In case you haven’t heard the latest news, here is what happened today in the land of Oz.
Now, I know i’ve said in the past that i’m actually against movie and TV show piracy, however this little win today in the High Court could not have been better.
Yes yes, it seems that the High Court of Australia has basically ruled that the ISPs are not responsible nor should be held accountable for the actions of their users. Furthermore, the boss of iiNet Michael Malone said, in a nutshell, that the movie industry should be focussing on making things available in a timely and cost-effective matter. Which is, funnily enough, one of the big arguments for piracy. Cost.
Now, I do want to make a very interesting point here, and it is that they SMH article makes the point that downloading, or pirating movies etc is illegal. WRONG.
It’s so annoying when people get this wrong, it makes my blood boil with the rage of thinking about it. It’s not illegal to download something from the internet. Not at all, not in the slightest. It’s illegal to UPLOAD copyrighted material from the interwebs, but not to just straight download the material. Yes, it’s also illegal to host said material, but you’re doing neither. You’re just taking what’s freely available.
Let me put it this way. Someone comes to you with a free pen. you take the free pen. What have you done wrong? Nothing at all. You took a pen that was offered to you, for free, by someone else. As it turns out, the pen belongs to Sony Music, and they come knocking wanting payment for their pen, which has the engraving ‘I Disappear’ on the side.
But legally, they aren’t entitled to it. You were given the pen by someone else. You have the contract with them, not with Sony. THAT person has the contract with Sony, and has therefore stolen the pen. See where i’m coming from guys?
Anywho. The point is, that this landmark case in the High Court is one that should be celebrated for it’s potential application as precedent for music as well. Remember guys, it’s not illegal to download music, only to share it! And as always, if you really like the artist, then do the right thing and support them the correct way - buy merch, go to gigs, try and buy their albums or their DVDs or whatever direct from them. Perhaps if the Hollywood giants did this it’d feel more correct too?
"Following the MegaUpload shutdown and indictments lat week, FileSonic, one of the Internet’s most popular file-sharing services, has disabled its sharing functionality."
So. Filesonic is now gone as well. Does anyone else have a massive problem with this? I mean, the US ‘Authorities’ have shut down a website that allows people to share files. Why? Because the record companies told them to.
Let’s have a look at this situation:
This whole big fright-fest has come about because the record companies were losing money. Because they don’t make enough already - the record companies were too slow to act upon the ways of the internet, got their heads kicked in by apple, and now are pissed off that anything other than iTunes will never ever be as popular and thusly will be inferior and less money-making.
Let’s go back a few years. And by a few I mean quite a few. Somewhere between 1999 and 2001 a guy by the same of Sean Parker, and two related people’s Shawn and John Fanning created a little program called Napster. It was a P2P client that allowed people to share files. When someone finally decided ‘wait a minute. Screw burning CD’s, i’ll just give my music to people over the internet, via Napster’ the collective community of music companies shat their pants. Why? Because the fucknuggets in the band ‘Metallica’ said so.
Yup, when a demo fo their song ‘I Disappear’ found it’s way onto the internet, and the radio stations all around the country started playing said Demo, the band started to notice. So, instead of taking this as free advertising, you know, for an upcoming album the band took it to heart and sued the living shit out of Napster. Then Dr. Dre decided to have a go as well, and finally the whole company came crashing down after A&M Records sued the ever loving pants off Napster, shutting the entire service down, even bankrupting them in 2002.
Now, just backing up a little bit, I mentioned that ever-shitty-band Metallica and, if you’ve ever wondered why i hate them so much here it is: they put the entire web back at least two years. How do you figure this, I hear you ponder. Well it looks a little something like this: Napster was shut down in July of 2001, and the iTunes store was brought to the public in April of 2003. ok, so It’s a little under two years but at this point I don’t really care.
First and foremost, the band was getting completely free advertising from radio stations all across the continent. They were playing this demo that found it’s way out onto the internet (how exactly it got out of the studio though it appears we will never know) for an upcoming film soundtrack (Mission Impossible 2) that hadn’t been released either. Now, maybe i’m looking at this through rose-coloured glasses but surely, if the band was getting free promo and the film was as well, why wouldn’t you seize the opportunity and roll with it?! Oh wait. this is why.
There are no words.
Lars “I’m going to make the world a better place by stopping illegal file sharing because I can’t afford my gold-plated pool” Ulrich. Not only one of the world’s most arrogant and shithouse drummers that has ever existed  but also the… little boy who became the vocal opponent of Napster in the wake of finding out about this file-sharing. All because he wasn’t receiving royalties. Because his house wasn’t big enough already:
"The drummer, best known as the co-founder of the heavy metal band "Metallica", lives here. The 7-bed, 6-bath, 9,753 sq ft home was built in 1988, according to public records."
So, he had enough money at some point of his career to purchase a 9,753 Square Foot home, or for those of you living in metric countries like myself, that’s nine-hundred-and-six Metres fucking squared. Nine-hundred-and-six. 7 Bedrooms. 6 Fucking Bathrooms. I mean seriously, unless you have an entire village living in there I can’t see the point in that.
And yet he attacked Napster. Because hey, buying a house like that totally isn’t anywhere near having enough money, right?
(I should comment here that I have no problems with people having or making money. Just when you have that much, does it matter if there’s a kink in your endless hose of money supply?)
So Napster goes down. Then torrenting becomes the next big thing. BitTorrent, Inc, releases it’s first version in July 2001. Great timing, huh? well a few years later, along comes this website that tracks all of the torrents on the internet available for people to use - It was called The Pirate Bay. Now, for those of you who don’t understand how this all works, a Torrent works in the following way.
Person Number 1 has a file. Let’s call it ‘I Disappear’ for ironic reasons. So, PErson number 2 wants it. He loads up a torrent file into his torrent program (uTorrent, BitTorrent etc etc) and starts downloading it directly from the person in question. So, by law, Person number 1 has been sharing the file and thusly committing a crime that our friend above helped bring into effect over the internet. However, let’s say that another person, Person 3 also wants said file. He starts downloading it as well however it’s not just coming from person 1 any more, it’s now alos downloading parts from person 1 and 2 to speed up delivery time. Now, this grows and grows and you end up with a million people sharing the one file.
Because they are all uploading it, this makes it ‘illegal’. Thusly torrents are now a hot-spot for cyber crime prevention police blah blah blah blah. So, in 2010, The Pirate Bay was shut down. Well, sort of.
Because of the very nature of the servers and such (and the fact that they also have servers running in Russia and Belgium, not just the home country of Sweden) they are quite hard to shut down. In fact, they’ve grown from 2.5 million seeders (the people that share the information) to over 25 million, since the government raids in 2006 on the offices.
So Torrenting is still around, and yes it’s still popular but it’s watched these days. So, along comes a new way to host and download files - started in 2005 by a swiss company - and it’s called RapidShare. The whole idea of this site? One-Click-Hosting. What this means is that people upload something to the website and other people download it. There’s no torrents, no P2P programs - just a straight download from a website’s servers like your web browser or that latest update from Microsoft/Apple.
So, again seeing the opportunities here, people started sharing music. But, as bandwidths grew, so too did file sizes, and file types. Movies started to be shared, TV shows, books, games and even entire operating systems. So, what happened? Well, this shit hit the fan of course. Oh, and look who pops their head up again.
In 2007, a German Court hearing GEMA vs Rapidshare hands down the verdict that wins an injunction against Rapidshare, which made rapidshare start to check all of the uploads to make sure that there were no re-uploads of copyrighted material. Now, in the USA, this was sufficient, but the Germans, oh no! Not good enough. So they now have to check every single upload to make sure it’s not illegal. And, in 2009, this resulted in RapidShare handing over the details including names and other personal details of users who uploaded copyrighted material. This was in response to - yup you guessed it - a leak (a copy available before official release) of Metallica’s Death Magnetic.
So, what happened then? Well a month later RapidShare realised the error of their ways, putting a post up on their website stating that they would not be checking files anymore. Unless you give out the download link. In which case, god help you. Ok, Iadded that last buit on but you’re getting the picture here, right? Again, the Record companies have stopped a great thing, all thanks to Lars Fucknut and his mand of merry E-Minor wielding, Pentatonic Playing, cry-baby over-users that call themselves a ‘metal’ band.
In 2010, there was a small win with a german court ruling that RapidShare was usually used for legal cases, and that to think this was assuming a a “general suspicion against shared hosting services and their users which is not justified.” Winning, right?
The Anti-Piracy caucus in the USA is still under the idea that the site is “overwhelmingly used for the distribution of illegal movies and music, and other copyrighted works” despite this German court ruling. I mean the USA whooped them in a world war, so why would they listen to them? Maybe because they aren’t economically fucked like you, America.
Following Rapidshare of course, are a million and one other ‘File-Locker’ websites, including MegaUpload and FileSonic. Which as of today, have been shut down - either voluntarily or not, and as a result the world has been split down the middle again, with the record companies and their allies on one side, and everyone else on the other. And by allies, I mean sympathisers as well.
So, what’s wrong with this you’re asking me. I mean all I’ve done above is outline people stopping copyright distribution, right? Correct. But now let me tell you why it’s so wrong. I should note here as well, that this is primarily focussing on the music industry, so if you disagree because you’re an aspiring director of films i don’t want to hear you whines about it because i’d probably agree with you.
Long gone are the days of records. When the Little River Band broke in the USA in the late 70’s, on the day of release of their first album they shipped and sold over one million albums. Metallica’s black album has to date, sold over 15,000,000 copies in the USA ALONE. Michaels Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ is at the top of the list with over 110 million copies sold. That’s all well and good for the times they were released, but that shit just doesn’t happen these days.
Accompanied by all of the album sales and such were high recording costs as well. Record companies do not give artists money they LOAN them the cash they ‘need’ to make an album. Which by the way, the majors (EMI, Sony, Universal and Warner) have complete and utter control over. It usually goes a little something like this:
Sony Rep: “Oh hey there band we are interested in signing. We really love your song ‘I Disappear’ and we are going to sign you to us!”
Band: “Oh that’s awesome” *Signs away*
Sony Rep (After devouring a few more souls): “Ok, we are going to loan you $300,000 to make this album.”
Band: “But we did our EP on $15,000.”
Sony Rep: “Oh yeah, but you’re going to be in a $5,000 a day studio this time around, for three months. Oh, and we are going to get Mr. Gilziwalkeemajorawesome from Japan over to produce. He’s only $65,000.”
Band: "So you’re going to give us this money, right?"
Sony Rep: "What? God no! You’re going to have to pay us back!"
Band: "But We haven’t made anything yet."
Sony Rep: “Oh don’t worry about that. We just take it out of your royalties.”
Headquaters of evil.
Now, that is where the conversation would have stopped, if it was pre-2006/7. But no. Now the record companies in light of losing money because people are downloading music instead of paying exorbitant prices for albums of people who are only here five minutes and then gone, the conversation now ends like this:
Sony Rep: “And some of your tour earnings as well.”
Band: "Like… Merch?"
Sony Rep: “Yup. All of it.”
This is called a 360 deal and i’m Certain its the spawn of satan and ulrich themselves. So, what we have is companies putting people into debts they could never pay back on the back of a promise that sounds far too good to be true. And not only that, but they are now taking money off people in places that were always theirs to have. It’d be kinda like the tax department showing up and taking cash out of your wallet - just because they’d implemented a new law that allows them to do so and if you want to keep out of jail you’d better do it dammit. Sounds familiar to how the whole global financial crisis started, doesn’t it?
The music industry can no longer sustain any of this sort of… horse shit. The music industry now has to move with the times - which these companies are not doing. But you know who are? The indie bands running amok. And no I don’t mean hipster music, I mean indie - not signed. How do they make money? By selling Merch. I’d much rather go to a gig of a band, after downloading their entire discography, and spend $120 on a ticket and $80 on merch. Why? Because I know that the band will see at least half of that. If they have 1000 people that go to a show, thats $100,000 assuming everyone does it before costs. Much better living if you ask me.
So where does all this leave us? It leaves us with the only thing we have. Our voices. And anonymous who are doing some fantastic hit-backs at companies because of shutting down these file locker websites. At the end of the day, if you believe in music and believe what these people are doing is wrong, then find a way to help. Go sign a petition or something, join a forum and have a rant. Because at the end of the day, the music industry will not be the same again. There will be a new way to share media, for free, whether it’s illegal or legal I don’t really give a shit - I really would like to see the record companies collapse and for things to go back to bands doing their things individually again.
Let’s face it - there will never be another U2, Michael Jackson, The Beatles or Metallica etc etc. People will never get this big ever again, and when they finally wrap it up where will it leave the over-spending and over producing and under-qualified knob-jockeys? On a beach, earning 20% probably. Getting richer off the misfortunes of small bands used to prop the big bands including metallica up.
Hell, why don’t we all just go back to burning CDs, and sending them across the world? I’d like to see them clamp down on that.