Part 9 : Money

As a user, I love Napster. It carries some risk. I hear
idealistic business people talk about how people that are
musicians would be musicians no matter what and that we’re
already doing it for free, so what about copyright?

Please. It’s incredibly easy not to be a musician. It’s
always a struggle and a dangerous career choice. We are
motivated by passion and by money.

That’s not a dirty little secret. It’s a fact. Take away
the incentive for major or minor financial reward and you
dilute the pool of musicians. I am not saying that only pure
artists will survive. Like a few of the more utopian people
who discuss this, I don’t want just pure artists to
survive.

Where would we all be without the trash? We need the
trash to cover up our national depression. The utopians also
say that because in their minds “pure” artists are all Ani
DiFranco and don’t demand a lot of money. Why are the
utopians all entertainment lawyers and major label workers
anyway? I demand a lot of money if I do a big huge
worthwhile job and millions of people like it, don’t kid
yourself. In economic terms, you’ve got an industry that’s
loathsome and outmoded, but when it works it creates some
incentive and some efficiency even though absolutely no one
gets paid.

We suffer as a society and a culture when we don’t pay
the true value of goods and services delivered. We create a
lack of production. Less good music is recorded if we remove
the incentive to create it.

Music is intellectual property with full cash and
opportunity costs required to create, polish and record a
finished product. If I invest money and time into my
business, I should be reasonably protected from the theft of
my goods and services. When the judgment came against
MP3.com, the RIAA sought damages of $150,000 for each
major-label-“owned” musical track in MP3’s database.
Multiply by 80,000 CDs, and MP3.com could owe the
gatekeepers $120 billion.

But what about the Plimsouls? Why can’t MP3.com pay each
artist a fixed amount based on the number of their
downloads? Why on earth should MP3.com pay $120 billion to
four distribution companies, who in most cases won’t have to
pay a nickel to the artists whose copyrights they’ve stolen
through their system of organized theft?

It’s a ridiculous judgment. I believe if evidence had
been entered that ultimately it’s just shuffling big cash
around two or three corporations, I can only pray that the
judge in the MP3.com case would have seen the RIAA’s case
for the joke that it was.

I’d rather work out a deal with MP3.com myself, and force
them to be artist-friendly, instead of being laughed at and
having my money hidden by a major label as they sell my
records out the back door, behind everyone’s back.

How dare they behave in such a horrified manner in
regards to copyright law when their entire industry is based
on piracy? When Mister Label Head Guy, whom my lawyer yelled
at me not to name, got caught last year selling millions of
“cleans” out the back door. “Cleans” being the records that
aren’t for marketing but are to be sold. Who the fuck is
this guy? He wants to save a little cash so he fucks the
artist and goes home? Do they fire him? Does Chuck Phillips
of the LA Times say anything? No way! This guy’s a source!
He throws awesome dinner parties! Why fuck with the status
quo? Let’s pick on Lars Ulrich instead because he brought up
an interesting point!

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