Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Music Piracy The Almighty Buck Your Rights Online

Why Money Doesn't Motivate File-Sharers 633

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the just-wanna-watch-tron dept.
nk497 writes "File-sharers aren't motivated by financial gain, but by altruism, according to an economist. Joe Cox, of the Portsmouth Business School, said those uploading content for others to share don't see what they're doing as illegal, meaning current tactics to deter piracy are doomed to fail. 'The survey data suggested there was a deep-seated belief that this type of activity shouldn't be illegal, that there was no criminal act involved.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Why Money Doesn't Motivate File-Sharers

Comments Filter:
  • Duh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @11:00AM (#34473480)
    This is news? Did anyone think that file sharers were making money?
    • Re:Duh? (Score:5, Informative)

      by houstonbofh (602064) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @11:03AM (#34473504)

      This is news? Did anyone think that file sharers were making money?

      The *IAAs do. That was the basis of the pirate bay case.

      • Re:Duh? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by choko (44196) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @11:16AM (#34473720)

        The IAAs can't fathom why a person would do ANYTHING unless they are being paid for their work. There is a fundamental difference in philosophy here. These are the same people that think everyone is motivated by the same greed that they are.

        • Re:Duh? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by idontgno (624372) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @11:40AM (#34474116) Journal

          ObStarTrek reference:

          Think Ferengi. Altruism is criminal, or insane, or both. Not turning a profit on any transaction is Against The Ferengi Way.

          That's the *AA for you.

        • Re:Duh? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by HungryHobo (1314109) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @11:44AM (#34474178)

          I put this post up before with a few more spelling mistakes but I think it might fit this topic too...

          You know I sometimes wonder if the world would be a richer or poorer place without copyright, plenty of things would be different certainly and those who make their money from the current system will of course tell you the world would be a poorer, worse off world for it.

          It's almost taken as a given that the world would have less creativity without copyright but I do wonder.

          If the chef at your local restaurant had to pay royalties whenever he used a recipe published by a celebrity chef would you have a tastier and more enjoyable meal?
          What if he risked being sued into the ground if he created a derivative work by altering the recipe slightly without a license?
          or would you just have a more bland, unoriginal, uninspired and ultimately vastly more expensive meal?

          If your hairdresser had to pay royalties whenever some kid comes in with a magazine picture and says they want their hair to "look like that".
          Would everyone have far more interesting hairstyles or would it just cost far more and see people getting sued for doing their own hair at home in a copyrighted style?

          Both these things are creative and also involve a skill much like storytelling or playing a musical instrument and in both cases I've heard of people trying to get copyright protections extended to cover them.

          Imagine a world where in the 17th century someone had decided that recipes and cooking should fall under copyright along with books.
          You can be sure that were someone to call for it's repeal 300 years later there would be no lack of "professional recipe composers" who would talk about how much work they put into working out new recipes and the time and effort it takes and how we're bad people for implying that they haven't worked hard and that they somehow don't deserve a cut whenever someone follows their recipes.

          of course in a world where we're all free to take someone elses recipe, use it, copy it, publish it or even claim it as our own we know very well that fuck all harm has been done to the industry for the lack of legal protection on such creativity.
          We live in a world where everyone has family recipes but hardly anyone has family music.

          In a world where such legal protections existed and nobody ever knew such an open and unprotected situation as we have in this world it would be very easy to claim that there would be no creativity, no well paid chefs and that setting up a kitchen would be pointless since someone else would just copy the chefs recipes.

          Similarly it's taken almost as a given that the world would have less good books, less good stories and less origionality without copyright but try questioning that even for a moment.

          Of course someone is going to complain that composing and cooking a good meal can't be compared to composing and playing a good piece of music because..... well just because!

          Who knows, the flip side of my argument is that perhaps if recipes had been made copyrightable 300 years ago and someone could charge you money every time you used their recipe there would have been more investment in automatic food preparation(for the sake of consistency, avoiding unintentionally creating unlicensed derivative works and accounting of who has used what recipe) and we'd all have autocooks like we all have MP3 players and every meal would be up to the standards of a master cheff.

          • Re:Duh? (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Yvanhoe (564877) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @11:54AM (#34474338) Journal
            Actually, there is the world of haute-couture where designs are not protected by copyright, trademarks, patent, etc... Therefore, they have to invent new things every year. Looking at how desesperatly innovating this industry is, I have no doubt that a world without copyright and intellectual property would go much much faster.
            • Re:Duh? (Score:5, Informative)

              by bberens (965711) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @12:15PM (#34474648)
              There was a video about this very subject a while back on SD. Essentially you can't patent/copyright a "look" or things that are too common like clothes. Therefore you have things like giant horrendous LVs all over Louis Vuitton clothing. You can still go after them for trademark infringement.
          • Without copyright, artists would be living in gutters like Edgar Allan Poe used to do. HOWEVER the lifespan on the copyright should be no longer than the original act (14 yrs) plus possibility for renewal if the author is still alive.

            As for motivation:

            I don't usually share, except on Private trackers having restrictions that block you if you do not upload ABOVE 1:1.

            • Re:Duh? (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Gerzel (240421) <brollyferret&gmail,com> on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @12:30PM (#34474912) Journal

              You are implying that most artists A. Own the work they produce and B are able to make a living with copyright.

              Most work for a company doing work that the company wants never owning the copyright to that work. Do you really think that without copyright ad agencies won't want artists to make their adds prettier?

              The entertainment industry would still exist, people would still be willing to spend money but the derivative market would be far less.

              Most artists are unable to live off their work now and there are some that do live in gutters. Given Poe's life he probably would have been in the gutter anyway artist or not.

            • Re:Duh? (Score:5, Interesting)

              by HungryHobo (1314109) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @12:35PM (#34474992)

              In the UK most full time musicians are close to or bellow the poverty line.

              http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/news/general_music_news/most_musicians_are_on_poverty_line.html [ultimate-guitar.com]

              can the same be said of full time chefs in the UK?

          • Re:Duh? (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Archangel Michael (180766) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @12:33PM (#34474958) Journal

            A couple of things.

            First, To copy a hair style, takes flair and adaption. IF I could have Brad Pitts hair I would. I would download it and put it on my head. It doesn't make me Brad Pitt. But I don't have Brad Pitt's hair, and it takes a skilled artist to even come close.

            Second, to copy a Chef is more than recipe. There is a style to the knife work, cooking and other skills required beyond ingredients. Recipe is only PART of the artistry. I we could duplicate the cooking style of a chef, automatically with the fictional cooking machine, which duplicates the entire meal perfectly, who would own the skill of the chef being programmed into the machine?

            When I cook, each time I make something, it is slightly different from the last time I made it, it is flair. A TRUE artist has flair and skill that makes each performance unique and yet distinctly the artists. People like the Grateful Dead understood that each performance was its own artwork, and didn't rest upon the recording of a single performance in perpetuity. I don't rest on that one great performance (awesome dinner, if I say so myself) I had two years ago for my wife's Birthday. And if I tried to recreate the meal today, it would have the same basic ingredients but would be distinctly different, the artist's flair.

            The idea of resting on one's laurels is sad among the "artist" crowd these days. We miss the great performances that transcend the "notes" of the music. If you've never seen a great performance artist, you're missing something.

          • Re:Duh? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by JustinOpinion (1246824) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @02:03PM (#34476476)
            Good points. (Relatedly, see this TED talk [ted.com] about how the fashion industry thrives despite lack of copyright protection.) Let's think about various things that can and cannot be copyrighted (many examples taken from that TED talk):

            Creative things that cannot be copyrighted:
            -Recipes, cooking styles and techniques, etc.
            -"Look and feel" of food
            -Fashion/jewelery/etc.
            -Furniture
            -Sculptural design of vehicles
            -Magic tricks, jokes, etc.
            -Sports techniques/moves/plays/strategies
            -Fireworks displays
            -Hairstyles
            -Smells/perfumes
            -Rules of games

            Creative things that can be copyrighted:
            -Pictures/photos/etc. -Movies/video/etc.
            -Books/essays/etc.
            -Software
            -Music/musical scores/sound recordings/etc.
            -Choreography
            -Sculptures
            -Architecture

            From these lists we can infer a few things. Firstly, it should be clear that the usual heuristic rules people carry around about copyright are not reflected in the laws. Those who defend copyright often talk in terms of an artist's "right" to control their work, yet clearly there are many artistic endeavors in the first list that go without protection. Similarly discussion about artistic incentives seem strange, given that some creative acts are afforded the incentive of copyright and others are not.

            Which brings us to the second thing worth noting. Do the protected acts (second list) generate far more valuable creativity/art than the first? It can be very difficult to measure the impact and importance of creative work. (For what it's worth, the economic activity associated with the unprotected items dwarfs the protected ones.) So let's consider an easier question: Is there a lack of creative output for non-protected art (first list)? The answer is pretty clear: despite a lack of legal protection against copying, the activities in the unprotected list are vibrant, interesting, innovative, and rapidly advancing. Despite the lack of protection/incentive (arguably, because of it) these industries create interesting new products, artists devote themselves to inspiring works, and large sectors of the economy grow as a result.

            So the question becomes: considering that we have ample evidence that many creative activities can thrive without protection, what is the justification for copyright protection? I do agree that there are some differences between the lists (e.g. it's trivially easy nowadays to copy music, whereas copying a hairstyle requires more effort and a skilled craftsperson to do the work each time). But even in cases of very close analogy (photographers claim they need protection for prints of their work; meanwhile the fashion industry has found a way to stay relevant without protection, even though they are just selling a style/look/etc. that others can and to copy).

            I think there are many examples where creativity thrives without copyright. That doesn't mean that copyright isn't a good idea (maybe creativity thrives even more when protected?), but it does mean we should be very suspicious of simplistic arguments that claim creativity/art wouldn't exist in a world without restrictions on copying.
        • Re:Duh? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by JockTroll (996521) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @12:09PM (#34474560)
          The *IAA can't fathom why THEY shouldn't be paid for SOMEONE ELSE's work. FTFY.
    • Yeah - this is news to some people, which just confirms how out of touch many government and business leaders are.

      I think it's safe to say that as much as they've tried, people can see that file sharing causes no harm. I don't think it's anything new that people ignore laws with no underpinnings in reality.

      • I can see how file sharing does harm some. The issue is, as I see it, the entities it does harm are greedy and have been screwing us for years. Unfortunately the little people, ("artist", "developers", etc..) are the ones getting caught in the cross hairs.
        If I buy a piece of music I should be allowed to share it with my wife, so the fact that the *IAA comes out and says, "No your wife also needs to buy a copy of that to listen to it", only infuriates me and makes me see sharing as a cause.

        I'm a developer
        • Re:Duh? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by cheekyjohnson (1873388) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @12:41PM (#34475124)

          If I was paid a minimal amount per-copy of my software sold, I might be a little more upset when I find one of my applications on a torrent site.

          That's not surprising considering that many people tend to hold onto illogical beliefs if it benefits them personally. File sharers aren't actually taking anything. In order for them to be taking something ('loss' of 'right' to distribute their own works does not mean something was taken from them, because that's exactly the 'right' that I think shouldn't exist), when they copy, someone else must lose something that they already had. They didn't have the file sharer's money, so that wasn't stolen. The product was merely copied, so that wasn't stolen. The authors didn't even lose any time because of the pirate (it did take time to make the media, but that isn't the pirates' fault). Saying that 'loss' of future potential gain equates to harm is like saying that someone harmed me because they didn't give me all of their money, or that competition harms businesses because someone might choose to shop at a competitor's store. It would only be harm if they lost something that they already had. This simply isn't the case.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by ScentCone (795499)
            Ah. So you're not avoiding the issue of lost sales because it's notoriously difficult to exactly pin down who would have purchased something vs. not purchase it in the context of easy piracy ... your contention is that every single person who watches pirated movies and listens to pirated music is someone who would not otherwise have purchased it... and that that makes copyright law irrelevent to piracy. And you were lecturing somebody else about their illogical beliefs?
            • your contention is that every single person who watches pirated movies and listens to pirated music is someone who would not otherwise have purchased it

              I'm sure that if you actually tried to understand what I was saying you wouldn't have arrived at this conclusion. Whether file sharers would or would not have bought the product is irrelevant to my entire point. My entire point is that even if they would have, the artist never even had their money in the first place. It is logically impossible to say that the artist lost this money because they never even had it! Not to mention that competition 'hurts' (at least by the "'loss' of potential future gain equat

      • Re:Duh? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Skarecrow77 (1714214) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @11:13AM (#34473662)

        I'm pretty sure it's the file sharers who are out of touch if they don't see what they're doing as illegal.

        You can't make something legal by wishing it. These aren't fairies we're talking about here. you're not going to clap your hands and have tinkerbell drop legal blu-ray rips into your lap.

        If you believe that the current model is outdated, You can lobby. you can vote. you can inform. you can raise awareness. you can debate. but just ignoring the fact that it's illegal doesn't make it legal.

        • Re:Duh? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by metrix007 (200091) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @11:18AM (#34473736)

          When a law makes illegal something that a significant number of people do and don't see as wrong, that is a problem with the law, not the people breaking it. Indeed, such laws should continue to be broken.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by jejones (115979)

            How would that notion apply to the Civil Rights Act of 1964? The whole point of the US government is that there are checks and balances even against the people. It shouldn't be possible to deprive people of their rights just because a significant number of people think it proper.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by MightyYar (622222)

              deprive people of their rights

              You are confusing or conflating natural rights with copy "rights". Copyrights are completely artificial and have no basis in morality. They are a government-constructed entity - like a corporation or paper money. The only similarity to civil "rights" is that the same word is used for both.

        • Re:Duh? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by geminidomino (614729) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @11:18AM (#34473744) Journal

          I'm pretty sure it's the file sharers who are out of touch if they don't see what they're doing as illegal.

          No, it's just more evidence that our so-called "representative government," well... isn't.

        • True, you are correct that just ignoring the fact that it's illegal doesn't make it legal. However, there are two driving forces that enable laws to work, 1) fear of punishment (vs risk of getting caught) and 2) the moral belief that what is illegal should actually be illegal. If the risk of getting caught for something is very very low, the only thing that makes people obey a law is that they believe it is wrong and that it should be illegal. If the majority of people believe that something that is illegal

          • It's a case of psychology. not to mention that if a law criminalizes a majority of the population, it can't possibly be a good law.

            Well, with the possible exception of civil rights laws, as someone else pointed out, I agree.

            My line of thinking is that just sitting at home DOING it isn't likely to get anything changed given the opposition.

            I have the utmost respect for people like the pirate party. These people are putting money, their reputations, and possibly even their livelihood, where their mouth is.

        • Where are you getting the idea that they don't think it's illegal? Illegal and wrong are not one in the same.
          • Where are you getting the idea that they don't think it's illegal? Illegal and wrong are not one in the same.

            let me check

            Joe Cox, of the Portsmouth Business School, said those uploading content for others to share don't see what they're doing as illegal

            ^ right there.

        • Or did you jump from 0 year old to 21 year old full aware of all law and implication ? Many 16 year old actually don't even KNOW that sharing is illegal. Heck long ago when I told somebody of my middle school that mass replicating K7 and giving them to friends is illegal, they panicked and destroyed the K7. No kidding. try to place yourself in otehr people shoe, and you will realize that SOME people can very well not know sharing is illegal, without having their head in sand.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          I'm pretty sure it's the file sharers who are out of touch if they don't see what they're doing as illegal.

          There is often a misunderstanding about what "illegal" means. People very often equate illegal to immoral, as though the law was the standard for moral judgement. I think it would be more accurate to say that most file sharers do not believe their conduct to be immoral.

          In the past thirty years, how many laws have been striken from the books? Okay, and how many added? Most legal experts will tell you that the complexity of our legal and judicial process is such that at any point in time, you are probably in

        • Re:Duh? (Score:5, Informative)

          by GreatBunzinni (642500) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @12:15PM (#34474644)

          I'm pretty sure it's the file sharers who are out of touch if they don't see what they're doing as illegal.

          It's ironic that you are accusing others of being out of touch by claiming that file sharing is illegal. In fact, it is only illegal under some jurisdictions and, if that wasn't enough, only on very specific circumstances. Let me explain.

          First of all, you must be aware that when people talk about "file sharing" or, nowadays, even "piracy", they are referring to nothing more than a copyright violation. That means that the issue is none other than distributing a work of art without the copyright owner's* explicit authorization. This bit of information is important to understand this issue, as there is a lot of FUD and propaganda muddying the waters, so that ignorant folk believe nonsense such as "you wouldn't download a car" or "copying a file is theft".

          Now that we know that this "file sharing" thing is nothing more than distributing works of art without the copyright owner's explicit authorization, you must understand the rules which are implemented in different jurisdictions. For example, in countries that follow the French tradition of copyright law, it is very legal to distribute a work of art without the copyright owner's explicit authorization. It's legal to copy and distribute any work of art, provided that the sharing is being done whole following a couple of conditions, which are:

          • The work is shared without any commercial compensation (i.e., the sharers aren't making a buck out of it)
          • The distribution doesn't affect the commercial distribution in a meaningful way

          So, in any jurisdiction that recognizes those basic values any citizen is free to distribute any work he wishes, provided that he isn't earning money from it and that he isn't personally responsible for undermining the entire commercialization of that work of art.

          As a consequence, we have countries where it has been explicitly declared that sharing files is perfectly legal [torrentfreak.com].

          You can't make something legal by wishing it.

          In the same manner, you can't make something illegal by mindlessly claiming that it is.

          These aren't fairies we're talking about here. you're not going to clap your hands and have tinkerbell drop legal blu-ray rips into your lap.

          Of course not. You just go to the library and pick up any book, CD, DVD or leaflet, or even just right-click on a file and click "download". It's much, much easier and simpler than getting tinkerbell involved. And perfectly legal, too.

          If you believe that the current model is outdated, You can lobby. you can vote. you can inform. you can raise awareness. you can debate. but just ignoring the fact that it's illegal doesn't make it legal.

          See, you wasted your post mindlessly repeating that it is illegal without pointing out a single evidence that it is so, no matter where you are, no matter where you are from. Meanwhile, people who happen to live in civilized countries whose legislative branch wasn't (yet) dominated by content distributors do enjoy some legal rights, including the right to access copyrighted works without the owner's explicit authorization (i.e., file sharing). But keep drinking that kool-aid and repeating your "it is wrong, mmmkay?" mantra.

          * the sad state of affairs is that some jurisdictions bastardized their legal concept to change "author" to "copyright owner" and then make it possible to transfer copyrights from the artists, those who actually produced the work, to commercial entities who dedicate themselves to market and distribute what they label as "content". Therefore, this copyright issue, in those jurisdictions, stopped being about copyright but about the ability for a corporation to control and hold content hostage.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by jellomizer (103300)

        Harm...
        1. It is now much harder for musicians to land recording contracts. Because music industry will only record big sellers as the other types would spread via file sharing.

        2. Not respecting the license is a bad thing pirating software is just as bad as taking GNU software bundling it and not giving access to the source.

        3. Distorts supply and demand and free market economy as it creates a high supply lowering the cost of the software. Meaning us professionals don't get paid alot.

        • 3. Distorts supply and demand and free market economy

          How is it distortion though? It is definitely, provably, trivially easy today to make a nigh infinite number of perfect digital copies and distribute it to the masses for an order of magnitude less then it used to. Where are the savings that should be passed along to the customer now that the market has so radically changed? If anything, it is copyright lobbying and the media campaigns of the *IAAs that distort the reality of the free market.

          On that note, I don't think anyway who supports 75+ years of copyr

        • by MightyYar (622222)

          3. Distorts supply and demand and free market economy

          I had to kind of chuckle at that... it doesn't distort the "free market" when the government grants you a monopoly over data that is in the free and clear for 95 years?

    • by raddan (519638) *
      Believe it or not, the study of incentives is a very hot topic at the moment, across a whole range of disciplines, including computer science. The reason? Large groups of people using the internet do not behave the way economists/game theorists expect, and for the first time, it is possible to measure these behaviors on a large scale. Online labor markets in particular would benefit from better models.

      I have not yet read the article, but I suspect that the author is confusing 'altruism' with 'mutual bene
    • this report brings back my joy in the saying, "Information wants to be free".
    • For some it is. Just look at the chunk of the USA right wing that I like to call the Cult Of Psychopathy. The kind for whom everything is measured in money, is only motivated by money, justified by money (at least judging by the "but it makes money for the investors!!!" argument as trumping any other moral consideration and verily being the line that separates good from evil), etc. And for whom any kind of social arrangement that isn't defined by even sending each other a bill for calling the cops when you

    • Re:Duh? (Score:5, Informative)

      by shutdown -p now (807394) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @11:30AM (#34473946) Journal

      Did anyone think that file sharers were making money?

      "Financial gain" != "making money". It can also mean "not spending money".

      And yes, I do think that it is precisely what motivates the majority of file sharers in practice. Actually, that's what TFA says as well:

      For the leechers, pretty obviously, the major motivation was financial. They wanted to acquire music or films without paying for it because it was cheaper than going out to buy it.

      What was interesting was the difference with the seeders, and it was quite apparent that financial motivations were nowhere near as prevelant; it was a kind of altruism.

      So most leechers (who make up the majority on any file sharing network) are, in fact, motivated by money. Most seeders are not, however (duh).

    • I do it mostly because I'm a cheap bastard.

  • That's not the point of the media companies' campaigns against file-sharing and "piracy," though. Have you seen the FBI anti-copyright-infringement warnings? You can be punished whether or not you distribute copies of a copyrighted work for financial gain.
    • by guruevi (827432)

      With the current wording and laws you can be arrested simply for playing a movie in the wrong device. Some devices (cheap DVD players and computer programs) don't necessarily have paid for a license to playback the media. Also, any device that copies the content into buffers is technically infringing. If you have HDMI or DVI outputs and need a converter you infringe by circumventing the encryption on those channels.

  • Summary wrong (Score:4, Insightful)

    by guyminuslife (1349809) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @11:03AM (#34473522)

    The interviewee says that uploaders don't think that what they're doing should be illegal, not that they aren't aware of the legal ramifications or that education about the law would suddenly change everything.

    • Re:Summary wrong (Score:4, Insightful)

      by guyminuslife (1349809) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @11:05AM (#34473538)

      As opposed to saying "don't see what they're doing as immoral."

      • by Chrisq (894406)

        The interviewee says that uploaders don't think that what they're doing should be illegal, not that they aren't aware of the legal ramifications or that education about the law would suddenly change everything.

        As opposed to saying "don't see what they're doing as immoral."

        As far as I can see "uploaders don't think that what they're doing should be illegal", and "uploaders don't see what they're doing as immoral" are exactly the same. I cant think of any circumstances where a reasonable person would think that the law should be immoral.

    • by medv4380 (1604309)
      If you read the whole sentence you're pointing out in the article they say

      shouldn't be illegal, that there was no criminal act involved

      The problem isn't the Slashdot summary but the article. They constructed a sentence that contains a logical contradiction. The survey respondents can't think that file sharing shouldn't be illegal and think that there isn't any criminal act since if they thought it shouldn't be illegal that would be it was a criminal act, and if they think there isn't any criminal act involved they they would think that it was legal and not that

  • What about file shearing old games that are not for sale anymore? and no used copy's on ebay does not count or even the old copy in the bargain bin at the store.

    That's not about the money it's about letting you find old stuff.

    • by Dexter Herbivore (1322345) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @11:13AM (#34473666) Journal

      What about file shearing old games...

      Old games depilate you????

    • by X0563511 (793323)

      Well, I don't think anyone would care nearly as much if you sheared [wikipedia.org] copyrighted works.

      After all, you probably need to go buy another copy after you go about doing that!

    • by IBBoard (1128019)

      and no used copy's on ebay does not count or even the old copy in the bargain bin at the store.

      Why don't they count? Surely they're still available if you can pick them up in a bargain bin?

      • you ever try picking up a NES cartridge from either?

        Ebay: it will just be a third party version of the ROM flashed onto a hacked flash, (thus making it as illegal as the version you were getting online)
        Bargain Store: You'll buy every copy in the city, only to find out that ONE of them works, but the flash has been written to so many times you can't save a game.
  • What'll they realize next? That DRM pisses off the customers more than it prevents piracy? That using the courts to extract profit is going to backfire eventually? That water is wet?
  • by Pojut (1027544) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @11:13AM (#34473672) Homepage

    ::begin self-plug::

    Filesharing is a boon for people like myself. I do some writing (nothing released to the public yet, although once it is it will all be distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike license) and also make some spacey-ambient and drone-type music. The music I make is freely available to all (both on Last.FM [www.last.fm] and in a torrent [thepiratebay.org].) Since I care more about people hearing my music (and, in the future, reading my writing) rather than getting money for it, filesharing is perfect for me.

    I've got a donate button on my site, but even after I officially put my stuff up for "sale", I will continue to ensure it's available for free. I've gotten my fair share of music and writings for free...I feel like I should contribute something back, know what I mean? ::end self-plug::

    • by IBBoard (1128019)

      That'd be the "other" definition of file sharing - the one that focuses on the technical aspects (sharing any file and leaving legality out of it) rather than the one that the big labels and media like that focuses on politics and the illegal aspects ;)

    • Create and distribute your own work on your own terms. I'd really like to see more people do that. The RIAA would be quite happy if an "unfortunate side-effect" of copyright control laws made it impossible for individuals to publish their own work on the Internet. I'd sooner drop my $10 on some songs from a garage band in Japan than on the RIAA's latest pre-packaged autotuned turd.

      On the flip side of that coin (Because I love exploring those) what would you do if someone swiped your music off your web sit

      • by Pojut (1027544)

        On the flip side of that coin (Because I love exploring those) what would you do if someone swiped your music off your web site and started selling it as their own? I've actually seen that happen to a couple of artist friends in the past. Actually some magazine was doing that just recently, too...

        Honestly? I'd be flattered that someone liked it enough to think there was money to be made in selling it under their own name, but on the other hand I'd feel a little betrayed that they were making money off something I intended to be given away freely.

        I would likely ask them to at the very least attach my name to it (attribution and all that), but I don't think I would necessarily threaten them with legal action if they didn't stop selling it. I'd ask them to stop, sure...but that'd be as far as I went.

  • by PortHaven (242123) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @11:14AM (#34473682) Homepage

    Oh, I am sure most file-sharers understand that it is illegal. The billions of $$$ that our government wastes on anti-piracy, and sending Homeland Security after them.

    But is it immoral? That is the real question. And most file-sharers do not feel it is immoral.

    --

    A large part of this is because we have been ripped off for decades by the music cartel (RIAA). Who has also been ripping off artists for even longer. When we're paying $15 for a $2 product and the artist is lucky to see a dollar. Somehow that cartel's claims that "we're stealing", fall on very deaf ears. And when we see lawsuits which fine someone $2.5 million for a few 99 cent songs - quite clearly in violation of the United States of America's Constitution. We lose any pity we might have for a corrupt industry whose business model is extinct. And if not for the fact that they have paid billions to buy off our government, would have been put out of business a decade ago.

    There is a feeling of justification...

  • Bingo. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by metrix007 (200091) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @11:17AM (#34473728)

    At the most it could be immoral, although sharing things for people who may not be able to afford it otherwise would hardly seem so.

    I paid to see about 3 movies in the cinema last year, and only two this year. The rest simply don't seem worthy of risking a $10 movie ticket, considering I don't have a disposable income.

    I downloaded about 100 over the last two years however, and got some enjoyment from them. I would not be able to pay for the DVD's, and rentals are not a realistic option for me.

    Likewise games. In the last 2 years I played Batman:Arkham Asylum which was horribly disappointing, MW2 which was fun but I finished it in about 5 hours, and don't care about multiplayer, Bioschock, which I thought was horribly overrated, Medal of Honor which was shorter than MW2, but without any redeeming features, and Fallout 3 and Fallout 3 NV. Out of those games the Fallout 3 games are the only ones I would pay for, but I still can't afford it. Even if I did pay for them, I would probably throw the game out, as the pirated versions are so much more convenient and bug free.

    Given how well the content industries are doing financially, all the hubbub against copyright infringers just smacks of greed, and nothing else.

  • All human action is, by definition, motivated by self-interest. Now then, what a person deems desirable can be anything--this can be a sense of satisfaction from perceived selflessness or even masochistic suffering. Indeed, the only criterion for voluntary exchange is the ex ante prospect of mutual subjective gain. After all, one voluntarily gives up only what one values less that the thing received in exchange.
  • Unlike XKCD, this IT crowd clip [youtube.com] is actually obligatory.

  • by Grumbleduke (789126) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @11:20AM (#34473786) Journal

    While there was some interesting thoughts here (although nothing particularly new), I think he still makes one of the funamental mistakes the copyright industry pushes for;

    For the leechers, pretty obviously, the major motivation was financial. They wanted to acquire music or films without paying for it because it was cheaper than going out to buy it.

    He is willing to accept that seeders might not be only interested in financial gain, but fails to consider that this might also be the case for some leechers (as other studies and real-world situations have suggested). The greater convenience of pirated media over a licensed version can be enormous. For example, there have been cases where material has been offered on a "pay-what-you-want-but-pay-something" basis and yes people still pirated the content; showing that there is a disproportionate difference between paying $0.01 (or £0.01) and not paying. For some this might be some principle of not paying and being cheap, but for others this may well be an issue of convenience.

    As for the "pretty obviously" part, whenever someone states that something is obvious I recall something my analysis tutor said; "if someone is obvious, prove it; either it is obvious, in which case it won't take long, or it may turn out to be obvious, but untrue." Obviously this was in maths, which has much higher levels of proof, but it does seem that calling something "obvious" is a way of dismissing the converse without proper consideration.

    The survey data suggested there was a deep-seated belief that this type of activity shouldn’t be illegal, that there was no criminal act involved.

    Also, it is worth noting that in the UK there isn't necessarily any criminal act involved with unlawful file-sharing. Our copyright law is based on civil lawsuits and "actual damages", provided one avoids infringing in the course of business. Of course, this hasn't stopped the copyright industry from twisting our fraud laws to prosecute (unsuccessfully, in general) and persecute those allegedly involved in copyright infringement.

    • theres also the issue of people not having a way to pay even a token amount..
      for example, I have no way to purchase anything from outside India online, as I dont have a credit card, so for many things the choice is pirate or dont get it.
      Similarly, movies(eg: the Saw series) are often not released here, and TV shows (BBT,etc..) are often many seasons behind here, so torrents it is.
  • by MrNemesis (587188) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @11:22AM (#34473818) Homepage Journal

    ...from the findings-obvious-to-the-lay-person-but-will-be-routinely-ignored-by-big-content-even-if-proven dept: dehydrated water still a long way from market feasibility.

  • by AmazingRuss (555076) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @11:27AM (#34473906)

    So it's ok.

  • Their main motivation was that they were seeking notoriety, peer recognition, peer esteem, some sort of feeling of getting one over on the system. It was a much richer tapestry of different things contributing to the decision to go ahead and make the content available

    While I think "sticking it to The Man" is a fine motivation, particularly when The Man is Jack Valenti's zombie, I don't think it's what most people describe as altruism.

  • by edremy (36408) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @11:32AM (#34473988) Journal
    Altruism is giving something of yourself. If I write a kickass piece of software or a great song, or a novel and give it away under a GPL or CC license for the rest of the world, that's altruism.

    Giving away something that somebody else made and who presumably doesn't want it given away (otherwise they would have done so) is *not* altruism. You can argue theft, copyright infringement, whatever, but it is in no way comparable.

    • by VShael (62735) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @12:18PM (#34474694) Journal

      They are giving their time, CPU cycles and bandwidth, altruistically.

    • by Aceticon (140883)

      So you don't tell any jokes to your friends right?
      Unless you make them up yourself, you would be telling somebody else's jokes and they might not want you to do so - can't risk your buddies having a laugh from somebody else's hard work.

      Also, I bet you don't share any cooking recipes: after all, somebody went to the trouble of making that recipe and they might not wish you to give it to others.

      Sharing cool ideas you heard/read somewhere? Nope
      Sharing fashion tips? Nope
      Sharing professional advice you heard/rea

  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @11:33AM (#34473998) Journal

    The very first sentence:

    File-sharers aren't motivated by financial gain, but by altruism

    is overly generic. In practice, here's what TFA says:

    For the leechers, pretty obviously, the major motivation was financial. They wanted to acquire music or films without paying for it because it was cheaper than going out to buy it.

    What was interesting was the difference with the seeders, and it was quite apparent that financial motivations were nowhere near as prevelant; it was a kind of altruism.

    So it only applies to those who deliberately upload.

  • I just read a book by Daniel Pink called, "Drive" where he says that much of our behavior is a result of "intrinsic" rewards. Light reading, good info.

  • by DarthVain (724186) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @11:39AM (#34474110)

    Money Doesn't Motivate File-sharers.

    Now think of a pirate. What are his motivations? Booty (money), rape, and pillage.

    So as long as file sharers are not motivated by raping (Julian Assange doesn't count!) and pillaging then they should finally be off the hook and put to bed that stupid terminology!

  • by lymond01 (314120) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @12:05PM (#34474496)

    I keep thinking that, perhaps, one day we'll be able to do what we want to do with our time. If actors want to act, they'll do so without the guarantee of acquiring money (see local community theaters). If musicians want to play, they'll play. I guess it comes down to being able to create food and shelter for yourself -- you wait tables because you need a home, but you play music because that's what you love. I think it's great that popular musicians get paid for doing what they love, but it's sad that it's a necessity.

    Sigh...not even sure what I'm trying to say other than I'm not sure what the end goal of a capitalistic society is. We're technologizing ourselves out of jobs, always have been. What happens when robots are doing all the work, creating the music and art? Aside from the robotics engineers, who's collecting a salary?

  • by llZENll (545605) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @12:15PM (#34474638)

    Altruism is selfless concern for the welfare of others. I guess they don't count the artists who made the content they are enjoying for free, or in the long run the sad truth that they are slowly destroying said content. Rather than promoting the fear of legalities for file sharing, perhaps we should promote the fact that by using art for free you are only aiding to the downfall and cheapening of such art. You can argue fair use and copyrights notions all you want, it doesn't matter, if someone isn't paid for making art you will see less of it and less quality of it, guaranteed. By file sharing you are fulfilling a want for art and not paying for it. It doesn't matter if the artist never would have sold a single copy, if you had not been able to get the free art you probably would have purchased art from somewhere else, thus promoting the market for such art, and the teaching, learning, and advancement of technologies in such art. Sure if everything was free art would still exist, but you are kidding yourself if you think it would be even close to the quantity and quality it is now. The problem is the effects of sharing and the destruction of art is benign on the small scale, but on a large scale is malignant. People can't relate to this and thus share.

  • by Ostracus (1354233) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @12:26PM (#34474836) Journal

    "File-sharers aren't motivated by financial gain, but by altruism, according to an economist. Joe Cox, of the Portsmouth Business School, said those uploading content for others to share don't see what they're doing as illegal, meaning current tactics to deter piracy are doomed to fail. 'The survey data suggested there was a deep-seated belief that this type of activity shouldn't be illegal, that there was no criminal act involved.'"

    There's a word for individuals who practice altruism with creative content. It's called open source and unlike the "altruism" practiced by copyright infringers, it's done with the permission and respect of all parties concerned. Truly the distinction between selfish and unselfish. The "I made that's" versus the "I copied that".

  • by eepok (545733) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @12:34PM (#34474980) Homepage

    It's not that money doesn't motivate them, they *know* there's not money in it to begin with. Thus, they have no money motive AND no money expectation.

    It's a fine difference, but it goes a long way. It's the difference between a teacher knowingly being underpaid because of his/her passion for education (s/he isn't motivated by money, but still needs it) and someone who gives up his/her career, goes to a 3rd world country, and serves as a freelance 1-room school teacher to share his/her education (where there would be no *expectation* of money).

    File-sharers (the massive portion of them), in fact, actually PAY to share (internet connection, hard drive space, blank media, etc.).

    But those distinctions are entirely too honest to use in a politicized court of law.

  • by Corson (746347) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @01:12PM (#34475632)
    They are motivated by a sense of ethics and pride. Prices for digital goods are no longer set by supply and demand, there is no negotiation process the digital "market economy". Prices are mainly driven by what Alvin Tofler identified as "power". The end user has to accept the price set by the seller or else. Companies must be profitable but who says they have to make billions of dollars in profits rather than hundreds of millions?

You can measure a programmer's perspective by noting his attitude on the continuing viability of FORTRAN. -- Alan Perlis

Working...