The 'It's STILL not alright’ debate continues

In light of the recent blog debate started by the UK artist Lily Allen and then being taken down. I have decided to take up the helm here and reinstate the debate to continue.
It is STILL not ok for someone to illegally share and freely distribute an artist song file without the artist OR label agreeing to do so. illegal file sharing is no different to dubious recording company practices reportedly ripping off an artist.

I have added a rule to the debate

Those who agree/disagree please write your views on this blog freely
Those who don’t agree/disagree simply make a point rather than abuse this blog insulting anyone who might just agree/disagree with the management of artist and industry media assets online.

I (and wider UK creative industries) CANNOT sit by and dumbly support non-consented wholesale theft and viral distribution, sharing or diffusion of created goods for FREE by unauthorised individuals with no vested interest in an artistic career ever developing long-term. The UK creative industries cannot allow unauthorised leaks or P2P file sharing without prior consent.

For those struggling with this view I give TWO simple analogies on this renewed blog debate:

1. High Street Banks do not allow unapproved credit or spending on accounts and then sit by watching the individual then claim more rights than the bank itself for not previously providing those funds. Their accounts would simply be instantly shut down for smaller sums than 1,000 -10,000 stolen files of value. I hear no one complaining about that issue at all...except on bank charges! (fines for unauthorised take)

2. I should also be able to determine the ‘FREE’ right to take the keys to your house or car and I will share it with others for an undetermined amount of time at your OWN cost. Surely that’s ok, as well?

I hope the anti-file sharing debate now continues and appeals to those who like me and many, many good people on the previous Lily Allen blog might have another realistic valuable view against digital management, theft and illegal and non consented online distribution and sharing.

The BIG POINT HERE is NOT 'Sharing', it is the point about the importance for ANY artist and label deciding when OR if a song file can or cannot be shared and distributed and not 'careless' illegal file sharing and distribution without consent and taking valuble earnings away from the artist before they can tour, especially impacting on the new breed of DIY artists.

The ‘STILL not alright’ debate continues below with the opening post.


Saturday, 31 October 2009

illegal unauthorised file sharing IS ALWAYS OK

Explain why you think illegal unathorised file sharing IS ALWAYS OK, without the Artist/label firstly deciding any song/album file should be given away to the public.


  1. Ooh the reasons why it should always be okay: You don't have anything taken away. You can still share your music. Information and music can be free. I bought that music, so it now also is my music. =)

  2. errr...well if its not been allowed should not be shared until the artist or label states so IMHO

  3. The fact is that it's illegal to copy copyrighted material without the permission of the rights holder. Nobody is disagreeing with that, because it's the law.

    The problem is that unlike robbing banks or stealing cars, violating copyright is trivially easy to the extent that it's almost impossible not to do it - as Lily Allen proved with her mixtapes.

    So, as Jan implies, what is the use of all this legislation and debate about the rights of artists and publishers when the legal mechanisms designed to stop copying digital (or even non-digital) works are plainly innefective? Moreover, what if enforcing these mechanisms (by, say, cutting you off from the net) does more harm than good? How far do we want to take enforcement?

    So the question is what should be done about it, not whether it's OK to do it or not.

  4. Its another question in the debate for sure...We can look at a better format for the user and one that can be licensed, we can remove mp3 as a tag or format entirely, we can replace players read/play quality, its endless what could be done to help control the rot out there, with so much bad audio its almost a must at this stage.
    At that point every fan who had a legit file can replace for free with new files/format..if you dont have legit files then you are probably stuffed. An 'auto audio audit' if you like, That would help the REAL music fan out there, the one's who had bought material and merchandise...freely previous files.
    It would also negate the pirate market, as limited legit resources would be allowed to do file upgrade/exchange directly, and if done proerly and directly via fan networks, it helps artist interact again with their REAL fans.

    It would not STOP the pirate market but it would be hard and very SLOW for them to replace all stolen catalogues with the new format, if its done the right way. The pirate could not simply upgrade current awful 64-128kbps files to a new format tag, if encoded the right way for any enhanced new formats.

  5. Hm. You know that so far at least, the average survival rate of all attempts to lock down digital content in the way you describe has been measured in hours. The reasons why DRM has not worked, will not work, and cannot work are both rooted in the laws of cryptography, and probably the laws of economics.

    Oh, and most people it seems don't give a rat's arse about sound quality either, nor canthey tell much difference between 64kbps and 512.

  6. Well informed APOLOGIES BUT....most of the industry does INDEED care about artists QUALITY of material and so do the I doubt your views will be upheld too much despite thinkng so..sorry.

    No One wishes to put their name towards inferior audio for ANY artist they work with.

    Thats why most great records have producers elected or selected by the PAYING artist(es)

    The REAL music fans do REALLY care about having Metallica/Iron Maiden releases at high res and do care about the beatles releasing formats that well as heaps of other artists in ALL genres.
    (Just look at the queues outside any record shop the day of release).

    REAL fans ARE NOT just interested in having free CHEAP COPY formats that give a VERY small glimpse or even smaller 'rats arse' window to the real thing carefully performed to perfection by the artist in its full image.

    Cheap 'Pirate' copy does not help the artist climb the charts..ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD! NOR make a presence IN ANY RELEVANT CHART as the REAL FANS WISH TO DO (SIMPLY BECAUSE ITS JUST USELESS CHEAP COPY when you dealing with bands of this calibre and their dedicated REAl AND respectful fan bases.)

    I dont see people queuing up ANYWHERE for utter 'PRIMARK' audio files TO DATE because its way too embarrassing to do so...

    Actually i dont see anyone offering Primark audio files in shops the market cannot be as good as you think.



  7. Interesting views you have, I must say.

  8. Observation of repetitive facts rather than views...
    It's a little bit like pirates/smugglers selling damp tobacco or badly stored wines at 100% profit...awful stuff...eventually people clock they are MUCH better off buying the real deal long term.
    REAL fans of good wines understand that immediately
    REAL fans of good music also do the same very quickly. the Artist is important to them, That's why they pay ticket prices to go and see a chosen artist live at a gig..they care as fans and wish to be there....REALLY there and not virtually there with bad bootleg versions of the gig.

    It's the REAL experience that counts not the copy.
    Otherwise the bootleg Beatles (as good as they can be)would claim to be bigger than The Beatles. Sorry not ever. NEVER.
    The REal deal is the REAl deal and pirate copy is a massive deal less than the REAL DEAL to the informed music fans out there.

  9. Mark, it's disappointing to see you think that the quality of music files out there is poor. 64-128Kbps may have been the norm 10 years ago, but nowadays higher quality files are available both from legitimate and illegitimate sources. These range from well-encoded 192-320Kbps MP3/AAC to better-than-CD sounding Vinyl to 24-bit FLAC/ALAC encoded files. Legitimate digital distribution always seems to lag behind the activities of those sharing illegally; look how long it took iTunes to roll out 256Kbps AAC to the entire iTunes Music Store.

    It's also disappointing to read that you think a new digital music format would improve things. If you introduce a DRM-only download format with potential for quality degradation or expiration, no-one would use it. If enforced somehow by legislation, all that would happen is that the existing DRM-less download formats - of which there are many - and playback mechanisms will be driven underground.

    If you look at history, you can see that every DRM system, without exception, has been broken eventually. If you create yet another, you face not only having to go through another round of consumer acceptance, cf LPs, CD, DAT, DCC, MiniDisc, Betamax, VHS, S-VHS, D-VHS, VideoCD, SA-CD, DVD, HD-DVD, Blu Ray, MP3, AAC, WMA ... there's only so many times we can be whipped about by the entertainment industry over which format we can, should, or must use. I think the eruption and widescale consumer acceptance of the sharing of infringing files is simply yet another symptom of the industry's refusal to embrace and extend in-line with the wishes of consumers. And it's the consumers who, in the end game, will make or break the entertainment industry: without us, it's gone.

  10. I was simply stating the illegal files are generally very low quality and have been for some time, even those that have rescaled back up to higher kbps formats have used bad although people think they are getting those file values, as stated online, they are in actual fact still downloading mono versions in some cases, or worse still, revised versions from already bad sources. That's simply a bad deal for the artist - free or not.

    I do not doubt the spec of the legitimate market has gone had to at some stage!

    Consumers are people whom purchase goods generally speaking, and once they can know they are buying the right file at the right price they will be happier people as music fans.
    A Pirate or file sharer who repeatedly consumes stolen files is not something I'm too interested in. They are not too bothered about what utter rubbish audio formats they 'collect' either NOR distribute.

    Also see FLAC which is very high res (see link tab)

    The industry does indeed need to get its ship in shape as well, rather than penalise the music fan with another round of formats/DRM.

    The point I made there was to clear the backlog of unathorised files with superceded authorised file formats, rather than go for an enforced higher price format online.
    Many people out there would like to do that and have an exceptional library not a compromised library. The artist would prefer the fans listen to the REAL DEAL as well...which is a major part of the problem.

  11. Mark, you're still misinformed as to the quality of music files out there. On the whole, pirates and file sharers *do* care, and are bothered by the quality of the music which they obtain. The attention to detail maintained by sites such as oink was proof positive of that. Perhaps the more casual infringer won't be as bothered (or will indeed notice) that they've gotten a 96Kbps MP3, but I suspect there are less of those than you'd think.

    Also, I do wish you wouldn't use words like "stolen" when talking about copyright infringement, it's misleading and simply leads to the whole matter getting blown out of proportion. Nothing is being stolen. To steal is to take someone's property without intention of returning it. Nothing is being taken, nothing is lost. By illegally making a duplicate copy, what is happening is copyright infringement, pure and simple.

  12. Having spoken to people on both sides of the copyright reform debate over a number of years, I have to say that this issue of sound quality in pirated music is the first I've encountered. I'm not sure what to make of it to be honest. I'm tempted to say it's irrelevant, but I'm trying to undertand the argument. Why is this an issue at all? I mean, would artists also complain if their CDs were allowed to be scratched or played on cheap hi-fi? Then there's also the issue of "real fans" being portrayed as those people who appreciate sound quality. I would have thought those people would be the tiny, anorak-wearing minority, surely?

    I'm really scratching my head on that one.

  13. Not so thankfully!!!...if that was the case surely these people you talk of would be VERY happy seeing cover bands each and every day...the main point is if you have fans pay for goods they should be the correct goods delivered...having or endorsing illegal sites to deliver those goods is a VERY BAD deal for the fans.Simple.
    If people want a pair of Levi jeans they don't want a screwed, twisted 'copy' pair of Levi jeans do they?.If they did, Levi Strauss would go out of business. All looking good to me, quality control-wise.

  14. So, how soon until we find out that you are a massive hypocrite, 3-time 3rd-strike illegal criminal copyright infringing pirate who should be instantly kicked off the internet, afraid of criticism, and unable to formulate a logical argument?

    After all, you are following Lily's example.

  15. Never. Simply not ever personally interested in NOT supporting the artist legally online.
    Rather order the CD than download via iTunes account, its takes minutes to sort out, and I prefer to go to recommended and managed legal sites, to help the chart position of the band with bonafide retail product.Otherwise my sale is a wasted purchase.

    Why buy an iPod and then fill it with garbage???
    Why buy a nice car and then fill it with vinegar???
    Those who wish to pay, do so I guess, and those who do not, should subscribe to alternative legal sites.

    The fact people keep arguing here presently, is clear evidence the argument is formulated and logical.
    Otherwise everyone here is making no sense at all. I beg to differ.Lots of clear points made.

  16. You ask "Why buy a nice car and fill it with vinegar?" (love that analogy by the way) as if nobody would do it.

    But you can't have it both ways: if people *do* care about music sound quality, then by your car analogy they would never download pirated music that offends their ears. If they don't, well, that's why this blog is here, isn't it?

    The reality is that for 99% of people, a 128K MP3 file is perfectly good enough to listen to.

  17. gilgongo, I'd even go so far as to say that for kids who regularly roam the streets with music blaring from their tinny little mobile phone speakers, a 64Kbps MP3 or AAC file is ample for their quality needs - they simply won't want or need anything of a higher definition, as they'll concentrate on file size. Smaller = better, as they can cram more tunes onto their phone's onboard storage.

    I'd also argue that low quality audio would put people *off* illegal music sharing, as downloading just a few tracks and finding out they're either poorly encoded or encoded at a low bitrate would certainly put me off the experience :)

  18. Well some people just dont realise what they are missing out on listening wise do they?, that needs to be quality controlled and educated.
    Theseindividuals would be better buying a DAB radio or account on the phone(and Im not a big fan of DAB) rather than expose themselves to high volume and accute 'crunched/ripped' bad frequencies which can do more damage than good.
    Some files are so bad, they have been repeatedly copied, downscaled/upscaled kbps they really do pain your eardrums to listen to them at a higher 'room' volume, something that does not occur with orginal vinyl/CD's etc.

    I have also come across OR been exposed to a variety of DJ's/digital installed jukeboxes in pubs/clubs for instance with badly ripped song collections..or via a laptop or streaming background music.
    Unbearable to those aware of bad examples, as are badly managed/illegal iPOd files plugged into a good Hi-Fi.
    Its anyones guess as to what generation copy an illegal file copy is(10x or 20x?)By that stage it would be useless to own.
    People would be better streaming via nominal subscriptions, at least they might then have an accurate reference point of info for each artist they expose others too, if they are happy with that standard via phone sets presently.

  19. The fact is that music is easy to share. I could download a track from beemp3 at a far better res than the same track on itunes, and I'm afraid that for remastered songs that's a fact.

    So why can't artists focus their energies on non-duplicatable merchandise? The music is their promo, but nothing can replace seeing that performer live, or wearing their t-shirt, or even meeting them face to face. It just seems to me that if da Vinci came back to life and became angry over people looking at pictures of the Mona Lisa on the net, his lifetime of incredibly diverse achievements would be sullied.

    These people are artists, and many of them sing about the changing and evolving world. Maybe consumer selection would lead to a tougher more versatile brand of artist coming to centre stage. I don't think the Beatles would have been remotely fased by file sharing.
    The fact is: the internet has changed the world. Either we hang onto the old system with our fingernails and spit in the face of change, or we USE the technology to help us find a new way of celebrating artistry and brilliance.
    I know I would be happy to pay to go to a concert where the performer was gaining most of the profit, not the record company she was signed too. And I could listen to her free songs on the way there, safe in the knowledge that she was about to earn every penny I spent on the ticket.