28 November, 2010

This biting comment from the most amusing Death Star PR is well taken. It still seems you’re more likely to go to jail for messing with powerful people’s money than for something that actually hurts people. Having said that, and acknowledged the Death Star’s point, a reality check:

If you’re not doing and/or facilitating anything illegal, why call yourself the Pirate Bay? It’s a bit of a giveaway. Part of the definition of a pirate is one who acts outside the law. And can we also accept that taking something without paying for it with the intent to permanently deprive is in fact stealing? It doesn’t matter if you feel you have a good reason to, it’s still stealing.

For a decade now, we have heard rationalisation of illegal downloading.

“It’s not stealing, it’s sharing.”
No it isn’t. If I share a bottle of wine with you, every drop that you drink is a drop that I can’t. It’s a zero sum equation. “Sharing” music online is like buying one bottle of wine and stealing a case to “share” with your friends – or any random passer-by for that matter.

“I’m helping the artist by giving them exposure.”
Yeah, right. Exposure doesn’t pay the rent, and most musicians aren’t as rich as you think they are. Fame does not equal fortune and downloading for promotion only increases the gap between recognition and return.

“Hey, record companies have been screwing artists for years anyway. We’re fighting back.”
Oh great! So you’re going to fight back by denying your favourite artists what little reward they would have gotten if you’d paid for it. They must love you for that.

“It’s no different to borrowing books from the library.”
Yes it is. When you borrow a book from the library, you don’t get to keep it. Also, authors are paid royalties for library borrowings. It’s a pittance, but they are paid.

“I download to check it out and if I like it I buy it.”
I pay this one, for those who actually do. But if you think this is how the majority of downloaders operate, then I’ll sell you a bridge to.... well, you get the idea.

“If record companies and film studios made better stuff and charged a reasonable price, then I’d pay for it.”
But as it stands, it’s good enough to steal, just not good enough to pay for. Following this logic, it’s okay to steal from McDonald’s because it’s not very good. If you see a jacket that you’d be prepared to pay $50 for but the store is charging $150, does that give you the right to take it without paying anything?

I’m not suggesting that downloading is bad in and of itself. Many artists make their work available for free, they use BitTorrent for distribution, they put their films on YouTube. That’s fine if it’s at the artist’s discretion. If one store offers free samples, that doesn’t make it okay to take from the store next door.

I’m no angel. I’ve downloaded stuff. For instance, I have no qualms about downloading music that I have already bought on vinyl. According to my personal ethics, I’ve already bought that album, but technically, it’s still illegal and I’m not going to pretend otherwise.

Fining and jailing the founders of the Pirate Bay may seem heavy handed, but they knew (or at least should have known) that they were operating in a grey area of the law. Many similar sites closed down, sensing that they game was up. No, they didn’t give anyone cancer or facilitate murder, and that fact that those who do go free is a fair comment. Stealing from musicians, filmmakers and software developers is not going to make the tobacco companies and arms dealers go away though. It would be cool for people who have benefitted from the Pirate Bay’s services to all chip in and help them pay £4.1million fine – but I expect they’ll just keep taking as much as they can take.


  1. Very well said. It seems everyone thinks they are a modern day Robin Hood and that, if caught, they are "victims of the law." While, yes, the actions taking by record companies can go too far and they hold a lot of the blame for the state of the media industry. However, two wrongs most certainly do not make a right.

    Illegally downloading media does not "encourage the industry to improve" it just encourages it to make its profits in other, often more punitive ways. (incl. dropping good artists for mass marketed ones that they know will sell a bazillion albums.)

    It is a well known economic fact that if someone can get something easily, for free, they will never pay for it. DL movies and music doesn't encourage people to go out and buy the real deal, it just encourages them to buy a new HD to store them on. And, of course, "if it is good, people will pay" is a false assertion. Anybody who has run a popular website, whose only funding was donations by readers can attest to this.

    I'm no angel. I have downloaded episodes of TV shows before. Especially if I missed them, or iView is playing up. But I agree the martyrdom by people who know damn well they're stealing is ridiculous (yes, you are stealing. Think of it not as stealing goods like a car, and more as getting someone to do you a service, then not paying them)

  2. Excellent point - it may be services, not goods as such, but it's still stealing.

    Much as I hated Kylie and Jason, Michael Gudinski later said that those records made Mushroom completely financially independent and allowed them to sign artists like Archie Roach.

    Is it any wonder now that the music industry is propped up by excremental stuff from Simon Cowell when all the good stuff is stolen? It's made the music and film industries far more risk averse. It pains me no end to side with the record companies and film studios, but we can't have it both ways. The RIAA didn't do itself any favours by being so dickish about how it prosecuted people, but you still get what you pay for.

  3. Music 'piracy' IS CLEARLY NOT STEALING. Stealing implies that I'm depriving someone of an asset to my own gain. If I steal your car, you are deprived of it and I gain a car. That's bad for you, and it's advantageous to me. Hence property laws. If a fantastic technology was to pop up tomorrow that would allow me to make an atom-for-atom duplicate of your car, would you be angry that people are copying your car? Why would you care?

    History tells us that this effort by incumbent powers to suppress the democratisation of information nearly always happens when new communications technologies develop.

    When the printing press was invented, the cost of reproduction and distribution of information was massively reduced. Church-educated scribes were quickly made redundant. This angered the Catholic church because a major source of their power was the virtual monopoly they had on the written word, and this new printing press made the Bible distributable to the masses at a fraction of the cost.

    The same thing has happened with online file sharing, only on a more dramatic scale. The cost of reproduction has been reduced to zero, and the range of distribution has been made effectively infinite. It's one of humanity's greatest achievements. Why would we choose to shackle it with outdated copyright law?

    Record/Movie/Publishing production companies are today's Catholic church-educated scribes. They have no inalienable right to exist. Their business model has been made obsolete by the advance of technology and they are failing to adapt to newer, faster, better methods of distributing information. They are zealously protecting this outmoded business model through the legal system, and governments are starting to back them.

    Speaking personally, I have been exposed to a vast array of cultural material thanks to the Internet that I could never have hoped to access as easily in the past. I'm a better rounded, better educated person thanks to the free media (copyrighted or not) that I've been able to download (films, books, music, etc). I am, in many ways, a walking, talking copyright violation. But you'd like me if you met me, I promise.

    How can you say that because I got this education for free, it's a bad thing? Imagine how much the poorly educated in the world could benefit from this democratisation of information. Think of the questions these billions of people could ask and the answers they could find. Who is being hurt here?

    Now, more than ever, there is information of all kinds being freely shared among people and it should be celebrated. I would never have seen Citizen Kane, or listened to The Beatles, or read Brave New World if not for piracy. I downloaded them because it was free and easy. Who is starving because I listened to Sgt Peppers?

    As for the suggestion that we will suddenly suffer a dearth of media if we make it free, I say let's give it a shot. Let the people share, and let The Four Horsemen of the Copyright Apocalypse ride in! If everyone is really standing around scratching their heads wondering why nobody is writing books or recording music any more, we'll make a decision as a society to fund it some other way.

    Here is one alternative business model for movie production being trialled: http://vodo.net/distribute-your-films-online.

  4. Music piracy is not stealing. Your online media wine bottle never empties. That's the point. Everyone in the world can have a fantastic time getting hammered off that bottomless digital bottle of wine. It's one of humanity's greatest achievements. It's a sudden, massive leap in technological development. It has changed things, and it will continue to change things.

    You're applying an old media paradigm to a vastly more efficient, more democratic method of media distribution. It's akin the argument the Catholic church scribes made when the invention of the printing press gave rise to the publishing industry in the first place. "This makes reproduction of bibles cheaper and easier than before, and they're not paying us! Let's put a stop to it forthwith!".

    Wars were fought over it. Now there are no scribes. Those scribes had no more of a right to exist than record companies do today.

    Here is just one alternative business model that could be tried. http://vodo.net/distribute-your-films-online

    Let technology develop, let people share, let culture evolve, and if at some stage we find ourselves scratching our heads at the dearth of published media, we'll find another solution to get funds to the artists. That's how the economy works.

  5. Sorry about the re-post, I thought the original draft hadn't been posted, and I'd lost it.

  6. Anon,
    I did mention that there are artists and studios distributing their work for free online and as I mentioned, that's fine if it's their choice. There are some restaurants that have no prices, they just ask customers to pay what they think is a fair thing - that doesn't mean you get to choose the price at other establishments. At those places, you continue to pay the menu price or take your business elsewhere.

    If you were to replicate my car, atom for atom, that would be no skin off my nose because I don't own the designs or the patents, not did I invest millions in research and development. If it weren't profitable to make better cars, then the cars that are available would be just as shitty as the mainstream music that's available today.

    If you seriously would never have discovered Citizen Kane, Brave New World or Sgt Pepper without file sharing, then I can only assume you live in a world without radio, television or school libraries. There are places like that, but they tend not to have computers or broadband either. How did anyone discover these things before the internet? Moreover, what similar classics have been created since the internet?

    The real question is how you would ever have discovered those works if Orson Welles, Aldous Huxley and the Beatles had not been able to make a living from their craft.

  7. Owen, sorry - took me a moment to realise you were the same person. For some reason, comments were being marked as spam, but I'm still getting the email notifications so if comments don't appear immediately, I'll un-flag them as soon as I've got the email. Thanks for taking the time to comment again.

    Just regarding your further comment about the bottomless bottle, the question is who makes the wine? How will wine ever be made if the vineyard makes only one sale for every million drinkers?

    No matter what we do, we're all involved in the production of a product or service. Whatever line of business you might be in, imagine if people started copying and redistributing your work for free and not paying you for it. I don't believe that's democratisation, I believe that's greed.

    I agree that the internet is the greatest tool for democratising information since the printing press - no question of that. But there is a difference between being able to read Wikipedia or Hansard online, and getting music on your ipod for nothing. Ya gotta pay the piper. ;)

  8. But your audience have found a better way. The world has moved on. Your recording isn't worth anything any more, irrespective of the value you choose to ascribe to it. You can still do live gigs, you can solicit donations. The world has changed. You're an Ox-dealer in a world that's moved to horse-trading. You're the local farrier when the car dealer has just moved into town.

    How is a business model where you play peoples' natural curiosity and thirst for new artistic material and ideas against the threat of jail time be ethical? No physical harm or deprivation of liberty has come about from the actions of the founders of The Pirate Bay. It's morally indefensible to jail them.

    The publishing industry has no claim to Orson Welles, Huxley, and The Beatles. They were geniuses that came along at a particular time, got lucky and gained a bucket-load of fame and success distributing music to the largest possible number of people via the best available technology at the time. The publishing industry was how we did business back then.

    Do the same thing today, and there's not as much money in it. Simple as that. If they'd been born in the dark ages, they probably would never have learned to read and write, and they definitely wouldn't have made it. That's how it goes.

    If the cost of reproduction and redistribution reduces to zero, you need to find another way to monetise your ideas, because what you're producing now has no monetary value. It's not scarce any more. It's not society's problem that technology has moved on.

    People always create things. We did it before the various publishing industries found a way to make billions off of it, and we'll do it forever more.

    Sgt Peppers and so on weren't the best examples, I take your point. The point I was making is that the barrier to me enjoying this and other media has been reduced to nothing. I didn't need to be keen enough to leave the house and go to a library, or happen upon it on the radio. I can download it and take it or leave it at no cost.

  9. With respect, I think you might be missing the point. It's got nothing to do with the publishing companies. Their only value is that they collect the royalties for the artists. That's important because if an artist can't make a living writing or performing, then they ain't gonna do it. There is ample facility for people to download work legitimately. iTunes allows you to download a song for less than the price of half a cup of coffee, yet people still steal. Why? Because they can.

    I disagree that distribution costs are reduced to zero. Bandwidth is bloody expensive. This is why YouTube is hemorrhaging money despite (or perhaps because of) its popularity.

    It's been suggested that recordings should be free and that artists can make their money back by playing live. But do you know how much it costs to make an album? And who's going to go to a gig when you can watch it all on YouTube an hour or so later? Just out of curiosity, when was the last time you went to a gig? ;-)

    What I sense from those who defend piracy is a huge sense of entitlement. You are not entitled to help yourself to products just because you think you ought to be able to. If you don't like that, you have the option of going without. Nobody would die if you didn't hear Sgt Pepper either. It's not a question of being an "old media" dinosaur - it's a question of respecting the hard work and expense that people to go in order to create the things you think ought to be given to you for nothing. If they choose to give it away, then help yourself. But you don't get to choose their business model. Nothing comes for nothing.

  10. As for my perfect bottle of wine:

    One person makes one bottle of wine, and it can be infinitely distributed in unlimited quantities to everyone in the world.

    So everyone has wine. The problem of lack of wine has been solved. There is no longer an economy in wine (at least not in that wine) because everyone has it. It's not scarce. Everyone in the world is having a ball consuming that wine though.

    Why is this a problem? I find it's a bit of a deep philosophical question.

  11. One word my friend: Unemployment.

  12. If you can't make a living out of it, don't do it, or do it in your spare time. Millions of us make this decision about all sorts of tasks every day without even thinking about it. It's called a hobby.

    Every dollar that I save downloading digital media is money that can be directed towards other sectors in the economy (such as computer and Internet connections as you rightly point out). No-one is being deprived of anything material, so there's no cost to society.

    I don't have a whole lot of sympathy for recording artists here. One million singer-songwriters having to go and get jobs is not worth one person going to jail for hosting a database of IP addresses and port numbers pointing to segments of a digital copy of a Metallica album.

    People create things anyway. There will always be entertainment to fill the vacuum of our spare time. The Internet will not cause us to regress to some entertainment-free before-time.

    I don't get to choose their business model? Well, me and millions of others in a sense already have. The industry's only response is to use the threat of litigation to create an artificial market for itself. History suggests they have no chance.

    The distribution-based business model for music, books, and movies is dead. Adapt or die, that's how it's worked down the centuries for everyone else and today's entertainment industry is no different.

    It's not the end of the entertainment industry, it's a new beginning. Things change, and it's certainly not something to be putting people in jail over.

  13. You may consider the law to be an ass, and you're certainly entitled to that opinion but the law is still the law and if you break it, that makes you a.... oh, what's the word? Oh, I remember - Pirate! Hey, maybe that's how they got their name. ;)

    If you think the law is backwards for not letting you drive at 150kmph, then by all means try doing it - but don't complain when you lose your licence. It's a bit ironic when people who willfully deny performers their rightful earnings talk about what is morally defensible. You say you don't have much sympathy for the recording artists, which illustrates one of my original points - they're good enough to steal from but not good enough to care about when they get ripped off. Make a stand and boycott their work instead.

    Or better still, apply the same reasoning to other businesses. Who suffers if you steal from McDonald's? They're big enough to afford it, their employees still get paid, so what's stopping you? Some arcane laws about ownership and an outdated business model? Pfft! Just go on and help yourself.

    I would like to know what incentive there is for someone to create the magic bottle of wine that everyone will copy for free. It wouldn't be made - why would anyone bother? Such a model wouldn't result in fine wine for everyone, it would result in no wine at all.

    Business models are changing and they have to change but until they do, the moral thing to do it to pay up or boycott. Ask some real working musicians if they are being deprived of anything.

  14. Burgers are a scarce commodity. Stealing from McDonald's wouldn't be immoral in my personal view, but if you said it was, I could see where you were coming from. Digital copy of music: Not scarce, any way you choose to slice it.

    What entitles musicians to this privileged position in society where they are granted a protected market? Sadly, the fleeting 130-year musical recording bonanza is over. Communications technology is now doing its job too well.

    No-one mourns the loss of scribes, no-one mourns the loss of printing-press operators, no-one mourns the loss of carrier-pigeon trainers. Why would it be such a tragedy if 'musician' becomes a dead profession?

    If creating music is such a chore, and the value you extract from it is, in the end, proportional to the amount of fear you can instil among people about the innocuous act of replicating binary code to listen to it (which you're supposed to want), why are you doing it?

    Why not just stop making music. People like it, they appreciate it, and now they're ending up in jail as a result. So don't record it, it's dangerous stuff.

    Irrespective of economics, people will always produce artistic content. It's part of what makes us human beings. We endeavour to send and receive as much information as we can throughout our lives because when we stop doing it, we're dead.

  15. "Burgers are a scarce commodity."
    Um.... WHAT???

    I'm starting to think you fundamentally misunderstand how any products are made. Music is not a protected market - not unless you consider it protectionism to actually be paid for the product you produce when people want to obtain it.

    I don't know what you do for a living but I assume you wouldn't keep doing it if you were not paid for it. If you did keep doing it for free, you would have less time to do it in because you would have to pay the bills somehow.

  16. Burgers are infinitely more scarce than 1s and 0s, absolutely.

    The music industry artificially and arbitrarily assign a value to something (digital media) that has been rendered effectively value-less by advances in technology. It wasn't such an issue when people could make mix-tapes, it wasn't such an issue when people could burn CDs, but the Internet has delivered distribution nirvana and the industry hasn't adjusted (yet).

    I agree that the prospect of no-one being able to benefit financially from producing original material can seem uncomfortable, but that's a way off yet. We may find that one day in the future we genuinely have to do something to address a lack of quality content being produced. But I expect the market will smoothly adjust and we'll keep rolling right along.

    In the mean time, imprisoning non-profiting individuals for copyright infringement will not benefit anyone.

    In the interests of showing that I'm not just being contrary, why not have a direct funding model? You, the artist, ask the audience to pay according to whether they want to see more material produced. No money, no more episodes/tracks. You could have the same sort of speculative venture funding the studios currently partake in. "I'll give you x to make a pilot/single, because I think people will stump up x to see more". It cuts out the distributor entirely. Heavens above!

    It's a bit different, but peoples' behaviour can change quickly and I would argue it's better for everyone to leave the market be so that something like that can ramp up rather than attempt to prop up a punch-drunk, wounded business model.

    And then it was 3AM.

  17. I think you've revealed a complete lack of perspective.

    You say that music is nothing more than 0s and 1. Well, a burger is nothing more than atoms and we all know you can't create an atom, so no-one has the right to profit from atoms. It's not the raw material you're buying, it's the HARD WORK that went into arranging it in that form that you're paying for. Or stealing.

    You want zeros and ones? Here you go:
    110101011 0101110010 0101010101 010101010 0101011000 11001 01010101 0101010110
    Following your logic, that has no more or less value than any other set of binary digits. Likewise, burgers may be "scarce" (still don't know how you figure that one) but they're just atoms and there's an abundance of atoms which no-one has the right to, so just go ahead and take them. Why bother with food? It's all just atoms, they have no value, so why not eat bricks?

    I think you're being naive in the extreme if you think people's behaviour will change. As I've already mentioned, you can buy digital content for bugger-all outlay, but people still steal because they can. People have the opportunity to volunteer payment, but do they? I asked earlier when the last time was you went to a gig, and you didn't answer. As someone who clearly feels entitled to take people's hard work with no compensation, give me an example of when you put your hand in your pocket when you weren't compelled to.

    If you don't like paying, then don't take the content. Why would you want something that has no value? Obviously there is value in it or you wouldn't bother taking it.

    And that is why we have laws. Most people don't need laws in order to behave morally and ethically, but enough people do that we require laws to be in place. If you don't like the law, work to change it. Don't blame those who say what ought to be obvious: if you take something without paying for it, that's stealing.

  18. I've been to half a dozen gigs in the last year. They're social events, and they sell alcohol. For the foreseeable future they'll make money. How many gigs do I need to have seen to justify my argument?

    You're absolutely right. You can't create atoms out of nothing. They're scarce. You're onto something there. I like burgers. I don't happen to have a machine at home that makes burgers out of nothing, for free. If I did, me and millions of others most assuredly would use that machine and we wouldn't mourn the loss of employment from the fast food industry.

    Creative artists are staring down the barrel of the greatest communication revolution in the history of man-kind. If the best response artists can muster as a collective is to stomp their feet and whinge, moan and complain about how things aren't the same as they were before, then they deserve to fail, and they most assuredly will.

    You've had this particular rug pulled from beneath you. The goal-posts have moved. It happens. The moment you start suing a significant enough number of people for infringing copyright, they'll move to completely anonymous technologies, and they'll do it before governments and legal systems can do anything about it.

    How far would you be willing to go to prosecute a pro-copyright agenda? Would you like police to be raiding people's homes to seize hard-drives? Monitoring of Internet connections? What fantastic way of ingratiating yourself to the public!

    Artists over the centuries have been among the most forward-thinking, pro-freedom, progressive people in society. Is all that just going to evaporate when someone stops writing cheques?

    The world doesn't owe you a living just because you're an artist. You've got to make a living from the world as it is. If art no longer cuts the mustard, then it's game over.

  19. Good on you for supporting local venues. How many gigs do you need to go to to justify your point? I don't know - how many albums have you downloaded?

    I find it fascinating that you're going with the
    "The world doesn't owe you a living," argument when you're claiming that the world owes you free music. Ironic, no?

    You keep saying "you" as if you think that I am a professional musician. Would that it were so. My position is based primarily on fairness. If you want something, you pay for it - if you won't pay for it, you go without. That's fair. I also speak as someone who has a dictionary and realises that calling your organisation "The Pirate Bay," is a tacit admission that you're operating outside the law. And the law is the law. If you don't like it, work to change it. Until then, it's still the law.

    I also find it interesting how touchy downloaders are about piracy being called piracy. If copying music were self-evidently moral and ethical, there would be no need to rationalise it. Yet whenever this issue comes up, we always hear from people jumping up and down proclaiming their entitlement to take something for nothing - a right that does not exist.

    And now Owen, I am going to delete all your comments from this site, and post them on another without any credit because as you've said yourself, it's all just zeros and ones, they have no intrinsic value and the time and effort you spent creating them is meaningless.

    Thanks for reading.

  20. To clarify, in those instances where I used 'you', I wasn't making personal accusations, just using it as a rhetorical device.

    Supporting local venues is a just one part of the reason I attend gigs. I go along because it's a social event, it's music I like, and I have a good time. By what logic would attending these gigs in any way offset the downloading that I do? Has the music industry just opened up a big collective joint bank account that I'm not aware of? When I pay for that gig I'm really only paying for that particular gig aren't I? Sony/EMI aren't getting a piece.

    Maybe on exiting a gig, patrons should be handed vouchers so they can knock a couple of bucks off the amount they get sued for in future? Seems fair.

    Attending gigs is certainly not an attempt by me to prove to myself that I'm not a thieving monster. I'm clearly not a thieving monster, I'm a normal person who enjoys music. By the same token you (personally this time) are clearly not a litigious bastard seeking to lock music fans in jail. You have a genuine concern about the future of the music industry and no doubt you're witnessing some upheaval. Well that's sometimes what progress looks like.

    Downloaders are 'touchy' about being branded 'pirates'? Yes indeed! Brand them 'pirates' and watch them flood the blogosphere! Touchy touchy.

    Does the rampant litigation and constant efforts to prevent the free flow of information on the Internet by the entertainment industry qualify as 'touchy'?
    I mean there's "touchy" and there's "team of corporate lawyers hunting down end users and suing them for everything they own to protect their untold millions" touchy. Over and above that there's "lobbyists influencing governments to criminalise copyright infringement and send law-abiding citizens to jail" touchy.

    So whatever moniker you feel like slapping downloaders with, they're not putting anyone in jail. Artists should recognise that this is how their audiences are communicating now, and adjust their business model accordingly. It's been done before and can be done again. That's the positive message. No-one needs to go to jail.

    As for deleting my comments: Too late. I've already saved this web page. I could re-post them any time I liked. That's the beauty of the Internet. I'd be chuffed if you used these comments elsewhere. In a weeks' time I'll whack a couple of sentences into Google, and if they show up anywhere, I'll take that as evidence that I may have influenced your opinion somewhat. Fantastic.

    Posting here has been a pleasure. I wouldn't spend the best part of four hours tapping out these responses if I didn't enjoy it.

    This time that I'm spending communicating with you is an end in itself. If you intend to influence people on any issue to make them think differently, you need all the practice you can get.

  21. Regarding gigs, you're being ridiculous. You were the one who suggested a model of free recordings being used to promote live performance. I was just curious to see if you did support music in any way. Many talk about it in principle but I suspect many of them don't back it up - just as they complained when there was no easy way to pay for downloads and now that there is, they keep on stealing. It's just an argument of convenience and I'd have more respect for them if they just admitted they want something for nothing.

    My comment about deleting and reposting your words was to see how you would feel about someone stealing your work. Admittedly, it's not a fair comparison. You haven't made commenting on 'blogs your life's work. I would certainly hope that you haven't, anyway.

    Saying that protecting copyright is restricting the free flow of information is a false equivalence. Wikipedia is information. How Stuff Works is information. Music is a commodity. You do not have a democratic right to be entertained.

    And here's a tip which gets back to my original point:
    If you're touchy about being called pirates, then

    It's a bit of a giveaway.

  22. All well and good but in some parts of the world the cinemas only show the latest Michael Bay toy advert and there are no Blockbusters to rent the DVD. It's not always the worst thing in the world to break international copyright law.

    However, if I worked my tuchas off to make a movie that bombed at the cinema but had a million hits at napster I'd be pissed. Most people in the film industry don't take home Tom Cruise's paycheck. Not even close.

    Somebody said something about Orson Welles making a living [I'm not going to pretend I read all of that]. He almost didn't. Piracy would have either killed him or given his movies a wider audience. There's no way to know.

    The gun and cigarette makers aren't breaking any laws and probably pay taxes.