MP3s Are Not the Devil

Orson Scott Card says:

Do you think these companies care about the money that the actual creators of the work are being deprived of when people copy CDs and DVDs?

Here’s a clue: Movie studios have, for decades, used “creative accounting” to make it so that even hit movies never manage to break even, thus depriving the creative people of their “percentage of profits.” A few have dared to sue, but most figure that it isn’t worth the ill will. (The sentence “You’ll never work in this town again” runs through their minds. They remember what happened to Cliff Robertson after he blew the whistle on an executive who was flat-out embezzling!)

And record companies manage to skim enormous amounts of money from ever CD sold. As you can easily calculate by going to the computer store and figuring out the price of an individual recordable blank CD. Figure that the record companies have been paying a fraction of that price for years. Then subtract that from the price of a CD. Figure the songwriters and performers are getting some ludicrously small percentage — less than twenty percent, I’d bet — and all the rest flows to the record company.

In other words, the people complaining about all the internet “thieves” are, by any reasonable measure, rapacious profiteers who have been parasitically sucking the blood out of copyrights on other people’s work.

The real pirates — people who make knock-off copies of CDs and DVDs and sell them in direct competition (or in foreign markets) — make a lot of money in some markets, but most of those are overseas. It’s a problem, but some reasonable combination of private investigation and police work and international treaties should deal with that.

Internet “pirates,” though, usually are more like a long-distance group that trades CDs around.

If you got together with a few of your neighbors and each of you bought different CDs and then lent them to each other, that wouldn’t even violate copyright.

In fact, the entire music business absolutely depends on the social interaction of kids to make hits. You stop kids from sharing music, and you’ve shut down the hit-making machine.

[From The Ornery American via SlashDot]

Comments are closed.