Theft helps the economy! – What?

“No. 1: They actually argue that illegal peer-to-peer file-sharing traffic helps the economy and doesn’t hurt songwriters.”

“They” refers to four groups pushing legislation to eliminate copyright controls and lessen or eliminate punishments for copyright infringement. 
They are:  the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Public Knowledge, the Consumer Electronics Assn. and the Computer and Communications Industry Assn., according to NMPA president/CEO David Israelite. In a keynote address he recently gave to the National Assn. of Music Publishers’ annual meeting on June 16.

Well, who are “they” anyway?
Electronic Frontier Foundation: “EFF is the leading civil liberties group defending your rights in the digital world.” 

* defending my rights? My right to compensation for my work is one I like very much, however, these guys are defending the “rights” of people to steal and freely share it.

Public Knowledge: “Public Knowledge is a Washington DC based public interest group working to defend your rights in the emerging digital culture.”

Consumer Electronics Association: “CEA Government and Legal Affairs, the legislative voice for consumer electronics, is committed to advising, lobbying and reporting on federal, state and international CE policy on behalf of our members and industry. ”

Computer and Communications Industry Assn., CCIA: “CCIA is an international nonprofit membership organization dedicated to innovation and enhancing society’s access to information and communications. CCIA promotes open markets, open systems, open networks and full, fair and open competition in the computer, telecommunications and Internet industries.”

Mr. Israelite refers to these four organizations as “the new enemy” in the protection of intellectual property.  They took out a full-page ad in newspapers around Washington D.C. which read, “Content industry piracy claims are bogus”.
Bogus. Bogus? They claim no one in the industry has been hurt by content sharing. They claim that open sharing of intellectual property actually “helps the economy.”
I claim that because of file sharing on a massive scale, which began with Napster and has moved on to many, many more similar programs, there is no more “industry” for fledgling artists to grow into. There is no money for the recording artist from album sales. Maybe an artist can tour constantly and support themselves that way for a while, but they’ll never make a living selling their music to music listeners.
And that is the Great Tragedy of open sharing.  

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone proudly proclaim, “I never pay for music!”.  Yet that person has three iPods and a home computer loaded to the gills with music of every stripe, color, and genre.  Why should artists continue to hone their craft, labor over their art, pay out of their own pockets for recording and production if the listening audience is “just going to download it”? 

It makes me furious. It makes me sad. It kills the desire of the artist to create, as there is no financial support for them to continue their art, and what we will be left with is an Artless Society. 

And that, my friends, is the Greatest Tragedy.  


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