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Intellectual Property in the Age of the Internet

category elsewhere | economy | opinion / analysis author Wednesday April 19, 2006 19:12author by Cian Lynch - WSM - 1st of May branch - personal capacity Report this post to the editors

IP, Technology and the Internet - Digital Landlords Beware!

In this transcript of an educational I gave to the 1st of May branch I attempt to briefly consider how the internet and technology have impacted on intellectual property and what our perspectives on this might be as class struggle anarchists

Intellectual Property in the Age of the Internet

“Property Is Theft”
- Proudhon from “What is Property”

“All Information Should Be Free”
- from “The Hacker Ethic”

Bono shaking hands with Tony Blair. For me it was one of the most memorable images of last year, appearing on the cover of Phoenix magazine during the G8 protests of 2005. Watching MTV's Cribs today brought the idea home with even greater force than ever before. These days, Intellectual Property Capitalists like Bono, Chris Martin of Coldplay and Thom Yorke of Radiohead are among the wealthiest and most visible of todays ruling class.

The cult of celebrity has become inescapable with the explosion of mass media forms in the late 20th Century, to the extent that musicians like Bono and Bob Geldof can use their fame to get the ear of political figures like Tony Blair. The media image that is portrayed is usually that of the musician with a “social conscience” bravely confronting the “immoral” politician and challenging them on the inequitable and exploitable policies of their government.

Unfortunately, it is exactly that, an “image”. There is no class struggle between these two men and Bono, Chris and Thom are far from being the “voice of the people”. Good musicians and songwriters they may be, but the fact of the matter is that their vast wealth is made on the backs of working people through exploitative royalty payments charged whenever one of their albums are sold. They are in fact the wealthiest capitalists of our age, whose interests are the same as those of other members of the ruling class, like George Bush, Tony O'Reilly and Michael O'Leary.

However, the sharing possibilities opened up by the Internet have quickly revealed the iron fist behind the velvet glove. In the last couple of years, copyright enforcement organisations like the RIAA in the U.S. and the IMRO in Ireland have begun suing those who attempt to share music over the internet. These organisations are the “big stick” that ensure profits keep rolling in for record companies and artists like Bono while ensuring that the culture of openness and sharing that threatens it is crushed. Make no mistake, these organisations carry the might of state behind them when they file their lawsuits, and as usual in a capitalist society, defense of property comes before anything else.

The most ridiculous case that I can recall was when the RIAA sued a 9-year old girl and sent her a threatening “cease and desist” letter which quite rightly outraged her parents. In the face of the enormous negative publicity over this, the RIAA did eventually back down but this clearly shows how absolutely ruthless these people will be in punishing those who share.

Even bands that were once proud to say they were “underground” and “anti-establishment” have turned around on their fans and accused people of “stealing” their music. Metallica are the most disgusting example of this. Tape-Trading was a crucial element of the underground rock music scene from which Metallica rose in the early 80's. Without tape-trading, Metallica would likely never have gained the widespread recognition that eventually broke them on a worldwide scale.
Nowadays, Metallica have sold over 10 million copies of the Black Album and are millionares.
They would certainly claim that they have never lost touch with their roots, but the reality is that they are now rich Property Capitalists whose interests are those of the ruling class. Lars Ulrich's ridiculous outbursts only confirm that they have long since discarded their “rebel” image. His petulance at people “stealing” his royalties on the internet, despite his own enormous wealth shows how completely out of touch he is with the common workers daily struggle to make ends meet.

The anarcho-punks may be looking smug at this point as they shuffle along to buy their Crass albums from small independent retailers, believing themselves safe in the knowledge that they are not supporting such an inequitable and exploitative business.

Buying from independents is all well and good – certainly adding to the profits of enormous record companies like EMI or Colombia is not something any anarchist would advocate.

As revolutionary class-struggle anarchists however, we need to be much more ambitious. Even when you buy from a small independent retailer, you pay royalties to the artist and the record company skims a good portion off the top for its own profits. For anarchists, just as there is no “acceptable level” of wage-slavery, there is no “acceptable level” of profiteering from Intellectual Property. Royalties from the sale of books, music, software and other products are a rental charge that can only be imposed because the sharing and copying of such things is openly punished by the state. Renting a physical property is opposed by all anarchists for obvious reasons, and renting intellectual property should be opposed just as strongly.

Liberal critics of intellectual property like Lawrence Lessig have, in books like “Free Culture” criticised the way the current IP system works (or rather doesn't work) on the internet but have proposed a solution that would involve guaranteeing the right to share certain uncopyrighted works, but creating a new “tax” that, depending on estimates of how damaging sharing is to the industry, attempts to compensate record companies/publishers and other who sell copyrighted works for their losses.

Even if this idea was workable, there is vanishingly little to recommend it. Our goal should be to remove the ability of these companies, artists and organisations to make profits from consumers of their products. The end of this exploitation will result in a loss of profits :- this is the intended effect so why would we want to “compensate” for it? If someone was robbing your house every year for 20 years and finally was caught, would you propose to then pay him something every year to compensate for his losses? The idea is ridiculous of course. Thieves should not be compensated when they stop stealing.

Worse still, this “solution” proposes a new tax to “compensate” the industries affected! All this amounts to is saying “Well, if we cant steal the money from the workers as they buy the product in a store, we'll just steal it directly out of their wage packets”.

There is an alternative of course :- we could work at creating a system that rewards artists equitably for their efforts in creating a work, be it a book, a piece of software or a symphony. It is an oft-repeated aphorism that many great artists are not appreciated during their lifetime. Once radical and underground artists like Salvador Dali or Van Gogh, who were unpopular in their lifetimes have gained enormous celebrity in our time and the perceived value of their work has shot up. In a market economy this perceived value has real-world monetary effects :- many artists who could not even find a publisher for their work in their own lifetime and died penniless have had original editions of their works sold at auctions today for ridiculous prices (for Von Gogh, these can often reach into the millions).

This begs the question of how we can fairly compensate artists for their work in their own lifetimes. Obviously a market economy does a very poor job of judging the worth of an artists output - although later generations may rectify this, the artist might also languish in poverty and perpetual obscurity. The most honest response to this problem is that we simply cannot measure the value of an artists output. The best solution as I see it therefore is to reward the artist based purely on their effort and the sacrifices they make to produce their work.

The latest issue of Newsweek contains several interesting articles on how the open-source software movement is affecting the business strategies of corporations like IBM who currently file more than 3,000 patents a year! IBM CEO Palmisano comments “Open source is a method of tapping a community of experts to develop useful things. It began in software , but applies broadly, and is anything but anti-capitalist. It can raise quality at reduced costs, and vastly expands opportunities for profit.” IBM is the leading business investor in the open source movement and their investment of billions in Linux was instrumental in making that operating system a serious competitor to Windows. Companies like IBM and SUN have been much quicker to recognise the power of the open-source model and to immediately reshape their business model around it.

However, despite what Sam Palmisano says about open-source software not being anti-capitalist, he has has been forced to re-orient his business towards making profits from delivering customised services and support rather than software. What seems to be happening here is that open source software has been such a successful model that it has begun to close off some avenues of profit (through software copyrights and patents) that companies like Microsoft are almost entirely dependent on. Sam Palmisano has simply been more perceptive than Microsoft in seeing how strong open-source is as a model, and made a decision to give up on that profit avenue to pursue other, more lucrative directions like support and services. The success of open-source has made at least some property-based commodity's available to the commons and withdrawn them from the capitalist marketplace and the profit-making arena. If thats not anti-capitalist, I'm nor sure what is!
Open-Source may not be a revolutionary approach that has any likelihood of overthrowing the entire IT Industry but is a worthwhile endeavor that shows anarchist values are still alive and kicking even in an Industry that seems to revolve around copyrights and patents.

The issue of Intellectual Property on the internet is one that is not going to disappear anytime soon. The very nature of the internet, with its open architecture and environment that encourages the natural sharing of information represents a threat to the digital landlords who wish to rule this domain. It is my belief that we cannot ultimately win this battle in the digital domain unless we simultaneously fight to overthrow the legitimacy of real-world property.

Short Bibliography:
Brian Martin - “Information Liberation” Freedom Press
JD Lassica - “Darknet: Hollywood's War Against the Digital Generation” Wiley & Sons
Lawrence Lessig - “Freeculture”

author by Terencepublication date Thu Apr 20, 2006 02:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Some interesting points raised.

While Open Source may not be entirely anti-capitalist and I think the reason Sam Palmisano says so is because there are some differences between Open Source and Freeware, but these are minor points really in relation to this article.

The point I would like to make is that it has been said that the form of society you have has a strong influence on the technologies it invents and adopts. Therefore as you suggest the open source / freeware movement has forced the direction of the capitalists to some degree. With open source / freeware what has happened -and its important -is that ordinary people and not corporations have had a role in what was invented, in the direction it took and how it has been used.

Some of the well known freeware software would be Mozilla and Firefox browsers, Apache webserver (runs more than 50% of web servers), Perl and PHP languages -also used by websites including the software for this site. This has provided the free infrastructure for people to do tons of very positive and worthwhile stuff and is very much part and parcel of the Internet. Indeed much that could be described as anti-capitalist has arisen from these developments. Had this software not existed none of this would could possibly have happened within the capitalist framework.

So I think the open source / freeware movement is living proof of the benefit for society where masses of people have control over the technology.

In relation to music the long history and tradition of folk and traditional music all over the world is a reflection of the centuries of sharing of music and the rich culture that is world music. Clearly copyright has tapped into this and fenced off much of the more recent stuff.

author by Mr Sandmanpublication date Thu Apr 20, 2006 22:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

To the editor/author of this article, I don't know how much research you actually did before writing this article but clearly it wasn't enough. Specifically, I am refering to your accusations towards Metallica as being some kind of sell-out corporated property capitalists. Let me break your little piece down and I will tell you how it ACTUALLY is.

"Even bands that were once proud to say they were “underground” and “anti-establishment” have turned around on their fans and accused people of “stealing” their music. "
First off, Metallica never claimed to be underground and anti-establishment. The media and fans portrayed them as that based on their brand of music and lyrical content. Second of all, they accused fans of stealing their music because, yes they WERE stealing their music. Lt me define stealing for you. Getting something for free without paying a dime without the band's consent. THAT is stealing.

Metallica are the most disgusting example of this. Tape-Trading was a crucial element of the underground rock music scene from which Metallica rose in the early 80's. Without tape-trading, Metallica would likely never have gained the widespread recognition that eventually broke them on a worldwide scale.
This is not an example of hypocrisy that you are trying to accuse them of. Back when those tape trading days occurred, the band had full control and gave permission to have their music passed around to spread the word. Who do you think started the demo tape of Metallica being traded across the world? Mr Lars Ulrich himself, not the fans. The difference between back then and now is back then, he authorised the tape trading whereas today, people are trading their music around for free without the band's permission. After they released the first album, the band stopped the trading of their studio recordings from that day forward. The only reason they started it in the first place was to get their name out. Do you really think they need to do that now? or even in 1991? or 1987? Me thinks not. The answer lies within the words "Permission and control."

Nowadays, Metallica have sold over 10 million copies of the Black Album and are millionares.
Which is exactly why your whole argument is invalid. They have all the money in the world. The issue was never about money, it was about control, something they have strived and fought for since day 1.

They would certainly claim that they have never lost touch with their roots, but the reality is that they are now rich Property Capitalists whose interests are those of the ruling class.
Their only interests are to make the best music they can make, it isnt about business, it is about music. Money isnt the be all to end all

Lars Ulrich's ridiculous outbursts only confirm that they have long since discarded their “rebel” image. His petulance at people “stealing” his royalties on the internet, despite his own enormous wealth shows how completely out of touch he is with the common workers daily struggle to make ends meet.
No it means he has principles, something which many internet surfers cannot comprehend, and clearly yourself included. Just because something is on the internet does not mean all copyrights are meaningless. Stealing is stealing, end of story. There simply is no argument here. Read the back of the CD where it has the copyright notice. It is there for a reason and whether you walk into a CD store and take the CD without paying or whether you download it for free without paying, it is stealing either way and it takes away property rights, artists rights and everything thats moral and legal. The internet is not an excuse to pirate and bootleg everything available to people. Artists have rights and that is what Lars Ulrich and Metallica were fighting for. And guess what? Piracy is now the number 1 reason for dwindling CD sales. While Metallica are rich and dont need the money, there are many bands starting out who do and are now struggling because low life leechers are too cheap to pay for their music.

Now sink on that one for a while and see why Metallica were right.

Related Link:
author by Cianpublication date Tue Apr 25, 2006 04:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Actually, if you had done your own research, you would have found that in fact, Metallica have indeed claimed to be "anti-establishment" in the past.
In fact, as late as 1997, James Hetfield was giving quotes like these to the press : "The fans like the idea we do what we want. It's not an act. Screw the record company and the beaten path. Without MTV or radio, we still have a huge underground following." - USA Today, 1997.
James knows very well that a good deal of Metallica's popularity, especially in their early years, was helped no end by their "middle-finger to the media record companies" stance. Metallica were the band who would do it their way, with or without the backing or of huge record companies to help them along. Metallica's early reputation was built on " ferocious touring", not throwing huge money at marketing campaigns. They emerged from an underground thrash scene that included Anthrax, Nuclear Assault and the like, this is an established fact. At this particular stage of their history, they were both underground and anti-establishment. The fact that they are on a major label now and "sucking up to the man" as it were, does not change what they once were.

Your assertion that the band had "full control" when they "allowed" their music to be tape-traded on the underground metal scene is ridiculous. Once the band had given their tapes to a few friends to copy, it was largely out of their control whether the music continued to be copied or not. They would not have had the ability to prevent the tape-trading taking place once the first tape was traded. As it is, they never considered the option in those days, since gaining a reputation and fanbase was more important than making money at that point. Metallica's "permission" to trade those tapes beyond the first copy was not needed, nor could they have taken any action that would "control" it once it had begun. Metallica don't encourage people to copy tapes or CD's of their music now because they no longer need to build a reputation or fanbase, their distribution is worldwide and the only thing tape/cd copying does for them now is reduce Lars Ulrich's bank balance ever so slightly.

You also claimed that "Their only interests are to make the best music they can make, it isnt about business, it is about music." I would that it were so! But, lets face it, Metallica need money to survive like anybody else.. in their case, they make a lot of money from royalty payments so one of their primary interests is to protect the systems that enforce royalty payments. The reason Lars Ulrich is upset about people "stealing" his music on the internet is not because he has principles (although I'm sure he does, they're just different from mine), it's because its in his FINANCIAL INTEREST to do so.

Royalty payments are his income... he makes his money from renting Intellectual Property, so naturally he's going to want to defend the IP system that enforces those payments. Does Lars need the money at this stage in his career? I think we can definitively say no, he does not. There are plenty of people who have a greater "need" for that money than Lars Ulrich, indeed for whom a little more money is literally a "life or death" issue!

Your attempts to "explain" stealing to me are quite amusing, but I fear we will not get anywhere particularly fast unless I explain a few things. Given the opinions you offer in your post to me it is very apparent that you have not given any serious thought to the legitimacy of intellectual property itself. Sentences like "Stealing is stealing, end of story." are not going to get us anywhere.

I have quite a good deal of philosophical, ethical and economic reasons for considering Intellectual Property to be an unjust, indefensible and exploitative system so empty phrases like "There simply is no argument here" are just not helpful. You should also be aware that you are posting to an anarchist site... a site where most people are in full agreement that property is indefensible and cannot be justified. So the burden of proof in fact lies with you. If you can indeed offer me and others here some good, solidly argued justifications for IP I will certainly consider them but I highly doubt whether you can come up with the goods.

You offer me the powerful advice of "Read the back of the CD". Great. I have over 500 CD's and I've read the back of every single one. I know what it says. Despite what you seem to believe, a Record Company putting a copyright stamp on the back of their jewel cases does not prove the legitimacy of intellectual property. How could it!?

Nearing the end of your post, you offer the argument that : "whether you walk into a CD store and take the CD without paying or whether you download it for free without paying, it is stealing either way". Well I'm afraid we have to disagree here, and I will give you some very good reasons why. When you steal a CD from a store, you are stealing a physical object which has been manufactured, pressed and created not just by the artists but by a whole segment of the working population. When the CD is stolen, the shop can no longer give that CD to anyone else :- they have been deprived of it and have suffered a measurable loss. All fine so far?

However, when someone "copies" a song, over the internet, something quite different occurs. When you copy a piece of digital information (which when you break it down for a computer, is all a song is), you take the original and duplicate it, so that instead of just one song, there are now two. The person who had the original song, however, has not lost the use of it. He/She may still play the song, perform it, whatever and has suffered no loss as a result of your copy. As you see, this is definetely not the same thing as "stealing" a physical object. To equate the two, indeed speaks either of wilful ignorance, or a political agenda of some kind. You end this sentence with.... "everything thats moral and legal"
You should be very careful... you are at risk of implying that everything legal is moral, or that everthing moral is legal. Ethical Philosophers everywhere are cringing!

I think you also do not understand where my arguments in the piece are leading to. I gave the piece as an educational to a group of revolutionary class struggle anarchists. As such, a liberal audience (I would include yourself in that) is likely to misunderstand or misread my conclusions or goals, which are not clearly stated. The reason my social/economic goals are not clearly stated in the piece is that I would just have been telling everybody in my group what we already know, that we need a social revolution to confront the power of Captial (including intellectual property capital) and overthrow it. You might be misled into believing that I advocate some kind of free-for-all market economy with everyone freely copying CD's and the poor artists getting no rewards at all for their efforts. This of course, is not something I am advocating so I apologise if the piece was misleading in that this crucial perspective may have been missing.

Thanks for your response,

author by Mr Sandmanpublication date Tue Apr 25, 2006 20:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I have done my research, being a fan of the band for a good 15 years AND being a surpporter of anti-piracy for even longer. Your arguments just don't make sense and it's lagel due to ignorance.

They certaintly do not suck up to any major company. This is the same band who took Elektra to courts over property rights to their music, something which most bands still today have no full control over. The band OWN their music, even under a record company's contract. Elektra could no longer step in and say no no no. What they once were and what they are now is not much different, aside from their maturity levels. They have ALWAYS fought for control for what they do. They didn't do a video until their 4th album for this reason. They own rights to their music for this reason. They went after Napster for this reason. And yes they did not have control of the tape trading once it took off and I never actually said they did. I said they started the tape trading to get the word out, therefore controlling what happened. Lars knew by doing this that their name would get out.

And yes stealing is stealing. You can twist it any way you like but that is the bottom line. Your excuse that duplicating something from the original doesnt matter since the original owner still has their copy is a load of crap. You cannot justify millions of duplicates from 1 source and think that is fine, and legal! Despite what you say, you clearly did not read the copyright notice. NO copies of the product may be distributed in any form. It is copyright infringement plain and simple. Why do you think radio stations have to pay to air music? Because it is also stated in copyright notices that you cannot play the music for public displays. It IS that simple. The internet has become such a wasteland of so much illegal activity that it has become the norm to just accept any kind of infringements against artists that we have people like yourself who actually defend piracy. If you were to have this same situation 20 years ago where a company decided to allow people to create a mass trading of free music with absolutely no repercussions at all and to totally ignore all coprights, the company would have been shut down in a second and the people responsible for shutting it down would be applauded, and it has happened before. Piracy is worse now than ever and companys like Napster were using the internet as an excuse to make money off everyone else illegally. And dont think for a second that Napster were not in it for the money. They made a lot of money out of it but at least now they are trying to do the right thing. If an artist wants to give their music away for free, that should be their choice, not companies like Napster, not you, me or anyone else. It is the artists RIGHTS. And it is laughable and pathetic for anyone to defend against those principles.

And yes I agree there are financial concerns that the band think about when things like this happen. But as I said, when you are a band like Metallica with millions of dollars, it starts to become less about money and more about principle. If you think Metallica is that greedy, think again. This is the same band that financially funded their fanclub in 2001 due to high costs of running the club, money straight out of their own pockets, a club that under charges their yearly fee and that barely scrapes by year by year, no profit just so the band can stay connected to their fans, the same band who performed 6 free shows in 2000 to make-up for only 3 shows which the lead singer James Hetfield had to miss due to a back injury, despite the fact that the rest of the band still went on with the show giving fans not a cancellation but 3 unique shows with other bands, that same tour in 2000 which they lost money in. Do you honesty think a greedy band would go on a very expensive tour knowing full well that they would barely make much money from it, but to top things off, end up losing money from it? Greedy people don't do things that are not finacially viable for themselves. People come to conclusions about property rights so easily whenever someone financially comfortable steps into the picture. It's so easy to label something so obvious without realizing the facts. Whatever you may think about property rights now or the bands true motives, that fact is Metallica are honest and dont bullshit anyone. To actually do what they did was commercial suicide on their part and they took a beating for something which now people are starting to realize that, yeah, that band Metallica were right. Only its too little too late. Here is Lars Ulrich's statemement to congress regarding artists rights and why they felt so strongly about this. The real reason why filesharing is illegal.


Mr. Chairman, Senator Leahy, Members of the Committee, my name is Lars Ulrich. I was born in Denmark. In 1980, as a teenager, my parents and I came to America. I started a band named Metallica in 1981 with my best friend James Hetfield. By 1983 we had released our first record, and by 1985 we were no longer living below the poverty line. Since then, we've been very fortunate to achieve a great level of success in the music business throughout the world. It's the classic American dream come true. I'm very honored to be here in this country, and to appear in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee today.
Earlier this year, while completing work on a song for the movie Mission Impossible-2, we were startled to hear reports that a work-in- progress version was already being played on some U.S radio stations. We traced the source of this leak to a corporation called Napster. Additionally, we learned that all of our previously recorded copyrighted songs were, via Napster, available for anyone around the world to download from the Internet in a digital format known as MP3. As you are probably aware, we became the first artists to sue Napster, and have been quite vocal about it as well. That's undoubtedly why you invited me to this hearing.

We have many issues with Napster. First and foremost: Napster hijacked our music without asking. They never sought our permission-our catalog of music simply became available as free downloads on the Napster system.

I don't have a problem with any artist voluntarily distributing his or her songs through any means the artist elects-- at no cost to the consumer, if that's what the artist wants. But just like a carpenter who crafts a table gets to decide whether to keep it, sell it or give it away , shouldn't we have the same options? My band authored the music which is Napster's lifeblood. We should decide what happens to it, not Napster -- a company with no rights in our recordings, which never invested a penny in Metallica's music or had anything to do with its creation. The choice has been taken away from us.

What about the users of Napster, the music consumers? It's like each of them won one of those contests where you get turned loose in a store for five minutes and get to keep everything you can load into your shopping cart. With Napster, though, there's no time limit and everyone's a winner-except the artist. Every song by every artist is available for download at no cost and, of course, with no payment to the artist, the songwriter or the copyright holder.

If you're not fortunate enough to own a computer, there's only one way to assemble a music collection the equivalent of a Napster user's: theft. Walk into a record store, grab what you want and walk out. The difference is that the familiar phrase a computer user hears, "File's done," is replaced by another familiar phrase-"You're under arrest."

Since what I do is make music, let's talk about the recording artist for a moment. When Metallica makes an album we spend many months and many hundreds of thousands of our own dollars writing and recording. We also contribute our inspiration and perspiration. It's what we do for a living. Even though we're passionate about it, it's our job.

We typically employ a record producer, recording engineers, programmers, assistants and, occasionally, other musicians. We rent time for months at recording studios which are owned by small businessmen who have risked their own capital to buy, maintain and constantly upgrade very expensive equipment and facilities. Our record releases are supported by hundreds of record company employees and provide programming for numerous radio and television stations. Add it all up and you have an industry with many jobs--a very few glamorous ones like ours -- and a greater number of demanding ones covering all levels of the pay scale for wages which support families and contribute to our economy.

Remember too, that my band, Metallica, is fortunate enough to make a great living from what it does. Most artists are barely earning a decent wage and need every source of revenue available to scrape by. Also keep in mind that the primary source of income for most songwriters is from the sale of records. Every time a Napster enthusiast downloads a song, it takes money from the pockets of all these members of the creative community.

It's clear, then, that if music is free for downloading, the music industry is not viable; all the jobs I just talked about will be lost and the diverse voices of the artists will disappear. The argument I hear a lot, that "music should be free," must then mean that musicians should work for free. Nobody else works for free. Why should musicians?

In economic terms, music is referred to as intellectual property, as are films, television programs, books, computer software, video games, and the like. As a nation, the U.S has excelled in the creation of intellectual property, and collectively, it is this country's most valuable export.

The backbone for the success of our intellectual property business is the protection that Congress has provided with the copyright statutes. No information-based industry can thrive without this protection. Our current political dialog about trade with China is focused on how we must get that country to respect and enforce copyrights. How can we continue to take that position if we let our own copyright laws wither in the face of technology?

Make no mistake, Metallica is not anti-technology. When we made our first album, the majority of sales were in the vinyl record format. By the late 1980's, cassette sales accounted for over 50% of the market. Now, the compact disc dominates. If the next format is a form of digital downloading from the Internet with distribution and manufacturing savings passed on to the American consumer, then, of course, we will embrace that format too.

But how can we embrace a new format and sell our music for a fair price when someone, with a few lines of code, and no investment costs, creative input or marketing expenses, simply gives it away? How does this square with the level playing field of the capitalist system? In Napster's brave new world, what free market economy models support our ability to compete? The touted "new paradigm" that the Internet gurus tell us we Luddites must adopt sounds to me like old-fashioned trafficking in stolen goods.

We have to find a way to welcome the technological advances and cost savings of the Internet while not destroying the artistic diversity and the international success that has made our intellectual property industries the greatest in the world. Allowing our copyright protections to deteriorate is, in my view, bad policy, both economically and artistically.

To underscore what I've spoken about today, I'd like to read from the "Terms of Use" section of the Napster Internet web site. When you use Napster you are basically agreeing to a contract that includes the following terms:

"This web site or any portion of this web site may not be reproduced, duplicated, copied, sold, resold, or otherwise exploited for any commercial purpose that is not expressly permitted by Napster."

"All Napster web site design, text, graphics, the selection and arrangement thereof, and all Napster software are Copyright 1999-00 Napster Inc. All rights reserved Napster Inc."

"Napster, the logo and all other trademarks, service marks and trade names of Napster appearing on this web site are owned by Napster. Napster's trademarks, logos, service marks, and trade names may not be used in connection with any product or service that is not Napster's. Napster itself wants--and surely deserves--copyright and trademark protection. Metallica and other creators of music and intellectual property want, deserve and have a right to that same protection.

In closing, I'd like to read to you from the last paragraph of a New York Times column by Edward Rothstein:

"Information doesn't want to be free; only the transmission of information wants to be free. Information, like culture, is the result of a labor and devotion, investment and risk; it has a value. And nothing will lead to a more deafening cultural silence than ignoring that value and celebrating..[companies like] Napster running amok."

Mr. Chairman, Senator Leahy and Members of the Committee, the title of today's hearing asks the question, "The Future of the Internet: Is there an Upside to Downloading"? My answer is yes. However, as I hope my remarks have made clear, this can only occur when artists' choices are respected and their creative efforts protected.

Thank you.

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Gleichheit und Freiheit stehen nicht zur Debatte!

Contre la guerre au Kurdistan irakien, contre la traîtrise du PDK

Meurtre de Clément Méric : l’enjeu politique du procès en appel

Comunicado sobre el Paro Nacional y las Jornadas de Protesta en Colombia

The Broken Promises of Vietnam

Premier Mai : Un coup porté contre l’un·e d’entre nous est un coup porté contre nous tou·tes

Federasyon’a Çağırıyoruz!

Piştgirîye Daxuyanîya Çapemenî ji bo Êrîşek Hatîye li ser Xanîyê Mezopotamya

Les attaques fascistes ne nous arrêteront pas !

Les victoires de l'avenir naîtront des luttes du passé. Vive la Commune de Paris !

Contra la opresión patriarcal y la explotación capitalista: ¡Ninguna está sola!

100 Years Since the Kronstadt Uprising: To Remember Means to Fight!

El Rei està nu. La deriva autoritària de l’estat espanyol

Agroecology and Organized Anarchism: An Interview With the Anarchist Federation of Rio de Janeiro (FARJ)

Es Ley por la Lucha de Las de Abajo

Covid19 Değil Akp19 Yasakları: 14 Maddede Akp19 Krizi

Declaración conjunta internacionalista por la libertad de las y los presos politicos de la revuelta social de la región chilena

[Perú] Crónica de una vacancia anunciada o disputa interburguesa en Perú

Nigeria and the Hope of the #EndSARS Protests

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