Yo ho, yo ho! (Is piracy borrowing?)

There is no way I would state that illegal files downloading is right but I still do not understand why infringing copyright laws should be criminalized. Millions of people are posting creative texts, photos, comic strips, musical compositions… on blogs or websites, without being paid or protected by a copyright agency. Yet they are delivering quality material. Is stealing their material ethically appropriate? Shouldn’t art be free anyway? Is art strictly business nowadays? Some artists are giving away their talent, others are making money out of it.  Some are performing without a safety net, others are protecting their back and defended by batteries of lawyers.

Front covers of glossy magazines are feeding us with celebrities’ extravaganza. According to Forbes, Lady Gaga has a $80 million income, Madonna is worth $125 million,  Bon Jovi, $79 millions. Justin Bieber, 19 is number 9 on Forbes’ 100 celebrity list and earned more than $60 million last year. AC/DC has roughly a $177 million income. No need to go further. If you really want to read more, check on Forbes.

Proceedings for illegal downloading are giving that bitter impression that “victims”  – a.k.a. majors, copyright collectives – are reclaiming more than a nominal compensation. And that “culprits” (and those are often respectable citizens  who had nothing to be guilty about before) are from this moment on regarded as wrongdoers.

On Internet piracy: “It’s people lending books” (Neil Gaiman)

Is piracy responsible for the financial meltdown of the entertainment industry? And if so, is freedom of expression in jeopardy? Is the price tag hindering most people from buying art?

In 2011, British writer Neil Gaiman was interviewed by ORGZine (an Open Rights Group campaigning for digital rights protection):  http://zine.openrightsgroup.org/features/2011/video:-an-interview-with-neil-gaiman He basically claims that piracy has allowed him to triple one of his books’ sales. Read this novel –“American Gods”–  free and legally HERE.

Borrowing ebooks on the Internet, is much like lending a book to a friend, according to Gaiman. In Russia, his work has been distributed on most sharing platforms, as his fame spread like wild fire. As he was once giving a lecture, he asked the audience to tell about favorite writers. The majority confessed having discovered authors through books borrowing. Only a few (5 to 10 %) had spotted their favorite author in a bookshop.

When Neil Gaiman talked his publisher into putting his novel “American Gods” available for free download, it did not prevent retail sales from increasing. “It’s advertising”, he stated. When an Internet user is hooked, he will eventually buy the book/CD or DVD because he has become a fan. If he does not like it, he would not buy it anyway. Case made. So is piracy increasing sales? Is piracy only people lending to each other?

If you do have a grand idea, you will be plagiarized anyway. If the flow of ideas is to be copyright material, it will eventually dry out. Money gives that silly impression that the more you get money from an idea, the more the concept is brilliant. Is it so?

Would I want to be paid for my writing? Of course. At least, that would make me feel legitimate, respected, maybe useful and it would hopefully pay my bills. I assume that ads would mostly bring me some kind of gains. Targeting an audience and pimping the readership are therefore crucial. Which leaves me less time for tailoring my message and sharpening up my mind. Wouldn’t I have to be consensual,  conformable, groveling? After all, advertisers are focused on website traffic.

Maybe nothing is free… not even freedom.


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