Saturday, October 11, 2003

MORE ETHICS: James from hotbuttereddeath is the latest to add his views on the Sleeping Wiht Ghosts issue:

Regarding the morality of downloading music: of *course* it isn't something you should be doing, not really. If you like a given artist, you really should send some money their way by buying their product rather than downloading it illegally. To be honest I have no great problems downloading whatever the hell I like, but at least I do realise I'm doing something morally wrong. I make an exception, however, in the following two cases:

1) Where the record company or artist has permitted a given recording to go out of print. No money is being made from these recordings anyway, therefore I have no compunction about downloading such things.

2) When the album is a copy-controlled CD. I've written on my website that I view copy-controlling as an act of hostility towards the consumer, and as far as I'm concerned, any artist that allows their album to be released with copy-control is complicit in this act of hostility. Consequently, they're fair game and, again, I have no compunction about downloading such things.

Now, downloading stuff that's been rereleased like this... I don't know, it probably depends. If it's a rerelease of something old (e.g. the most recent round of Elvis Costello) with new or rare tracks, that's one thing. But if the album is still in print and only came out a few months ago and they're already whacking it back out with additional tracks, that's another thing, being a cynical marketing and repackaging exercise trying to screw more money out of you. It's not an act of overt hostility like copy-control, but it's still a bit of a con. In which case I reckon you should express your resistance to this cynicism by downloading the extra stuff.

On the subject of copy-control, the original release of "Sleeping With Ghosts" was copy-controlled. Do you know if this new version is CCed as well? Because if it is then it's definitely up for grabs. I'd prefer to buy the thing (I refused to buy it when I discovered it had been CCed), but I'll only buy it if it's released without interference.

Which is, of course, a whole heap of sense. In fact, I'd probably go a little bit further than suggesting it's cynical marketing - it smacks of absolute contempt for the consumer; almost laughing at the stupid little fans who'll buy the album once, and then buy it again a whole six months later. It's of a piece with someone who treats their girlfriend like shit, but knows she'll keep coming back for more. As for if SWG+ is CCed - I'd imagine so, but I'm not lashing out for it again. Anyone know?

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