13 Years Later, An Artist Gets the Courage to Protest Piracy…

It’s been a long, strange journey, but we’re finally seeing artists getting comfortable speaking out against piracy, and asking their fans to pay.  That includes Suffocation guitarist Guy Marchais, who filmed himself walking into an f.y.e. and buying his own CD just to make a point.

ceramicdog

That sort of stand became unthinkable back around 2000, when Metallica got burned for publicly protesting Napster.  Fast forward to 2013, and others are also building up the courage.  That includes Marc Ribot of the group Ceramic Dog, whose album, Your Turn, came out this week.  The first track, “Masters of the Internet”  (ironically offered as a free MP3 on SPIN), is a furious rant against free culture.

“Download this music for free!
We like it when you do!
We don’t have homes or families to feed!”

“Our labor has no value!

Content is our name!
We are nothing but material fed into a machine to feed the Masters of the Internet!”

Ribot subsequently emailed this explanation to fans.

quotationmarksA number of people have asked us what’s up with Masters of the Internet.  Do we hate our fans?  Are we Luddites?  Well, no and no.  Here’s what we think: We don’t really expect much from asking people who are downloading stuff for free to voluntaristically pay up — although, yeah, we could use that dollar right about now, and we support Trichordist’s Principles for an Ethical and Sustainable Internet.

We don’t know what the ultimate solution is — but we know it isn’t the impoverishment of musicians and defunding music.  And we know it isn’t pretending that no-one is being hurt.  Corporations are making huge profits from the ads on ‘free’ sites, from selling the hard and software that make illegal downloading possible.

They need to give back a portion of their billions to the people who do the work: hey, we love our tech toys too, but an empty i-Pod is just a crappy paper-weight.  Giving us back part of the value we create would make a real FREE culture possible — one where fans get what they need, AND creative community workers get paid. Bread and Roses, baby!quotation-marks2

34 Responses

  1. Visitor
    Visitor

    This is more important than any other music industry initiative I can think of!
    Thank you so much, guys!!!
    (And let’s see a lot of copy cats out there…)

    Reply
    • mdti
      mdti

      The best approach was for the release of Game Tycoon a few days ago, where the game developpers uploaded a “fake” pirate version where the player could not develop his company and ended up failing miserably because of piracy.
      This is much much better and clever, because it puts the downloader in the right place and make him express the same feelings as if he was actually pirated.
      Here is the story
      http://www.greenheartgames.com/2013/04/29/what-happens-when-pirates-play-a-game-development-simulator-and-then-go-bankrupt-because-of-piracy/

      Reply
      • Visitor
        Visitor

        “This is much much better and clever, because it puts the downloader in the right place and make him express the same feelings as if he was actually pirated..”
        I seriously loved that story! It was awesome to hear pirates whine about piracy. 🙂
        I wouldn’t describe that approach as better, though. Just different. You really can’t do the same thing with music. At least not as far as I can see (but go ahead and prove me wrong!).
        And like I said: This is the future, and we’re going to see much more like it…

        Reply
  2. JJ
    JJ

    I don’t think anyone is downloading this for free -or- paying for it so I think that might make their point moot.

    Reply
  3. FarePlay
    FarePlay

    Piracy has been a highly successful marketing campaign, built around the myth of rebellion and a distortion of reality. After all, free, is an incredibly compelling offer and because pirate sites are primarily unregulated, there is no requirement for any kind of disclaimer or warning label. I’m not aware of any pirate site that says: “downloading content from this site may put a musician or filmmaker out of business” or “none of the content available on this site is actually owned or paid for by us”.
    They purposely avoid talking about the pain piracy causes artists and bare their fangs whenever an artist dares to speak out about the devastation they suffer when people don’t pay for their work.
    And they never talk about the fact that piracy can be a highly profitable enterprise generating hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising revenue every year with zip, nada to the artist.
    Torrent Freak loves to run articles about Kim Dotcom and how he was unfairly caught. I’m sorry, you’ve lost your right and credibility to trash anyone for their greed or abuse.
    The irony is palpable. How can someone criticize the entertainment industry for being despicable profiteers who screw artists, while supporting despicable profiteers who screw artists by providing unlimited open access to other their work without their permission or ANY compensation? At least the entertainment gives the artist the choice to enter into a distribution agreement and invests in the projects they sign.
    At least they have some skin in the game.

    Reply
  4. Jason S
    Jason S

    Using piracy as a publicity stunt to sell crappy albums. Original. No one would even steal that song.
    And you got it wrong Metallica is the one who screwed Napster not the other way around.

    Reply
    • Visitor
      Visitor

      “And you got it wrong Metallica is the one who screwed Napster not the other way around.”
      Too bad that the judge didn’t agree with you, eh… 🙂
      What Metallica and Dr. Dre did was incredibly important for artists all over the world.
      And it’s great to see new acts say no to the Piracy Industry in an even more direct way.
      Let’s face it, Jason — people just don’t like pirates anymore.

      Reply
    • Visitor
      Visitor

      Using piracy as a publicity stunt to sell crappy albums. That’s exactly what this is.
      Plain stupid. Sorry to see DMN fall for this.
      Piracy has little to do with the hype that everything should be free. That’s just not true. Piracy exicts because content owners don’t listen to their customers. Sell in a convenient way for a fair price. That what they should have done 13 years ago. Now it is too late.

      Reply
      • Adam Smith
        Adam Smith

        “Sell in a convenient way for a fair price”.
        Good thing you aren’t the decider of what’s a fair price. 99cents a song has been a half-way meetup of what’s fair for the fan, what’s kind-of fair for the artist. Piracy exists because idiots like you want stuff for free. Period. There isn’t a reasonable argument that you would even listen to that would compell you pay for any music, nor will you ever have a reason to buy music, whether it’s good or bad, (which is a completely subjective view anyway), because you are stoned on Pirate Bay’s koolaid.
        (scrolling past all your nonsense)

        Reply
        • Visitor
          Visitor

          Who said I want music for free? I feel 99 cents is just too much for a digital file with no extras.
          40 cents a song and $4 an album is more like it.
          You can sell 1 song for 99 cents or 5 for 40 cents. What do you prefer?
          BTW I never used Pirate Bay and used to download at Allofmp3/Gomusic but switched to the paid version of Deezer. So I have always paid for my music 😉

          Reply
  5. FarePlay
    FarePlay

    Am I the only one seeing a subtext in the responses from the freehadists? Perhaps we’ve hit a nerve calling out piracy for what it is, a pseudo revolution wrapped in misdirection and contempt. A flawed marketing campaign and dogma that has lost its’ luster. Heave Ho maties.

    Reply
  6. Seth
    Seth

    For the last guy who said that 99 cents is too much for a song, GIVE ME A DAMN BREAK ALREADY. 40 cents for a song and $4 for a full album? MAYBE an Ep…I was paying $4 for USED albums when I was a teenager. Yes, times have changed. To make that statement, you either don’t value music that much or you just don’t have the funds. Regardless, if you choose to, read on…

    For those who aren’t musicians, (because the majority of the population who says music is too expensive do not seem to understand the high cost of creating quality music) here’s a few facts.

    It can cost several hundred dollars to record, mix, master, distribute and market ONE SONG. There’s many factors involved, like if you do it in a home studio, go to a pro studio, if you have to pay musicians to play on the song, travel expenses, equipment maintenance, the list goes on and on. So again, if you want to whine and say that 99 cents is too much to pay for something quality that you get a lot of enjoyment out of, on behalf of all musicians who need and deserve that income, PISS OFF.
    A lot of the general public also seems to think that being a musician/artist isn’t work. It’s more work than the average job, by a considerable amount. A lot of times, the only real reward we get is to be able to do what we love, because we’re not fairly compensated. We spend YEARS practicing our instruments, making contacts, going into debt, buying equipment, and doing as much as we can to have a fruitful and satisfying career. Just the time we put into rehearsing and writing music, the majority of the time we have to do that in our “free” time and are not paid for it.
    Musicians and artists have bills and have to eat just like any other hardworking person. If you showed up to work and they told you that you’d have to do the best job you could, but wouldn’t get paid I’m sure you’d have a huge problem with that. So don’t insult us by saying that our work isn’t worth less than a dollar for God’s sake. A LOT of work, ingenuity, imagination and love goes into creating music. After all, we do get into this career field because we love making music. That doesn’t take away from the fact that we have EVERY right to earn a living doing it.

    If you think 99 cents is too much for something that you can get endless enjoyment out of and play over and over again, let’s ask this question. Are you the consumer who will pay $60 for a video game disc or download? (I have myself, but will not do so anymore – the price always goes down after a few weeks or months-but I always still pay FULL PRICE for it, because that’s the only way I can get it. I REFUSE TO STEAL OR ILLEGALLY DOWNLOAD ANYTHING.) Because if so, that’s an experience you can relive and play over and over again and get a lot of enjoyment out of. If you’re willing to pay that, then by God you can pay 99 cents for a song. On another note, how many beers or cups of coffee have you paid several dollars for that you can never use or enjoy again? I know Starbucks isn’t cheap, and neither is beer. I enjoy both, but if I had to choose between $ for music or either of those, the coffe and beer would be on the chopping block IMMEDIATELY WITHOUT QUESTION.
    All bitching about how that is “too expensive” just devalues it. Music is one of the most blissful experiences and things that is invaluable, but if you want to continue enjoying music, then by all means BUY IT and PAY FULL PRICE, considering that’s the reason for the article in the first place. To get the $ to record, market, etc. more music, THE ARTISTS NEED $!!!!!!
    Lastly, I don’t care if you respond or not. These are the facts. The video game/coffee/beer topic isn’t a slam on those who make those kind of purchases, but definitely something to think about. Bottom line, if you want to keep enjoying music, think about what it takes to make it available for you to enjoy, weigh YOUR actual cost (less than a buck), STOP YOUR BITCHING AND SUPPORT AND RESPECT THE ARTISTS by not stealing from them. Peace out.

    Reply
    • Visitor
      Visitor

      “It can cost several hundred dollars to record, mix, master, distribute and market ONE SONG. There’s many factors involved, like if you do it in a home studio, go to a pro studio, if you have to pay musicians to play on the song, travel expenses, equipment maintenance, the list goes on and on. So again, if you want to whine and say that 99 cents is too much to pay for something quality that you get a lot of enjoyment out of, on behalf of all musicians who need and deserve that income, PISS OFF.”
      You’re right about everything — except this is what you get for ‘several hundred dollars’:
      NOTHING!
      And you can easily spend $50K if you want to write and produce a hit.
      Add a few dollars more if you want to distribute the thing as well…

      Reply
    • another last guy
      another last guy

      He’s right. An MP3 version isn’t worth 99 cents. It’s not about the value of music. It’s plain economics. If you lower the price you sell more and in the end you make more.
      But it is too late now. The 40 cents downloads should have been implemented before people got used to downloading for free.
      Now streaming is the only solution I guess. Or do you have another option?
      You musicians should educate yourself on what is really happening. Look around you in the subway on the streets. Everybody has earplugs in and is listening to music. Do you think that they have paid for these files? Kids rip YouTube videos to MP3. That’s not even illegal as far as I know. No 3 or 4 strikes-out can stop this.
      Streaming however can turn all these listens into money. Go figure.

      Reply
      • Visitor
        Visitor

        “Or do you have another option?”
        Oh yes! Please let me copy from a previous message:
        Blocked piracy sites all over Europe… 6 Strikes in the US… fines in Japan, New Zealand, Russia… huge fines to illegal file-sharing site admins… new initiatives on their way in France & elsewhere… lots of lockers & torrent sites shut down after the fall of MegaUpload… growing pressure on credit card companies, Google and others to completely cut off criminal sites.
        We can’t stop all IP theft, but we can get rid of mainstream piracy.
        And it’s awesome to see artists begin to fight the parasites now.
        “Kids rip YouTube videos to MP3. That’s not even illegal”
        Sure it is!
        Which part of ‘copyright’ don’t you understand?
        ‘Copy’ or ‘right’?
        Nobody has the right to duplicate copyrighted Intellectual Property, except the owner/third party licensed by the owner.

        Reply
        • another last guy
          another last guy

          All this blocking and striking doesn’t help. Legislation is no solution. You are stuck in your own fantasies.
          Ripping or recording a song from YouTube is not illegal. Same as with recording a TV show on a PVR.

          Reply
          • Visitor
            Visitor

            “Ripping or recording a song from YouTube is not illegal”
            Education, education, education…
            The purpose of YouTube ripping is to acquire illegally uploaded material before the owner takes it down.
            Downloading illegally uploaded material is extremely illegal.

          • another last guy
            another last guy

            You make one big mistake. Not everything on YouTube has been uploaded illegaly!
            But does it really matter if it is legal or illegal? Reality is that this method is widely spread and if it is illegal there is no way to trace these “offenders”. You can create all the laws you want, but that will not help a bit. Better think of a better solution.
            You know France has stopped the 3 strikes? It was way too expensive.

          • Visitor
            Visitor

            “You can create all the laws you want, but that will not help a bit.”
            Like I said, we have the laws we need by now.
            “You know France has stopped the 3 strikes?”
            Completely wrong! 🙂
            French Government reports large increase in Three Strikes:
            http://torrentfreak.com/french-govt-reports-large-increase-in-three-strikes-piracy-warnings-130306/
            Which shouldn’t come as a surprise after HADOPI’s success:
            “we obtained a panel of iTunes sales data from the four major music labels (Universal Music, Warner Music, EMI Music and Sony Music) across a broad set of countries. We then applied a difference-in-difference approach, using sales trends in a control group of European countries to simulate the counterfactual of what music sales in France would have been if HADOPI had not been passed. Our results suggest that increased consumer awareness of HADOPI caused iTunes song and album sales to increase by 22.5% and 25% respectively”
            Source: Brett Danaher, Wellesley College, Dep. of Economics. Michael D. Smith and Rahul Telang, Carnegie Mellon University.
            http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1989240
            And that’s not all!
            The next — and considerably tougher — HADOPI generation is on its way:
            http://torrentfreak.com/french-government-mulls-next-generation-anti-piracy-measures-130226/

          • another last guy
            another last guy

            OK my mistake. I see Hadopi is doing fine;)
            But they can only track the P2P users. P2P for music is in a downward spiral everywhere not just in France. Kids switch to other methods like stream ripping and swapping USB-drives.
            Best way to fight that? Give the kids free access to legit streaming services, get them addicted and they ( or their parents) will start paying sooner or later.
            Pamper the kids and fans, focus on fighting pirate sites.

        • wallow-T
          wallow-T

          “Nobody has the right to duplicate copyrighted Intellectual Property, except the owner/third party licensed by the owner.”
          Yes, but billions of people down to about age 7 have the ability to duplicate copyrighted Intellectual Property. (To quote from a recent press release: YouTube now has one billion unique visitors each month with 6 billion hours of material streamed.) No matter how hard the copyright industries push for Digital Prohibition, I don’t see the capabilities of the public being rolled back.
          “Retail” copyright only worked as long as it only applied to businesses.

          Reply
        • Visitor
          Visitor

          “Yes, but billions of people down to about age 7 have the ability to duplicate copyrighted Intellectual Property.”
          Not sure what you mean — they have the exact same ability to steal the exact same content from physical stores.
          And the only difference between stealing that content from a physical store and a digital store is that digital theft usually is considerably more serious because the criminal often automatically makes the stolen property available to others.
          As for YouTube: You get kicked out if you violate their TOS. And you violate their TOS if you download their videos without written permission:
          “You shall not download any Content unless you see a “download” or similar link displayed by YouTube on the Service for that Content. You shall not copy, reproduce, distribute, transmit, broadcast, display, sell, license, or otherwise exploit any Content for any other purposes without the prior written consent of YouTube or the respective licensors of the Content. YouTube and its licensors reserve all rights not expressly granted in and to the Service and the Content.”
          Source:
          http://www.youtube.com/static?template=terms

          Reply
          • another last guy
            another last guy

            Nice example of a rule that doesn’t work. No way YouTube can see if the user just watches or also records the stream.
            Alcohol once was illegal. Didn’t work. Smoking weed is illegal, does it work? You are in a dead-end street with you demand for legislation.

          • Visitor
            Visitor

            “You are in a dead-end street with you demand for legislation.”
            Legislation is already in place — or rolling out as we speak — in most countries.
            All of you old pirates simply have to understand that the times are changing, mostly because of the economic climate.
            People just don’t like pirates anymore. A clear majority of the population even want to punish illegal downloaders now:
            http://dmnrocks.wpengine.com/permalink/2013/20130118blocking

          • another last guy
            another last guy

            Like I said earlier. Legislation will not help.
            Name one country where law lead to higher revenues for the music industry.
            Nice if you want to punish people, but you have to catch them to do this. Now I ask you again how are you going to catch stream rippers?
            You are betting on the wrong horse here. It’s a waste of money and valuable time. After a few years you will see that the law did not win and then what?? What’s your plan B?

          • another last guy
            another last guy

            Threat? No way. Threats and scare tactics don’t work. Maybe with you 😉 Laws don’t change people, people change laws.

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