But maybe it isn't quite that, either.
Where does intellectual property begin and end?
Let's start with a question: if I sit at the piano and play an Elton John song, for some friends, or even at a concert, don't I owe John royalties on the song? He wrote it, I am copying and he is receiving no reward for his efforts. Isn't that stealing.
If it isn't stealing, then why is downloading mp3's theft? I feel that it is but I can't parse the difference. Because the artist actually played on it?
Let's say yes, then what do you owe when you buy a song? People taped albums onto cassettes all the time in the 70s and 80s. Why wasn't that theft? OK, it was, but nobody much cared? Because it wasn't big enough to matter? Because it was a different format. More likely, because of the size of the problem.
Prince, u2, record companies, have been struggling against the inevitable for over a decade. Look: mp3 rules of theft are not a million miles away pot smoking. It is a bad law because it makes too many people criminals. And if the reply is, that, so does double parking but imagine if you didn't have it, well, I kinda agree as well.
I don't THINK I've ever really file swapped but have I bought a song and then emailed it to somebody else. Absolutely. How is that theft?
Prince may well be right when he says his music is being stolen (though he has always been a paranoid little fuck) but he can't stop it so he needs to figure a real way to deal with it. Simply saying "this sucks" ain't gonna handle the situation. What level of intervention does he think the Government can enforce? If a law can't be enforced, the law itself has very limited abilities.
The answer is being sorted out as we speak, between Spotify, Amazon, Apple… You see, it isn't about theft, it is about distribution. Perhaps that's going over the breadheads head.
Meanwhile, this is exactly what Price said to the Guardian: "The industry changed," he explains. "We made money [online] before piracy was real crazy. Nobody's making money now except phone companies, Apple and Google. I'm supposed to go to the White House to talk about copyright protection. It's like the gold rush out there. Or a carjacking. There's no boundaries. I've been in meetings and they'll tell you, 'Prince, you don't understand, it's dog-eat-dog out there.' So I'll just hold off on recording."
So no more recording as well… Since nobody actually buys his music any more I think the industry will survive.
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Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – January 1983 (Volume 14, Number 8)
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