Just a heads up, this post could turn into a bit of a rant.
Recently I noticed that I was having issues connecting with the wireless network that has been deployed where I work. For the sake of privacy I won’t name any of the organizations involved, just know that my direct employer operates under the umbrella of a larger entity who maintains the networks and all the IT stuff.
In any event, I sent the helpdesk an email to ask them what the story was with with my account. This of course is after I spent about a week trying to figure out what was wrong with my computer. I messed around with preferences and settings, re-ran the setup utility that the IT department provides, and nothing worked. I still could not connect on any of my devices. So, I emailed the helpdesk, and the response that I got was that my service was disconnected for downloading copyrighted material.
Well, first of all, according to the information that was sent to me from the helpdesk, the instance that they are talking about would have occurred at a time that I was not on the campus. The timestamp that they sent me was about 2 hours after I would have left work for the day. Not to mention the fact that the incident in question happened three months before they decided to do anything about it. Oh, and of course I was not notified of any issues.
Secondly, according to the document on the IT department’s website with regard to Peer-2-Peer file sharing, the only thing they prohibit is the sharing of files. The way the document is worded, it makes it sound like downloading is just fine, it is the serving and distribution of material that is a problem. Now, I don’t claim to know the actual laws, I am just saying that the way the document is worded makes it sound like the issue that I was made aware of, is not an issue.
As an artist I understand copyright issues. I understand that people are concerned with how and where their works get distributed. On the other hand, what is the difference between downloading a song, TV show or movie that I can record off the TV, digital cable music station or radio? Maybe if it weren’t so expensive to go to the movies or buy a CD or DVD people would be less likely to download content from sources they shouldn’t use.
Most of these industries are multi-million or multi-billion dollar industries and they are not making that money on the sales of CDs and DVDs. The television industry makes it’s money on commercials. Maybe the music industry should follow suit, subsidize their products with advertising. Maybe instead of pretty album covers they need to include an ad for toothpaste or motor oil. I think if the industries find a way to make the material they produce more appealing to the average joe (especially in terms of cost) they will suffer less.
Then there is the question, what are these people doing that makes it worth the millions or billions that they get paid? So, you can sing and you have a great band, I can sing too, but I don’t go out and make recordings. I know plenty of people who probably sing and perform better than many of the multi-million dollar artists out there but they are not making millions.
The problem with these industries is that it isn’t about the artist and the art anymore. It is all about money. Look at some of the recent movie releases, one made around $743M at the box office and it still playing. The actual cost of the movie was maybe around $300M so that means that a few people walked home with some pretty big paychecks. So even if they never sold a DVD, would it really be so bad? Oh, I suppose they might not be able to buy the new house in Cabo and the Ferrari to go with it, so sad.
Needless to say, can you tell that I am annoyed. Mostly because it is an inconvenience. Have a downloaded things that I shouldn’t have, yeah. Do I do it regularly, no. Do I still buy music, DVDs, concert tickets, and pay for cable? Yes, I do. Now I have to go find some people in some office and probably sign some form for something that can’t really have been my fault. Will I agree to whatever I need to so that I can get my service back, yes. I just think that the industries are the instigators of the problem and they need to figure out how to move into this digital age and get over their incessant love of money.