So to make things clear before I start:
1. Yes I know there's a piracy topic (2 actually), but instead of being a necropostmancer on a topic that's on the idea as a whole, I wanted to concentrate on the possible pros and overlooked benefits of what internet piracy could do.
2. This isn't a thread to persuade you and influence you to go outright pirate. DO NOT post things to download, links for places to pirate, and in general just use your head. Actually, don't even state that you do or have pirated before overall. It's still illegal, and we don't support being a messenger for such things. This is a big kid topic, so please don't ruin it.
So yeah, obviously internet piracy is a big no-no and frowned upon, but I'm willing to bet money that everyone here has at least done it at one point in your internet lives. It is a crime, yet it seems to be one of those things that doesn't get punished to the extremes, since it's quite simply hard to lock up just about everyone on the planet *shot*.
The point I want to get to however, are there actually benefits to piracy that people are over looking? I'm not saying "hur, as the "consumer," free things is beneficial herp," but more over talking about if the owners of said material have any gain from the act. The clouded line is what form of media in my opinion, but there are of course more things to look at past that.
Music is the big one that comes to mind, and sort of why I created this topic. Independent musicians on the internet STRIVE for exposure. Without the view count, you quickly fade off, and you don't grow in the public eye. A number one balance that's hard to, well, balance, is the ratio of getting paid for your content, and views. A lot of musicians want to get paid for the hard work they've poured into their works, and many actually survive off it, but the problem is if you "scare away" potential fans with a price tag. As funny as it sounds, it happens.
The catch is, piracy is the problem of this. People can easily rip things from the internet in a number of fashions, so when you as an artist have a price tag over your work, lots quickly decide it's not worth the trouble. But what if piracy is also the solution? Lapfox, if I may use an example artist, actually clearly promotes that people outright pirate his work (up at the top if you'd like to see his Q/A):
Q: I PIRATED YOUR MUSIC!
A: great! piracy rules. piracy and filesharing are great promotional tools, and help spread the word of artists. people that love the music they pirate generally do end up supporting the artists, and the only people that think otherwise are the RIAA and the labels under its umbrella. if you buy some music from me and want to send it to your friends, go ahead! i don't care what you do with it as long as you aren't directly reselling or bootlegging it as a whole. use it in your YouTube videos, post it on your website, whatever!
Is this something that's agreeable? It's a firm stance on the idea, but is actually beneficial in the long run, and is it hurting more people than supporting? Even if so, are the people that actually matter in all of it being supported, and should that be all that matters anyways? I mean there will always be the fans that want to support their favorite things to ensure there's more of it, and I doubt internet piracy is a force that can be stopped, so is it right to join the "if you can't beat 'um, join 'um!" phrase and farm as many as "these fans" as you can?
The reason I ask this is because it'd be stupid to have a narrow vision that only listeners/fans and the sole artist are the only people involved. Radio, record labels, audio engineers, promotional folks, advertisement, companies that provide software and hardware, and the seemingly endless list of job placements are affected by this. You could argue that some of these titles are falling behind the times thanks to the internet.
I mean, what band has the budget to actually go to a studio and book time for professional recordings anymore? As a student of Mid-Ocean School of Media Arts (MOSMA), a large percentage of bands that came in for our practice were older guys in their late 30s and 40s that seemed accustomed to way things have been working through out the late 20th century, and mind you that since we were students, their time was free. Are the people of our age, and the generation to come going to still do this? Or is increasingly being diminished to next to nothing? Sort of like recording an album with a tape machine is almost unheard of anymore?
We're at an age where getting your hands on your own software to create music is do able with little to no money, and can actually be achieved without spending a dime legally. There are free-ware DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations), and there's free plugins and virtual instruments. I'd be liar to say that people only take this route though. Many people obtain cracked copies of DAWs as well as components for them. This is where I ask if piracy benefits are determined by the media source. Could programmers of said programs actually survive off their material in the same fashion that I presented with the independent musician? I tend to side with "no." I could totally be wrong, but I guess that's where you guys come in.
I'm really interested where people hold a ground on this. I mean, do you get the point I'm trying to present here? Am I missing something or is this a strategy that works with the current way of things? The reason I leave this as a broad open "Pro Piracy" and not "Pro Music Piracy," is if you think there are benefits to the artists overall, or is it just in music? I mean, do you see this applying (of course with different circumstances to fit) to film? drawn art? television shows, etc? Are we in an age that you're better off being a freelancer if your craft can be obtained online?
To put my two cents, as a musician, I also welcome people to pirate my music (I'm speaking solely myself and my own work). I'm no where near a level where I can survive off my own product, and I'm constantly fighting the battle of getting more fans and constant views. So if as many people could share my work as possible, I see that as helping me in the long run. It's proven that there's fans of my work that would gladly chip a few dollars my way because they think I deserve it. It's why I like Bandcamp's feature of "name your price." It's like the ultimate middle ground of making the consumer feel less guilty about owning works illegally, and it allows the artist to dish out their product as widely as possible, yet still "holding out a hat for donations" if you will. If I were to say what I've made, it's actually been just about enough to cover the costs of the commissions I pay to other artists to do my album artwork (which are a great way of supporting drawn-arts you love if I might add). I figure the more I push, the bigger I'll be able to become, and every bit of help of this spread is totally worth it.
This is one of those things I could talk about all day, since I find it interesting looking at the issue from more perspectives than one, and there's so many "sub classes" of media volume, that it feels endless. Truth is I have a paper to write on music in general for the end of my course here by Thursday, and this was the topic I came up with. My instructors were totally fine with the idea, and interested in the results in general. So that said, I asked my questions, and would really love to hear what you guys think on the matter of pro piracy =D.
Piracy from the artist perspective and if there's benefits of it. Does it depend on the media type, if their are benefits, are they good for everyone? Good for those who matter in the loop? Please read the two points at the top I made before anything, and honestly, if you want the full grasp on what I'm saying, just take a few minutes to read the whole thing, since I don't think a tl;dr does it justice.