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Why MAFIAA is fighting a losing battle

For anyone who doesn't know, MAFIAA is a blanket slang term used for the combination of RIAA, MPIAA and their worldwide alternatives. In short, MAFIAA stands for all the corrupt and comically deluded copyright holders out there who are proponents of unfair copyright protection and criminalising their own paying customers.

Before we begin this argument let me say that I support artists getting paid for their efforts, I support art and other copyrightable content, what I don't support is the MAFIAA and that is why, yes, I am a pirate and no, I do not intend on ever going to prison over it, I don't even intend on ever admiting that what I'm doing is hurting the industry because as every artist (besides Metallica) you ask knows, and Microsoft publically admited, piracy is good for business.

What MAFIAA is doing wrong

Let's have a look at what exactly the MAFIAA does and why it's wrong shall we.

First and foremost, suing their customers. Everyone would think that it doesn't make a lot of business sense to sue one's own customers each and every time they misstep, but the MAFIAA has decided to do exactly that. Because their sales have started to drop due to new and more popular media becoming available they have, instead of adopting and changing, started suing people. This is wrong.

Secondly, after the MAFIAA finally realised that perhaps record sales aren't everything and has decided to allow downloading of their copyrighted content they ladened it with DRM (DigitalRightsManagment), which is all fine and good but not they way they decided to do it. What's wrong with current DRM schemes is that it creates a world of trouble for anyone who legally downloads music and video by this content being useless on any device other than the one it was downloaded on. However, pirates have no such problems, they can play their downloads any where and at any time.

Thirdly, the MAFIAA is commiting an extreme act of idiocy and displaying a complete lack of business sense in how they distribute their content. This is especially apparent in videos and movies. First you are overcharged for the ticket at the gate, then you are bombarded by advertisements neatly placed in the movie and when it's all over, if you want to watch the thing at home, you have to pay an extortionate amount of money for the DVD. Or download it at an extortionate price and then being able to only watch it five or so times. Let's not even touch the fact of wht happens when your player breaks down and all your movies and music are only playable on the one they were bought for.

For last we have the biggest idiocy MAFIAA has ever created and it happened just yesterday. In their flamboyant taking down of youtube content, which I'm not exactly certain why they do since Monty Python has lately proved just how useful putting copyright content online for free is, by increasing their sales 23000 percent. I can personally attest that if I can't find videos of a band on youtube, lately, I just don't even know they exist. Oh right, what happened was that Death Cab for Cutie (I think) couldn't share their own music on their own website because the MAFIAA took down the video, so on the band's own site all you could see was a "This video is against copyright, go away foul pirate!"

The FUD

The MAFIAA has over the years spread a lot of FUD about copyright and all the ways they can fuck you over if you decide to pirate. They made a big deal out of convincing people that pirating equals stealing, however judges disagree, but this is something most people don't know. MAFIAA has also done a great lot to convince both people and governments to criminalise piracy, however if piracy is such a crime, why has there only ever been ONE trial? Furthermore, if MAFIAA is so right in what they're doing, which is what a lot of people think, why then do they fold and cower in the corner the moment somebody pushes back?

We can go further, if the MAFIAA is so incredibly certain they're only suing pirates, why do they want to bribe ISP's to hand over filesharers, which is by the way illegal for ISP's to do since the MAFIAA is not a law enforcement agency. While we're on this whole discovery thing, the MAFIAA is known for poking and proding then walking away if nothing comes up quickly enough. There have even been cases of network geeks playing around at the office, which resulted in the MAFIAA suing their printer. You know, the machine that prints out sheets of paper? Well it was sued for sharing music on the internet.

What the pirates are doing right and how MAFIAA can learn from them

Pirates, on the other hand, are doing exactly what the MAFIAA is not. They're providing quality service completely free of charge with the only risk involved being a few viruses here and there, or some trojan. But a person can easily protect themselves against those.

Let me give you a little comparison here, I can buy something legally, go through the trouble of walking somewhere for it, then being encumbered in how I can use what I've bought, if I rip it for easier use I'm a pirate, so I have to buy the whole thing again in downloadable format, then if I want to play it on my iPod I have to buy the whole thing again for the iPod, if my equipment dies I have to buy the whole thing AGAIN. So in a few short months I could be buying the same thing four times if I wanted to be a law abiding citizen. Fuck you! Or I can just download it from torrents, it works anywhere I want it and it's mine forever.

Dear MAFIAA, the reason you are losing customers is not because we're all turning pirates, but because you are offering a subpar service at a very high price. If you would provide the same service as pirates do (downloadable, no DRM) there are MANY people who would be glad to download your stuff legally. And for the love of god, do you STILL not understand that all these years you were getting new customers by people SHARING stuff by either borrowing CD's from one another then deciding they want to own one or ... soemthing else. Guess what, that's what we're trying to do with youtube these days, but you won't let us. Pray tell, if you don't let my friend show me the cool new band/movie they've discovered, how do I discover it and become a customer? That's right, I don't.

Why I think piracy isn't bad

I've already mentioned I'm a pirate, but let me explain a little about why I don't think I'm doing anything wrong with this. What I download are mostly television series that are not yet available in my country, there is nothing wrong with this because if the MAFIAA isn't willing to sell me their product there is nothing wrong with me borrowing it from those the MAFIAA _is _willing to sell to. I still pay cable television, I still pay all television fees and if the series were broadcast locally I would watch them on television and would not download. So yes, they are downloaded, they are pirated, but they are STILL paid for!

Another thing I download a lot is music. Now, the latest Amanda Palmer record WKAP (Who Killed Amanda Palmer) I bought legally straight from the band. They were so kind as to provide me with an instant download that was not DRM laden. I never felt the need to pirate this album. I also bought another of their albums that I also pirated, but I bought a CD because there was added value to it - it was signed. Usually, however, I only pay for my music by ways of propagating it upon others and have over the years gotten a lot of bands new fans and sometimes I buy merchandise, again, straight from the band.

You might have noticed a pattern here. I refuse to buy anything from the MAFIAA because almost none of that money goes to the artists, I prefer buying directly from the bands or, in case of TV series, paying royalties through my cable company.

As for movies, no I don't pirate much of those because in the past few years the MAFIAA simply hasn't produced anything I could deem worthy of my time and more often than not when watching a high budget movie I get this icky disgusting feeling that they should be paying ME to watch all of their advertising instead of being fucked over front and back and risking being sued if I watch it from the wrong angle and don't see the advertising well enough.

MAFIAA, please change your business model, you're being stupid.

Did you enjoy this article?

Published on January 27th, 2009 in commentary, food for thought, rant

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