Storm's Journal

piracy or copyright? the third solution

     The Strength of the Wolf is the Pack; 
     and the Strength of the Pack is the Wolf. 
     (Rudyard Kipling) 

 - copyright exists to ensure musicians get paid. 

 - the other side is that once an artist produces something, 
     it goes beyond them and many benefit. 

 - between consumers and producers now stands record companies 
 - but paying artists is only a step on the way to gaining profit. 
     in practice, many musicians (who play instruments) starve, while 
     marketing bimbos (spice girls) thrive - this is wrong. 

 - a fundemental qualitative difference between physical and 
     electronic goods is - if i have an apple and give you an apple, 
     i no longer have an apple; but if i have an idea and give you an idea, 
     we BOTH have an idea. therefore you cannot treat electronic things as 
     if they were actually physical goods, because they aren't! 

 - still, you must compensate producers of the original bits. 
     so what to do? 

 - the physical distributors and merchandisers pay into the musician's 
     pool that pays and feeds the musicians. 
 - the musicians pool distributes it equitably among its active producers. 
 - from the pool comes more new music. which is given away for free. 
     unlimited digital copies for everyone, never again a dime paid for 
     anything that's just DATA. 
 - distributors get fresh music, and sell and package more STUFF. 
 - distributors pay back a percentage of sales back into the pool. 
 - so it comes back and feeds itelf (the most important part). 

 - so all software is free - you get mindshare from it. 

 - but if you make a physical whose value lies on the free music on it, 
     then a percentage goes back. 

 - but the artist is not paid direct - it goes to the musician's pool, 
     which doles out shares each month by percentage of overall downloads 
     from a service such as Napster. 


Q: won't physical distribution go away
when we move to total digital distribution?

A: i do not believe the vision that sales of physical goods will diminish 
        towards zero and be replaced entirely by digital distribution. 
        as digital distribution goes up, the value-added of merchandising 
        of 'physical' stuff based around the content will go up. SOMETHING 
        THAT IS PHYSICAL IS SCARCE, and its value (unlike digital) lies in 
        that not everyone can have it. thus, collectors will pay a premium 
        to have something TANGIBLE and official from the band over just a 
        download of the song. 

        when anyone can get a copy of a song downloaded for free, 
        then the merchandisers will 'add value' to the product through 
        unique packaging, and by inventing desirable things to provide 
        in addition to 'just the data'. for example: 

- you get a printed booklet and poster with your CD - looks nicer
  than if you burn it yourself. 

- you have all sorts of merchandise: books, fanzines, t-shirts, 
  it is up to the ingenuity of the merchandisers to make money
  off of this stuff - and when they do - a percentage (like a sales tax)
  goes back to the musician's pool, and gets divided up by percentage of
  napster (or insert your service here) downloads that month. 

- i can download a copy of any of shakespeare's works TODAY FOR FREE 
  from PROJECT GUTENBURG - but i still go out to amazon to order a
  copy. why? i COULD download it and print it myself on my inkjet
  printer, but it would cost me more to download and print then to buy
  a copy that's already nicely packaged by a bookseller. in essence:
  the 'data' of the book is free, but i'm paying for more than just
  the content, i'm also paying for the convenience (over printing on
  my own inkjet), and the PRESENTATION. 

- radio didn't eliminate books, and TV didn't eliminate radio,
  and computers didn't do away with calculators and paper...
  i think as bands gain mindshare through unlimitited digital
  replication (and the best ones will get found out and downloaded),
  that their value as musicians performing live will again increase.
  diversity and lots of small local venues which cater to every
  possible demographic -- variety will increase. the big homogenous
  companies will have to transform or die out, just like like the
  larger breweries had to start offering more variety when the
  microbreweries took more time to craft their wares, and people
  sought that quality out. 

> Economic Basis for Musician's Associations:



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