Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Swedish Artists: Downloading Politically Incorrect

A group of 114 Swedish pop artists has signed an open letter condemning unauthorized downloading as being "on the verge of becoming politically correct". That's about the last thing I'd think about downloading, especially in Sweden, where coming copyright policy will make downloading illegal. I'd say that some evidence points in the other direction: it becomes cool for teens to download and associate themselves with piracy, because it is politically incorrect.

The artists also express the sentiment that downloading is theft:
"We accept that it is the owner's name on the door of the flat where he lives. We don't think it is strange that the grocer earns money from the sausage which is sold in the store. But when the work is creative it is considered that we who created it should accept having it taken by others without getting anything in return."
As a sentiment they are more than entitled to it. As a legal argument the equation of intellectual property and "real" property is poor and "on the verge of" being rhetoric. Until I can download sausages or eat songs I consider them two distinct goods: rivalrous and non-rivalrous. Of course artists should get paid for their work, but not on the basis of baloney argumentation.
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Open letter [Swedish, PDF]


Anonymous Branko Collin said...

"Of course artists should get paid for their work"


What is so special about artist that they should get paid for their work? Do, say, greengrocer's also have such a right?

(I assume you actually did mean "work", as in activity, not "works". I would a greengrocer to be paid for his potatoes, not for the activities surrounding selling potatoes.)

20/4/05 02:06  
Anonymous Branko said...

Argh! "I would a greengrocer" -> "I would expect a greengrocer". Sorry about that.

20/4/05 02:08  
Blogger Rik Lambers said...

Work/Works...in the end nobody should get paid if there's no market for it/them. Is that what you mean? I merely expressed that if artists (or greengrocers) are to be remunerated for their productivity it should be done on the bais of (legal/economic/...) arguments, not sentiments.

25/4/05 14:12  

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