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"owning" digital content Equalizer Plugins
Old 2nd January 2011
  #1
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"owning" digital content

Should Digital Collections Be Worth*Something? - MTT - Music Think Tank

I think this is another issue with digital downloads... we've talked about it before, but it seems to me that there should be a mechanism for the transfer of ownership for digital files. Some sort of registration of content? Not sure what the answer is, but it seems wrong to me that there is no mechanism.
Old 2nd January 2011
  #2
Yeah, it's a genuine question.
One of many questions that remain unanswered as we've rushed headlong into the digital age.
The outright ownership of digital files seems reasonable to me, as is the request by artists not to have their work taken without permission or payment.
It's all a bit of a mess.
Old 2nd January 2011
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by psalad View Post
Should Digital Collections Be Worth*Something? - MTT - Music Think Tank

I think this is another issue with digital downloads... we've talked about it before, but it seems to me that there should be a mechanism for the transfer of ownership for digital files. Some sort of registration of content? Not sure what the answer is, but it seems wrong to me that there is no mechanism.
the closest we came was Itunes DRM with music tied to personalized accounts - it still boggles my mind that the Major's let go of that mechanism out of spite towards Apple in an attempt to break the virtual monopoly by empowering Amazon - it was risky, and thus far the industry has lost more than it has gained.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #4
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I also suspect that the inability to really "own" digital content has a very subtle but real impact on piracy. I don't think it's front of mind, but the fact that your big digital collection doesn't have "value" as something that can be sold or traded has a psychological impact on perceived value.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by psalad View Post
I also suspect that the inability to really "own" digital content has a very subtle but real impact on piracy. I don't think it's front of mind, but the fact that your big digital collection doesn't have "value" as something that can be sold or traded has a psychological impact on perceived value.
I agree with this, but I have no idea what the solution is. In previous times, a large collection of music said a lot about a person - their taste, priorities, passions, etc. Even casual music fans would resell LPs, CDs, Cassettes at Yard Sales. Now - there really is no resale value, but, the cost is also considerably less.

In the late 90s when Napster started, in the beginning, many industry people were not concerned about it for that reason - who would want some inferior quality, non-tangible, collection of music? Hmmmmm...

It really is one of the essential issues - how to differentiate and reward people who pay for legitimate sales. Economically the cost of a purchase certificate or some other cool collectible would probably be as much as the price of a song.

Of course the easy answer would have been to not have digital sales and stick with CDs... that didn't work out so well... and what can you make unique to a legitimate digital sale that can't be pirated and distributed?
Old 3rd January 2011
  #6
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Don't think too much into it, people have never purchased music for any future value it might retain.... People bought music because they loved it, loved the band, loved the identity the music gave them etc. etc. never because they thought they might be able to trade it later on... Piracy flat out exists because it's easy, it's free and there is no fear in doing it, actually it is almost even promoted as the thing to do so it's actually cool amongst a lot of people.... maybe, maybe with vinyl back in the day but even then it was first and foremost for the music and art. i think ownership of music is largely going the way of the dodo bird, the future is something that resembles ownership but isn't and is more like renting...

DRM is no good. I won't even use iTunes, i can't stand it.

Some variation on the songle perhaps tied in with the cloud... i see the cloud as an inevitability, but, what i don't see is how content creators are paid without massive devaluation across the board and/or without too many hands in the cookie jar before the crumbs make it down to the creators artists/producers/songwriters etc.... i certainly don't want some restrictive program that ties me to a specific device or computer or that results in multiple purchases to play back on multiple systems, i want to have it on my computer, move it to another one, to the car, the phone, the mp3 player (which is not an ipod for me) etc. etc.

i'm just not sure technology is quite there nor bandwidths just yet, seems more like a waiting out the storm type deal until it can be seamlessly implemented...

i have a lot of ideas and details in the head about how and what will work, but that will stay vaulted and isn't for public display or availability for idea theft...
Old 3rd January 2011
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lives For Fuzz View Post
I agree with this, but I have no idea what the solution is. In previous times, a large collection of music said a lot about a person - their taste, priorities, passions, etc. Even casual music fans would resell LPs, CDs, Cassettes at Yard Sales. Now - there really is no resale value, but, the cost is also considerably less.

In the late 90s when Napster started, in the beginning, many industry people were not concerned about it for that reason - who would want some inferior quality, non-tangible, collection of music? Hmmmmm...

It really is one of the essential issues - how to differentiate and reward people who pay for legitimate sales. Economically the cost of a purchase certificate or some other cool collectible would probably be as much as the price of a song.

Of course the easy answer would have been to not have digital sales and stick with CDs... that didn't work out so well... and what can you make unique to a legitimate digital sale that can't be pirated and distributed?
Anything you purchase you should have the right to resell, or it is worthless.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by lagavulin16 View Post
Anything you purchase you should have the right to resell, or it is worthless.
I agree - and I don't think anyone is challenging that - I think the discussion is that buying digital media has less value because the resale value is largely zero due to availability via piracy.

Of course, it's not just the resale value effected by piracy, it's the FIRST SALE!
Old 3rd January 2011
  #9
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.
Interesting.

I was at a friend's house the other day, and I found an album I liked (while using his computer).

I don't do e-commerce, so my friend downloaded it (legally), and I gave him the cash.

The flac files went strait to MY flashdrive, and I took it home.

(He does NOT have the files.)

Did we break the law?
.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lives For Fuzz View Post
I agree - and I don't think anyone is challenging that - I think the discussion is that buying digital media has less value because the resale value is largely zero due to availability via piracy.

Of course, it's not just the resale value effected by piracy, it's the FIRST SALE!
Are you allowed to sell MP3s you purchase from amazon or iTunes?
Old 3rd January 2011
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 12ax7 View Post
.
Interesting.

I was at a friend's house the other day, and I found an album I liked (while using his computer).

I don't do e-commerce, so my friend downloaded it (legally), and I gave him the cash.

The flac files went strait to MY flashdrive, and I took it home.

(He does NOT have the files.)

Did we break the law?
.
If he no longer has access to it, no. If he still has a copy of it, yes.

Of course, it may be against the "law" anyway. But morally and I think in front of any jury it wouldn't be an issue.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by 12ax7 View Post
.


(He does NOT have the files.)

Did we break the law?
.
I highly doubt it, especially as you can buy iTunes gift cards in many stores, and you can directly gift iTunes purchases to friends via e-commerce.
You just went about it in a slightly convoluted way.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by lagavulin16 View Post
Are you allowed to sell MP3s you purchase from amazon or iTunes?
Well, according to the article apparently not, well at least in many cases.
Some music software is the same. Some virtual instruments and plug-ins are license only, you never 'own' the product.
I think we all agree this is generally bad.

I can't really see me ever selling my $2 and $3 songs. Too much hassle for so little money. What's a $2 song worth secondhand, $1..... or 50c?
But in principle yes, it does seem like a crazy and unfair situation.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lagavulin16 View Post
If he no longer has access to it, no. If he still has a copy of it, yes.

Of course, it may be against the "law" anyway. But morally and I think in front of any jury it wouldn't be an issue.
I wasn't really worried about it from the practical or moral standpoint.

...But if what we did was indeed just and moral, and yet was at the same time a violation of some statute, then it stands to reason that said statute is unjust and immoral. (NOT that that is anything new, mind you.)

If this is indeed the case, I believe this goes right to the heart of the subject matter of this thread.

Is it really true that the ownership of whatever you're buying when downloading a file is non-transferable?

(Any Lawyers out there wanna chime in?)
.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #15
Maybe... you don't own the file but you own the right to experience the file, because obviously without that right, the file is worthless to you and everyone else...?
Old 3rd January 2011
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by 12ax7 View Post
(Any Lawyers out there wanna chime in?)
.
Like I said quite a few posts ago, technology has moved way faster than law.
I don't think anyone would dispute this.
It goes both ways, customers find themselves dealing with silly, unfair rules, creative people find themselves being ripped off by pirates.
It all needs sorting out.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #17
That's why I like my formulation... it's a distinction without a difference, but that difference is the crux of the whole matter.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #18
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I always get a kick out of the music on Amazon. Do a search for a popular album.
They'll sell you a copy on a new CD for $14 or a copy on a used CD for $2.
They'll also sell you a copy on a new reissue vinyl for $14 or a copy on a used original vinyl for $100.


Funny how that works.
But yeah, used digital isn't worth anything.
Old 4th January 2011
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheebs Goat View Post
I always get a kick out of the music on Amazon. Do a search for a popular album.
They'll sell you a copy on a new CD for $14 or a copy on a used CD for $2.
They'll also sell you a copy on a new reissue vinyl for $14 or a copy on a used original vinyl for $100.


Funny how that works.
But yeah, used digital isn't worth anything.

big grey area isn't it? Many people sell CDs that they have backed up onto their computer. That's a big no-no.....
Old 4th January 2011
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by narcoman View Post

big grey area isn't it? Many people sell CDs that they have backed up onto their computer. That's a big no-no.....
Does this mean if I still posess a quarter-track tape dub of my old copy of Abbey Road I had in High School (which I traded for a carton of Winstons back in '74) that I'm a "pirate"?
.

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Old 4th January 2011
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpatterson View Post

Maybe... you don't own the file but you own the right to experience the file
Maybe one day the industry will wake up to the fact that there would be quite a market for selling the right to never again experience a particular file!
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Old 4th January 2011
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
Well, according to the article apparently not, well at least in many cases.
Some music software is the same. Some virtual instruments and plug-ins are license only, you never 'own' the product.
I think we all agree this is generally bad.

I can't really see me ever selling my $2 and $3 songs. Too much hassle for so little money. What's a $2 song worth secondhand, $1..... or 50c?
But in principle yes, it does seem like a crazy and unfair situation.
You can say that, but I wouldn't see it as selling 2 or 3 dollar songs. I'd see it more like selling an album or a bunch of songs on ebay.

In high school that was the only way I could afford new albums. Selling old ones I didn't like anymore.
Old 4th January 2011
  #23
But as you would know, people are only interested in single songs these days.
Old 4th January 2011
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by lagavulin16 View Post
You can say that, but I wouldn't see it as selling 2 or 3 dollar songs. I'd see it more like selling an album or a bunch of songs on ebay.

In high school that was the only way I could afford new albums. Selling old ones I didn't like anymore.
I have one friend who is a "recycling" junkie - almost all of his music purchases are from used bins, and he has had a revolving collection for years.

I don't know how it all shakes out - I show my age when I mourn the loss of record store culture. Spending an entire day cruising the bins to walk out with only 2-3 albums, and they we're cherished like gold.

But I like technology, and I like the opportunities it brings - I'm just bummed out about the mindset of "everything should be free".

I'd put forth that music as social phenomena ran out of rebellion, which only left youth culture with music itself to rebel against... Instead of music being the vehicle to promote change, change is promoted against music itself.
Old 4th January 2011
  #25
"Rebellion" and "fragmentation" (and "comfort") don't mix. There's nothing in society today that polarizes people, aligns them along any magnetic field in any quantity that approaches a critical mass. But aside from all that-- it's not so much that digitized content "should" be free-- it's not any kind of purposeful mindset at play here-- it's that digitized content is free. It takes a conscience and a sense of responsibility to reject that freedom. That's what this whole problem/crisis revolves around, ain't it?
Old 4th January 2011
  #26
Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpatterson View Post
"Rebellion" and "fragmentation" (and "comfort") don't mix. There's nothing in society today that polarizes people, aligns them along any magnetic field in any quantity that approaches a critical mass. But aside from all that-- it's not so much that digitized content "should" be free-- it's not any kind of purposeful mindset at play here-- it's that digitized content is free. It takes a conscience and a sense of responsibility to reject that freedom. That's what this whole problem/crisis revolves around, ain't it?
I'll correct you Joel, "digitized content is illegally free"... that's an important distinction.

so actually this whole problem/crisis revolves around the lack of law enforcement if you want to speak about it honestly.

that's why it's a legislative and political issue to create the methods of enforcement that are effective and meaningful, and that's exactly where the conversation is going.
Old 4th January 2011
  #27
Sure thing, chief. Speeding on the highway is also very illegal. Technically. If you try it while a police car is hiding nearby in the bushes, you'll get caught and have to pay the fine.

Why, after a hundred years of automobile use, and countless Wars on Speeding, does anyone still do it? Are we waiting for an era when enforcement will finally kick in?

Wait-- the Federal Trade Commission will decree that no car can be manufactured that will exceed 55 mph. That's the answer.
Old 4th January 2011
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpatterson View Post
Why, after a hundred years of automobile use, and countless Wars on Speeding, does anyone still do it? Are we waiting for an era when enforcement will finally kick in?
Haven't we been here a bazillion times?
The fact is many fewer people speed. Check out the road fatality statistics for countries with slower speed limits and a generally conforming populace.

My entire life, living in more than one country, I've crossed the road wherever and whenever I've felt like it. Even in cities that notionally have anti-jay walking laws.
Go to LA, no one jay walks. Everyone stands waiting for the little man on the lights to change from red to green, even when there is no car coming as it's 4am in the morning.
Go to the UK and people cross at the lights even when the man is red and the drivers have to slam on their breaks to avoid them.
It's about having the laws, enforcing the laws and making the public aware the laws exist and will be enforced.
Quote:
Wait-- the Federal Trade Commission will decree that no car can be manufactured that will exceed 55 mph. That's the answer.
There are already many cars that are speed limited.
Old 4th January 2011
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpatterson View Post

Wait-- the Federal Trade Commission will decree that no car can be manufactured that will exceed 55 mph. That's the answer.
This is getting fun!

How long can we carry on this line of discourse without getting into a political discussion?

(Which of course, would be breaking the rules of this site.)
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Old 5th January 2011
  #30
We have been exactly here, bazillions-- why people still speed, even people who have gotten tickets for it in the past, is the same four dreaded syllables "human nature."

Wars on Human Nature have a way of dragging on endlessly, don't they.
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