Teenagers: "I don't pay for music anymore"

This is sort of obvious data for anyone who has been paying any attention, but it's certainly refreshing to hear the things from the horse's mouth. This hilarious panel took place in Web 2.0 conference, with a bunch of innovators, creators, visionaries and hackers talking to five teenagers. Some choice quotes from the bunch, none of whom recognized the word Skype :-D

Q: Who has an iPod?

3 of 5 have ipods.

Sean: I thought it would be nice to pay the artists initially, but then my computer crashed, so I used Podutil to bypass Apple's DRM and get music from a friend.

Sasha: I have 10 paid songs out of 1500 on my iPod.

Steph: I never pay for downloading a song, I go to a friend's house to get their music.

---

Q: Let's say you want to buy a CD player, where would you go?

Sean: ummm, a CD player...? (laugher)

---

Q: Where do you guys go for news?

Sean: reuters, NPR podcast, "I'll go to multiple news sites because i don't trust any one site."

In five-ten years, these will be the guys thinking about the future. And they're used to having free music that is not tied to owning a physical copy or a single computer. In the developing countries such as China and India this will be even more so.

The discussion about whether one can copy a copy-protected CD or not is not really about CDs. It's about freedom to control your own environment and your own life. The copyright industry wants to turn the world into a police state, where they have the power - because they think they own music, and they should also decide how others must consume it, simply because being a monopoly is a good profit opportunity. The new legislation contains the first steps towards this.

Professor Matti Pohjola points out one key difference between patents and copyright: Patents don't stop you from innovating on an old idea (you are free to improve on an existing design and patent it yourself), but copyright does. You cannot make derivative works of a copyrighted song, for example, without explicit permission. Copyright always requires you to make a new work, which means that from a cultural perspective, any work of art protected by copyright is a dead end.

I strongly feel that copyright and patent legislation should be converged. After all, they're currently used for similar purposes: controlling and monetizing "intellectual property". We Finns should start by moving the copyright issues from our Ministry of Education to our Ministry of Trade and Industry, where patent, trademark, and consumer issues are currently already being handled.




Comments

"Copyright always requires you to make a new work, which means that from a cultural perspective, any work of art protected by copyright is a dead end."

Not quite. This would imply that, for example, as the works of Black Sabbath are copyrighted, heavy metal never really caught on as a new musical movement. I think 30 years of men with long hair and black jeans is a persuasive counter-argument.

(I do understand the need for new systems for protecting the rights of the artists -- and specifically the artists, as opposed to the record companies -- but that's not one of my bigger beefs with the current system. Now, pouring millions of dollars into computer-crippling DRM-systems and lobbying for laws that restrict the rights of the users on the other hand...)

--Ripa, 12-Oct-2005


I meant that you can't take a Black Sabbath song and remix it, whereas you can take any patent and improve on it (in essence doing a remix). Now, the patent system has slipped some pretty broad stuff through (like the oneclick patents), but the principle still is to allow other people to build on inventions from other people.

Not to mention the fact that patents are valid only for 20 years, whereas copyright is valid for author's life + 70 years.

--JanneJalkanen, 12-Oct-2005


Right, I get that.

I think we're coming at this from diametrically different viewpoints. Your point about remixes does stand (although the amount of hiphop and electronic music that utilises the work of others without resorting to blatant copying -- we're not talking about P. Diddy's rehashed pop icons here -- is absolutely staggering) BUT:

  • from a cultural standpoint, calling the restrictions on copy-level remixes and cover versions "a dead end" smacks of rhetoric; and
  • this idea places rather too little value on the conseptual value of art, be it (the aforementioned) Black Sabbath giving birth to a half-dozen genres or Warp Records paving the way for music based on what was previously considered just sound equipment glitches.

So. Bad system, yes. Definately no longer functions as intended, yes. But not because it renders copyrighted works "a dead end".

--Ripa, 13-Oct-2005


Well, I did try to be a bit provocative. So yes, calling copyrighted works a "dead end" was meant to elicit reaction from people - because from one standpoint it is true. And the way things are going now, people might start to think that it is a good and desirable thing.

Hiphop and electronic music are good examples of the mostly illegal remix culture of music... If the copyright legislation was very strictly adhered to, they would not exist.

Note that plagiarism in books is already an issue (e.g. Dan Brown got sued for supposedly stealing ideas, not literal text) - it might become so also in music in the future.

--JanneJalkanen, 13-Oct-2005


<i>"The copyright industry wants to turn the world into a police state, where they have the power "</i>

True, but they have no power to do so. It's the GOVERNMENT that wants to, and *CAN* turn the world (or country) into a police state. The copyright industry has no power whatsoever without the assistance of the government.

--Phil, 14-Oct-2005


I don't think the government wants to do anything. My guess is that they would probably be happier, if nobody ever bothered them, so that they could just push paper around all day long, drink coffee and forward funny emails.

I think you are just underestimating the power of lobbying.

--JanneJalkanen, 14-Oct-2005


I think you misunderstand a big group of people in civil office.

They go there, not because they are losers and can't get a real job, but because they see things that should be improved and it can't be done from the business sector. They actively try to do something, other than just send funny e-mails and drink coffee.

There are slackers in any work environment, including public companies (what do you call 30+ million bloggers?).

But I digress...

I also tend to think that IPR legislation and systems are broken.

Badly.

It's just that majority of institutions (weilding power) are unable to accept this at this time (or in the next 10+ years).

The fight will get bloodier still, until a big enough group of institutional thinkers finally understands the futility and comes up with a better model.

And this is not an ideological stand, but a pragmatic one.

Patents as well as copyrights and trademarks are being guarded/enforced more and more by a small group of big companies and exploited/stolen/misused by an ever-increasing number of small companies and individuals.

That's a non-winnable war, even if the big boys can pull of some wins in local fight.

Something's gotta give.

--192.100.124.218, 17-Oct-2005


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