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Downloading music

woods93woods93 Explorer
edited June 2013 in General Banter
I know downloading or pirating music is generally frowned upon and technically stealing. I was just wanting other members view on downloading music from a buddhist prespective. Is it really that bad to do?
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Comments

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    Yes, it is bad. It is illegal which means you are an outlaw in that instance. If we have no respect for laws the society would not be as good. So if you pirate software that erodes at the law and 'everybody does it'.

    It also is taking the work of an artist and giving them nothing in return. If at an arts and crafts festival you were to shoplift items that the artist worked hard for then that would obviously be breaking the second precept.

    I'm not sure if there is a Buddhist perspective other than the five precepts saying not to steal.
    person
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    Jeffrey hit it right on the head. It's trying to get something for nothing...something another person created for their income.

    I do differentiate between something (such as a book or music) that is out of print or no longer produced. But, that is rarely the case when it comes to downloading music.

    OP...I think you already knew the answer...after all, you called it pirating.
  • JosephWJosephW Veteran
    edited June 2013
    Law or not a law, legal or illegal, it doesn't matter, it is obviously wrong. However I do think it is somewhat outrageous as far as price goes when you are trying to get a collection, $2,000 for 2,000 songs, ha, so I just use grooveshark or playlist.
  • vinlyn said:

    I do differentiate between something (such as a book or music) that is out of print or no longer produced. But, that is rarely the case when it comes to downloading music.

    It depends on the music you're interested in. A lot of "early music" (medieval and Renaissance), avant-garde and sometimes classical doesn't stay in print for long.

    If I can't find it available for download, then I will see if the CD is available (used or new)-- and sometimes costs a pretty penny (I don't regret purchasing a $70 import disc online of Machaut's Notre Dame mass), but is worth it.

    But for a great deal of other music, its just a buck, so what's the problem? Just pay for it. The sound quality is generally better anyway.

  • I released a digital album 1.5 years ago. I currently have 643 "fans" on the two sites I use to promote my music (facebook and reverbnation). Out of those 643 fans, only 4 or 5 have actually bought my album.

    I spent a few thousand dollars making the album, not to mention the time and effort that went into it all. It can be discouraging when I think about it in that way, but I try not to. I knew from the beginning that this is the way that music is these days. Anyone who expects to make money selling their music is deluding themselves. The great thing about the internet is that it is much easier to promote your music nowadays. The bad thing about the internet is that it is just too easy to download music for free, and since it seems that people have access to the internet 24/7 there isn't really even any need to download the music when it is available for streaming.

    I have most of my music available for streaming and that is a personal choice. I could take it all down and insist that if people want to listen to my music they need to pay for it, but that seems contrary to the spirit of the music that I am making. Also, how can I expect anyone to pay for my music if they have never heard it before?

    My attitude is basically that I will keep making music regardless if anyone pays me to do so, because I don't play music to get paid. I play music because I love to (and because I "need to" in the sense of having a creative outlet).

    If everyone who listened to my music bought a copy of my album, it would allow me to have the funds to make another album. But that just isn't how it works anymore.
  • JoyfulGirlJoyfulGirl Veteran
    edited June 2013
    I buy from indie artists, but am not ashamed if I download from big artists. Now I pay for spotify so I rarely download anything. I like having cds, so I buy most of the music I listen to. If I dont buy from ani difranco, dar williams, Ruth Theodor, bitch etc... There is no way they can afford touring and making the music I love so much.
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    Change the law?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pirate_Party

    I have never downloaded an iTunes paid music track.
    Every Monday Apple release a free track.
    That'll do me. Rest Youtube will do - not sure what the status is there . . .
    I have not 'jailbreaked' my Ipad or IPod Touch.

    I come from the freedom of free software with Puppy Linux on my hardly used desktop.
    Creative Commons music or similar will do for me on the desktop.
    http://creativecommons.org/

    In many ways Apple is the antithesis of music freedom, unless you are able to pay, in which case it is easy to feel free of musical hassle . . . :rocker:
  • lobster said:
    I want to go to a pirate party
    lobster
  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran
    If you enjoy music or movies or whatever then it needs to be paid for or it goes away.
  • BonsaiDougBonsaiDoug Simply, on the path. Veteran
    Jeffrey said:

    [...] I'm not sure if there is a Buddhist perspective other than the five precepts saying not to steal.

    Along with the Precepts, I'm pretty certain there are many Suttas which deal with stealing. So I'm thinking that might cover a "Buddhist perspective."
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    riverflow said:



    But for a great deal of other music, its just a buck, so what's the problem? Just pay for it. The sound quality is generally better anyway.

    I'm talking about stuff that's not out there in any form that you can purchase.

  • CittaCitta Veteran
    What the precept about stealing actually says is " Adinnadana veramani sikhapadam samadiyami " which translates as not taking the not freely given.
    If the musicians and other artists are giving the fruits of their labour freely then there is no breach of the precept.
    If they are not,.. there clearly is a breach of the precept.
  • Music as true art is becoming rare. It has become commodity. For some people, illegally downloading music is akin to stealing ketchup packets from Burger King. As a musician with music out there (available at the usual big online music outlets), I say do not do it. Ever. It is, after all, commodity. You can find something else.

    As an indie, I've yet to recover my own costs for producing my CDs.

    That said, for me, personally, I'd rather have my music listened to and obtained for free than ignored because it may cost too much (despite the 99 cents price).

  • swaydamswaydam Veteran
    Music is a pleasure, and not a need. Therefor, I don't believe in making a profit off of it. Its a creators responsibility to find a need to fulfill for payment.

    Actually, that doesn't explain my view very clearly.

    Let me illustrate my position with an example;
    Someone acts in a play. You could say they are fulfilling a need for therapy because it uplifts peoples mood or what not.
    Someone invents a video camera. Now the therapeutic need of the play can be more effectively distributed. The need is met better. The actor isn't needed to quite the extent he/she once was.
    Whoever sells the video cameras is fulfilling a need. Whoever sells the empty video tapes is fulfilling a need etc. If the actor isn't working any more, then why should they be paid for something they did in the past?
    If you can get something without X, then X is no longer needed. Its pointless to pay X when X isn't fulfilling a need.







  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    If someone buys it then obviously there is a need.

    It's ludicrous not to pay for things made in the past. My computer was made in the past, but it is wrong for someone to steal it from me.
  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran
    @swaydam How do you feel about other intellectual property such as inventions, patents, trademarks, etc. Do you feel there is any value in any of these beyond the initial expression? So if I engineer a robot that vacuums for you, should I just get paid for the initial blueprints or should I be allowed to patent that so no one else can copy it and make the same thing, should I be rewarded for my idea?
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran
    A good friend of mine produces albums at his cost. In return he asks people not to pirate it. He works really hard to pay for the equipment, the sound room time, and so on. REALLY hard. Why should someone get all of that for free? He is putting his time into something, and when you purchase something, part of that goes into the time a person gave up of their life to create it. Whether they enjoy creating it or not is not the point. They are giving you something you enjoy, at a great cost of time, and actual money, to them. Why should you not pay for it? If you don't want to pay for it, fine, but that doesn't mean you deserve a copy of it just because you don't want to pay. If you are supposed to pay for it (ie it is not available for free from the artist and/or producer) and you find a site to download it anyhow, it is stealing, which we all know is against Buddhist principles. Taking that which is not given. Also, even though you might not donate money to pirate bay and other places, lots of people do, especially advertisers, so you are supporting a criminal enterprise in visiting those sites anyhow.
  • riverflowriverflow Veteran
    edited June 2013
    As someone who has recorded some music and has it for sale via CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon, etc., I have no problem with some copying-- it is bound to happen and I know that is often how I have been exposed to new music--only to download it later as a high quality file.

    As far as those musicians on record labels that operate on the traditional model, the MUSICIANS aren't the ones losing out much because musicians make very little from CD or MP3 sales. The majority of that money goes to the record companies, the engineer, the producer, etc. Being signed onto a record label is little more than indentured servitude.

    A lot of bands don't have a problem with illegal downloads-- the record companies do. None of this makes it OK, but I hardly weep for the losses of record companies. It is a an old model and the internet is slowly undermining this system. A new approach to music distribution is still evolving, but the traditional model is going to go the way of the dinosaurs-- and the record execs know it.

    If you want to get really technical about it, if you go to YouTube to view or listen to most things uploaded on it, you are doing just as much as downloading the file illegally.

    Click on this and you are....



    Breakin' the law, breakin' the law!
    karasti
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran
    Child abuse will happen. So will war. Does that make it ok?
    If an artist is ok with it to get his name out, then terrific, more power to him to place his work available in such places. But those who don't want their material out there, have the legal right to resist that. I realize that a lot of that is the record companies, and I think most of them have some horrible policies. However, that doesn't make taking something online, just because it's available, ok. I don't want movies online on youtube, either, for the same reason. or music videos put out by anyone other than the artist/studio. My friend I mentioned, they have a band, they do tours in the midwest, and so on. To him, it's really important that his work not be stolen, and I respect his (and other's wishes) and realize that just because I want something, doesn't make it ok to take if the person who made it is hoping to get paid. I try to be careful even in what photos and videos I share online, because my husband and a few friends of ours who are photographers who have had their work used for free by the media and other sources. They work hard to produce what they do.
  • Like others said, yes it's bad, of course it's bad. It's illegal, but I still do it. Karma I'm willing to take on. On the other hand, I try to watch my speech, my actions and so on. That is worse than downloading music.
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran
    I'm curious why, those who download pirated material (movies, music, whatever) do so? What is the reasoning for why you do it? A long time ago (early 2000s) I did too, when Napster was still free. My reasoning at the time was "well I wouldn't pay $20 for the CD for just the 2 songs I want, so, since I just want those 2 songs, it's ok." But over time I realized, that whether it was the law, or whatever, I felt wrong in doing it. I've personally never felt good in doing something I fully understand to be completely wrong, and did it anyways. Some people download a few songs, things that are really, really hard to find otherwise. But other people I know download literally terabytes of movies and music just because they can. Even though they can afford to pay for it, even though most if it they'll never watch because they simply don't have time. They do it ONLY because they can get away with it. That seems a bit silly to me. If I knew I wouldn't get caught, I still wouldn't shoplift. Not because the law says not to, but just because if it doesn't legally, and rightfully belong to me, it's wrong.
    riverflowperson
  • CittaCitta Veteran
    LeonBasin said:

    Like others said, yes it's bad, of course it's bad. It's illegal, but I still do it. Karma I'm willing to take on. On the other hand, I try to watch my speech, my actions and so on. That is worse than downloading music.

    Forget karma for a moment. Its wrong because its wrong.
  • swaydamswaydam Veteran
    edited June 2013
    person said:

    @swaydam How do you feel about other intellectual property such as inventions, patents, trademarks, etc. Do you feel there is any value in any of these beyond the initial expression? So if I engineer a robot that vacuums for you, should I just get paid for the initial blueprints or should I be allowed to patent that so no one else can copy it and make the same thing, should I be rewarded for my idea?

    I don't know enough about 'intellectual property' to say for sure. Its a complex and subtle system, and it probably has its pros and its cons, and there is likely a better system possible to take its place.
  • CittaCitta Veteran
    swaydam said:

    Music is a pleasure, and not a need. Therefor, I don't believe in making a profit off of it. Its a creators responsibility to find a need to fulfill for payment.

    Actually, that doesn't explain my view very clearly.

    Let me illustrate my position with an example;
    Someone acts in a play. You could say they are fulfilling a need for therapy because it uplifts peoples mood or what not.
    Someone invents a video camera. Now the therapeutic need of the play can be more effectively distributed. The need is met better. The actor isn't needed to quite the extent he/she once was.
    Whoever sells the video cameras is fulfilling a need. Whoever sells the empty video tapes is fulfilling a need etc. If the actor isn't working any more, then why should they be paid for something they did in the past?
    If you can get something without X, then X is no longer needed. Its pointless to pay X when X isn't fulfilling a need.







    I have no idea what you are saying.
  • swaydamswaydam Veteran
    person said:

    @swaydam How do you feel about other intellectual property such as inventions, patents, trademarks, etc. Do you feel there is any value in any of these beyond the initial expression? So if I engineer a robot that vacuums for you, should I just get paid for the initial blueprints or should I be allowed to patent that so no one else can copy it and make the same thing, should I be rewarded for my idea?

    Should the inventor of cars have tried to patent his idea to stop other people from making cars? How about the inventor of fire?

    I don't think you can literally own intellectual property. Its a convention made for modern society.
  • CittaCitta Veteran
    In the case of people making music its their living. And you are advocating stealing it.
    No form of words no matter how confused, obfuscates that.
    Its actually black and white.
  • swaydamswaydam Veteran
    Perhaps downloading music is simply wrong. I like to try and argue for the less popular position in order to expand my mind. My feeling is actually that its mostly wrong, but I could be mistaken, like anyone else.
  • CittaCitta Veteran


    It is taking the not freely given. If someone decides to take the not freely given then they have made their choice. But thats what it is. And the Buddha is reported to have said that this will have an impact on their ability to see things as they are.
  • swaydamswaydam Veteran
    ok
  • sovasova delocalized fractyllic harmonizing great lakes Veteran
    if music is freely given to the internet, which is the new trend, then it's ok :)
    radiohead recently released an album called In Rainbows (2007) where you could pay any amount you found reasonable. I really like stuff like that.

    if I were a big-shot guitarist I would give all my music out for free. Concerts and shows is where you make all the big money anyway
    riverflow
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    Funny, although we are talking about an industry rooted in vinyl, we seem to be at that point where the rubber hits the road.
  • CittaCitta Veteran
    sova said:

    if music is freely given to the internet, which is the new trend, then it's ok :)
    radiohead recently released an album called In Rainbows (2007) where you could pay any amount you found reasonable. I really like stuff like that.

    if I were a big-shot guitarist I would give all my music out for free. Concerts and shows is where you make all the big money anyway

    I have great respect for Thom Yorke who is in my opinion supremely gifted...but he is also a multi-millionaire who could well afford that very generous gesture. Most musicians aren't in that position.
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    For those who are implying that it's okay to pirate music because the musicians are rich...exactly where does that end?

    When I lived in Thailand, most Thais considered me rich. Therefore, it was all right to steal from me.

    In most of the third world almost all of us on this forum would be considered rich. Therefore, it would be all right to steal from us.

    Most corporations are "rich". Therefore it would be all right to steal almost anything produced.

    There are rich Buddhist temples and poor Buddhist temples. So it would be all right for the poor temples to steal from the rich temples.
  • FlorianFlorian Veteran
    How can we be discussing on a Buddhist forum whether it's okay to steal music? My answer would be unprintable.
    vinlyn
  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran
    swaydam said:

    person said:

    @swaydam How do you feel about other intellectual property such as inventions, patents, trademarks, etc. Do you feel there is any value in any of these beyond the initial expression? So if I engineer a robot that vacuums for you, should I just get paid for the initial blueprints or should I be allowed to patent that so no one else can copy it and make the same thing, should I be rewarded for my idea?

    Should the inventor of cars have tried to patent his idea to stop other people from making cars? How about the inventor of fire?

    I don't think you can literally own intellectual property. Its a convention made for modern society.
    The idea behind it is that it allows someone to reap the rewards of their ideas. The protections only last for I think its 20 years or something. If there weren't protections in place there wouldn't be much incentive for anyone to invest time and energy into innovating a new product since as soon as they released the idea someone else could replicate their idea and profit off of it without having to invest the time or money of invention. The same goes for music though its not quite as obvious.
  • Like Ani DiFranco sais: Downloading music while sometimes necessary is never as good as the real thing


    Artists such as Ani DiFranco would not be famous if it was not for bootlegs and people copying cds and tapes. Ani got famous and grew a large fan-base because people would trade tapes. When music is available like it is now it is easier for artists to promote their music, in the end downloading is not really new. Like I said people would copy cds and tapes before too.

    Obviously it is not good, but at the same time it is not entirely bad.

    I think it is interesting to see how soft people were on people actually fishing and killing fish, when someone writes about downloading some music people are like: "IT IS BAAAAD". While fishing etc... it is just uuuhmmm, depends on your intent. Come on people, it is not all white and black with downloading.
    riverflow
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran
    I think there is a huge difference between copying tapes and cds and downloading music. A hit song downloaded illegally is done MILLIONS of times. How many times did you make millions of copies of singles tapes or cds? If you as an artist and they say sure, go for it, then terrific. What RadioHead did was neat, and I expect we'll see more of that. But that doesn't mean you as an individual get to decide that someone else's creative efforts should be available for free. My aunt is a fabulous quilter. So, because someone doesn't want to pay the $300 for one of her quilts, they should be able to decide to steal it because she has it hanging on her clothes line? It's easy to justify our behaviors as ok when we don't want to see ourselves in a bad light. Regardless of what you believe about the actual laws, the artists that are ok with their work being downloaded, find ways to make that happen. Most of them are not ok with it, and unless you ask them it's stealing.

    For what it's worth, the problem is more in uploading/sharing than it is in downloading, though you can still find yourself in hot water with your ISP and lose your service for downloading, too. If you like the music, why not pay for it so the artist can continue to produce more? If you can't pay for it, then wait until you can. Where else in the world can you decide you deserve something for free because you can't afford it (or just don't want to pay for it)? No where. I can't decide to walk into B&N and take a book because I'm not sure I'll like it or not. I can't walk into the grocery store and steal food because I think we shouldn't have to pay for food. As much work goes into creating an album as it does for someone to create a book or grow and harvest lettuce.
  • TheswingisyellowTheswingisyellow Trying to be open to existence Samsara Veteran
    Taking that which is not yours is theft.
    personvinlyn
  • swaydamswaydam Veteran
    I keep seeing the responsibility be put on the public to make sure artists get money. Its primarily the sellers responsibility to produce something people want to spend money on. Do concerts, sell shirts. Make good album art and offer other things with the CD to entice people to buy it. Once you sell someone a product, that product is the buyers to do with as they choose, regardless of how you feel about it. If you don't actually have a thing, and thereby can't control its use, in what practical sense is it yours? In the end, controlling whether or not people download music is either an effective or ineffective way to ensure artists get paid.

    riverflow
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran
    Yes, it is a way to ensure they get paid. That's how it works...you produce something and then you get paid for it. When you buy something, it belongs to you. Until you sell it or give it to someone else, and then it belongs to them. When you buy something, you do not buy every rights associated with it. You bought the one cd. Not the rights to all the songs on the cd to do with what you please. Just because I buy a product doesn't mean I own what is on the product. I pay for cable tv I don't own any of the shows. When I purchase photos of my own children from a photo studio, I don't even own those photos. I own whichever photos I choose to buy. But the image on them belongs to the photographer who used equipment I don't have and expertise I don't have to take a picture. I'm not just paying for the photo, I'm paying for all those other things, too. Things that don't belong to me, but whose skills and equipment I am utilizing.
  • swaydamswaydam Veteran
    Just for the sake of intellectual discussion, is it wrong to rent books, music, or movies
    from the library when you could instead pay the creators for those things? Millions of
    people do this.
    Is it wrong to buy a used CD rather than pay for a new one?
    Is it wrong to buy a CD and use it to DJ with?
    Is it wrong to buy a CD and take samples off of it to make ones own music with?
    Who should get to decide how much rights someone has over a product they buy?
    riverflow
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited June 2013
    You can get in trouble if you make music with samples. You can be sued.

    The first one, you bought the CD so you can sell it.

    For DJing you bought the CD so you can play it to your 'friends' at the party.
  • swaydamswaydam Veteran
    Here is another question. Is it immoral for a seller to get paid more money than a product is worth? So much effort is spent trying to make sure nobody gets something they didn't pay for. What about making sure nobody makes more money than they actually worked for? IMO, the corporations steal from the public by manipulating them to buy things they often don't need, often at prices that far exceed the work put into them.
    riverflowJoyfulGirl
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    It's a capitalist society, not communist.
  • Don't sample MY music that I have created and then use it to create you're own tune. That's plagiarism. And with that you obtain the holy trifecta: its not moral; its not ethical; and its against the law.

    person
  • swaydamswaydam Veteran
    Can I just sample a millisecond? Pleeeease?
  • swaydamswaydam Veteran
    edited June 2013
    Jeffrey said:

    It's a capitalist society, not communist.

    True, no harm in exploring the possible benefits of some communist principles though. I doubt communism is devoid of any wisdom what-so-ever. We live in a democracy too.
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran
    I don't agree with a lot of how corporations work and the power they have. However, that doesn't mean I can steal from them because I disagree with how our capitalism works and the policies corporations have.

    Just for the sake of intellectual discussion, is it wrong to rent books, music, or movies
    from the library when you could instead pay the creators for those things? Millions of
    people do this.

    The libraries and other places pay for the material LEGALLY with the understanding people will borrow it. That is how they work. It is completely legal. But it is still one copy of something the library purchases and owns. They can lend it out, and get it back, and lend it out again. You can do the same with things you own. However, it would NOT be legal to rent a book from the library, and copy the book to have your own free copy. It would not be ok for you to make a million copies of the book and dole it out to friends. Even if you own the book, you own the one book that contains the information. You do not own the information within it.
    riverflow
  • @swayden - what the heck. Yea, sure. Since you asked...;)
    swaydam
  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran
    What if it were just as easy to reproduce a vacuum cleaner, like say you had one of those Star Trek replicators. All you had to do was get one vacuum cleaner so the replicator could learn how it was made then you just started reproducing them and handing them out on the street corner. That is essentially the same thing, I think we don't notice what we're doing as much when its something as intangible as music.
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