Is Duplication Stealing?

This started out a comment response to Jax’s blog who basically blogged her agreement with this blog post that is attempting to make a case against copying music.  The original analogy in the post against copying music talks about a distributor who doesn’t lock up at night and has their product stolen with the aid of various other companies that charge for services such as maps, roads, or whatever else.  This analogy doesn’t stand up because the distributor doesn’t loose any product.

An artist’s official online Youtube channel, Hulu, Netflix, band website, or whatever is distributing data so it can be reproduced and displayed by your computer, X-Box, Wii, TiVo, etc. Taking a step back to talk about physical media doesn’t really change the story since music is data.  Copying data comes standard issue on every computer since forever because that’s what computers do.  Fact of the matter: Making something easily accessible means making it easy to produce.  You can’t have your cake and eat it too.  I have the same feelings for entertainers and artists that I do for any producer of a easily replicated product that everyone likes enough to copy but not enough to wait for innovations or pay for it.

I made another analogy of my own and I got it to a point that it was pretty solid.  But it was also overly elaborate.  It contained nanobots that could keep pastries fresh forever as long as people didn’t swallow which lead to people copying every kind of food including raw meat products.  In the end butchers and food artisans get the shaft since the copy machine replicated structure.  The bakers and other innovators aren’t as hard hit because they their product can adapt as time goes along

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4 thoughts on “Is Duplication Stealing?

  1. We pay for data all the time. We pay for software, far more money than we pay for music which we may use just as much. If we paid musicians a stipend like we pay programmers and other people who produce simply data then it’d be a different situation. If we treated all data like we treat music programmers would be working for free and hoping to make up their money in sales. But with everyone pirating, how would they make money? It’s one thing to do it as a hobby, but full time wouldn’t be feasible. And the quality of software would drop.

    Why do we insist on getting the most valuable things in life – things that make us feel – and paying nothing in return? It’s so completely backwards it’s laughable. Or sad.

  2. I don’t pirate nearly as much as I have in the past because that kind of thing is sniffed for… but if anything I’m buying less than I have in the past because I’m sampling less product and, therefore, liking less of what I see. When I purchase a product I’m paying the developers, I’m not buying the product. I don’t remember the last time I downloaded or bought music to just listen too. The last playlist I made was on Youtube where artists freely post their stuff.

    The nature of the digital medium works against any finished product be it data, music, ebook, or whatever else because once a commodity is easy to come by isn’t worth bartering for whether we like it or not. Inflation is inflation regardless of if we’re talking about data or currency. It sucks for full time artists, but that’s the reality they face. They may have to go the way of the gunfighter.

    1. By that argument we will devolve into another dark age without quality art. I’m not saying the only way to support artists is with money, but in our society it requires money to live at some point. Thankfully the world is slowly changing and will eventually do away with money all together. Just like Star Trek. 😉

  3. The supplies for making and distributing art are more accessible than ever and production of art is happening like never before. That’s why these artists are so butt-hurt… it turns out that the ones who “made it” aren’t able to make it much further than everyone else saturating the market for nothing.

    You’re right though, this is going to happen with motion capture, animation, printing of 3D plastics, and many other industries. When it happens to energy it’s all over. Printing houses, desalination of water, flight, space, and many other things will just be a matter of innovation, distribution, then making it for cheap as dirt.

    I don’t know if currency will go away but it will definitely have a different meaning from what we know.

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