Saturday, August 13, 2005

Copyright Laws

A colleague of mine was asking me about the P2P site Limewire and if there was software out there to convert MP3’s to WAV formats. Thus we began discussing about software for converting from one format to another and iPod's formats and bit Torrents and the like. Just then someone who we work with passed by and asked us what we had been discussing so intensely. Mentioning “Limewire” immediately transformed our colleague into a veritable livewire. Arms started flailing, voices were raised and people began turning their heads as we got embroiled into a full bodied, heated argument about copyrights.

The gal who downloaded songs from Limewire thought nothing of downloading music for free from the internet and I didn’t either. So there we were arguing heatedly about immorality of the whole act of copying, stealing from artistes, the principle behind the whole download issue blah blah blah. At the end of a heated argument we agreed to disagree and dispersed.

I strongly believe in the whole open source way and also believe that this entire copyrights shenanigan is brought about by the avarice of recording companies. Just because they want to maximize their profits, that’s it, period. Not that there is anything wrong in increasing profits for yourself and your stakeholders. But if you are that concerned about people stealing your products, then you very well take all measures to prevent any piracy. Don’t make it child’s play to copy CD’s and then expect people not to do it.

Top tier artistes are decadently overpaid anyway, which I feel they don't deserve. Record companies are making decent profits on the sales of their CD’s, well maybe, not all CD’s but overall they are raking in profits. The production cost of a CD is closer to $1, which in turn gets sold for approximately $22. If this isn’t gouging, then what else? The record companies have been at it for years. All these years we were forced to buy an entire CD, for a few mellifluous songs that we really covet. This too the recording companies have been at it for years. Which may not entire justify stealing from them, but I will still not lose much sleep over it. To begin with if the prices of CD’s and songs were priced correctly, piracy would not have been the issue that it currently is. Fifteen year olds would not have been dragged to courts by recording companies and burning CD’s would not have gained the same level of notoriety on college campus.

Ergo, downloading songs from P2P sites, for personal use, in my mind, at least, is justified. Though personally I am yet to downloaded songs from the internet myself. During our office argument, I was siding entirely with the gal who was helping herself to songs from Limewire. Until she said, that it was Barry White songs she was downloading. All this for Barry White !!! That’s when our argument ended and we went our separate way.


Blogger gawker said...

Hey Sourin
I agree cds are priced too high for the average music lover to be able to afford to buy more than 1 cd a week probably. However, I think you are simplifying it too much when you say a cd costs $1 to produce, so selling it for $16 is gouging . That is tantamount to saying that the paper for a book costs 50 cents to manufacture, so selling a book for 40 dollars is wrong. It's actually intellectual property they are selling, not the paper. And in case of a cd, it is the labor and music making they are selling, not the plastic.

Also, selling cds for $16 is the only way the record companies can support less money making artists as well as those who sell millions of cds per album. If they decided to lower the cd price, it would be necessary for every artist to sell a lot of records. This means, the companies would not be willing to take chances on newer musicians. That would reduce the variety in the music being sold in the market.

3:41 PM  
Blogger chappan said...

Hi Gawker
You really think that the record comoanies take chances on newer musicians ? Basically every musician is measured only by potential number of records they project will be able to sell. But the production cost with the intellectual property costs is ridiculously low, when compared to the shelf cost. The overheads like marketing costs etc may add up to a lil bit, but I cnat imagine that it must be so much.
My point is if priced right, then this whole issue of piracy crap will not exist. Like what they do now with the 50 cents songs for ipod download. Kids now go for it and do not mind paying. Thats a model, that at least to me, is sustainable and acceptable.

4:22 AM  
Blogger Anshul said...

Sourin, Gawker:
The question over here is 'What is the government bodies or the respective industry doing to prevent this?' Imposing penalties is one way! but not the long-term and the perpetual way...I agree with Sourin that these bodies need to come up with a competitive rates of these CD's to discourage the piracy.

8:23 AM  

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