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August 30, 2006



Personally I don't see them adding ads directly to the music downloaded for 2 reasons.

1) It is relatively easy for a tech savvy person to edit the file to remove the ads.

2) Most advertising is very time sensitive, whereas most people dowload music to keep for more than a couple months.



Finally, an approach that doesn't try to circumvent the laws of economics. When a product becomes nearly infinitely easy to reproduce, the prices should drop to near nothing or be easy to pay (e.g. watching an ad).


So one of the big questions then is, as a result of this type of service, does the recording/entertainment industry stop its ridiculous intimidation suits against illegal downloaders of music and video images? Seems like it might be difficult to sustain a claim against a 13-year-old who takes a few songs from a non-add support site like lime-wire, when just a click away the same industry is giving the same song away because same kid is willing to look at a 30-second fruity pebbles add....interesting...



Another concern for the songwriters/publishers/artists. Under standard conditions (using bogus numbers for illustration purposes only), a songwriter or recording artist would get 10-cents per song downloaded on iTunes (10% of the 99-cent price per purchased download).

Under this system new system, there is no overall cost for purchase of a song to relate to that 10% to go to a songwriter/artist (under current contract provisions). This means that Universal could potentially make much more than 99-cents per song via their online advertising income, but still pay the songwriter/artist only 10-cents per download. Thereby cheating the songwriter/artist of the correct percentage due to him/her.

A paid-for CD or a paid-for download has a set/fixed price off of which to calculate the necessary percentages. This new system removes that benchmark.


A report released last month by the International Federation of Phonographic Industries revealed there were still 40 illegal downloads for every legal one.

I'm not normally as suspicious of statistics as I'm going to be in this post, but I don't give much credit to this particular statement.

Also, the recording industry has been wanting for a long time to buck iTunes. Its not that iTunes isn't making money for them, its that the $0.99 per song is Apple's idea, not the music industry's. While Apple has the monopoly, the music industry can't force them to charge more for popular songs and less for unpopular. If the music industry walks, then they loose money, Apple's pull is that strong. The music industry wants to charge you $2-5 or whatever for the songs you want the most.

Also, artists don't make much money selling songs. Think of that as their advertisement. If the artist gets $0.02/song and the distributer jacks the song up by $3.00 because its popular, then that artist will most likely sell more tickets when they come to town (which is where more of their money comes from.)


So one of the big questions then is, as a result of this type of service, does the recording/entertainment industry stop its ridiculous intimidation suits against illegal downloaders of music and video images?

The laborer is worthy of his hire, John.


"A report released last month by the International Federation of Phonographic Industries revealed there were still 40 illegal downloads for every legal one."

so, DJ, you dont' give credit to this statement? Honestly, when compared to all other laws regaring "victimless crimes", how is this any different?

I certainly know it is a higher percentage than 40 to one of peple that speed for every driver that drives the speed limit.

Yet, it is "legal" for the Corporate world to shove their advertisements down our throats... I for one can't stand advertising and now??? whoopee... I can download if I have to vomit over another advertisement in my life?

Most of us do exactly what we want when we want and if we disagree with a law, then we follow our particular view of that law, rather than follow the law.

and this is exactly the problem with our society and mankind. People don't follow God or Jesus but rather their own particular view of Jesus.

have mercy on us Lord!!!!


The laborer is worthy of his hire, John.

Not that again. Whenever anyone dares suggest that intellectual property might be a different animal than physical property (and perhaps a more complex subject), you say: "The laborer is worthy of his hire, [insert name]." Even when it is appropriate (and one time you threw it in my face it manifestly was not), it is highly monotonous.



I'm confident that most recording artists are more than fairly compensated for their efforts...my assumption is that the recording/entertainment industry comps the artist for his/her contribution, and "eats" the "lost revenue" when music under its contract is "illegally" downloaded. I'm not aware of any reliable study describing how the music industry loses money over free downloading...it appears that the truth, however, is much to the contrary...which leaves us with the question, and hopefully your cogent explanation, as to how it's biblically just and equitable for major corporations, with millions in their legal budgets, to file $15,000.00 lawsuits against thousands of middle-class teens and families, who likely have little or no legal budgets, in order to recover lost revenues for maybe $100.00 in downloaded music.

This type of disproportionate penalty is patently unjust, and earmarks the thugish, power abusing qualities of the music industry. Imagine if a kid shoplifting a $100 CD player was caught and fined $15,000.00...this just would not happen...laws simply aren't written or enforced that way (save perhaps in certain left-coast, Ninth Circuit jurisdictions)...

The music industry loves its monopoly and power, and don't be fooled, levels its lawsuits for no other reason than to squeeze folks into buying its overpriced product, from its outlets, under its terms...antitrust at its worst, and it's all perfectly legal...and believe also that Big Music earns amply for its "labor"...

Sorry to hear you've parked yourself under the Big Corporations tent...



Actually (and this is not to agree or disagree with your point, John), I can say that in Massachusettes the law states that retailers may demand up to $500.00 from a shoplifter in addition to the return of the merchandise, regardless of the cost of the merchandise, and the value of the merchandise if it is over $500.00. So, the general concept is certainly not unprecedented. The morality of it is another matter.


Minnesota has statues laying out a couple hundred buck penalties as well...I'm talking big dog penalties like 15k for a $100.00 petty misd...get your point though...thanks...



Two points:

1. I hope that people will actually take the time to read the license agreement when they download their free music. I'm willing to bet that it includes language that says you are going to allow the site to download some adware/spyware into your computer. This is more common than a lot of people are aware.

2. (And this is directed in John's direction) The language in your posts carries with it the stench of class envy, a victimization complex, and a lame attempt to rationalize THEFT (look the word up in the dictionary).
- Just who appointed you the judge of what is "fair" compensation?
- Why the quotes around the word 'illegally?' Copyright infringement is a federal offense and a felony...not even close to being the same as a traffic infraction.
- Let me turn around your question. Where in the Bible does it say anything against civil penalties for THEFT?
- From the language in your post, I take it that there should be two sets of rules in this world, one for people/entities with a lot of money and those who don't have as much. Just who should be the judge of how much is too much? Am I to assume that you are in favor of people preying upon "deep pockets" as a way to make some cash? After all, they can afford it, right? They can just "eat" it, right?
- Penalties are SUPPOSED to be disproportionate. That is how they become effective. If the penalty on earth for murder was a $1.00 fine and the penalty in the next life was a "tsk-tsk" from God, I can guarantee that murders would be a lot more common.
- The music industry has nothing that is even in the same neighborhood as a monopoly. There is probably more competition and choices in music than in any other industry in this country. Dozens of different labels, indie music, live performances, FREE radio broadcasts, free concerts in the park, and all the way down to a group of kids having a jam session in someone's garage.
- Their lawsuits aren't meant to "squeeze" anyone into buying anything...they are meant to stop people from STEALING from them.
- "Big Music (sic)earns amply for its 'labor'"...How sad. Again, who are you, or anyone else, to judge what is ample compensation. If you don't want to pay them your money...don't buy their music and just listen to what is on the radio. I suggest that you go out and price the following items: guitar, amps, microphones, drums, studio time, printing, CD burning on a full-production scale, advertising, and distribution. For every band that makes it big - and, by extension, that you seem to resent - there are a lot of one-hit wonders, and thousands more who never get past bar and coffee shop gigs. They ALL work hard and deserve every single dime they get.

Bottom line, John. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out that you are one of the folks who steals music via the internet. You can throw all the slogans, tired old cliches, excuses, rationalizations, and justifications that you want at us. You don't need (and certainly aren't going to get) my blessing. Be a man. Look at the consequences of what you are doing, make a decision, then LIVE WITH IT. Don't cry after the fact when you get punished for stealing something.


You got me Bob...well done!

"You can throw all the slogans, tired old cliches, excuses, rationalizations, and justifications that you want at [US]."

I assume the "US" means you are one of under-compensated corporate elite you so ardently defend...

You do make a point though.."Render unto Sony BMG, er, uh...Caesar..."...you make a lovely couple...

Yes, as you point out, there are two sets of rules operating on the wealthy/power elite and everyone else...those who can afford a "lobby," and big-buck lawsuits, and the rest of us...this distinction is created and maintained by those who have, to ensure they don't become those who have not...and it's not exclusive to the music industry...

I think your class envy comment is a misnomer though...the party who envies, is the party on the wrong side of the Lord, not on the wrong side of the money. Priorities Bob!

I've never justified the theft of music...look at my prior posts and you'll see how I characterize the taking of music...I simply argue against disproportionate penalties by an industry the sells sin, and sex, and violence, and uses its power to crush the little guy for his illegal yet comparitively benign behavior.

Perhaps ask yourself how would Jesus manage this issue...I agree He would not excuse the theft, but you might find yourself in the role of the Pharisee, with Jesus leading a discussion about throwing stones and the downloader being admonished to sin no more...





Yesterday, I tried to purchase a downloadable song from Walmart.com. First, the site informed me that I could not do so from my Firefox browser - only from IE. So I opened the IE browser that I almost never use and tried again. No dice - Walmart.com now informed me that they could no longer sell to anyone with a Windows ME operating system (yeah, I know we're a bit behind technologically).

Since I don't have enough money to upgrade and certainly am not going to do it just to get a single 88ยข download, I went to Buy.com to try to purchase it there. I reverted back to Firefox, my preferred browser, but turns out they also had an "IE only" rule so it was back to IE. They then informed me that they couldn't put the song in my basket because my browser's cookies (supposedly) weren't enabled. I checked and they were in fact enabled, but Buy.com was just not recognizing it for some reason.

Long story short: I did not purchase the song yesterday.

I just hope this SpiralFrog thing doesn't ask people to jump through all those stupid hoops to get one lousy tune!

In Jesu et Maria,

Brother Cadfael

Perhaps ask yourself how would Jesus manage this issue...I agree He would not excuse the theft, but you might find yourself in the role of the Pharisee, with Jesus leading a discussion about throwing stones and the downloader being admonished to sin no more...

Of course, you, John, could find yourself listening to Jesus talk about taking the log out of your own eye so that you could see the splinter in Bob's more clearly.

As could we all.

I too have a problem with the notion of "stealing" "intellectual propery". If I steal a CD from the store, I took something (the CD) that didn't belong to me and that the store no longer has and can no longer sell (again, the CD, the physcial disk). If I download a song off of the internet, I'm not *taking* anything from anyone: the information has not been moved from one person's possession to another's: it's been multiplied. How can I *steal* something from someone if they still have it after it's been stolen? The practice may be immoral for some other reason, but to call it THEFT seems to distort the meaning of the word.

In the interests of full disclosure, in case accusations will be thrown this way too, I have never illegally downloaded music or video from the internet.

Brother Cadfael


You only receive a license to use the material for a specific purpose. You do not receive all rights to the material. What you are stealing in that situation are the rights to the material that you have not been granted.

Legally and morally, the taking of rights that you have not lawfully obtained is theft.

Joy Schoenberger

I wonder if the new SpiralFrog downloads will have all the latest copyright protection stuff glommed onto them, the way the Walmart downloads do, to prevent ad-free redistribution.


As a humorous aside, if Star Trek replicator technology ever comes about, there'll be similar angst when collectors see their $50 million paintings drop in value to $.02.


Brother Cadfael,

Which log in my eye?...the log where I AGREE that theft is wrong?...AGAIN...I do not support illegal downloading of materials. I agree that it constitutes theft. Bob accuses me of being one of these folks, essentially accusing me of thievery, with no basis to make such an allegation...I do question the appropriateness of the illegality label placed on downloading, hence the quotes around the term, but for now our legal system seems to think it is illegal, so I agree that one must obey the law, and render unto Caesar...re-read my first posting, and I think you see where I'm coming from.

Or are you speaking of the log where I call'em as I see'em with respect to an industry that most here would probably agree pumps out as much vile garbage as any business entity on the planet? Go back through Jimmy's articles and the thousands of posts here Brother, and you'll see thousands of examples of lay-folks trying to clarify moral positions as they attempt to interpret scripture, canon, tradition, etc., and relate them to contemporary facts and circumstances.

My point is simply that the "Big Business" music industry markets, then sells a lot of vile garbage, much of those sales going to teenagers, and younger folks, then hits those same low-income folks and their often unwitting families with grossly disproportionate lawsuits....simply because they can...that's it...that's my point!

Of course, though, I have logs in my eye...I have vast forests of logs in my eye that you don't know about...but I think it's fair to comment on an industry that along with the decent stuff it puts out, bankrolls folks like Madonna who conduct what some might argue amounts to satanic ritualism right outside the Vatican, designed to taunt our beloved Pope...or Madonna, and Brittany making out on t.v. during an awards ceremony...these are the folks you defend, with the mere "splinters" in their eyes?

Disproportionate justice is a topic worthy of discussion here, and if I, a sinner with a full flotilla of logs in my eye can't comment, then who here can? Jimmy and every other Christian blogger might as well pack up shop, and get back to whatever he or she does professionally. I'm sorry if you disagree.



Brother Cadfael


Perhaps what I was referring to was the confident assurance in your post that Jesus would come down on your side of the argument and against Bob the Pharisee. That's all.

The rest of your post appears to be straw.


Brother Cadfael,

So...fair statement then that you think Jesus would side with the music industry on this one, and support a several thousand dollar lawsuit against a $100.00 crime, to teach those evil downloaders a lesson. Sorry, not buying it!!! Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice to give us downloading sinner types an opportunity at a free pass when as you say, we are stuck with logs in our eyes, and don't deserve his redeeming grace...believe what you want...straw and all!



From what I have heard, SpiralFrog.com will be providing music in the protected wma format, and the DRM will prevent the burning of CDs. The tracks will be compatible with any player that sports Microsoft's "PlayForSure" tag. The big problem with this approach, as I see it, is that protected wma files are not supported by the iPod, which whatever else one may say about it, is preeminently dominant in this product category. That seems like a stupid move, IMHO. Whether preventing CD-burning is a deal breaker or not, I am not sure. It seems like a reasonable trade-off for not shelling out for the music.

Mom of 10

"Teenagers can't as easily pay for songs from iTunes because they don't (I hope in most cases) have credit cards..."

Teens can buy iTunes music cards from any number of locations, so they don't need a credit card to download songs. My teens do this all the time. I don't think teens are illegally downloading songs because they have no way to pay, I think it is because they don't really want to pay if they can find a way to get the songs (legally or otherwise) for free.


John -

What is all the hostility toward people who (a) work for a corporation and/or (b) make good money? I will "ardently" defend anybody, regardless of how much money they make, when someone is stealing from them.

By "us," I meant the people who were commenting on this post. You want to know where I'm coming from? I spent a lot of money on college, studied hard for many years while I worked days in a warehouse and went to school at night, then worked at a lot of really crummy jobs trying to learn my trade - accounting. Last year, I was finally able to realize a goal of mine when I was offered a job as controller for a great company...to the tune of about 120k a year. I TURNED IT DOWN. Why? So I could do some clerical and bookkeeping work for the same company part time making about $15 an hour. Why? Because I have a little boy at home who doesn't need a father who "phones-in" fatherhood while spending his life working late at the office. I'm his dad and I don't even miss the money for a second. I went to the fire academy last year, and took some EMS courses. I spend many nights in my small town working the fire engine or the ambulance...for no pay. I'll tell ya, John, standing out in the rain at 2:00 in the morning, trying to un-wedge a dead man's crushed head so I can get his lifeless carcas out of a mangled car - for zero pay - is about as far from "corporate elite" as it gets.

As for these poor people you keep referring to...if they are really that poor, I don't think that computers, internet access, CD burners and/or iPods are really part of their world. Being sued is completely their choice. If they don't want to face that possibility, they can avoid it altogether if they simply REFRAIN FROM ILLEGALLY DOWNLOADING MUSIC.

I honestly apologize for accusing you of stealing music.


//From what I have heard, SpiralFrog.com will be providing music in the protected wma format, and the DRM will prevent the burning of CDs.//

If it can be decoded (played), it can be encoded (recorded) in a different format.


I'm not into online music, but even if I was, if SpiralFrog's music was in .wma format, I wouldn't even bother visiting the site.

Brother Cadfael


fair statement then that you think Jesus would side with the music industry on this one

No, not a fair statement. To the extent that fair has anything to do with it.



I'm grateful for what you do and the choices that you've made, and I accept your comments.

I work as a legal aid attorney, and like you I works for peanuts to help folks that really need help, when other far more lucrative opportunities have, and presently exist, for me.

I quite often get the consumer collection case where, in a representative example, the grandmother has taken in her grandkids because mom and dad are high on meth or some other drug of choice (around here its meth). The grandma, kids, mom, and dad are all below the poverty level. Mom and dad have money for cigarettes, booze, drugs, and enough gas money to get from bar to drug house then back to the trailer, where the kids get to fend for themselves. Grandma takes the kids in with no idea how she's going to pay the rent much less for the kids welfare...she promptly maxes out her capital one card, then her citibank card, then her chase card...you get my point...she does this to keep the lights on and the kids fed...I see this type of scenario 20 or 30 times a year, no joke. It's kind of like that scene from Le Miserable, where Jean Val Jean looks through the window of the bakery one night, realizes that what separates himself from a full belly and avoiding starvation is a 1/8 in pane of glass, he breaks the window, takes the bread, gets caught, and spends the next 20 years at hard labor.

Next the big corporation reasonably tries to collect from grandma (I have no problem with this, grandma has a contract that she may have breached)..the matter is referred to a collection agency, and then the fun really starts...Grandma who can barely manage to keep the lights on has to deal with the debtors, the power company, the gas company, the municipal authorities, and the ongoing maintenance needs of her new family... grandma is usually elderly, on SSI or social security, and hasn't the strength to manage things much past calling my office and begging for help. Then you find out the third-party collectors have seized the funds in grandma's checking and savings account, and you have to have her income declared exempt to get it back, but in the interim, she's racked up so many overdrafts (unrecoverable by the debtor in our state by the way) that her bank account is at some stage of being closed. I do what I can for grandma to get grandma and the kids on public assistance, get grandma setup with her judgment proof status so she can avoid future leins against her bank accounts, etc., when mom and dad sober up long enough to decide they are parents-of-the-year-in-the-making, and take the kids back...and hence the circle of life in two minutes, in the legal services arena...somewhere in there, the kids have got ahold of internet access, downloaded a bunch of music on grandma's ancient Packard Bell 386SX, and now grandma gets hit with a disproportionately large suit to the tune of thousands of dollars, because one of the grandkids took a few songs when grandma was cleaning toilets at the church since the local good-hearted priest took pity, and let her earn a few bucks off the books. If you think it's mostly rich kids in the suburbs, the poor kids get internet access just like the rich kids, and do their damage much the same.

Thesis statement:

Stealing is wrong!...and...When Big bucks sues little or no bucks, Big bucks is negligably enriched by a return on the funds it lost, but little bucks is often utterly destroyed in the process. And I can tell you first hand, having done this type of work for the past four years, when I say destroyed, I mean destroyed!!! When poster with no apparent access to the impoverished neighbors around them use esoteric, rather condesending academic argument to black and white an argument like disporportionate justice, you can see the result. Apathy, and why don't the thieves just pay their bills like me and you.

And yes brother Cadfael, I do think that Jesus is benevolent, would forgive all debts, would make his only priority to love his neighbor, not attaching a sort of strict liablity "pay me now or you'll royally pay me later" mentality. Think about how yall would respond to my comments if Jesus was visibly standing right next to us, and we were having this conversation live. Would you really tell the grandmother to pay up in front of our Lord. I'm know I'm not that brave, or crass.

I should as a matter of honesty point out that I have not personally assisted a client in defending a suit by a MUSIC company, and I realize that music is not a staple or necessity like food or shelter, but the Corporations versus the little guy cases you read about in the media, and that I see all the time, portray almost exclusively impoverished and innocent parents and grandparents paying huge, suffocating sums for the mistakes of their children...and that to me is just not right.

Add that to the crap these Corporations push our kids, the demonic messages, killing cops, prosituting and sex language in the lyrics, and you can see why I'm not sympathetic to the Corps at all. Sorry if that offends...



Brother Cadfael


Pretty much my only point is that you seem to have completely missed my point.

Some Day

Add that to the crap these Corporations push our kids, the demonic messages, killing cops, prosituting and sex language in the lyrics, and you can see why I'm not sympathetic to the Corps at all. Sorry if that offends...

In a real Catholic society, this would never happen. The media, music and EVERYTHING would be in accordance with the Gospel.
I don't know what this whole discussion is about, I don't want to waste time on an,in by low opinion, a spare change post. I don't usually care for these types of posts, so I won't, but just skiming, I can agree with that statement.

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