Saturday, February 19, 2011
What the hell is COICA?
How about this... if that's the only job an artist has (selling copyrights), it's time to get a new one. When the US economy tanked in 2008, my previous employer decided they weren't going to give any raises for 3 years straight. However, the costs for healthcare, food, gasoline and living expenses skyrocketed. If I stayed at my old job, I wasn't making enough to survive. It's that simple.
So I went and got a new job that paid more money. It's not the same job I did before, but now I can pay my bills and survive, and I'm better off for it. If a musician can't make money selling their copyrights to labels, my argument is this - perhaps they should do something else. It doesn't mean they should sue someone who listens to their music without paying for it. It means they find a NEW way to make money by doing what's important to them. I don't have a right to sue my old employer for not paying me enough money for the last 3 years... that's not how reality works. And if you think trying to FORCE a listener or viewer to pay you money that you think you deserve? think again. That's not how reality works either. Treating fans like thieves doesn't make them fans any more, it turns them against you.
The RIAA/MPAA/US Government's argument is seriously flawed because it's not based in reality, and they think that musicians are entitled to compensation for creating their art... Van Gogh - arguably the world's most talented artist - made jack-shit for his paintings during his lifetime. He wasn't entitled to anything because people thought his art sucked when he was alive. If people don't want to buy your art, it's time to try something else. Van Gogh went insane and cut off his ear. I guess that's one way you can go.
If an artist wants to make money doing what they love, they'll find a way to do so (busking, touring, or begging)... Not by selling an infinitely available album, but by connecting with fans, engaging with them, providing a unique (i.e. good) experience, and enabling fans to enjoy something only you as the artist can create. I won't spend $10 on a Dave Matthews Band CD, but I'll spend $60 on their concert ticket. Which do you think is more valuable to Dave Matthews Band? I'd say it's pretty clear since $10 < $60.
Copyright for an MP3 or movie isn't going to force anyone to buy something that is infinitely available and free to anyone who can use Google. What our government calls "copyright" is a man-made monopoly over distribution for an infinitely available commodity (notice here I didn't say good, because it's not a tangible item). Copyright is not a right to force people to pay you for something that isn't even worth a penny (laws of supply and demand).
Governments were created to enforce the Constitutional laws that protect the public from harm, but apparently now they think it's more important to reinforce outdated business models. They have gone beyond the mandate of the Constitution in this regard (Ultra Vires). What do you think would have happened if Congress passed a law that outlawed using a car because it damaged the horse-buggy business? What progress would we as humans have made if we didn't allow technology to improve our productivity or increase the spread of knowledge (Gutenberg Press, Internet, etc.)?
We'd still have monks making copies of books in monasteries to candlelight, and secular music and movies would be illegal as mandated by the Church (there's a reason they called them the Dark Ages). Why do you think America exists in the first place? So humans could freely worship (or not) by their own free will, and speak freely without fear of persecution or prosecution.
Artists lose nothing (yes that's $0.00) from piracy because you can't steal something that didn't exist in the first place. When I make a copy of an MP3, it's new. It didn't exist before I made it. Any copy that's made afterwards from mine or anyone else's follows the same principle. It's simple logic that fails our government. No matter how hard folks like those at the RIAA/MPAA want to believe or make up statistics or figures that say otherwise. When you multiply any amount by zero, it still equals zero.