'Piracy': Why the Cure's Robert Smith doesn't get it

In what some have called a stubborn refusal to recognise that business models must adapt with the times, Robert Smith of the Cure has repeated a common refrain--one we are well used to hearing from the likes of the RIAA, among others--that we must "think of the artist".

Responding to online criticisms of an earlier blog post he made, Smith has let it be know that he thinks that "IT SEEMS A FEW PROFESSIONAL APOLOGISTS (YOU HAVE TO LOVE THEM!) OUT THERE DISAGREE WITH MY 'EVERY ARTIST SHOULD VALUE THEIR ART' MUSING AND THINK ITS OK FOR ART - MUSIC IN PARTICULAR - TO BE MADE AVAILABLE FREE FOR ALL...". He then goes on to berate Radiohead's pay-what-you-want In Rainbows marketing ploy (though he does not seem to have heard of Trent Reznor's cleverer successes with free/pay business models). He is, in short, very angry at the current state of things.

But the so-called "PROFESSIONAL APOLOGISTS" do have a point. But what is that point, and why is Robert Smith wrong?

To answer, we must go back to basics. Downloading copyrighted music without explicit permission is illegal. It is called "copyright infringement" (this goes for films, books, and the like as well). If you do it, you are "infringing" the copyright of someone else. It is not technically (in a legal sense) "piracy", however. It is "infringement".

While that is true, let us see what common usage, as highlighted by the Oxford English Dictionary, has to say. "Piracy" here is "[t]he practice or crime of robbery and depredation on the sea or navigable rivers, etc., or by descent from the sea upon the coast, by persons not holding a commission from an established civilized state; ... a single act or crime of this kind." In other words, it is what we find happening these days off the coast of Somalia.

A figurative extension of the idea that also appears in the OED, however, states that "piracy" is "[t]he appropriation and reproduction of an invention or work of another for one's own profit, without authority; infringement of the rights conferred by a patent or copyright." The earliest appearance of this use of "piracy" dates back to 1771, according to the OED. (Wikipedia gives this figurative usage an even earlier date, noting that "Daniel Defoe in 1703... said of his novel True-born Englishman: 'Its being Printed again and again, by Pyrates'.")

But what is being "pirated" or, in legal terms, "infringed"? What is, to put it in Smith's emphatic capitals, "ART"?

Now those are good questions. "Art" is something we seem to think we know when we see it, but giving it a precise definition is rather harder to do. We could turn again to the OED: "art" is "[t]he application of skill to subjects of taste, as poetry, music, dancing, the drama, oratory, literary composition, and the like...."

Well, okay, but is "art" valuable? Well, that is a question of individual taste.

A "fetishist" may pay for surreptitious photos of an anonymous old woman's vericose-veined legs tensing underneath her desk at the head of a classroom or for a picture of a bloody corpse being cast into a makeshift mass grave in Nicaragua or Bosnia (did something fall off just there--oooh!). Hey, if that is your thing!

A "connoisseur" may pay for a stirring recording of Handel's Messiah in an accoustically favourable setting ("God loves us, yes!") or the cleavingly satisfying digital trickery of The Return of the King (what just happened to that orc amidst the moving score provided by Howard Shore?! "Nice one, Gimli! One point!").

What, weird that? I'm sure an artist will get it, especially an established one like Robert Smith.

But why do the punters pay? This is the crux of the matter, in legal terms (which seem to be all that matters).

People pay when they can't get what they want any other way. Money represents a sacrifice. Why sacrifice when you don't have to? Indeed, and this is at the heart of the matter, as everyone except for Robert Smith and the RIAA seem to know. Copyright infringement is happening on a massive scale because it can. It just needs an Internet connection to happen.

But what went before, and why do the attitudes that prevailed then keep coming up now?

We tend even now to think of record companies (and film companies) as permanent fixtures on the landscape. They have "always been around", and their products we have "always consumed". But there was a time when they did not exist--a time when copyright did, however, exist. Thinking back to the days before recording and reproduction technologies, we find companies that produced sheet music. People would buy songs in the form of sheet music they could play on their pianos and sing of an evening, family and friends gathered round.

Before that time and before copyright, artists had to depend on the patronage of wealthy individuals to whom they often dedicated their works. But after copyright, the works of artists have sometimes (when they were lucky) been promoted by companies whose capacity to control channels of distribution (whether it be the distribution of sheet music, audio recordings on vinyl or CD, or films on DVD or Bluray) has led them (and some fortunate artists) to acrue great wealth. It has of course been in the interests of such companies to support stronger and stronger copyright laws, to protect their business models (their collective monopoly on the channels of distribution).

These companies, however, have found their traditional channels challenged, to say the least, by the Internet. All the lawsuits and new laws cannot transform the current digital landscape back into the analogue world that brought them such riches. If they are wise, they will adapt their business models to suit the new realities. If they are wise, they will pay more attention to Radiohead and Trent Reznor and many others who are thriving in this new environment--and they will learn from them.

Robert Smith could learn from them too.

All that said, at the end of the day, Robert Smith or anyone else with a copyright on anything is the one who has the right to determine how that thing is used and distributed. Outdated business models notwithstanding, the law is the law, and making use of copyrighted works in ways that copyright-holders do not permit is a breach of the law.

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The point of the editorial is that all copyright enforcement action (including that by the original creator of the work in question) has to do with protection of the medium of distribution. If the medium of distribution is outmoded, a way around it, legal or not, will be found. (Notice that while live performances and motion-picture theaters charge fees, museums typically do not. That is entirely due to *relative perceived value* of each type of art. Exception - hyperniche museums, such as the International Spy Museum, which are privately owned/run; however, their own fees go entirely to operating expenses because they have no other revenue stream.) The RIAA/MPAA are basically trying to *unring a bell* as opposed to fixing an outmoded distribution method (which is being gotten around, if not outright avoided, by both legal and illicit means). As long as these organizations continue to rely on the outmoded distribution methods, said methods will be gotten around. (Ever wonder why intercontinental travel is largely by airplane, as opposed to cruises, even though cruise ships are still around and still being built? I'm referring to trans-Atlantic *and* trans-Pacific cruises, not the shorter-length coastal and Caribbean-island/Alaskan/Canadian cruises.)

"People pay when they can't get what they want any other way."

Riiiiight. The simple fact is, if I really like the artist and if I can find their stuff (!), I BUY it. I don't know why some people are stuck on this supposed "everyone wants something for free" dictum. If I like something enough and think it's worth the price being asked, I buy it. If I don't like something or don't think it's worth the price, I either don't buy it, or find other means of acquiring it. That's it.
We all know it's the conglomerates who establish the market/commercial value for the "artz" and everything else they can get their bloody clutches on.

I think it's wrong to download or duplicate something while trying to claim it as something YOU yourself made, or to somehow try and make a profit from it; that IS wrong. I don't think there's anything wrong with downloading something for your own personal use. The copyright infringement argument is farfetched, as is every other tenuous argument put forth by The Establishment.
I don't have one iota of sympathy for the millionaires out there complaining that those of us who download music for free are stealing it. If you think I'm going to feel "bad" for downloading your music for free, multi-millionaire(s), think again. Oh but "you're breaking the law!" Right, and you're not breaking the law with all those overseas bank accounts you have to avoid paying taxes? Give me a freakin' break. The Capitalist-Pig-Dogs just don't like it when the tables are turned. They can dish it out, but they can't take it. Boohoo. Get used to it, Establishment.

Call me thick headed, but I still feel that downloading music is akin to taking a picture of a sculpture and enjoying it in the privacy of your own home. Someone took the time to make that sculpture and they want to make money by selling pictures of that sculpture but is it trully stealing for me to snap that picture? I don't feel that way, and that is mainly because I feel that stealing means you are physically taking something from someone... a tangible item; Now, copyright infringement, is another story, but still something I feel is farfetched. Copyrights are supposed to protect the owner from people profiting off their ideas, the vast majority of people who do download music, are not doing so to profit but rather to enjoy the music. The reality is that downloading the music wouldn't be against the law if Record Companies didn't exist and that alone tells me that the law is bogus. I should note that I support the artists I like by buying their music, the others I don't even bother downloading. My argument is one of fundamentals rather than interpretation of law.

At the risk of being ageist, Robert Smith is about to turn 50 (in a month) so it isn't that surprising that he wouldn't be a part of the digital generation. Not that everyone who is 50+ would all feel the same way but I think there is a general trend to think "old school".

Fred Derf said,
At the risk of being ageist, Robert Smith is about to turn 50 (in a month) so it isn't that surprising that he wouldn't be a part of the digital generation. Not that everyone who is 50+ would all feel the same way but I think there is a general trend to think "old school".

true

Fred Derf said,
At the risk of being ageist, Robert Smith is about to turn 50 (in a month) so it isn't that surprising that he wouldn't be a part of the digital generation. Not that everyone who is 50+ would all feel the same way but I think there is a general trend to think "old school".

Everyone who is under 50 has a sense of entitlement? Well there sure are a lot of them.

babyHacker said,
Everyone who is under 50 has a sense of entitlement? Well there sure are a lot of them.

Unless you can justify or clarify exactly what you mean, not just generalize an insult at people under 50, your words are meaningless.

I find it more troubling that people over 50 have lost their sense of entitlement anyway seeing as how that's sort of heavily connected with our sense of self-worth. I guess once you work in the biz for over 30 years you start to realize you're nothing but a workhorse for other people. I'll have to keep that mental note.

sell something at infinitely does not even make sense ...
those who create content need only the sufficient profit to make the work worthwhile ... and with the global market and the internet, that would be very easy to accomplish if their product is good enough. continuing to profit after a reasonable margin is absurd in so many ways, specially when 90% (probably more) of that profit never reaches the artist.

people just don't question core ideas anymore.

The reason why people download music illegally is because its easy to do, and the chances of getting caught are minimal. So there is no point in comparing it to stealing a car. You and I know full well that its the guy who shares his library of 50000 songs is the one more likely to get caught, than the guy who downloads occasionally and then does not leave it there to upload. And yeah I know, some people who download only a little bit have been caught, but the remaining 99% of people get away scott free with the crime.

And a lot of people are just plain miserly and arrogant. They will not pony up with the cash for legal software and music downloads, however little it costs, just because it is also available for free. I have seen many people pirating software which costs as little as $15!! But the same people will go out every week and spend nearly $50 on alcohol. Until people themselves change their habits and way of thinking, there can be no progress in the right direction.

Except the mR Smith completely ignores the fact that RIAA isn't pro artist. They've been screwing artists for years. And some bands have figured that out. Just got an email from Nine Inch Nails offering free music. Trent has stuck his music on The Pirate Bay. Well..... that's gotten me to buy NIN more often. Go figure.

piracy does a lot of free publicity worldwide ... and usually by people who wouldn't pay for the product if that was the only way they could get it.
so ... I guess that's a good thing for everyone.

anyway, there's only so much you can ask for something that can be duplicated indefinitely ... at a certain point there's only profit ... without the legitimacy of the creation/invention/work.

If you are supporting a band you like. Download every single album they have ever put out. Then go see a show and buy one of their shirts. You make them much more profitable than if you had skipped the show and bought every one of their albums twice.

For the most part the best comment here -- except buy the CDs at the show, if it's an indie band they get 100% (minus cost) there. Last time I checked artists were getting 4c per song on iTunes.

They never arrested anyone for the trading of pirated cassette tapes. Only people duplicating and selling them. No one mass copies cassettes to trade. Do you even read what you write.

lol wide-scale trading of pirated tapes.

If they didnt want people to record a song off the radio they shouldnt of played it.

briangw said,
gee, no one cared when I recorded these songs onto cassette tapes from the radio.....

And how many people could you share tapes with...lets be ridiculous here. You have 1000 friends you want to share music with, tapes were $1.00. It would take you $1000 plus an immense amount of time.

Now you put it on bit torrent, millions of people have access to it in seconds and there is no significant impact to you, there is a huge difference.

Actually these guys don't care, the companies choose who would be the best one to talk and make their fans follow their opinion, look at the three main MP3-abolitionists: The drummer from Metaliica, Dr. Dre and now The Cure's weird vocalist, which everyone says is the "Emo" creator, And ll the emo kids love his music and if he was alive, Kurt Cobain would be another spokesperson.

These guys just want to make music and money, and they know **** about the industry (that's why they have managers), so the moment they are told "We can't pay for another record, because, you know, piracy is really bad.." they get freekin angry, sadly companies are still making ****ty music cathering to every frickin popular trend that appears, and that **** will surely sell, at least for a couple years, then it fades away a and never be heard (Foo Fighters, Evanescense, Eminem) until Rock/Rap/Pop comes back, they they appear again and MTV does a tv special on how awesome they have been all these years.

It's a business, and the internet affects maybe 10%, but for those guys, 10% is tons of money not in their pockets. Look they even hate iTunes and everyones knows it is their last choice if they don't wanna fail.

Eis makes some very good points.

I pay for my music, but I have begun to use pandora radio because I am just a broke college student. The only reason the RIAA exists is because these record companies do not want to lose out on their potential profits. Not because they wish to give it to the singers or song writers. America has been run by the few and the rich and will always be that way.

Look at AIG, a company receiving money from the governments stimulus, who STILL gave their executives their bonuses with TAXPAYER money. What kind of world do we live in? I'll call it corporate slavery.

All of this so some CEO "insert bad word here" can buy a house in the hills and give his daughter a hummer for her 15th birthday. While joe the plumber just wants to listen to some nirvana or what have u, but his company is doin bad cause he can't get small business loans. There somethin not right about the world we live in.

I guess capitalism doesnt work after all. Hence why the government has had to step in. The small guy gets run over every time.

All you need to satisfy the masses is entertainment. History has said the same thing many times over. Give us something to do, and we'll do something for you.

Eis said,
All you need to satisfy the masses is entertainment. History has said the same thing many times over. Give us something to do, and we'll do something for you.


Its a bit like Civilisation, "the people are restless" - build a temple, monument, colluseum etc.

I'm not in favor of music piracy, such as actively promoting it, but what I am really opposed to is the RIAA's banning of fan-made guitar tabs. They're made by fans, the artists and the record companies had nothing to do with it, what possible justification do they have to take them down? That's like banning fan-made programming tutorials. See how ridiculous the legal system is?

Their music, their right. you don't like how far copyright extends outward from original work? I'd fight the US government... RIAA has every right to do it till the laws change.

cause that's your decison to make... "Artists shouldn't mind if i steal this print of their work, i paid the cover charge to get into the show at the gallary."

Rolith said,
cause that's your decison to make... "Artists shouldn't mind if i steal this print of their work, i paid the cover charge to get into the show at the gallary."

If by "steal" you mean paint an exact duplicate of the piece of work and then hang it up in your home.

Rolith said,
cause that's your decison to make...

Actually, it is. It is MY decision to do what I want with MY internet connection.

Rolith said,
Yup...including breaking the law? Awesome.

Conforming to some faceless men who decided to make these arbitrary lines in the sand for me isn't on the top of my priority list, sorry. I will follow rules that I agree with; however, just not rules that are bull**** and that people like you follow just because you are a lamb being flocked around by rich bullies and sticking to it like glue. Think about it, you get no profit out of the things you keep saying yet your are unwilling to compromise. The people on this site aren't the ones you should be arguing with, and yet you continue to do so. Why, Rolith? I would sincerely love to hear why you disagree with, from what I can tell, the majority that is unwilling to go away.

All I keep seeing from the other side of this argument is a sense of high moral authority being thrown around. Robert whatshisface even has the gal to say that there are people called "professional apologists". What the ****? So people who argue the other side are professional apologists? Then what is he? A professional persuasivist? What he's doing isn't any different than what others are doing, and just because you people decide to TYPE IN ALL CAPS, throw out the high moral authority, facts remain facts and big business has no idea how to come to terms with the new-age we live in. He's trying to persuade you to live in the past but he's using many fallacy's to manipulate you into thinking it's something else entirely.

Rolith said,
cause that's your decison to make... "Artists shouldn't mind if i steal this print of their work, i paid the cover charge to get into the show at the gallary."


Oh snap...

Dude, seriously. Your arguments are not making much sense. Art is supposed to be an expression of our humanity. It is meant to add to culture. When art is monetised you get the crap we see now being peddled as art. Miguel Montes is right, if the artists are truly that good and the art is that mindblowing, people would attend the concerts en masse.

Your gallery analogy is seriously flawed! A better analogy is, if I find a picture of the Mona Lisa, and cut it out, and frame it. The Louvre hasnt lost a painting. They still make tons of money by people wanting to see the original. Heck even the people that have prints of the Mona Lisa will probably still pay to see it in person!!!

Honestly, one of the stupidest if not the most stupid editorials I've read on this topic.

"Money represents a sacrifice. Why sacrifice when you don't have to?"

Right, so if I can steal something, why pay for it?

Idiotic argument.

If someone has put their time and effort into creating something, and that is how they are trying to make their living, then they deserve payment for that effort. Neowin is covered in advertising in an attempt to get money for the efforts of people like James Hall. Why doesn't Neowin remove all advertising and make their "art" free for all? Maybe because Neowin has costs to cover, and the people writing for Neowin have their costs as well (food, clothing, shelter).

Please don't justify the greed of pirates by suggesting that "art should be free", because it is a logical fallacy and an attempt to legitimize theft. If you work at something, you should at least be allowed the opportunity to earn an income from that, without being attacked by parasites.

it's an ethically weak argument. Money isn't a "sacrifice" it isn't something to barter for limited resources only. Nor is the expectation to pay for non-finite resources some sort of sign of greed. I dont think Robert Smith is exactly right either, no appoligist, but there is NO reason to steal music anymore.

There are plenty of legitimate ways to purchases songs you want and only songs you want without overbearing DRM or restrictive licenses. Now that those "walls of unfairness" have swept away we get back to the root of the matter, pirates want something for free, damn it, and they will continue to take it.

My point was simply that anyone can create something. Others have to want it for it to have any value. But if it has value, then you've got to find a way to make people pay. In the past, distribution was controlled by media companies. The reality today is that it is easy to infringe copyright by bypassing traditional distribution channels. If you want to get people to pay, you've got to create a new business model that pays attention to the current realities. The article is not advocating "stealing" as you call it. It is against that (if you read it). Rather, it is in favour of "artists" recognising that the world has changed and that there are new ways to make money from those changes (if people are interested in what you have to offer). You've just got to adapt, or suffer, or worse. Sorry.

like, say, creating a easy to use, inexpensive, media delivery system that removes all over-bearing licenses agreements and delivers high quality audio to them? Huh... looks like both apple, and amazon do that. People continue to steal in spite of this and those people are intentionally malicious at this point. There is no determinable difference in "ease of access" between pirating and paying for goods anymore. There is no unfairness inherit in it. Pirating again is the more time consuming and frustrating action...and the only motivation is to avoid paying money. People show they indeed want it, going out of their way to get it now, compared to just buying it, and spending energy and effort to obtain it illegally...so why shouldn't the artist ask for payments?

Money is a sacrifice. If you do not believe this is so then you have lived a rather spoiled life, I'm afraid. Nothing against you personally but that's a stuck-up attitude.

Also, I admit I am not able to come up with a new business model. I can think of ideas, but they are not good ones. Maybe we could automatically take money out of the bank accounts for every time music is actually played, automatically, on your computer. Say for example you download an album that has only 1 good song on it. Is that album worth as much to you as that other album with 10 good songs? No, it's not. Yet I there was no possible way for me to predict if I was going to like this "art" I could potentially purchase.

As long as the world is moving in a direction that completely fulfills our materialistic and consumer-driven mind, then this business model must be adapted. I'm just your average guy, my ideas sucked, but they would work anyway.

Imagine the business this company could make if they spent some of their billions on brains to develop a new service. What a life to live in, where you don't have to feel guilty about doing something that ultimately keeps your wallet thin and your face smiling.

You gain money by doing work. You lose money on things you wish to enjoy. That's not a "sacrifice" it's called bartering. It's not some high level barrier to entry that you're trying to make it sound. $1.00 for hours of future enjoyment isn't some impenetrable cost that should bar anyone from buying the music they like. Hell, there are tons of legitimate ways to listen to music without you ever having to pay a dime. that's what Radio and sites like Last FM and Pandora are for. the "cost" associated with music to the end consumer is LAUGHABLE to say it justifies pirating.

You seem to be ignorant enough to miss the point completely. The RIAA and all the record label dealers that run these multi-billion dollar companies don't pay **** to the people who actually make the music. Their royalties are laughable to say the least, but there is just so much of this money people are paying that artists don't give two ****s because they are able to get a ton of money if they are good. If you are not good, then you will fail. Art is a subject for the ruthless and the talented.

But what you fail to understand, other than that, is that you are not defending to the artists at all. You are defending the people who are actually responsible for these artists not being able to put out their work. The business model of old existed because we did not have this thing called the "internet" that connected every single person in the world together. These artists needed some way to connect to the people and these companies were how to do it. Today we have the internet and so many means of data transfer that it's unstoppable. To try to slow technology is like trying to go back in time.

Nothing justifies piracy, and I don't argue that point. I sincerly don't believe anyone truly believes in piracy, but just the fact that the brain tries so hard to justify this thing means that humans are becoming conflicted with the way things are working, and if we pay them uber amounts of cash just to make the people, who actually make this art, famous...Then they should do a good ****ing job or quit. Don't bull**** my will and what I actually want, because my consciousness works for me.

so piracy is justified because the RIAA sucks? Yeah...cause only RIAA controlled artists are victims... and Artists wouldn't have more power to walk away from the RIAA if they were able to count on their music actually selling if they went independent...

oh...wait...

You just justified piracy... seems to me you're trying to convince the RIAA that they should adapt to something you clearly think is immoral... to treat it as if it's just a fact of life becuaase there's no fighting it, but ...wait...you said NO ONE believes in it... Circular arguments are the bull****. So are moral outrages and cursing down someone that has a different idea of how big of dicks people are.

Since you seem to hold your analogy so close to heart, let me try to evaluate on what it is you actually are saying. You're saying that people downloading music online illegally is pretty much the same thing as you saying it's okay to block ads on Neowin.

Let me break it down to all you people who think it's okay to compare two very unalike things and get away with it: it's not. People notice that you don't make any sense, and you clearly broke the rules with your post. Sorry you had to be incredibly dramatic about this entire thing and I apologize that this discussion has personally offended you in some way, but I assure you, I care as much about the daily ongoings of the RIAA and internet piracy about as much as a blind man cares about television (you're not the only one who's bogus now...).

Don't take offense to an opinion that differs from your own or your mind will close up shop and make less than no money. If you disagree then logically disprove but don't be completely bias and expect people to feel sorry for you so you can prove your point. At the end of the day nobody really understand what the hell your point really was, you just got through another day.

Rolith said,
so piracy is justified because the RIAA sucks? Yeah...cause only RIAA controlled artists are victims... and Artists wouldn't have more power to walk away from the RIAA if they were able to count on their music actually selling if they went independent...

oh...wait...

You just justified piracy... seems to me you're trying to convince the RIAA that they should adapt to something you clearly think is immoral... to treat it as if it's just a fact of life becuaase there's no fighting it, but ...wait...you said NO ONE believes in it... Circular arguments are the bull****. So are moral outrages and cursing down someone that has a different idea of how big of dicks people are.


I don't see anyone here advocating piracy, but the RIAA and the big labels are simply attacking the medium of files haring to try and prop up their outdated, outmoded business model.

The major labels have a conflict of interest because they not only produce the content, but also distribute that product to record stores, who have to use said distributors to get the product people want in their stores.

Now you might ask what's wrong with that...

Well, if you're a small band who doesn't have a contract with one of those monopolistic labels, getting your product into stores and hence into the public's hands is nigh impossible. The distributors have a vested interest in pushing ONLY the product churned out by their parent labels and a vested interest in keeping any talent not under said labels off the shelves. This is as opposed to simply distributing what product is available. And if you're a store and you want to have the big names that sell well on your shelves you have no choice but to use those distributors.

If you're a small band, you NEED the power of a freely downloadable medium to get your product out there.

But because the RIAA/MPAA have utterly failed to successfully go after the real villains, i.e. the individuals putting illegal copyrighted product on the Net, they choose the easier route of trying to go after the medium of file sharing and file sharing sites that don't actually contain illegal content, but are merely directories to what material others are uploading on the Net, legal or not. An act that serves only to protect the lucky few artists with the big contracts and the monolithic labels that seek to maintain their stranglehold on what you get to see and hear.

THAT is the problem, and THAT is what mouthpieces with the RIAA/MPAA's hand up their backside like Robert Smith don't get.

7Dash8 said,
Honestly, one of the stupidest if not the most stupid editorials I've read on this topic.

"Money represents a sacrifice. Why sacrifice when you don't have to?"

Right, so if I can steal something, why pay for it?

Idiotic argument.

If someone has put their time and effort into creating something, and that is how they are trying to make their living, then they deserve payment for that effort. Neowin is covered in advertising in an attempt to get money for the efforts of people like James Hall. Why doesn't Neowin remove all advertising and make their "art" free for all? Maybe because Neowin has costs to cover, and the people writing for Neowin have their costs as well (food, clothing, shelter).

Please don't justify the greed of pirates by suggesting that "art should be free", because it is a logical fallacy and an attempt to legitimize theft. If you work at something, you should at least be allowed the opportunity to earn an income from that, without being attacked by parasites.


Why should I be considered a thief when the music I download are out of print records people have recorded to MP3? how can you lose money as an artist on something that you refuse to supply to me in cd format - something I'm more than happy to pay for.

Edit: Btw, I don't think that the contributors on here are paid; the only thing the advertisement pays for is the website itself (hosting etc) where as the content is provided free of charge. The argument you made is pathetic and weak.

Eis said,
Money is a sacrifice..

According to the social philosopher Georg Simmel, money is indeed a sacrifice. An exchange involving money (a symbol of "value") is an exchange of sacrifices.

Reality is out there. The smart people adapt to it. As much as the old guard would have us believe they want a "song" to be valued at "99 cents" or whatever, they too are, behind the scenes, seeking new ways to extract value--to make what they have to offer worth paying for.

Part of this involves enforcing old laws that guarantee value, and part of this involves creating new laws that respond to the new realities and generate new value. The times are changing, and the strong and adaptable will survive.