in this thread, but it doesn't make any sense. These people ALREADY make money by selling albums. Why should that stop?

What if you are a programmer but only want to work on things that actually interest you?

That's what I did. I'm making a living off writing on my own the program that interests me most. Should I not get any money for that?

Basically what you're all saying is "artists should work to get money" but for one thing they already work, even if it's not work that you approve of (maybe you do not approve of porn actors work and would want them to make porn for free on their spare time too?), and it already makes them money. And it's been working like this since before any of your grandparents made their first dollar. So why should it change?

Society (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28371307)

You know what doesn't benefit society? JEWS. Why is it anytime a Jew does something wrong they can always fall back on the Holocaust. Notice how the Holocaust is capitalized yet Slavery of African Americans isn't in proper context. Jews can do whatever they want and no one will even moan while the Anglo Saxon male is blamed for the recession. Not the greedy Jew. Bernie Madoff is a memory to most just like the injustice to African Americans while Jews are free to do whatever they want whenever they want like spoiled children. Sure you can say you are the smarter "race" when you are allowed to destroy another race at the benefit of your own. Of course Jews teach American history as negative while they fulfill their own zionist destiny of purging the world of Africans and Muslims with white americans next. My own request of a smart enough guy is to not pussy out and renew a Jewish holocaust. I am tired of Jews with no national affiliation spew bullshit about how they are better because they think they are Woody Allen. I hope all Jews die of Founders disease.

Different views on "society" (1)

castrox (630511) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371421)

I think the primary concern is the different views on society that citizens, politicians and corporations have. A report that says that something is good for society isn't so clear cut as you'd like.

For corporations, long copyrights are good for society - they couldn't make quality music otherwise and people want quality music!

Lobbyists persuading politicians means that long copyrights are beneficial for society as well. After all, how would artists make a living otherwise? Very common argument these days and more or less what the common man is thinking, too.

Re:Different views on "society" (5, Insightful)

siddesu (698447) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371633)

Nope, it is not a differing view on "society", but rather a differing view on "good".

For the society outside of the corporations, "good" is, generally, more creativity, i.e. less copyright. Less copyright means less monopoly, and less monopoly provides generally a better allocation of the resources of society. Of course, it'll make those lawyers, who want to succeed in the creative business work harder, but ain't that the American way anyway? Incidentally, this freedom may make people who invest in art more focused on the art itself as opposed to taking the easy way out -- owning copyrights and doing a failed remake after remake.

For the corporations, "good" is exactly the opposite. A corporation doesn't give a damn about what is good for society, as long as it benefits the corporate bottom line. Monopoly is the best way to insure a bottom line, especially in the view of the corporate owners (see, e.g. concepts like "economic moat"). So, a corporation will allocate resources not for new art, but for protection of lucrative copyrights, and for politics. Neither of which is good for art, or society.

If you take a look, you'll see that's exactly what's been happening in the decades since the ifpies and the wipos of the world came about.

copyrights were meant to be weak (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28371483)

Copyright was invented to allow creators to get an income from their creations before the creations are released to the public domain. The state should have stood firm in keeping the copyright protection short. However they didn't, but instead succumbed to the "industry" interests. This resulted to turning every creation in a cash-cow with no expiry date, which obviously hinders innovation and creation: there is little incentive to create a second good work since the first one you created will provide you and your descendants with a steady flow of cash for the next 200 years.

I understand that the above is a bit simplified because it omits the role of the "industry" in the flow of cash. The "industry" pimps will absorb much of the cash intended for the creator (after all, they forced him to sell them for pennies the copyright of his work). This will keep the creator going because he doesn't really earn that much to retire. But it will also degrade his output because he knows that even if he does really-really good with his next creation, it is the "industry" pimps that will get the most out of his work.

Still quite simplified, but I think you get my point: You can't grant quasi-perpetual copyright protection (google "The Mickey Mouse Protection Act") and still expect the same amount of innovative creations.

Flawed logic (2, Insightful)

gnupun (752725) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371499)

The study says "Piracy (filesharing) was the driving force behind increased creative output" -- more movies, songs etc., which is complete nonsense. The real reason is the cost of producing and distributing art has dropped due to new software for creating the art and using the web for distribution.

The study encourages artists to use complements -- "speaking tours, concerts, t-shirts etc." to make income. Well, that only works for famous, top 5% artists. What about the remaining 95%? They are not famous enough to make any income from such "complements."

Re:Flawed logic (2, Insightful)

TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371585)

They are not famous enough to make any income from such "complements."

Why is that my problem?

If 95% of [insert poor helpless group] can't make any income from [insert some lifestyle choice they want] it is not society's problems. Its theirs. If they can't make it as an artist then don't quit your day job.

Re:Flawed logic (1)

gnupun (752725) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371769)

Why is that my problem?

Because you, and your kind want artists to work for free -- as a result of no weakened/destroyed copyright laws.

If 95% of [insert poor helpless group] can't make any income from [insert some lifestyle choice they want] it is not society's problems

Gaining benefit from the artists' work while not paying anything in return is robbery of artists by "society". Or put another way, according to you, society's menial, mundane jobs deserve to get paid, while artists' work is so worthless they don't even deserve to get paid minimum wage.

Re:Flawed logic (4, Insightful)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 3 years ago | (#28372065)

No, they need to be paid in a different way. Selling copies of something that can be copied at zero cost is not a maintainable business because everyone can make those copies. You can't magically make that go away.

So the artists need to find a way to get paid in some other way. Most smaller bands don't make any appreciable money fom record sales anyway (if they even produce recordings of their shows) but work on a per-gig basis: You hire them, they play at your venue. So bigger bands have to do this as well, only they call it a tour. Or you produce stuff of intrinsic value and sell that - for example by bundling your CDs with something physical your fans are going to like. Or even auctioning off the gold master of your studio album if you're big enough. Or just by selling your music on vinyl.

The problem bands face is that the current distribution model has become obsolete. Extending copyright is not going to change that, especially as the labels now have the copyright for longer than the artist lives, so they'll keep profiting off his work when he won't be able to benefit from that profit (leaving aside that the artist only sees a small fraction of what the label makes).

Re:Flawed logic (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#28372111)

Copyright laws haven't been weakened. They have been strengthened and unbalanced greatly
in the favor of corporations. If anything, those "radicals" here that want a change to the
law would only be restoring it to it's 1970 condition.

Ultimately, you must convince the consumer to pay.

Draconian enforcement measures won't help.

All they will do is cause broader social harm and foster ill will.

Money won't magically fall from the sky if you find some
way to completely eliminate piracy.

Re:Flawed logic (0, Flamebait)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371723)

"The real reason is the cost of producing and distributing art has dropped due to new software for creating the art and using the web for distribution"

Listen to your pompous ass. I'm sure you know the "real reason" oh so much more than the social scientists that actually performed & analyzed the study. Would you please, kindly STFU.

Re:Flawed logic (1)

Vintermann (400722) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371843)

The study encourages artists to use complements -- "speaking tours, concerts, t-shirts etc." to make income. Well, that only works for famous, top 5% artists. What about the remaining 95%? They are not famous enough to make any income from such "complements."

But they still are famous enough to make more than pocket change from royalties?
I'd guess far more artists make money from tours, gigs etc. than royalties.

performing arts == performing (1)

mstamat (519697) | more than 3 years ago | (#28372027)

It had always been that way through history. All performing artists (actors, musicians, dancers etc) were paid for their live performances (surprising, huh?). The advent of technology that enabled the recording of performances gave the illusion that one (studio) performance should be enough to make a living and be rich. However this was a situation that worked only temporarily. It worked because the demand for the creations of the artists was high and the mass-copying machines were too expensive and controlled by few distribution companies.

While this situation worked, laws were passed to extend copyrights. The distribution companies were able to pass the law because nobody in the society cared. It was a case of company defending their copyrighted work from other companies. The average Joe couldn't think of a vinyl copying machine (and those who could knew that they wouldn't be able to afford it), so he didn't really care to object extending copyrights. It seemed fair at that time. However now the technology for copying performances exists, so the game now is the (super-extended) copyright holders vs the society. The copyright holders are so gonna lose and they know it. They just try to make a buck while they can.

And the artists? Well, since the artists have already been deprived from the copyright of their work, it's all over touring for them like the old days. Not that they don't like it.

I was just telling this the other day.. (2, Interesting)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371645)

I am not trying to defend pirates at all here.

But I was just telling somebody about that possibility last week.

I had just watched an interview with an old theater actor which is pretty wealthy today. He said he made most of his money acting in theaters almost everyday, 2 or 3 shows a day. He said: "That was real work, there was almost no TV or movies in those times."
He added: "Pay was god, because not that many people would be crazy enough to do it, but we had a lot of fun and I enjoyed every minute of it".

I then envisioned things like a return of the pendulum, which sometimes seems like something natural in society. Nowadays, a limited set of actors get work making movies/TV shows and get paid the big bucks. Either you get famous and make millions or you starve. A lot more actors/musicians would get work if they had to do live shows. I can see how more diversity, thus availability would benefit society. Of course, the big names would lose but this is another story already largely covered here before..

I guess the point I am trying to make is that even if technology is involved, like with nature, society seem sometimes driven by a magical hand that cause a return of the pendulum at some point when we have reached a breaking point in one direction ;-)) Like nature, society sometimes seem to tend to come back to an equilibrium by itself !!

Poor academic work regarding displacement. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28371665)

The authors fail to take into account that the displacement rate would very easily be affected by the ease of filesharing which is a function of its legality. They treat the displacement rate as fixed.

At the present, there are many instances where individuals buy instead of download. For simplicity, this can be separated into three groups: 1) People who could very easily have downloaded (they have a fast internet connection, the required software and the knowledge how to) yet still choose to buy, 2) People who could not easily have downloaded for physical reasons (e.g. lack of speedy internet connection), 3) People who could not have downloaded for reasons of mental blocks, for example, lack of understanding of how to apply cracks, or worry over being caught.

If downloading is make legal, there is likely to be an explosion of technologies to enable filesharing and make it even easier for group 1, and remove all barriers for group 3. Group 2 should dwindle over time in line with the spread of fast broadband. Off the top of my head you would be highly likely to see a couple of NEW technologies;

1) a cell phone app that lets you take a picture of the front of a DVD cover, and automatically schedule its downloading to your computer.
2) a program that shows you the release dates of software or music ahead for the next year, letting you one-click the automatic scheduling for whenever it's available up to six months ahead.

each of these could have a very significant impact on the displacement rate itself. If no. 1 was available, I can honestly say that I would never buy a DVD again unless I was swimming in cash and feeling extremely lazy. If you treat the displacement rate as NOT being a function of ease which is partly a function of the legality of filesharing, you're an idiot.

Re:Poor academic work regarding displacement. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28371757)

the displacement rate would very easily be affected by the ease of filesharing which is a function of its legality.

      Bullshit. Which is why they are Harvard grads and you aren't. Copyright infringement has ALWAYS been illegal, since before computers were around. Filesharing is a function of file availability - which has nothing to do with legality especially considering the international nature of the internet. I could argue that the ability to speak/read Russian or Mandarin has a far greater impact on my ability to download a file from a foreign site where copyright infringement protections are loosely enforced, if at all.

      The law has no bearing on filesharing since the chances of it actually being enforced are close to nil. The cost to society to ensure 100% compliance and enforcement of copyright law would bankrupt the country that tried it. So we get show trials and extreme sentences to try and deter people, but the tide cannot be stopped. The moment one method/provider/service is "stopped", people instantly switch to a different medium.

Complements? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28371841)

This should be the main product we pay for! Concerts, Exhibition, wherever the artist is there...

Interesting (2)

Demonantis (1340557) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371909)

Most of the people working in the record industry are just there to get the media to the stores. Since it costs very little to put songs on the internet, the business model of selling the songs in stores doesn't make sense. The record industry is dieing slowly because of this. Fortunately. artists are not in the same predicament. They have more then just that one way(which wasn't that much either) of making money.

Not causation - AGAIN! (4, Insightful)

EEDAm (808004) | more than 3 years ago | (#28371997)

It is truly crippling to see the mental fails that keep being propogated by the press and even supposedly academia here. "Piracy (filesharing) was the driving force behind increased creative output". It's simply not true that one caused the other. There isn't an artist or an amorphous group of artists who are outputting more per artist because they are thinking ex-ante "shit I'm going to get paid less than I used to so I better produce more". That might work for widgets and industry but for artistic output? Total rubbish. I'm not entering into the debate about the pros and cons of filesharing by the way but this sort of causative fail is just depressing and so utterly prevalent.

A weak Copyright could also affect GPL. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28372279)

GPL functions because Copyright law has teeth.

If those teeth are removed, then the GPL must also lose some muscle.

For example, if copyright expired after 7 years then any GPL'd thing that hasn't been worked on since 2002 would be game for Microsoft to pick up and use (because the copyright has expired.)

Actually, that makes me wonder... if copyright was as short as 7 years, does that mean if someone downloaded a version of Linux in 2000 that the copyright on that particular work would now be expired and they'd be able to use it however they liked? The point being that if the copyright has expired then surely the accompanying license must also expire.

Remember, GPL only works because of Copyright law... so if you take that away (or weaken it), what's left?

Copyright Clause (3, Informative)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 3 years ago | (#28372297)

"To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."

I wish people would actually read the constitution.

"To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts," : not to promote the interests of monied pockets of power.

"securing limited Time to Authors and Inventors," : limited time (we've gone over this time and time again), but *Authors* and *Inventors*

The people that wrote the constitution were damn smart people. Too bad we stopped listening. Copyright is supposed to benefit all of us so of course a limited copyright span that balances the rights of *Authors* (not Corporations) vs. the public is the best. Here's to another study that didn't need to be done.

Amusing in the context of the paper (3, Funny)

TheP4st (1164315) | more than 3 years ago | (#28372321)

From the first page of the of the paper

This working paper is distributed for purposes of comment and discussion only. It may not be reproduced without permission of the copyright holder.

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