Friday, 29 June 2012

Why illegal downloading really does matter

I make no apologies for fighting for the rights of writers and artists to earn from their work and to be allowed to make decisions as to value and cost. So, I bring you perhaps the best, fullest, and most passionate and moving argument for why this is important.

Interesting point about fair trade coffee, too - it's why I created the idea of Fair Reading.

The end of the article goes to the heart and is worth quoting:
"Why do we value the network and hardware that delivers music but not the music itself?
Why are we willing to pay for computers, iPods, smartphones, data plans, and high speed internet access but not the music itself?
Why do we gladly give our money to some of the largest richest corporations in the world but not the companies and individuals who create and sell music?"
Please, parents and teachers, tell your young people. It matters. It's a moral issue.

It's theft. And there are victims.


  1. Very well said. I've never illegally downloaded anything - it would feel the same to me as running into a book or music shop and stealing off the shelf.

  2. I agree is theft and there are victims!

  3. I agree, too. But there are more than one aspect to downloading, as I mentioned in my own, slightly different, blog post a couple of months ago.
    Some lines of entertainment don't make the 'goods' available to buy, now, or sometimes never.

    1. Bookwitch, I've just been to read your v interesting post. Complicated issues! There is a simple answer to a part of your "why can't it be available legally in every country?" and that's to do with publishers/producers/etc wanting the opportunity to earn from different territory rights. For example, one might make a book available everywhere apart from the US because one wants to sell the US rights to a publisher. But apart from that, I'm very with you.

  4. I agree too, in spades. If I want something, I'll pay for it. We must respect the work of creatives.
    I recently wrote a post that included the line 'Anyone who argues that piracy is flattering or beneficial should be strapped down while their house is burgled'. It provoked a furious backlash. Some people objected to the comparison, period. Several people confused piracy with the right to give their work away free - which is not what I was talking about, I was talking about the theft of work that you have not made free.
    One reader argued that if a writer made it known they strongly disapproved of piracy it would make them unpopular. I can only imagine this is because it's becoming socially acceptable to pirate TV shows, music etc and no one likes to be told they shouldn't be doing it. In my book, that's all the more reason to strenuously argue for creatives' rights.
    So thank you, Nicola, for this post.

  5. Ros, unfortunately yes, speaking out against piracy (aka pure theft) does make one unpopular. And exactly, if we want to make our work available free w have every right to do that. It's about the creator having some control. And why should we be so pilloried when we want to earn for our work? in what trade does that happen? It's bizzarre. But I do really like the power of the argument in the article i linked to - because the people who usually cry loudest for the right to download free are most often the people who claim to hate big business, too, and it's big business they are helping when they do it.

  6. I am intrigued by your concept 'Fair Reading' - please tell us more, or point us to any previously written posts on the topic.

    1. Here's something I wrote:

      I've written elsewhere and when i was chair of the Soc of Authors in Scotland I tried to give it a platform but I ran out of time and energy and had too much else to do. But it's still there!


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