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My question here is this when i buy the CD in a shop, what am i buying? the plastic disk? or the right to listen to the music?
If it is the disk i should be able to copy & distribute it at will
If it is the right to listen to the music if the disc becomes damaged or lost i souuld be able to get another disc at a minimal cost to maintain my right to listen to it

I think you will find that i am not "allowed" to do either of the above.

thats why i priate lots of stuff, if that makes me bad so be it

Dave H

"But obviously there has to be a limit. After I published my first best-selling book, The Dilbert Principle, within days it had been illegally scanned and was widely available on the Internet for free. Technically speaking, it wasn’t theft. But I still lost something. I (and my publisher) lost the ability to decide if, when, and how to publish as an e-book. You can’t compete with “free and immediate.""

Heres the kicker no longer will people wait months or even years for the release of there desired media into there country as and when some "suit" deams the market to be right "we want it and we want it now" if the suits wont release it asap then we will get it anyway and the revenue lost is your own fault.

Its a global market if companys cant organise global releases of media then on your heads be it for not understanding the new world order.

Power to the people


Your right, piracy isn’t theft; no one is losing anything physical. As for creators losing out on their profits, well I’m afraid they’re just a victim of progress, if they were any good any way you think they’re going to stop creating?

Cinemas and independent movie houses were prime examples of an industry subverted by new technology. When you have a TV in your living room why pay to see the news in a flea pit with 200 of your closest friends?

The same thing will happen to music and probably to a lesser extent film. In a world where any band can record an album at a local studio and release if for practically free on the internet for everybody why do we need record labels? Surely free music is the best thing in the world.

Your right, they won’t make profits in the same way that they used to, but any band worth anything can make money touring and playing live shows, that’s all some smaller bands ever make money off. Any one every head of [spunge]? To be honest I don’t really want to listen to a band that are in it for the money or need to spend thousands of pounds/dollars an hour in a studio to sound good.

Movies are always going to cost more to make than music, but should they really have budgets in excess of $100 million? Does Tom Hanks really need to get $20 million for his next movie? Something is only worth what people will pay for and if people stop paying for the movies maybe you’ll get a chance to break away from an Amercian-centic big budget kind of film making and get something produced for a 100th of the cost that’s free to down load so long as you look at a few adverts while you do it.

Same goes for your cartoons Scott. Don’t get me wrong I’m a massive fan, I love what you do, but aren’t you just thrilled that people are reading your stuff at all? As for making a living, how much do you get paid on the lecture circuit?

The world is changing and free music and movies and even cartoons make it a better place. I’m afraid some people are going to have to see their pay checks at the end of the month cut dramatically to do it, but if your only in it for the money why not just go be a stoke broker like ever one else who wants to get rich quick.

Sorry if this came off as a bit personal, I really do love your stuff and I bought all your books legit.


"wait, isn't this blog written by the same guy who said who got rich off drawing snoopy with less talent?

Posted by: Bradley Gardner | April 10, 2007 at 11:46 AM"



I agree copywrite violation is wrong, I think the publishing companies (Music books whatever) need to realise that they have an amazing opportunity with the internet.

They expect with the internet to release songs for download at near cd prices. thus making a huge prfoit, good for shareholders etc.

Unfortunately there is music available for download for free.

Most people would rather pay a few pence, 10p (British) per song would be more than enough to cover all recording costs hosting costs etc and make a little profit on the side. Especaily as more people would pay 10p per track to download something. It means they will be getting something highquality and virus free, something thats hit and miss with p2p.

Unfortunately the recording companies get greedy, they want to make more than a little.

In another fantastic blunder by the recording industry they introduced 'DRM' meaning people couldnt copy cds to their mp3 playeer, limited what could be done with the song and some hotshot came up with the idea of a song that expires after a month. Why the f*ck would anyone put up with that when they can jsut get a drm free one for download, sure it may have a virus but it wont f*ck you over as much as drm.

Recently a record label (Sony) released CDs with a DRM system that installed itself on your computer, stopped you from copying cds from sony and sent the details over the internet, what it also did was completely open your computer up to hackers,malicious coders and farmers of 'zombie PC's and if you tried to remove it you then lost the ability to use your computers cd/dvd drive. The only way to fix this is to re install windows all over again.

Publishing companies have to realise they have lost a huge amount of control over the market. Technology is getting cheaper, creation and publication is cheaper and yet they still want to make the same ridiculous profits they always have.


I started with stealing this year.

Before, I used to be only single person I knew about that was buying all that music stuff and spend hundreds of $ in my local store (and was laught by mates).

I stopeed with it this January, because of new law in my country. According to it, even trying to break copy protection of audio cd is considered as crime. As all CDs have copyright protection, You can't rip Your CD to Your iPod (yeah, You have to break protection to do this). And as most of music I hear is not available in online mp3 stores (not mentioning that they sell only microsoft-drm-protected wma's and thus not playable on my Linux nor iPod), until this law is applies, I'm not giving any more $ to those bastards for their overpriced songs (CD is as expensive as full DVD). I'm going to steal it like anyone else - without spending any money.

Hey, all artists I like, please put PayPal donation button on Your webpage. I'll support You and we can put those RIAA-like guys out.

John Bradshaw

Yes it is stealing, do I have a problem doing it is a very different question though.


Piracy is stealing. Yeah.

Is stealing wrong?

Certainly not from the thief point of view.

*SOME* piracy ends up doing good... kids whose parents wouldn't feed with books/games/movies/whatever, get to grow into art loving people.

Problem is, most of them forget to pay back their beloved authors once they get their first paychecks.

It's lame and everythig... it's the free stuff addiction.

Maybe some day there will be antipiracy pills... till that day, arrrr! :P


I break the law and am morally bankrupt - to some degree. I download a little, I speed a little, I've been known to use profane language in public. I know when I break the law and I weigh up the risks and rewards. I rarely give a thought to the rights of others in these matters, after all, it's about me.



If someone writes a Star Trek story and posts it online as fanfiction, claims no credit for creating the characters and accurately credits Gene Roddenberry for creating them, and does not profit, I do not see that as stealing.

However, if someone were to write a Star Trek story and get it professionally published and claim it as theirs *without* official permission from Paramount, that would be stealing and Paramount would have every right to sue their moronic @ss.


First off, Copyright Violations are certainly not Theft. Different definitions. A useless statement, of course.

In any case, deviance and crime are defined by the social reactions to them. Both what is defined as deviance and the way people react to deviance depend on social circumstances. Crime is a special case of deviance and is defined by social norms that are formalized in criminal law. Deviance is defined through a political process that typically involves struggles between competing groups over status, resources, knowledge, and power. With that sociological blurb out of the way...

Theft is of course 'wrong' by our social norms. Yet Robin Hood's actions would be considered 'right'. So theft, by our social norms, is not always wrong. If the peasants gained enough political power (hah!) to challenge the aristocrats, then theft - in the sense of what Robin Hood did - would not be a crime.

The situation with IP is similar. Social norms labeled copyright violations as a deviance. This deviance was formalized in criminal law. As time progressed, with the proliferation of the VCR and CD Burners, the law was weakened (for example, private recordings of TV shows, played out to a hobby club) and the social reactions have since lessened as well. As time progresses, it seems inevitable that certain intellectual properties will have to adapt, or the violation of their rights will no longer be considered deviant.

To a certain extent, they have done so - rather than high priced games in boxes, for example, they are starting to release games online for lower fees. The new model for selling MP3s is another way the system was forced to adapt to changing societal norms. By providing a legitimate response to the change, the criminal law was not repelled through sociological forces.

So do I have an opinion on the matter? Not really. Just some thoughts as I study for a Sociology final.

Listo Entertainment

I think I agree.

Yet I cannot feel guilty after illegally dowloading some music. I've inspected my soul carefully, but I can't find serious guilt for this.

Bradley Gardner

wait, isn't this blog written by the same guy who said who got rich off drawing snoopy with less talent?

Bradley Gardner

Back in the 1920's musicians used to go into the country, find old folk songs, record them and copyright them (most notoriously the Carter family did this), it wasn't theft it was simple copy right laws.

I used to be a folk and blues DJ, and its interesting that because copy-right laws are so convoluted I can't make a podcast of music that is nearing 100 years old because it is impossible to tell who the copyright holder is. I think it is rather important to have a fairly extensively available public domain, so there can be something honesty referred to as "common culture" in America. I don't particularly understand why literature (project Gutenberg) and software (Linux) should have more transparent copyright laws then music and film, but I'm fairly certain it would solve a lot of problems by clarifying those laws.

(for clarity's sake I should note that the copyright law on music and film states that the copyright is renewed with every new pressing of to product. Therefore a 78 that is 80 years old is out of copyright, whereas a CD that is made from a 78 that is 80 years old is in copyright, a movie is out of copyright until it is transformed into a DVD, and then the DVD is in copyright, therefore unless you are a collector or old movie reels and 78s, or there is some benevolent corporation that is releasing its old movies on the internet (which some American movie archives are currently doing with their more trashy movies), then it is impossible to make use of those products)


I like to consider copyrights as a very valid thing that shouldn't be pushed aside. Being that I have a graphic website with which I provide free graphics and layouts, the only thing that I ask is for people to keep the small link or copyright I have put somewhere on it. Is that wrong? It's the only way I can benifit from investing time and money into making this stuff in the first place, unless you count the personal satisfaction that someone else likes it as benifiting more. Which it doesn't. Yes, it's nice..But it doesn't give credit to the work I put in, nor does it give others a chance to use it themselves.

Now yes, I'm aware it can be a pain to see a copyright on your website. But if you like the work enough to use it, should you not want to advertise where you got it too?

I'm aware you're talking more about people who 'do' give credit where credit is due, but I see more of a problem with the other aspect from my view of the situation. Regardless, though..If someone was to redistribute my work on their own, it would be rather hurtful. It's a kind of violation to the artist. Which is why I agree with your underwear anology. Good one, actually.

It can be so hard on the internet to keep this stuff from happening, though. It's sad.


Here's a more apt analogy for those who thinkg copyright infringement is no big deal: you discover a magic spell that will make you an exact copy of any car in the world. You release the spell on the internet, so now anyone in the world can have any car they want to for free. Then you acuse the car manufacturers of the world of being greedy for wanting people to *gasp* PAY for the cars they spent money and effort on to produce.

stuart - velkairiwyth

Heres one that confuses me:

My copy of Windows XP is just that - a copy. A mate got a generic copy and CD key and gave it to me when I built up my computer when I was at university.

This is blatantly against the rules.

But: I have already bought and paid for a genuine copy of windows XP many years ago when I got my last PC - but lost the CD prior to this PC build. I refuse point blank to go out and pay twice for XP, when I had already done so.

Where does this Lie I ask myself? Just, or 100% fraud. Then I realise, I dont have enough money to care either way :p

I am in a newcomer band however, and I can understand the anit-piracy laws and feelings however, and I would frown on someone getting free copies - but if their original had broken and someone offered them an illigitimate replacement, I would be fine with it...


No cognitive dissonance for me, thank you...
I don't think "good people don't break laws", and I don't really care about laws at all. Whether I do something or not depends on what I think and not on what some law says. I, like most people, don't know ANY laws (or their exact wording and meaning) AT ALL, and still I don't go around stealing and killing other people...
I probably break copyright laws less than most other inetrnet users (I like to buy my CDs, books and movies because I like to own and have them in their original form) but most of my software is pirated because I don't really need it and I couldn't be bothered going out and buying it. Priorities you see...
And yes, I understand authors who are pissed about the situation...


Here's a relevant article on piracy:



"Copyright violation" by definition is breaking a law. There wouldn't be a phrase if you took "violation" away. What I want you to do is explain in 25 words or less what a copyright is and what the exceptions or permited uses of copyrighted material are.

Education is the key. The organization or person(s) who put your book out on the net should be keelhauled but the economic reality is that it would cost you more than you could ever get from these maligners so you let it go. It is all about economics isn't it?

PS I always felt guilty about my undergrad days spent "xeroxing" (note to self: am I breaking a trademark here?) the facinating article contained in "Foreign Affairs" or some such other learned journal. Later, to be used in a bibliography and footnotes for some long forgotten term paper. So have did I violate a copyright or not. Remember I'm counting on the 25 words or less version.


No sympathy from me. I get stolen from daily.

The poor wield their voting power to use the police powers of government (i.e., guns) to tax me at higher rates on both my income and property to pay for their needs. I can do nothing about it since they have the voting power and can vote themselves a raise from my pocketbook whenever their representatives come up for reelection.

Paul Murphy

[You might have missed a few classes in economics. -- Scott]

I would hazard I know rather more than you about the subject, in fact.
Why don't you bone up on the subject a bit - here's a good site:

One a Month catch up reader

So its stealing. Try and stop me. I promise, you will fail.


Here's something that is slightly amusing.

Let's say I thought of a semi-brilliant solution to an age-old physics, mathematics, medical or philosophical problem. This solution is not one which will earn anyone much money, if anything, it isn't anything patentable (you need a product or process for a patent), but I thought of it and I would like to protect the central idea so that in the future people get to know that I thought of it.

Do you know that I can't protect my idea? The right to protect my intellectual property goes only so far as to protect the words I use to describe my idea.

So, for instance, if I find a non product-based solution to stomache ulcers (and no fancy process), I get nothing (okay, the Nobel Prize for medicine is worth a couple of million, that would be nice).

On the other hand, if I write a little ditty (with a repetitive chorus and musical backing which is pretty much the same as everything else available at the time, to maximise popularity), and convince a scantilly clad nymph to mime it (a proper singer can do the actual vocals), I could get myself a few thousand dollars.

Heck, I could even make myself a millionaire with a few splashes of paint, as long as I could force myself to bullshit the art world about how these splashes represent the essential dichotomy whereby an inherently peaceful western world deals violently with an apparently implacable enemy, and those splashes are the reactions created in the apparently implaccable enemy by the defensive violence of the west.

Or, if I were sufficiently coordinated, I could throw a ball through a hoop for a few million dollars a year.

Or, if I were semi attractive, and could put up with makeup, I could do films and earn a fortune (acting ability not required, Schwartzenegger and Keanu Reeves as exhibits 1 and 2).

So, if I entertain some people, I can get a lot of money, if I actually do something useful, forget about it.

Fortunately, I realised this long ago and took a career path into a less useful area, management, so I get more money than the average joe. It still stings a little that people who are even less useful than me earn such hideous amounts of money.

BTW, I do have an idea which is potentially semi-brilliant, but it needs no protection as most of those who are capable of understanding it are busy praying at the altar of string theory. Anyone is welcome to look at it, download it, email it to others, put it to music and sing it on YouTube, whatever they like - http:\\



Mark Cohen

There is such a thing as the creative commons, and if people want to consume media which the creator has chosen to make available for free consumption there are plenty. There are even cartoonists (dare I say it? ;) who publish cartoons under a creative commons license. It's simple really, if you dont want to pay for it find a free alternative. If you cross the explicit wishes of the creator, you are doing something wrong. Only the anonymity of the internet allows it to happen without the shame of a face-to-face.

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