Is It A Crime To Pirate Free Songs?

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News Posted: Thu, Oct 18 2007 11:29 AM

Radiohead recently broke away from not only their record label, but from the entire recording label paradigm and decided to release their new album, In Rainbows, over the Internet for the very fair price of whatever you wanted to pay, including nothing at all.

With a price like 'free', you'd figure that piracy would be virtually eliminated.  Think again:

“But for hard-core music pirates, even free hasn’t been enough of a draw. According to music industry analysts, hundreds of thousands of Web users who frequent copyright-infringing file-sharing sites, including The Pirate Bay and TorrentSpy, have chosen to download In Rainbows illegally, distributing their contraband around the Internet just as they might with any other pirated album.”

With almost 1.2 million legitimate downloads of the album versus roughly half a million in pirated copies out there, it sure makes for a convincing argument that some people simply torrent because they get some sort of thrill out of the act itself.

We're also forced to ask the question: Is it technically piracy if the source material is potentially free to begin with?



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Lev_Astov replied on Thu, Oct 18 2007 12:32 PM
Wow, that's really bizarre. I don't even know what else to say to that.

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Well I know why they "pirated" it....it's a pain to download...you have to fill so much stuff out, but the music is FREE!

 

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digitaldd replied on Mon, Oct 22 2007 8:54 AM

Definitely, a lot of folks didn't want to fill out the forms and in the case of a few co-workers of mine the download links were swamped and the downloads were slow at certain times. I actually thought this was going to be an even more grey area like renaming files in your browser cache directories to effectively download songs that are available on band websites and  places like myspace.

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Grahf replied on Tue, Oct 23 2007 12:07 AM

Why buy the 160kbps crappy mp3's when you can get 320kbps or even FLAC encodes illegally? Or perhaps just buy the CD? They made a huge error in offering substandard encodes imho.

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digitaldd replied on Wed, Oct 24 2007 8:34 AM

Grahf:

Why buy the 160kbps crappy mp3's when you can get 320kbps or even FLAC encodes illegally? Or perhaps just buy the CD? They made a huge error in offering substandard encodes imho.

 

 Music

I agree with you there, funny thing is most of the sites in question were also offering the 160kbps files. there were definately more sources for the 160kbps files than any other versions. I'm not a RadioHead fan so I'm not that interested.Music

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Brian_D replied on Thu, Oct 25 2007 8:05 AM
Well, its under the same guise as OpenSource. If it's free to begin with, then Piracy doesn't really apply to the act when you're sharing the file.

It would be piracy though to make money off of something for free and/or label it as your own. That would be a good reason why piracy should be fought. Though no one in the music industry would believe you if you made the song your own and tried to get a contract over it.

I've been getting my music from my Yahoo Music subscription. Only disappointments I have there is that even though I can get all that music for the fee I've paid for, some music isn't online for digital distribution due to the compliances and contracts that have to be satisfied for it to be online there. I still go out and buy their CDs though if I hear a good sampling of the album.
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Dev replied on Sun, Oct 28 2007 3:59 PM
Is it technically piracy if the source material is potentially free to begin with? Yes and No. Is it stealing if I use adblock and come to HH. I never had to pay to begin with. HH can't get revenue my viewing would have offered if I block ads though. I think a good conclusion would be that it's not wrong but it's certainly unfair.

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