The ethics of downloading

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marky
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The ethics of downloading

Post by marky » Sat Dec 17, 2005 8:56 pm

I don't much want to discuss the ethics of downloading when it's an album/CD you couldn't find anywhere for any price. Yeah sure you could get about 30% of it on a vinyl EP if you tried, but you'd still be paying upwards of 60 freakin' dollars for it.

Sure, let's talk about the ethics of downloading a CD that cannot be bought *anywhere* for any amount of money. Go ahead, let's go.

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martino
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Post by martino » Mon Dec 19, 2005 12:20 pm

what, a post from you with no mention of kate bush?

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Sloth
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Post by Sloth » Mon Dec 19, 2005 12:40 pm

People buy things for convenience.

For example: I buy an apple because its easier than having my own tree.

If apples cost $10, I would probably have a tree.

Now if I buy a CD have go out, find the CD I want, spend $25 on it, bring it home, unwrap it, stick in my computer, hope there isn't a rootkit on it, rip it to MP3 so I can play it on my stereo, and then give, throw away, or sell the disc to someone else. What a pain.

If I download it illegally I get it in the format I want to get it in and it costs me much less. True, the bands don't get any money, but we all when indie bands sign music contracts they enslave themselves forever. Bands make money touring. And if they disc is any good I always see the band when they tour.

Note: Music companies are Satan's spawn. I don't buy the "expense" thing about music distribution either. Anybody can record a perfectly good album nowadays for a few thousand dollars and distribute it over the internet for next to nothing. In fact many bands are doing it this way now because they are sick of the labels. Labels only make sense to cheesy bands that appeal to 12 year olds because that is who traditionally buys the most music.

Music Downloads: The record companies are making it difficult to download music. It is too pricey and it makes no sense I get better service from the illegal sites than the legitimate companies. If a music album download came in the format I wanted, cost 4 or 5 dollars, I would have no problem paying this for the discs I like. Most of the discs I download I erase after a few days anyway because they suck.

People who say I am stealing from artists are fooling themselves. People who say I am stealing from record companies I say so what. They are just vampiric whores who add no value and use their profits to buy breast implants for their girlfriends and promote lichens like Brittney Spears and boy bands to the world. Plus I am sure they contribute heavily to the Republican party which makes them murderers. So there you go. That'll be my $.02 then.

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Sloth
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Post by Sloth » Mon Dec 19, 2005 12:43 pm

Wait there's more:

Fuck the NRA.

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TragicPixie
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Post by TragicPixie » Tue Dec 20, 2005 1:30 am

I admit I am somewhat ammoral ... going to a Catholic university cleared that one up for me.
However - my "ethics" of downloading are simply that music is art - and art SHOULD be done for artistic expression, the expanssion of minds, and passing on ideas, etc.
Therefore, art should not necessarily be a means to an end - it should be something in and of itself. So, any band that is still producing art (I'm in an extra cynical mood right now, so I'm gonna say ... there aren't many left.) Should embrace downloaders.

I also realise that from a business standpoint, downloading actually helps your artist's popularity. And like the Sloth said - in bands, touring is where the money's at. If I like a band, I might do something silly like spend $60 on tickets to see them.

Let's not forget, I am (as are many people) broke. Constantly. I'm a student - and frankly can't afford the $15 I spend on food in a week nevermind the $20ish a CD costs at most retail stores.
And unfortunately, I can never find the stuff I want on vinyl for download ...
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Post by megapulse » Tue Dec 20, 2005 5:09 am

oh my god i'm back. i can't believe how stupid i am, regardless i've learned a bunch.

merry holiday art theives, from sarah!

hey pixie that's brilliant i totally agree

do you like fugazi?

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Sloth
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Post by Sloth » Tue Dec 20, 2005 7:38 am

Pixie, I agree with you that Catholic schools are immoral.

Funny how moralists want to talk about downloading when all these religious freaks and politicians are running around unchained.

It reminds me of that fucking video game debate. Nothing can be sillier than being against video game violence and for real-life violence. To me it's like worrying about the bath water overrunning during a tsunami.

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martino
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Post by martino » Tue Dec 20, 2005 8:14 am

i don't know, it always smells bad when middle-class people find something they think they are entitled to and use their snazzy education to find words to justify something illegal.

of what moral significance is it that the record companies spend millions on the likes of britney spears? they themselves say they have to buy the big names in order to make money, and that they have to make money to be able to push the young and unknown.

likewise pixie i don't buy the argument that "art must be free (of charge)". if art is supposed to be free of charge than why shouldn't books be free too? (admittedly, there are a lot of shiplifters who say this).

and why should art be free but not food? isn't it a basic right to have a minimum of healthy food, decent housing and medical care? why pay for any of this?

i myself admit that i am a cheap and greedy bastard and perhaps you sloth should too.

i use an illegal russian downloading service as well as itunes. as a rule i spend as much money on music as i used to because i go to concerts more often. i like to pay for good musicians regardless whether they are buskers or in concert halls. still, illegal downloading is illegal and i defy the law because i can, not because i think i have a right to.

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Sloth
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Post by Sloth » Tue Dec 20, 2005 10:03 am

Books are free in the library. So is music. I tend to buy books because although more expensive than CDs they are an incredible value and much more emjoyable than reading off a computer monitor. Still, I do not get music or books from the library for the same reason I do not buy them. It is not convenient.

Like I said again, people buy things for convenience. When it stops being convenient or necessary people stop buying them. People used to grow their own food and they learned to play the piano before it became cheaper and more convenient to buy a recording.

If all illegal music downloads stopped tomorrow would people rush out and buy all the albums they download now? No. Would they buy more CDs and legitimate downloads? Of course. Would the quality of the music rise because of this? Doubtful. Would the industry embrace open standards so people could use their music the way they wanted to? Doubtful.

Like I said before, I delete most of the albums I download because they are rubbish and not even worth the time it takes to "steal" them. If every album was as good as the Kaiser Chiefs or Off the Wall it would be a different story.

The RIAA is a billion dollar industry dinosaur who sue 12 year old girls. Of course they are going to be against downloading. But it's no different than tape-sharing in the 70's. Them taking a moral stand against piracy is like George Bush telling us it was okay to invade a country based on bad intel. You can't make a moral decision based on blood money.

Morality. Morality. I guess this thread is about morality. Perhaps Kant wrote the best on morality. Let's use his Categorical Imperative.

"Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it would become a universal law."

If everyone downloaded music illegally would the world be a better or worse place? Would music cease to exist or would it get better? I say it would get much better. People would listen to more music and become better educated musically.

So therefore according to Kant it IS moral to download music because it would be good for the world. No one denies it would be bad for the profits of the RIAA and that's what this is all about.

The RIAA wants people to believe that downloading is bad for artists and that you are stealing from artists. But as many artists have pointed out its impossible for downloaders to steal from artists because the labels have already stolen everything from them. Ask Shaun Ryder or the Stone Roses how they feel about music labels. Now ask Brittany Spears and Mariah Carey how they feel. Metallica hates downloading because with access to information people will be able to tell that they suck.

Also, I am not saying that you shouldn't support bands who make good albums. By all means if you can afford it, and can get the album in a format you want you should buy it. If not, I say download the mf. Morally, Kant says its okay.

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Post by Sloth » Tue Dec 20, 2005 10:06 am

Also I say if you were hungry and could download food illegally (and one day you will probably be able to do this) I say you should.

Don't come crying to me about the farmers who have to get up and 5 am and plough the mf fields.

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Post by Sloth » Tue Dec 20, 2005 10:09 am

Oh, and I am not a cheap and greedy bastard. I doubt anyone here is. I am a bit lazy though, admittedly.

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Post by marky » Tue Dec 20, 2005 9:50 pm

You are right that it comes down to convenience, which is why for the last few months I have actually downloaded very little - to me it's often been more trouble (and time) to download a whole album than to just go buy the damn thing. (my finances are not going to allow this much longer though) There's also been discussion on the other board I visit along the lines that downloading can really get to decrease your enjoyment with music after a certain point, and I do agree with that, because since I've been away from it I've had a lot of fun just buying cheap old vinyl and concentrating *more* on *less* music. Suddenly things get to seem halfway *manageable* when the floodgates are closed. One guy who wrote an essay about it said that you can get so obsessed with downloading that you find you would rather have *had* listened to music than to actually *be* listening to music, because there's simply too much to digest, and I agree.

Of course part of my problem is I'm not comfortable d/l over a high speed connection, I stick with dial up. I also think d/l will never really come of age until you can purchase the artwork at the same time as the download.

Mp3 sound quality sucks, too but I've been converting mp3s to wav files (at least before burning), which does seem to improve the sound.

Anyway I'm not trying to diss anything you've said here, Sloth. In the end for folks on the lookout for very very rare music, downloading is an absolute miracle and necessity, and for that reason alone, I hope the illegal sites never die,
because the legal ones are never going to provide that.

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Post by TragicPixie » Tue Dec 20, 2005 11:21 pm

but what if Kantian ethics aren't exactly your thing...
I personally am much more utlitiatarian.

I would agree the food should be free - and honestly as an artist I'm going to stand by art should be free. My art's free. My writing is often posted on silly websites, and silly pamphlets and free books. I would say that most books should be free but that it costs much more to make and distribute a book than it does to make and distribute a CD - or better yet, just upload a track online and release it for download.
It is equally as easy to upload a book, poem, etc. and let people print it off at their own pleasure.

Art is not food though - art is about sharing something in my opinion. I honestly think that's the point.

Yes, I'm going to admit I'm a little crazy and anarchist. I know. I've been told.

Of course, I also think as far as legality goes one ought not legistlate morality - laws should be based on rights - which are not exactly moral and rules which are necessary to keep a society functioning well. Morality should be left to individuals to do what they will.
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Sloth
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Post by Sloth » Wed Dec 21, 2005 6:48 am

Kant's catagorical imperative isn't really that far from utilitarianism. I remember hearing as much in Philosophy 101 class.

Catagorical Imperative

1. Always treat persons (including yourself) and ends in themselves, never merely as a means to your own ends.

2. Act only on that maxim that you can consistently will to be a universal law.

Utilitarianism

1. The greatest good for the greatest number

The main difference, I think, would be the time at which the moral justification can take place. For instance Kant would never consider last year's tsunami in Asia a good thing because if you maximized the event it would leave everybody dead.

In utilitarianism, however one can argue backwards, for instance, that the big tsunami last year was good because it rose awareness of tsunamis in general and might save a lot more lives than it took some day when people take the threats of nature seriously (such as global warming). So the the main difference between the two seems to be foresight as opposed to hindsight.

Other than that both are an attempt at pretty much the same thing, to make people think of the consequences of their actions. And I wouldn't seriously expect any utilitarians out there to saying the tsunami was a good thing.

Okay I'm blathering a bit now. I promise to stop posting on this thread.

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TragicPixie
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Post by TragicPixie » Thu Dec 22, 2005 5:41 am

Well - in Kantian ethics the moral worth of an action comes from your intentions. you have to have the right intentions for something to be okay. An action that is "morally good" usually like say something typical... helping out at a soup kitchen is only morally good if it is done because as a fortunate individual in soceity, it is your duty to help those in less fortunate positions .... It is of no moral value whatsoever if you simply enjoy cooking and doing things for people.
Utilitarianism is very conseqentualist (sp?) ... So even if you did something for a shitty reason, as long as the outcome was good, it's still okay. If you did something for an honorable reason, but in the end it was crap it's still morally bad.
And don't forget hedonistic calculus :)
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