Sunday, September 26, 2010

"Free" music!

So I understand what intellectual theft is, and I have to say that I am not in favour of it. If someone has created something and I choose to use that something, then I should pay the creator in some way for the right to use that something. What I am thinking about here are things like movies, books and especially music. Anybody who is interested in this sort of thing will remember back a decade or two when the hard-rock band, Metallica, went after the music sharing web-site, Napster. Napster, as so many of us will remember, was the first peer-to-peer music file sharing site where one could share one's music with a million+ of one's closest friends, for "free". Of course "free" means that the artist who created the music doesn't get paid for their work and the members of Metallica thought this was wrong (really it is kind of hard to fault them for feeling this way). Of course then came the Internet freedomistas who claimed that the Internet was a whole new paradigm and that everything on it should be free. How very hippy-dippy. Peace, love and gimme, gimme, gimme.

One thing (of many) I thought was kind of funny about the whole music file-sharing situation was that it seems that the most active file sharers were University students. You would think that someone bright enough to make it into University would be bright enough to understand that file-sharing isn't "sharing", it is "theft". So, with their university educations, they all plan to work for free? Many university students seem to expect musicians to give their music, their work, for free so why would the students expect to be paid for working? That would be hypocritical, wouldn't it? Wouldn't it?

Now, having said all that, I have been buying music for a lot of years. I think I bought my first LP in 1972 or so. Every job I had when I was young, a lot of what I earned went towards music before anything else. I still have most of those LPs I bought, and the 45s, and no real way to listen to any of it. The needle on my turntable is pretty worn and it would cost a lot to replace the needle and cartridge, and a worn needle is not good for the records. One day I may buy a new one, but until that time what is a boy to do?

In my humble opinion, when I bought all that music I also bought the right to listen to all that music. When the recording industry went to compact discs and companies stopped making turntables (and needles) listening to the music I had spent so much money on became problematic. And here comes the file sharing. If I choose to listen to Lady Jane by the Rolling Stones (which I have on two different LPs) or Leper Messiah by Metallica (which I have on one LP) why should I have to pay to buy either of these songs on a CD or as a MP3? I already bought the songs, and the right to listen to them whenever I choose. Why shouldn't I download them from a file sharing site? For something new I don't mind buying a CD or a MP3 (I like I-Tunes) but why should I be expected to put out more money for something I bought thirty years ago?

I understand that at best this is a slippery defense, but I believe it is a valid one. The record companies and the artists got their money from me. Why would they want to gouge me twice for the same piece of music (and please don't get me started on when record companies release "best of" compilations with two or three new songs added, or when they re-release a classic album with new music included - No, I will not be buying the new and improved Exile On Mainstreet by the Rolling Stones with ten "new" songs added. What a crock!) I am sure there are those who would say I am "ripping off the artists" and to those people I would suggest that they tug their heads out of their asses. I have already paid for the music so how, exactly, am I ripping off the artists? Also, if I pay for the same piece of music more than once, isn't that me being ripped off, and that's alright, is it?

I know I won't be seeing eye to eye with any record companies any time soon but that fine. I don't see eye to eye with mosquitoes either. Let's just carry on as things stand and I am sure that it will all come out in the wash. Okay? Okay!

Anyway... Humouroceros


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