Wednesday, April 12, 2006


LL's Filesharing Apology (Revisited)

This entry was originally posted on 6/28/05. As I have just downloaded the complete album "Animal Magnetism" by the Scorpions, I felt I should revisit this post.

Yesterday's ruling against filesharing got me to thinking! At one time, I had a collection of vinyl LPs over 500 strong! Over the years I have lost many of them to moving, scratches, theft, etc.. I spent a lot of money, as a young man, on my collection! Much of my lost archives are either no longer available, or impossible to find. I have longed for years to hear some of it again!

A few days ago I downloaded software that allows me to find some of those lost "treasures"! I made a commitment to myself that I would only download and keep items which I have purchased in the past. In this way, the software would enable me to get back that which I have lost, while allowing me to explore music and artists that I might never encounter. Already I have found music that I intend to find and buy!

What rights do I have? If I have paid for a studio LP in the past, shouldn't that give me the right to have and listen to that music for the rest of my life? If I continue going to concerts and financially support the real owners of "intellectual property", shouldn't I be forgiven for downloading a file which contains samples of their work?

I have replaced many of my old albums by finding versions on Compact Disc. I intend to restore a small portion of my lost collection by downloading it from others who are willing to share it with me!

Prosecute me if you MUST!

I'm kinda in the same boat. One of my favorite movies is "The Teahouse of the August Moon". I have a VHS copy but with each entry into the VCR, I run the risk of the tape degrading further or getting eaten altogether. Considering my faith, theft is an obvious sin, but is it a sin to preserve what I've bought, to extend that items life? We take photos of each other all the time to remember events, special times, etc. Everyone I know has at times made compilation tapes of songs they liked from their album collection... "Love is Like Oxygen" by Sweet, is a personal favorite. By doing this, did I steal the intellectual property of the artist? No. If I made a copy for someone else, is that theft? I would have to say yes, because my friend paid nothing for it, and the artist received no compensation. By the same standard-- realizing of course that I'm rationalizing --if I buy a movie, and over time that movie begins to develop some wear and choose to copy it I can't see that I've stolen anything, whatever the lawyers say.

What about that classic "Buckingham Nicks" LP? It's in your collection, and not available on CD (forget about it... you won't find it). It's getting old, you don't want to play it anymore except on rare special occasions... Where is the theft if you route your turn table into your computer and copy it to a disk... scratches, hisses, and all... Why should you pay twice for something you already own?

You're not walking into a music store and walking out with a new copy. THAT is stealing. SELLING copies is stealing. Even GIVING someone a copy is, technically, stealing.

I have a lot of videos that can't be bought on DVD... what am I to do? Continue to play them until the VCR eats them or they become unplayable? No. Burn a copy to DVD. It's not digital, it's not crisp and clean, it has all the glitches the VHS had, and it's yours.

Speaking of my favorite movie... I've tried to copy it to DVD, but it's protected by anti-piracy technology... which sucks.

The corporate goons who say we're stealing by copying whats already ours, are sadly deluded. Another example... What if I went to the Louvre in Paris and made a brave attempt at copying the Mona Lisa? Is that theft? I could hang it in my home and it would look pretty darn good (I'm a great artist, btw). Folks would come into my home and say, "Wow! that's one FANTASTIC copy!" But no one is going to call the owner of the Mona Lisa and report me for theft.

Get it?

The Music and Movie Police don't.
I just think that if I've paid for the right to listen to the music when I choose, it should be for life.
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