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Gillmor slams 60 Minutes for unbalanced look @ copyright

Gillmor slams 60 Minutes for unbalanced look @ copyright issues in the movie biz. Report starts out: “It’s no secret that online piracy has decimated the music industry…”

Reader comments

sjcNov 03, 2003 at 7:51PM

"Copyright cartel"? Is this the rhetorical equivalent of M$?

And really, at this point, to be toeing the "file sharing has some perfectly legal uses!" line is just sad.

Begin pointless file-sharing thread with the same tired arguments we've heard for the last three!

megnutNov 03, 2003 at 10:30PM

So am I to understand sjc that you contend there are no legal uses for file sharing? Not even one? This is an honest question and I'm curious to hear your response.

dowingbaNov 03, 2003 at 11:34PM

A friend of mine who is a musician once wanted to show me some of his work. Upon transferring the Windows Media File of his recording, I found that Windows MEdia Player wouldn't let me play the file...copyright infringement. My friend was appalled. Seems the only way we could get it to work would be for him to buy the license from himself.

sjcNov 04, 2003 at 9:58PM

Meg -

My objection to the legal use approach is that it's disingenuous at best. While under the law - specifically, the VCR precedent - there may be some room to squeak by, it's like calling a bhong a "water pipe." The primary use of file-sharing programs like Kazaa is to get gobs and gobs of MP3s, porn and l33t warezzz. To argue that Kazaa can be used for legal file-sharing doesn't address the massive copyright infringement that's currently happening.

I'm not arguing against file sharing per se - certainly my own drive has MP3s of dubious origin, and it's obviously popular. What I tried to say (in a rather snide fashion, as I typically dread these sorts of discussions) is that by bringing up rhetoric like "copyright cartel" and using an argument like, "File-sharing can be legal!", Gillmor and others who make these same arguments don't do themselves any favors.

Something more productive would be to directly acknowledge the fact that people like downloading music. Actually, people like downloading music for free, and while the iTunes Music Store and Napster might stem that tide, free always trumps cheap. There's probably no solution, but Gillmor's article completely avoids the central problem with file-sharing - the massive duplication of copyrighted content without compensation to the copyright holders (the ethics of which are a completely separate discussion) - by branding media companies as "cartels" out to hassle Joe User who just wants to share his demos with the world. It's lazy debate, and exactly what I'd expect from a columnist from a mid-market paper.

If there's a point to be made regarding file-sharing, it can be made much, much better.

sicNov 07, 2003 at 12:32PM

Hey look, sjc, you delivered the "pointless file-sharing thread with the same tired arguments we've heard for the last three years" that you promised! Thanks!

This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.