0488: "Steal This Comic"

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DragonHawk
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Re: Steal This Comic

Postby DragonHawk » Mon Oct 13, 2008 3:29 pm UTC

Magus2914 wrote:If you think that it's legal to burn iTunes music to CD just because it lets you, then you're saddly mistaken.

Um, wrong. That's fair use.
The US Congress wrote:"[T]he fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.

(US Code, Title 17, Chapter 12, Section 107)

Part of the problem with this whole shitstorm is that many of the people arguing about it don't even properly understand the issues involved.

fedexrico wrote:I live in Argentina. Down here, there is no such thing as "buying software" or "paying for music". It just doesn't happen. Enjoy your moral dilemmas, guys :D

So, if Argentina also had a high homicide rate, would that mean murder would be without moral issues?

For those poor at logic: Note that I'm not asserting that copyright infringement is equivalent to homicide. I'm objecting to the route by which the poster reaches his conclusion, by demonstrating that, if such logic applies, other conclusions follow which most people would object to. Note also that I am not asserting that Argentina does have a high murder rate; I'm saying "if".

EDIT: Add:

Sceptre wrote:iTunes isn't the best thing to criticise; the store wouldn't even exist if Steve Jobs refused to put DRM on the files (he was pretty much forced to put it on, and feels the same way we do about DRM).

Except the part about being willing to make massive amounts of money selling copy-restricted music. (Don't get me wrong, it may well be that iTunes helped the record industry accept network distribution of music, and that has accelerated society on a course where people recognize the problems with copy restrictions. But Jobs was still willing to do business with the media mafia to sell his product. He's not exactly campaigning for consumer rights.)
Last edited by DragonHawk on Mon Oct 13, 2008 3:45 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: "Steal This Comic" Discussion

Postby Guff » Mon Oct 13, 2008 3:38 pm UTC

Uh, I migrated my entire iTunes library, including purchased content, from my old PC to my new laptop. I had no problem accomplishing this, given that I simply authorized the laptop to play my purchased files. Oh well.

The only thing that bugs me here is that there's those of us who just want to do what they want with their media files, which would seem to be the majority, and those of us who want terabytes of content for free.

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Re: "Steal This Comic" Discussion

Postby Lathe » Mon Oct 13, 2008 3:46 pm UTC

Been already said, but I just buy the CDs and rip them for my music players. Lossless > Lossy

As for piracy, I've got conflicting views on this.

On one hand:
1. If a vendor is charging too much for a non-necessity, consumers can just choose to not buy.
2. A number of small and medium sized labels went bankrupt because of piracy.
3. Similarly, a number of small and medium sized music stores have gone out of business because of piracy. This includes Tower Records (was a chain) and MusicWerks (was a single Seattle store that specialized in obscure industrial music for many many years). My girlfriend lost her job of many years at Tower Records as a result of piracy.
4. Piracy is stealing.

On the other hand:
1. I can't return a CD to the store if it has only 1 good song and the others are worthless.
2. Most brick-and-mortar stores won't let you listen to any CD so you can choose before buying (MusicWerks was a great exception). I don't count that rack of 8 CDs in the listening rack at some stores since they are prechosen by the store, not me.
3. CDs had become overpriced (sometimes still are).

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Re: "Steal This Comic" Discussion

Postby DragonHawk » Mon Oct 13, 2008 3:52 pm UTC

Guff wrote:Uh, I migrated my entire iTunes library, including purchased content, from my old PC to my new laptop. I had no problem accomplishing this, given that I simply authorized the laptop to play my purchased files. Oh well.

The issue that concerns many is that there are many scenarios where that's not so easy. Some examples:

You cannot easily migrate your entire iTunes library on to a non-Apple device. If you want to buy a hot new in-car computerized entertainment system, it better have a slot for an iPod.

I've had to help people who lost their Apple account information. They were paying for my service. (I was working as a consultant at the time.) A great many people who use computers have no understanding of this stuff. Sure, ultimately, that's their own responsibility, but I still find it unsettling.

Should Apple ever phase out the iTunes DRM service, your library is effectively given a death sentence. Sure, that seems unlikely today, with Apple's current success, but any student of business history knows that many businesses thought to be immune to such things have done this sort of thing before. There are even topical examples; Wal-Mart and Microsoft have both discontinued DRM services in the past.

There are others.
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Re: "Steal This Comic" Discussion

Postby Kemp » Mon Oct 13, 2008 3:53 pm UTC

Lathe wrote:3. Similarly, a number of small and medium sized music stores have gone out of business because of piracy. This includes Tower Records (was a chain) and MusicWerks (was a single Seattle store that specialized in obscure industrial music for many many years). My girlfriend lost her job of many years at Tower Records as a result of piracy.


It's easy to say they went out of business due to piracy, but can you back that statement up? Remember, not all non-store-purchased-music is illegal. Maybe the people who went to those stores started purchasing the music legally from one of the services mentioned here, or maybe they bought actual CDs online rather than walking down to the store. Just because a store's profits drop, doesn't mean piracy is to blame.

For those who like arguments and missing the point of posts: I'm not saying piracy is definitely not the problem, I'm just saying it's easy to assume that it always is the problem.

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Re: "Steal This Comic" Discussion

Postby Lathe » Mon Oct 13, 2008 3:55 pm UTC

My biggest complaint about the new "download a song" sales model (DRM or not), is that it has mostly killed off the musical 'concept album'.

For those of you too young to remember what these were, a some musicians created entire albums that were tied into a central theme or even had a store with plot in it. Some examples include Pink Floyd's "The Wall", Queensryche's "Operation: Mindcrime", and Styx's "Kilroy Was Here". Like all music, some of these concepts were terrible (overworked, concept/plot became more important than the music itself, over-inflated sense of talent versus actual talent, etc) but others were fantastic. There are a couple of new albums floating around these days but now that consumers can just grab a couple songs out of an album and not have any idea that there was a larger context at work, few musicians bother to attempt this anymore.

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Re: "Steal This Comic" Discussion

Postby Lathe » Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:07 pm UTC

Kemp wrote:
Lathe wrote:3. Similarly, a number of small and medium sized music stores have gone out of business because of piracy. This includes Tower Records (was a chain) and MusicWerks (was a single Seattle store that specialized in obscure industrial music for many many years). My girlfriend lost her job of many years at Tower Records as a result of piracy.


It's easy to say they went out of business due to piracy, but can you back that statement up? Remember, not all non-store-purchased-music is illegal. Maybe the people who went to those stores started purchasing the music legally from one of the services mentioned here, or maybe they bought actual CDs online rather than walking down to the store. Just because a store's profits drop, doesn't mean piracy is to blame.

For those who like arguments and missing the point of posts: I'm not saying piracy is definitely not the problem, I'm just saying it's easy to assume that it always is the problem.


I was expecting this.

Yes, I can back this up. I knew the owner of Musicwerks. There were quite a lot of times that a small group of people came into the store, someone would mention they were interested in an album, a friend would say "I already own it and you can copy it from me", and they would walk out of the store. Lost sale, lost money, lost business. This happened often enough that as it increased, he saw his profits drop (i.e. correlation). Additionally, in the case of industrial music, the process of buying CDs online is a pain since there are few stores available that conglomerate the various labels together into a single sales experience. Instead, you have to buy the albums directly from the various labels themselves separately (which increases your shipping costs) and sometimes from overseas (which can delay the album by up to 4 weeks, if it is in stock). Also, the music that he specialized in is not always even available via online stores. If you don't buy the CD and you don't pirate the music, you don't have the song.

Thus, while the question "perhaps the customer bought their music legally elsewhere" is a valid question to ask, in this case I know that customers had a _huge_ barrier to do so and store owners literally watched a large number of potential sales walk out the door due to piracy.

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Re: "Steal This Comic" Discussion

Postby Inhibit » Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:14 pm UTC

Okay, now, what all the involved sales outlets want you to do isn't actually listed as an option. They'd like you to continually re-lease your music every few (ideally) months at an exorbitant rate. Which is what you get with DRM if you don't circumvent the mechanism and the files end up being worthless due to moving the data around or whatever.

So the system essentially works exactly like it's supposed to. Buy it as a ringtone, buy it on an album, get another copy in MP3 format. All the same music, but you're not supposed to be able to simply use your previous purchase on a new format or in a new way.

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Re: "Steal This Comic" Discussion

Postby GCM » Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:16 pm UTC

I don't buy music online. Hah! Suck it!

It's pretty sad to see how desperate they're gettig, though. Combined with the fact that they're too lazy to get it to work properly.

Essentially, the only fix to this if you want to support the artist and get the music to play anyway is to buy the music AND pirate it. Which raises the question: why would we want to do this stupid stupid thing?
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Re: Steal This Comic

Postby root » Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:23 pm UTC

DragonHawk wrote:
Magus2914 wrote:If you think that it's legal to burn iTunes music to CD just because it lets you, then you're saddly mistaken.

Um, wrong. That's fair use.


Kind of, it hasn't really been settled.

EEF.org wrote:4. What's been recognized as fair use?

Courts have previously found that a use was fair where the use of the copyrighted work was socially beneficial. In particular, U.S. courts have recognized the following fair uses: criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, research and parodies.

In addition, in 1984 the Supreme Court held that time-shifting (for example, private, non-commercial home taping of television programs with a VCR to permit later viewing) is fair use. (Sony Corporation of America v. Universal City Studios, 464 U.S. 417 (1984, S.C.)

Although the legal basis is not completely settled, many lawyers believe that the following (and many other uses) are also fair uses:

* Space-shifting or format-shifting - that is, taking content you own in one format and putting it into another format, for personal, non-commercial use. For instance, "ripping" an audio CD (that is, making an MP3-format version of an audio CD that you already own) is considered fair use by many lawyers, based on the 1984 Betamax decision and the 1999 Rio MP3 player decision (RIAA v. Diamond Multimedia, 180 F. 3d 1072, 1079, 9th Circ. 1999.)
* Making a personal back-up copy of content you own - for instance, burning a copy of an audio CD you own.
http://w2.eff.org/IP/eff_fair_use_faq.php

If you ask the RIAA, they give you a different answer
digitalproducer.com wrote:THE BETAMAX CASE AND ITS BEARING ON CD-BURNING

According to the Recording Industry Association of America, that compilation disc that you made for your shindig last weekend is a violation of the copyright owner's right of reproduction. And the RIAA makes no distinction whether the source of the music is digital or analog. The RIAA's position is based on the right of reproduction in Section 106 of the Copyright Act. However, Section 1008 of the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992, entitled "Prohibition on certain infringement actions," states, "No action may be brought under this title [The Copyright Act] alleging infringement of copyright based on the manufacture, importation, or distribution of a digital audio recording device, a digital audio recording medium, an analog recording device, or an analog recording medium, or based on the noncommercial use by a consumer of such a device or medium for making digital musical recordings or analog musical recordings."

http://www.digitalproducer.com/2001/09_sep/features/09_24/cdlaw3.htm

/edits for formatting and botched tags
Last edited by root on Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:35 pm UTC, edited 4 times in total.


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Re: "Steal This Comic" Discussion

Postby Aurora Firestorm » Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:46 pm UTC

I like iTunes, but then again I'm one of those people that listens to A) video game music, B) soundtracks, and C) modern rock stuff, usually whatever really popular song I happen to like at the time. I know that if my library were to be rendered useless, I have such well-known material that I'd have no trouble torrenting everything I own in a matter of a couple days. I'm more worried about my collections of old video game mixes that fell off the Internet when vgmix.com died twice than my bought-on-iTunes library. I don't care about the legality if I can't use my library; I bought the music, I own it, and now I get to have it, so I'll download it. I don't have another music player than my iPod, and I only have 2 computers, so computer authorization and Mac exclusivity don't bother me. I know they suck for a lot of people, but they don't suck for me, so I use it anyway.

However, I do have a beef with iTunes' total lack of letting you buy from foreign stores. I keep wondering why they can't make life easier for people who are hooked on anime and J-rock and open the foreign stores for people without credit cards in whatever country. I see a whole lot of Japanese music I'd really like to have, and I'm a fan of several European bands that once weren't on American iTunes, but then noooo. The only site that sells gift cards from iTunes that let you buy from other countries seems really sketchy, so I refuse to give them my billing info. Ugh. Until then, I download my J-rock. I'm not going to import CDs from all the way over there. It's just far too expensive, and legal digital music really needs to catch up with the global world.

I pirate all my video game/anime music. Yes, I've bought a lot of soundtracks, but then I came to a realization -- imports are expensive, and the video game/anime makers probably care 10x more about the DVD sales, TV show airings, or video game sales than the soundtracks. In fact, I can buy a PSone game legally and rip the music out of it with a shiny program. PS2 games are slowly being unlocked. Given that I'm not putting the ROM online, I think this is legal -- at least, I'm not giving away any of their property, and I'm not getting what I didn't pay for, which is legal enough for me.

Whether pirates are 'good' or 'bad' or whatever, one thing is true to me -- the music market and economy must adapt or die. Sure, they have to compete with free, no-strings-attached music, but then it just sucks to be them, because pirates don't care. It's like any other market. Sink or swim, because pirates aren't ever going away. They're too fast and sneaky for the cops to catch up.

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Re: Steal This Comic

Postby Mane » Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:48 pm UTC

Fyndir wrote:A shop pressing charges against someone for stealing is equivalent to a music company pressing charges against someone for stealing.

aka pirating.

if anything it does the opposite by driving people away from buying products.

Can you promising these companies who are producing this software, and these bands producing this music, that you'd buy the product if there was no DRM?

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Re: "Steal This Comic" Discussion

Postby rishab » Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:51 pm UTC

am i the first person to notice the reference to Jamie King's "Steal this Film"? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steal_This_Film

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Re: Steal This Comic

Postby Fyndir » Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:59 pm UTC

Mane wrote:aka pirating.


Point was that it's not equivalent to DRM, which was what the post I responded to seemed to be implying.

I maintain that DRM does not prevent piracy.

Mane wrote:Can you promising these companies who are producing this software, and these bands producing this music, that you'd buy the product if there was no DRM?


I can't promise anything, because I don't know what my financial status would be at the time, I don't know what price they would want to charge and I don't know what availability would be in my area.

However, assuming that I was financially stable enough that the price and availability wasn't an issue, yes I would pay for DRM free copies of games or music rather than pirate them.

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Re: "Steal This Comic" Discussion

Postby Kemp » Mon Oct 13, 2008 5:01 pm UTC

rishab wrote:am i the first person to notice the reference to Jamie King's "Steal this Film"? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steal_This_Film


Read the first couple of pages, you're the hundredth person to mention it I believe.

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Re: "Steal This Comic" Discussion

Postby just john » Mon Oct 13, 2008 5:04 pm UTC

And here, I assumed it referred to Abbie Hoffman's Steal This Book.
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Steal This Post!

Postby DragonHawk » Mon Oct 13, 2008 5:34 pm UTC

(Preamble: This posting, as a work of art fixed in a tangible medium (hard drive), is automatically protected by copyright law. I hereby declare that it may not be reproduced by others without my express advance permission.)

root wrote:If you ask the RIAA, they give you a different answer

The RIAA says a lot of things that are bullshit. I'm not looking to them for truth. Intimidation is one of their chief tactics. That, and lobbing to get the law changed the way they want it. And propaganda, of course. (I'll come in again.) The law and case law history are consistent in this direction, regardless of what the media mafia say or want.

What's more of a concern (to me, anyway) is that the copyright cartels are continuously lobbing to make things like "format shifting" and "time shifting" explicitly illegal. They've been at least moderately successful in the past in buying crafted legislation, so that, I think, is a justifiable fear.
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Re: "Steal This Comic" Discussion

Postby ZenKai » Mon Oct 13, 2008 5:41 pm UTC

For what it's worth...

I've been an Audible subscriber for several years now. When I download a new book, I load it up onto my iPhone, and then run it through SoundTaxi (http://www.soundtaxi.info/, or, perversely, http://thepiratebay.org/search/soundtaxi/0/99/300... yes, I am aware of the irony). SoundTaxi processes DRM-secured files at a rate of about 30:1 (they claim 50, but I've yet to see it) and converts them to the desired output format (64kbps MP3 in my case; it's spoken word). While I'm listening to my new title, my spare PC is heartily converting away. Upon completion, the new files get shunted to my 1TB backup drive for later consumption.

Understand, I'm vehemently against DRM. I think it's a travesty perpetrated on the consumer. But, since it remains some time before the will of the masses becomes reality and the idiot corporations figure it out, I refuse to forgo my preferred listening habits. I understand the "boycott" approach to getting the policy changed, but, after watching the decade of increasingly-irrational moves of the RIAA and the MPAA, I'm inclined to believe that it's unlikely to come about any time soon. As such, a compromise is needed. Since I can't find a source for non-DRM'd audiobooks short of torrents (in particular demonoid, who has an audiobook-specific search mode which I would never partake of... :roll:) I simply employ a workaround.

For those of you into streamed music, I can recommend ReplayAV (http://www.applian.com/replay-av/index.php). It captures the incoming audio stream, converts it to MP3, removes dupes, and will even ID3 it for you if it's common enough. Turn on Pandora or Live365, set RAV to grab-mode, and when you wake up the next day, you've got an iPod worth of music to enjoy, the lion's share of which is auto-named and categorized.

[Zk]

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Re: "Steal This Comic" Discussion

Postby ibutton77 » Mon Oct 13, 2008 5:53 pm UTC

I am a pirate. I pirate all of my music.
I always have since circa 1998 when I realized that Napster was a convenient way to do so.
Prior to my life as a pirate, I purchased about 16 CD's over a ten year period. This meant that I owned (or licenced rights to timeshift; IANAL) a grand total of 187 songs. 41 of those were singles. 71 of them are songs I ever wanted to listen to. 25 are songs I still listen to now.
This cost me a little bit more than $300usd, in 1992 dollars. That might be more like $450 in today's currency. IANAB.

Since then? Well I did buy "Strong Bad Sings" and a few tracks of Lemon Demon.. ~$28 and no DRM. Otherwise I have both downloaded and at times misplaced and lost hundreds of gigabytes of music over the years.

To those who advocate buying CD's, umm.. alright. I still have my original 16, the jewel cases are pretty badly busted up and they make a big messy pile in the upstairs room. I do not recommend that anybody pay $10-$20 for eleven songs on a shiny 6" circle. I humbly submit the virtue of downloading music at a good bitrate (my ears can't tell 44khz wav from 368kbps mp3 except for some extra high pitched noise on the wav) and subsequentally burning 5,000 or so songs onto a shiny 6" DVD-R if you like physical things. Or put them on a thumb drive or san disk, I have mp3 players that read from either one. I no longer own a Sony Discman, it broke.

So, I just wanted to say a little bit about me and introduce myself. I am the evil, nasty, law-breaking pirate that everyone here has been pissing and moaning about and burning in effigy. I would have said "I am A pirate", but I don't see any other ones proudly announcing their presence. Hence I deduce I'm the only pirate in the world. :P I am personally responsible for those CD stores that one guy was talking about going out of business. Hell, I might have even torched the places! I don't know, that night was kind of a blur. :D I never liked those places anyway, since they didn't sell music I ever would have listened too. Certainly not music I would have ever bled money for.

I'm actually the one that's responsible for the DRM, too. Can you believe it? :D Sorry about that, guys. I think the RIAA concluded that the only way to keep me from getting free copies of this music was to hobble absolutely every legitimate purchaser of music with DRM. They don't want you to have a DRM-free copy of Britney Spears, because then they tremble at the thought that I might get a copy too. I don't know if they miss the $300/decade I used to pump into the system, or if they are just livid about the hundreds of thousands of other songs I get now that I never would have paid for one way or the other.

I guess volume dictates that it must be the latter. Didn't someone earlier in this thread make it clear that Piracy is Stealing? I guess that would make more sense then. There are only so many copies of John Tesh's Monterey Nights that can ever possibly exist in the first place, so every time I download one it magically dissapears from a store shelf somewhere! And that poor store had to pay so much money to put that inventory on the shelf to begin with, now the owner is weeping. Oh noes! I misplaced my copy, now I have to pirate it again. This time a web page magically dissapeared from the Wal-mart music store! Who will put a stop to this bloodthirsty pirate, before he hordes all the music ever made?

I dunno. I mean, you could probably come to my house and beat me up or something. The whole "pirate" thing is more of an honorary title to begin with. All I know is that now if I have a song stuck in my head, I can queue it up on the stereo. I'm still poor, but now I don't have to choose between feeding my children and living in silence. If I hear some song that I like, I don't log on to a music store, enter a credit card number, CV2, billing address, telep.........zz....*erhh*, and eventually download a song I have to connect to the internet and give a thumbprint every time I want to play, and only on my desktop computer or approved device. Neither do I walk down to a CD store where everyone already hates me and throws Venti lattes at me to buy the song I want and 12 other songs I don't want for a cool Hamilton.

Nope, I just pop onto the P2P flavor of the year and type the name of the song or the artist. Wait a few seconds and click "download" on the best result. Sometimes I browse around and vacuum up other work by the same artist. Then I shed a silent tear for the kittens god has killed for the indescretion, and all the venti-throwing CD shops that just shut down, all the starving children in China because I didn't finish my supper, and then I rawk owt. :) Well, to be honest I only do that last part. As Lemon Demon would put it, I "dance like an idiot".

So, in short, sorry to have screwed things up for everyone else. I know I should be bankrolling the companies who seek to enslave both the listener to DRM and the artist to indentured concert bondage to pay off blank marketing checks, but I'm too weak to resist the siren temptation of simply downloading what I would like to hear.

Ibutton

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Re: "Steal This Comic" Discussion

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Mon Oct 13, 2008 6:02 pm UTC

just john wrote:And here, I assumed it referred to Abbie Hoffman's Steal This Book.

Can't be. People who know who he is don't read webcomics.

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Re: "Steal This Comic" Discussion

Postby omo » Mon Oct 13, 2008 6:10 pm UTC

I just want to share a TED talk from Lessig which pretty much points out that, yeah, we are criminalizing our future generation.

http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/larr ... ivity.html

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Re: "Steal This Comic" Discussion

Postby HPDDJ » Mon Oct 13, 2008 6:17 pm UTC

Some people don't have the money to buy CD's and mp3s, so we do what we have to do to listen to music! I don't think Dustin Kensrue minds that I downloaded Vheissu and robbed him of a dollar and some odd change.

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Re: "Steal This Comic" Discussion

Postby Nyerguds » Mon Oct 13, 2008 6:27 pm UTC

I only listen to game soundtracks... of games I own. Hah. Sure I download high quality versions of them but I already own em anyway.

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Re: "Steal This Comic" Discussion

Postby DragonHawk » Mon Oct 13, 2008 7:14 pm UTC

ZenKai wrote:I understand the "boycott" approach to getting the policy changed, but, after watching the decade of increasingly-irrational moves of the RIAA and the MPAA, I'm inclined to believe that it's unlikely to come about any time soon.

I hold some hope that trend -- that their actions seem increasingly panicked -- is a sign that they are getting desperate, and must soon change their ways or be swept aside by history. Not terribly likely, I'll admit, but it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside. :-)
ibutton77 wrote:I know I should be bankrolling the companies who seek to enslave both the listener to DRM and the artist to indentured concert bondage to pay off blank marketing checks ...

I believe the popular expression is, "Two wrongs don't make a right".
HPDDJ wrote:Some people don't have the money to buy CD's and mp3s, so we do what we have to do to listen to music!

Do without? I think that's generally what you're expected to do when you cannot afford something. Sorry if that disrupts your sense of entitlement.
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Re: "Steal This Comic" Discussion

Postby MeisBarry » Mon Oct 13, 2008 7:29 pm UTC

I don't own an iPod. I own another mp3 player. And one time a relative gave me itunes gift money. So here's how it went:

-Install itunes, since I don't use it because Mediamonkey is better
-Buy songs from itunes
-Can't play songs in any program, have to log back into itunes-store to 'authorize'
-get a dialog that states that I have authorized myself to use these songs in this computer, using the third of five total authorizations. (yeah, I guess purchasing a song counts as 2 authorizations?)
-Try to convert to .mp3 from crappy .m4p so I can actually use the file. iTunes refuses to convert from protected to unprotected format even though I own the music.
-Burn songs onto a CD via itunes.
-Rip said CD with WMP, without removing it from the drive.
-Bring songs back into itunes as .wma, convert to mp3
-Curse at iTunes, close it, put songs on my not-iPod

I hate itunes. And I hate DRM.

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Re: "Steal This Comic" Discussion

Postby AWA » Mon Oct 13, 2008 8:18 pm UTC

MeisBarry wrote:I don't own an iPod. I own another mp3 player. And one time a relative gave me itunes gift money. So here's how it went:

-Install itunes, since I don't use it because Mediamonkey is better
-Buy songs from itunes
-Can't play songs in any program, have to log back into itunes-store to 'authorize'
-get a dialog that states that I have authorized myself to use these songs in this computer, using the third of five total authorizations. (yeah, I guess purchasing a song counts as 2 authorizations?)
-Try to convert to .mp3 from crappy .m4p so I can actually use the file. iTunes refuses to convert from protected to unprotected format even though I own the music.
-Burn songs onto a CD via itunes.
-Rip said CD with WMP, without removing it from the drive.
-Bring songs back into itunes as .wma, convert to mp3
-Curse at iTunes, close it, put songs on my not-iPod

I hate itunes. And I hate DRM.


I am in your exact same situation. I own a Sandisk Sansa e220, and I continually curse Apple for their near-monopoly on aural goods, since since everyone thinks that "Oh me yarm every1 owns an ipod I guess I'll only p0st my stuffz on itunes" I can barely find anything anymore without having to go through pretty much that process.

In my community, "iPod" has become synonymous with "mp3 player". It infuriates me.
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Re: "Steal This Comic" Discussion

Postby jlnr » Mon Oct 13, 2008 8:24 pm UTC

MeisBarry, I guess this was before iTunes+? The comic came out today, when millions of DRM-free songs are available (and in your situation you would probably buy those from gift money). As others have stated, Apple doesn't really enjoy DRM either. iPod sales aren't in danger and it's just the same hassle for them to administer FairPlay as for you to use it.
At least you aren't really at risk of making your music unplayable if you accidentally authorize all five devices because you can reset those once a year; and if you burn music with iTunes and rip it just back, iTunes will actually ask if it should delete/replace the DRM'ed originals, probably assuming that you bought the original CD in the meantime and that people understand the concept of fair use. So the process can be streamlined quite a bit.
tl;dr, I think iTunes a very weird target for a comic like that in 2008 :?

Also, the barrier for artists to sell on iTunes and other stores by themselves is pretty low and mouth propaganda seems to be working just fine too, so can't we all just forget about the RIAA, please? :) I just kicked out the digg feed because watching proud pirates bash the RIAA got silly. Good to see that this thread is more interesting. Oh, hi! (1stpost)

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Re: Steal This Comic

Postby luketheduke » Mon Oct 13, 2008 8:31 pm UTC

DragonHawk wrote:
Magus2914 wrote:If you think that it's legal to burn iTunes music to CD just because it lets you, then you're saddly mistaken.

Um, wrong. That's fair use.
The US Congress wrote:"[T]he fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.

(US Code, Title 17, Chapter 12, Section 107)


So... which "use" includes a "private copy"? teaching, news reporting, scholarship, and research are counted out easily. criticism and comment remain. but I can't see where listening to music, or copying music for one's own use, or however you might want to formulate it, is a "purpose such as" any of what is included in the law . I am all for allowing private copies, don't get me wrong, but I can't see the law applicable. Of course the law is not exclusive; it states "the [...] use [...], including such use in reproduction [...], for purposes such as [...], is not an infringement of copyright." So it doesn't state that any use not covered is an infiringement. It still doesn't explicitly allow copying it; moreover, it doesn't say anything about copying at all, only about the USE of copied work. It does not comment on the lawfulness of the copy itself. Or does it?
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Re: "Steal This Comic" Discussion

Postby donaithnen » Mon Oct 13, 2008 8:31 pm UTC

I like Audible because it's the only place i know of where i can get a lot of decent SF/Fantasy audiobooks for about $10 each (with the membership.) I also like the fact that the .aa format can keep track of where you were in the file, even if you play something else and come back to it later. However i hate the DRM. It looks like a couple methods have been suggested for dealing with it already, but another one i like is dBpoweramp. Like most of the other methods you have to install an old version of the client and jump through another hoop or two (there should be exact instructions floating about if you google for them) but once you've done that converting your library is pretty easy.

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Re: Steal This Comic

Postby luketheduke » Mon Oct 13, 2008 8:31 pm UTC

DragonHawk wrote:
Magus2914 wrote:If you think that it's legal to burn iTunes music to CD just because it lets you, then you're saddly mistaken.

Um, wrong. That's fair use.
The US Congress wrote:"[T]he fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.

(US Code, Title 17, Chapter 12, Section 107)


So... which "use" includes a "private copy"? teaching, news reporting, scholarship, and research are counted out easily. criticism and comment remain. but I can't see where listening to music, or copying music for one's own use, or however you might want to formulate it, is a "purpose such as" any of what is included in the law . I am all for allowing private copies, don't get me wrong, but I can't see the law applicable. Of course the law is not exclusive; it states "the [...] use [...], including such use in reproduction [...], for purposes such as [...], is not an infringement of copyright." So it doesn't state that any use not covered is an infringement. It still doesn't explicitly allow copying it; moreover, it doesn't say anything about copying at all, only about the USE of copied work. It does not comment on the lawfulness of the copy itself. Or does it?

EDIT: wtf quote?
Last edited by luketheduke on Mon Oct 13, 2008 9:31 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
As long as I know how to love / I know I'll stay alive /
'cause I've got all my life to live / and I've got all my love to give / and I'll survive /
I will survive

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Re: Steal This Comic

Postby Sudo-Fu » Mon Oct 13, 2008 8:39 pm UTC

roc314 wrote:
Panama1984 wrote:I like how the name is reminiscent of the SOAD album
Their album name was based off of the book Steal this Book. I believe that was the original.


Which, in turn, was based on the Neanderthal Records release "Steal This Funny Shaped Rock Point Point Grunt Grunt".
Wait..... what??

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Re: "Steal This Comic" Discussion

Postby ZenKai » Mon Oct 13, 2008 9:17 pm UTC

DragonHawk wrote:I hold some hope that trend -- that their actions seem increasingly panicked -- is a sign that they are getting desperate, and must soon change their ways or be swept aside by history. Not terribly likely, I'll admit, but it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside. :-)

By and large, I concur. It seems inevitable that this will end in favor of the public (even if we have to resort to pitchforks and torches), mob rule though it may be. I just don't want to be one of the casualties before it is settled.

See, the reason iTunes is doing as well as it is is the fact that they provided a reasonable alternative to pirating. Many, many people have no problem paying 99 cents for a song, so rather than a convoluted deterrent, they've simply given users a viable purchase procedure at a reasonable price. Really, the only way that we can circumvent piracy is two things: 1. Accept the fact that some piracy will take place. No matter how reasonable things get, there are still those out there (HPDDJ) who will. 2. Offer digital goods (music, movies, software, etc.) a la carte for a reasonable price in an easy-to-use manner. DRM? No. You treat people like criminals and it's much less of a step to become one.

I myself am a software engineer. I know the sting of piracy and how it hits the pocketbook. By that same token though, I understand the why too. A great example is Microsoft Office. They release a new version every year or two, and it typically costs $199. When a new one comes out, corporations adopt it, and it becomes the new de facto standard (sorry Mac users; I know I'm generalizing here, but it's true). Now, I have the choice of dropping 2 bills every other year or going to Pirate Bay. Hmmm...

Now, were you to instead release a base version for a minimal amount (which they basically have: Wordpad), say 10-15 bucks, and then charge me for the components I wish to install WHEN I want to install them, I'd happily fork over the dough. I'm never, NEVER going to use "Mail Merge". "Word art?" Forget about it. Clipart? Nope. Access? Hell no.

See, here's the problem: you charge 200 bucks because of the dev time that went in to all these features I don't use. Can I not pay you for the bits I don't want? Nuh-uh. I'd happily pay $15 for the base app. I realize, "oh, hey, I need to make a graph in Excel!" Another 5 bucks. "Whoops, I need macro support in PowerPoint!" 10 more. People would have much less of a problem shelling out a few dollars here and there for the pieces they want when they want them (see AppStore). Charge me $700 (I'm looking at YOU Adobe) for a program you re-release every year that I need to keep current with to do my job and you've just dramatically upped the chances of piracy.

I understand the value of my work as a programmer, and I STILL defend the pirates! No, I don't want everyone getting my labor for free. What does this tell me? That I'd rather sell my app at 20 bucks and have 9 out of 10 people buy it than sell it at 150 and have 9 out of 10 pirate it. Every app on the market can be released in "plugin" format. Shit, GIVE AWAY the base version and let people pay you for the added functionality WHEN NEEDED. Those "5 here 10 there" chunks add up.

DragonHawk wrote:
HPDDJ wrote:Some people don't have the money to buy CD's and mp3s, so we do what we have to do to listen to music!

Do without? I think that's generally what you're expected to do when you cannot afford something. Sorry if that disrupts your sense of entitlement.

DragonHawk: Well put.

HPDDJ: That's easily the dumbest argument I've ever heard. It's people like you that set back the rest of us. If you can't afford gas, YOU DON'T DRIVE, idiot. The discussion here is about the ineffectiveness of the DRM standard and how normal, law-abiding people are penalized for the lawbreakers actions, despite the fact that the lawbreakers get away with it anyway, and scott-free for the most part to boot.

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Re: Steal This Comic

Postby '; DROP DATABASE;-- » Mon Oct 13, 2008 9:28 pm UTC

I've had the exact same problem with Office. An important document was given to me in Word 2003 format. Let's see, do I shell out a couple hundred for a program I'm going to use one component of once to read the document, or do I open The Pirate Bay? Hmmmm. (This was before I knew about OpenOffice, which doesn't always import MS Office documents correctly anyway.)

To the people who don't mind DRM because it's easy to circumvent: you're missing the point. The providers don't know you circumvented it, so by (as far as they know) accepting it and putting up with it, you're telling them it's OK, you don't mind DRM. When everyone does that, they get the impression that DRM is not a big deal, and people are willing to put up with it. Then they make it harder to circumvent, to stop those pirates who are distributing the decrypted copies, and next time you download a song you find there's no way around the DRM this time. Besides, you shouldn't have to spend time and effort finding the workaround and using it (some take hours) to use something you bought. And with DMCA, as the comic states, either way makes you a criminal.

Also, I forgot the third problem with digital downloads:
Your search for "hamasaki" found no results.
NOBODY HAS THE MUSIC I WANT. >8^( Meanwhile I can buy the CDs from cdjapan.co.jp (without having to know any Japanese), and they always have every last one. Another win for CDs.
(Also, many of these stores don't serve Canada for some dumb reason.)
If iTunes Plus offers DRM-free lossless music in Canada, then I'll look into it, but last time I had the chance, I searched it for my favourite Japanese bands, and sure enough no results.

Lure+Breaker wrote:A lot of you quoted me... so piracy time!

Get yourself some VLC. Or MPlayer, if you live in the console, like I do.

The problem is not the player, but my computer. It's not good enough.
Go go gadget Community Combined Codec Pack!

I have! It's awesome!

I know you're trying to help, but the solution to this is spending money. (Or convert from mkv -> avi, which takes ages >_<)
Unless you're using that craptastic Windows Media Player. On my old computer, I found it was too slow to play MKVs, but VLC had no trouble with it.

Sprocket wrote:Yeah...you can't loose a cd..until they decide to stop making CD players in lieu of digital music take over.
That's why I 1) rip them to FLAC as soon as I get them (also far more convenient), and 2) have many spare CD-ROM drives and CD players. It'll be a while after they stop making CD players that CDs become useless to me.

ibutton77: YES!
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Re: "Steal This Comic" Discussion

Postby BuggyBY » Mon Oct 13, 2008 9:31 pm UTC

I wept with joy when I saw the note about the amazon.com mp3 store. Then I saw this tiny footnote upon attempting to check out several albums there:
(Amazon MP3 Purchases are limited to U.S. customers.)

Boo hiss.

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Re: Steal This Comic

Postby DragonHawk » Mon Oct 13, 2008 9:36 pm UTC

luketheduke wrote:It still doesn't explicitly allow copying it; moreover, it doesn't say anything about copying at all, only about the USE of copied work. It does not comment on the lawfulness of the copy itself. Or does it?

Title 17 Chapter 12 is entirely about copyright, which is basically about who has the legal right to make copies of something. The act of making the copy is the "use" which the law is concerned with. (Inanimate objects don't break the law; people do.)

As far as the Fair Use provision (Section 107) not explicitly mentioning personal copies for format shifting: You are correct, so far as that goes. I believe this is the "not completely settled" which forum user "root" was referring to. Subsequent case law (the so-called "Betamax" and "Rio" decisions) establishes that private, personal, non-commercial use of that sort is within the scope of Fair Use. The court practically never overturns such major decisions, so it would take explicit legislation to outlaw.

(For those who are unaware, the MPAA originally tried to argue that VCRs were illegal, since people could use them to record copyrighted television broadcasts. See Sony v. Universal. Ironically, home video release went on to make more money for MPAA members than broadcasting did. But they fought against it.)

Generally, the copyright cartels continue trying to paint "format shifting" and "time shifting" as illegal anyway. They recognize that what people perceive the situation to be matters as much as the situation itself. Thus, if they convince people that Fair Use doesn't apply (even when it does), they get what they want. Every time they have tried to force the issue, they have actually ended up loosing ground. If they press too hard, it is entirely possible they will end up with legislation opposing their desires. So if they're really smart (questionable), they'll try to avoid pressing the matter further. They save such for big events, like the Rio (iPod predecessor), where they try to establish their ownership of the market from day one.
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Re: "Steal This Comic" Discussion

Postby royalfire » Mon Oct 13, 2008 9:41 pm UTC

Lathe wrote:My biggest complaint about the new "download a song" sales model (DRM or not), is that it has mostly killed off the musical 'concept album'.

For those of you too young to remember what these were, a some musicians created entire albums that were tied into a central theme or even had a store with plot in it. Some examples include Pink Floyd's "The Wall", Queensryche's "Operation: Mindcrime", and Styx's "Kilroy Was Here". Like all music, some of these concepts were terrible (overworked, concept/plot became more important than the music itself, over-inflated sense of talent versus actual talent, etc) but others were fantastic. There are a couple of new albums floating around these days but now that consumers can just grab a couple songs out of an album and not have any idea that there was a larger context at work, few musicians bother to attempt this anymore.


Radiohead did it. Anyone else can do the same thing. Why is this a problem?

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Re: "Steal This Comic" Discussion

Postby tricky77puzzle » Mon Oct 13, 2008 9:45 pm UTC

This is the reason blogs like Trto want to exist.

A typical response (Obviously not a real one here) from a anti-piracy fanatic might be:

An antipiracy fanatic, in response to this comic, wrote:This is an example of what happens when advocacy for piracy is let loose. People start posting propaganda about it, and people just spread it around because they believe it. Grow up, people. By making comments against DRM, you're blatantly supporting the piracy movement. Even doing this stuff apologetically (e.g. "Pirate in the first place. You're going to end up there anyway") is very sneaky; it's like saying "Drive drunk, you'll do it by accident and get killed anyway." If you're going to drink, then don't drive. Same with this. If you're going to pirate music, then don't get it at all.


I imagine copyright-junkie corporations will say, "Finally, someone who makes a bit of sense", even if the analogy sucks like crap.

And yet, I really disagree with myself on this point. People will always believe that piracy is wrong, but no one can actually do anything about it. Even if it does make you a criminal, people are criminals for various other things too. You can't stop it, just do your best and pray that people will know better. I know that as soon as I turn 18 and have a steady source of income, I'll only "pirate" the tracks of music that I can't buy because I max out my budget for it. And even then, I'll cover up. XD

It's a noble cause to stop piracy, but the way people are doing it is stupid.

DragonHawk wrote:
HPDDJ wrote:Some people don't have the money to buy CD's and mp3s, so we do what we have to do to listen to music!


Do without? I think that's generally what you're expected to do when you cannot afford something. Sorry if that disrupts your sense of entitlement.


The problem is, no one can really "do without" music. Although it's technically possible, what about other things, like basic human rights? Can you "do without" food? (Obviously the two aren't directly comparable, but hey, remember that music is immaterial.)

You can "do without" CD's, obviously. I never use them except when I buy some program that I want to install. But music itself...you get my point.

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Re: "Steal This Comic" Discussion

Postby Hybrid » Mon Oct 13, 2008 9:52 pm UTC

I'd really like to see the flowchart in this comic on a shirt. That'd be awesome. ; )

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Re: "Steal This Comic" Discussion

Postby failed assertion » Mon Oct 13, 2008 9:57 pm UTC

Amazon makes it really easy to find and buy used music, movies, and books. Half does too, as do some independent record stores.

Used CDs are legal, usually cheaper than album downloads, lossless, DRM-free*, and don't increase the label's revenue. As if that weren't enough, you also get to feel morally superior to your pirating friends.

*most of the time


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