An Update on Piracy and Infringement of My Recorded Work

April 18, 2016

An Update on Piracy and Infringement of My Recorded Work

In the past year, I’ve issued hundreds of takedown notices to websites where my copyrighted material may be downloaded or streamed without my permission — of course, taking income from me. These sites rely upon the DMCA Safe Harbor provision or its EU equivalent to avoid claims of infringement.

“The Last Whoop-dee-doo” was offered as a download free of charge from thousands of webpages, many of which were apparently hosted in Russia, Poland, Turkey, China, Israel and India; and streamable through many services without my permission — and accessible through U.S.-based servers and web searches. As recently as last week, Slacker Radio was streaming without permission the entirety of Fire and Fall Back. Slacker has not yet responded to my demand for an accounting, but should I ever receive one, against what reliable data can their assertion be vetted? (As an aside, FaceBook Ads could never justify their claimed clickthroughs by proving the IPs where they originated were not sourced through a click farm! I fought them on this and got all of my money back.)

None of my recorded work is as easy to find free of charge as it once was, but the damage has been done, to me and directly to my wallet — thousands of downloads mean that I have lost many $1,000s in revenue, all the while Google rakes in the big bucks serving ads on Torrent sites. Google is, even from a most charitable aspect, the single greatest facilitator of piracy the world has ever known. But, in that environment, you decide whether to steal.

In the 19th century, Americans were book pirates. A best-seller in England was a sure-fire sale for Americans who blatantly and copiously ripped off authors and publishers with pirated publications. Publishing fortunes were established upon this theft. I have many examples of these books in my library. The age of book piracy came to an end around the beginning of the 20th century with new laws and civil enforcement through the courts.

It is not new. Men are thieves whenever they can be; when, conscience-less, they gambit that theft is unlikely to harm them. I would hope that you, as a fellow musician, do not and will not torrent the recorded work of others. And, in fact, encourage your friends not to steal. Why? Because the Lord your God will send you to Hell? Well, some believe that.

But let me suggest this. If you consider yourself no better than an animal, you steal. Just watch these awful creatures:

You could, instead, act as a civilized man and respect the property of others; as a gentleman when you pay for what you use; an an artist, when you acknowledge the work and the money that goes into a recording. It’s your choice. What kind of musician do you aspire to be?

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