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In memory of Megaupload (2005-2012)

"So let’s go back and look at what it would have cost you to ethically and legally support the artists.

And I’m gonna give you a break. I’m not gonna even factor in the record company share. Let’s just pretend for your sake the record company isnt simply the artists imprint and all record labels are evil and don’t deserve any money. Let’s just make the calculation based on exactly what the artist should make. First, the mechanical royalty to the songwriters. This is generally the artist. The royalty that is supposed to be paid by law is 9.1 cents a song for every download or copy. So that is $1,001 for all 11,000 of your songs. Now let’s suppose the artist has an average 15% royalty rate. This is calculated at wholesale value. Trust me, but this comes to 10.35 cents a song or $1,138.50. So to ethically and morally “get right” with the artists you would need to pay $2,139.50.

As a college student I’m sure this seems like a staggering sum of money. And in a way, it is. At least until you consider that you probably accumulated all these songs over a period of 10 years (5th grade). Sot that’s $17.82 dollars a month. Considering you are in your prime music buying years, you admit your life is “music centric” and you are a DJ, that $18 dollars a month sounds like a bargain. Certainly much much less than what I spent each month on music during the 4 years I was a college radio DJ.

Let’s look at other things you (or your parents) might pay for each month and compare.

Smart phone with data plan: $40-100 a month.

High speed internet access: $30-60 dollars a month. Wait, but you use the university network? Well, buried in your student fees or tuition you are being charged a fee on the upper end of that scale.

Tuition at American University, Washington DC (excluding fees, room and board and books): $2,086 a month.

Car insurance or Metro card? $100 a month?

Or simply look at the value of the web appliances you use to enjoy music:

$2,139.50 = 1 smart phone + 1 full size ipod + 1 macbook.

Why do you pay real money for this other stuff but not music?”

"Another reason Labian said he wasn’t worried about the government stepping in is because the company maintains a “good relationship” with various government bodies, including “Homeland Security, ICE, and the FBI.” Following DMCA protocols, whenever MediaFire is notified of a copyrighted file being shared inappropriately, the company immediately takes it down."

It seems like the gov’t has mainly been going after filesharing sites that made profit from users uploading pirated content-offering membership to have faster download/upload speeds and etc. Mediafire doesn’t offer this service and the rest of the article seems to put to rest any fears about the website being inspected or taken down.


Here’s an article listing current known statuses of other filesharing websites with a legitimate source

File sharing recognized as a religion in Sweden

In the midst of a worldwide debate about Internet piracy, Swedish authorities have granted official religious status to the Church of Kopimism, which claims it considers CTRL+C and CTRL+V (shortcuts for copy and paste) to be sacred symbols, and that information is holy and copying is a sacrament.

The church was founded by philosophy student Isak Gerson, who is also the self-appointed spiritual leader of the movement.

In a statement on the church’s website, he says its religious roots stem back to 2010 and that it formalized a community of file sharers that already has been “well spread” for a long time.

"The community of kopimi requires no formal membership," he writes. "You just have to feel a calling to worship what is the holiest of the holiest, information and copy."

(For those who are unaware, kopimi is pronounced “copy me.”)

According to the Church of Kopimism website, church services consist of “kopyactings,” whereby the “kopimists” share information with each other through copying and remixing.

Bertil Kallner of Sweden’s Financial and Administrative Services told the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter that a religious community could “basically be anything.”

"What’s important is that it is a community for religious activities," he said. (via Swedishwire)

We may be entering The Great Depression of filesharing

I’m going to tell my kids about this when they’re bouncing on my knee one day. 

"At first we were in denial, Anonymous attacked everyone in response for Megaupload and we hoped they’d back off. But later that week, FileSonic and Uploaded.to shuttered their doors as well, and just a few months later Rapidshare closed down U.S. service. Daddy had nowhere to download movies and porn, he grew increasingly agitated and lashed out at his loved ones and alienated his girlfriend. She tried to stay with him through the rough times but eventually left. 

Six months later, I was sucking dick for pirated links to the fourth season of Misfits. Only when I found Jesus did the suffering stop”

This morning's grouse

It’s really nice to be praised. It’s really extremely nice to have people gush over your work and recommend your books to others.

It’s a bit less nice when they then upload them to multiple filesharing services.

(sigh)

Back to work…

Based on his experience, Kerr told me that “the settlement rate (on P2P lawsuits) for porn films is about 80 percent, whereas for legitimate films it is usually less then 50 percent. Plus, all settlements for porn films are usually several hundred to thousand dollars more than for legit films. You can go to the public docket and see that all of Dunlap’s other cases besides the porn films are totally dead.”
Reaching 3 years-binary retention

There are not many standards which can differentiate a newsgroup provider’s offer from another. But one characteristic became more and more important to know if a provider is reliable : days of binary retention.

image

For several years, newsgroups providers have been tried to increase their binary retention. First they could offer 100 days, then 500 and today the most important providers reached 1095 days, which means 3 years!

Why does it matter? A 3-years binary retention means that you can access to files present for 3 years in the platform, you have thus many more choices.

Those who achieved this exploit are not many yet:

The British government has decriminalized the act of online video game, music and film piracy, after branding harsher punishment plans as “unworkable.”

Beginning in 2015, internet users who persistently file-share will be sent a series of warning letters explaining that their actions are illegal. However, authorities will take no further action if the user continues downloading the material.

I did not expect this to come out of what is usually the biggest police and nanny state in Europe.

Did file-sharing cause recording industry collapse? Economists say no

Now comes a paper from the London School of Economics that tries to do more than just challenge the DEA. It argues that everything Big Content says about file sharing is wrong. In fact, it suggests that file sharing is the future, and that revenue downturns can largely be explained by other forces. “The music industry is performing better than is being claimed and declining sales can be explained by other factors in addition to illegal filesharing,” say Bart Cammaerts and Bingchun Meng of LSE’s Department of Media Studies. “The negative framing of the debate about file-sharing and copyright protection threatens to stifle the very same creative industry the Act aims to stimulate.”

"The RetroShare network allows people to create a private and encrypted file-sharing network. Users add friends by exchanging PGP certificates with people they trust. All the communication is encrypted using OpenSSL and files that are downloaded from strangers always go through a trusted friend. In other words, it’s a true Darknet and virtually impossible to monitor by outsiders. RetroShare founder DrBob told us that while the software has been around since 2006, all of a sudden there’s been a surge in downloads. ‘The interest in RetroShare has massively shot up over the last two months,’ he said.”

One of the first records I bought when I was a teenager in London during post-punk was the vinyl 7” of Scritti Politti’s 2nd Peel Session EP. I was fascinated by the black and white sleeve, housed in a clear plastic jacket, which detailed the production costs and the different suppliers used to put together and manufacture the record. The group were debunking the mysteries of commodity production, telling everyone they could do it themselves. They aimed to break the monopoly of the record companies, but out from the shadows of punk emerged the DIY businessman. Dreams of freedom, the most violent acts of sonic negation, would find their place within the structure of the marketplace.

Musicians, journalists and record company people are all reliant on an economic system that seems to be failing them, but this is no less true for other workers today, who are seeing their prospects evaporate due to outsourcing, automation and digitisation. That’s the paradox of what Mark Fisher calls ‘capitalist realism’: we’re told there is no other choice than to accept the existing political and economic structure as the only guarantor of our existence – at the very same moment that the system has ceased to fulfil its promise. Philosopher Slavoj Žižek rightly calls this the fantasy of the liberal utopia – it’s a fantasy because the dream of a folky, highly local and ultimately stable capitalism (independent labels, small record stores, DIY groups) goes against the deeper reality of capitalism in which, as Marx and Engels wrote, “all that is solid melts into air”. Today this means digitisation, faceless uploading, global telecommunication.

The irony is that the history of musical subcultures is actually rich with attempts to think beyond capitalist realism and the dream of a liberal utopia. Outlaw raves, backyard concerts, alternative distribution models from mail art to cassettes to filesharing, pirate radio… all of this happens in a grey market that is mostly indifferent to the law. What if all this activity is actually an experimental laboratory for the construction of a post-capitalist society?

—  Collateral Damage: Marcus Boon

The Wire: Adventures In Sound And Music: Article

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