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Charles's avatar

Ethics or The Law: Why don't you download movies and music from uncontrolled sites?

Asked by Charles (4804points) March 6th, 2012

What is your prime motivator for not downloading (assuming you know how to) movies and music off the internet (torrent sites for example)? Is it because it can be illegal and you are concerned about paying a fine or worse? OR, is it because you feel the artists would lose out on compensation by your downloading rather than buying of their film/music?

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26 Answers

Michael_Huntington's avatar

Neither. I am not afraid of the law and artificially constructed “ethics”. I choose to support local record stores and for the quality.

SavoirFaire's avatar

Ethics, I suppose. These days, I often write to artists and ask how they would prefer me to obtain their music (buy a CD, download from Amazon/iTunes, and so forth). I ask which option is overall best for them in terms of compensation, inventory, or other industry factors. The answer isn’t always the same, but the most common response I get is “come to one of our shows and buy a CD there.” Maybe that’s just a plug for two payouts in one, but I still try to oblige if I can.

@Michael_Huntington That looks like another vote for “ethics” to me, even if it’s your own personal ethics rather than an ethics imposed upon you by others.

Michael_Huntington's avatar

@SavoirFaire You’re right, I guess it’s just personal ethics then.

Charles's avatar

You listen to any of these guys?

Highest Paid Musicians

or watch any of these guys?

Highest Paid Actors/Actresses

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Charles I watch about one movie a year in theaters, and I don’t even know who half of the actors on that list are. As for the musicians, I listen to four of them (and only two of them with any regularity).

tom_g's avatar

ethics. It’s the law. If you find that it’s an unjust law, fight it. Fight for modern media distribution methods that you find work for people in the 21st century. Fight for fair DRM. But just sitting in your room and illegally downloading content is wrong. Some people pretend they are involved in a revolutionary act when they do.

marinelife's avatar

Because it is wrong. Someome produced the music or the movie and they are entitled to just compensation for having done so.

picante's avatar

The law tells me it’s time for my ethics to kick in. I’m thankful for the reminder to do the right thing.

jerv's avatar

Mostly neither; I am not big into either, and the only new music I’ve gotten recently is from a band I like enough to pay.

However, unless content distributors get with the times, the laws of supply and demand will kill them. Here is why.

tom_g's avatar

@jerv – That link is great – and true. I look forward to these dinosaurs’ demise. I don’t agree (and I am not saying that you have proposed this) that the way to speed up this process is bittorent.
If we want to speed this up, we should be active in communicating how you want to consume the product. We should also be active with our wallets. Do you have cable tv? People complain to their friends that big media companies are behind the times and want us to consume entertainment in a way that we don’t like. Yet then they hand over money to cable companies, enabling them to make money without having to change distribution.

Support artists who distribute independently (Louis C.K., for example). Do not get rent or buy DVDs. Get Netflix streaming only.

One thing the media companies have correct: we don’t have a right to their product. We merely want it. If you can’t get the things you want without breaking the law, then the ethical thing to do is to do without that thing. If it’s important enough to you to illegally download your entertainment, then it’s important enough for you to spend a good amount of your time and effort to seek change.

I’d also suggest that we consider what we’re talking about here. This is entertainment. In my opinion, if we are feeling victimized because our favorite corporate products aren’t available for us to consume in the way we want, we have some self-evaluation to do. Maybe it’s time to investigate our relationship with corporate entertainment, and push ourselves to find entertainment in our own lives. Make music and art, support and celebrate local artists, and try to free ourselves slightly from the need to be perpetually entertained or distracted.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Ethics. Also it’s practically free for me to stream via Amazon due to my Prime Membership.

john65pennington's avatar

Bad conscious.

sinscriven's avatar

I guess ethics. I do believe that artists should be supported, but I think the RIAA is a greedy cancerous pox on music and a leech off artists and am very much in support of subverting and screwing them as frequently and as severely as possible until they are obliterated.

But I still don’t pirate. I like keeping my nose clean and it’s easier to pay $1 for a song on iTunes than finding a torrent because nobody ever bleeping seeds.

OpryLeigh's avatar

Both. I feel incredibly guilty if I break a law that could personally effect someone so I choose not to do it. I also don’t like getting into trouble or worrying that I will get into trouble so I try not to put myself in a situation where that could happen. Would I do it if I could be 100% sure that I wouldn’t get into trouble? I really don’t think I would. If I appreciate a musicians work then I feel they deserve to be paid for it.

@Charles Of the artists on your list I only really quite enjoy ten. However, of the ten, I would probably only buy music from five. The rest, I wait until they are playing on the radio.

downtide's avatar

Both equally. Plus the fear of downloading viruses and other nasties.

jerv's avatar

@tom_g Who said anything about bittorrent? The truth is that people want their stuff without paying for stuff they don’t want. Why sign a contract? Why but a whole album for just one song? Apple knew this when they started selling individual songs on iTunes.

The simple truth is though, if you can’t give people what they want, you won’t get their money. Making something illegal won’t stop people from doing it, and while making isomething a hassle may stop the truly lazy, the best way to stop piracy is to offer easy, ala carte access to what consumers want. If they have to pirate a movie because the official DVD has DRM on it that stops people from copying the movie to their iPod for their own personal use and it’s a movie that iTunes doesn’t carry, you made a pirate when you could’ve made a profit.

@downtide That has never been an issue for me, though it takes skill to separate the what from the chaff, and good AV just in case you screw up. It’s kind of like driving; you need skill to not hit a tree, but you should wear a seat belt anyways just in case the tree decides to hit you.

downtide's avatar

@jerv I have a good seatbelt but no skill. I’d still wreck the car

tom_g's avatar

@jerv: “Who said anything about bittorrent?”

I’m sorry if you took my rant to be targeted at you. I didn’t mean you, which I why I stated, “and I am not saying that you have proposed this”.

But technically, your link to The Oatmeal (which I enjoyed) mentioned bittorrent. So, I suppose the answer to your “who said anything about bittorrent” question is: your link.

Note: I am agreeing with you.

dappled_leaves's avatar

I feel that I’ve spent enough money for a lifetime on vinyl, cassettes, and cds at record stores. I have learned over that time that it makes no sense to buy an album for a hit, and I’ve come to really despise the music “industry” for the way they package “artists” who are nothing but haircuts with clothes who can’t sing, and mistreate and stifle their truly talented musicians. I believe in the mixed tape on small and large scales. These days, I find music via friends and the internet, I don’t listen to local radio (because there are so few radio outlets that are worth anything), and I spend my money for music at shows – on tickets, merch, and CDs at the door. More of this money goes directly to the artists, and less of it supports the “industry” infrastructure. And I don’t see the free exchange of music as unethical. Sorry.

dappled_leaves's avatar

I would also add that I think that the way the music industries packages individuals and bands to become “hits” is highly unethical, especially since so many of these groups are marketed to kids.

filmfann's avatar

1) It’s wrong.
2) It’s illegal.
3) The quality of the product.
4) Downloaded movies never have the subtitling or closed captioning my wife needs.
5) 95% of the available downloads are crap.

Trillian's avatar

Ethics. I feel very strongly about theft, and this is a generational issue now, since I can no longer control what my children do. I’ve miraculously instilled this particular prohibition into all three of them. Or maybe they did that on their own. Who knows? Regardless, I consider myself fortunate that they all share this sentiment with me.

JLeslie's avatar

Ethics and law.

Someone worked and spent money to produce the music and movies. It is stealing to take it without paying for it. A song costs about $1, I think we can pay for it. Movies a few dollars. I never buy movies, but sometimes rent one, or wait for it on TV.

@Trillian Hi! I have not seen you in a while.

jerv's avatar

@JLeslie You know, I might have a little more sympathy if not for the fact that artists only see a few pennies of every sale, and producers don’t get much either. Well, not the people actually doing the producing. The real money is in distribution and markup.

Now, the indie stuff is a different matter entirely, but the thing is that they tend to be more responsive to consumer demands and thus less likely to inspire piracy. If nothing else, their products have to be on the shelves for more than a couple of days to recoup the production/distribution costs, which is different from the big studio stuff.

@tom_g I suppose I should’ve typed what I meant. Personally, BitTorrent is one of the last places I would turn partly because I know better options, and partly because it is overrun with crap, spam, and useless twaddle. I actually have a rather low opinion of BT for those reasons, but my point was merely that BT is not the only game in town, and if BT goes away, something else (either new or existing) will replace it anyways.

Berserker's avatar

My favorite musical genre is Industrial, and it’s an underground genre. As a fan, I do feel I should give em some of my money for producing such great music. It can be a bit hard to find sometimes though, but I usually manage, and that’s besides the artists who leak their work for free online to begin with.

I’m also a fan of movies, although it’s not like the movie industry is going down under. Still, I’ll pay for em. I’ll download something if I really want to see it but can find it nowhere, as can be the case with obscure horror from the seventies, for example. I will buy or rent if whenever I can though. I guess it’s an ethics thing.

With that said, I still say; SOPA can kiss my ass.

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