Blogs Dashboard

Just another Blogs.reuters.com weblog

The most dangerous download of all

December 1, 2006

bronfman-resize-3.jpgUsing online music services to share songs without paying for them may be illegal, but casual users don’t usually find themselves under the steely gaze of an angry recording industry executive. Unless Dad is the head of Warner Music Group.

We asked Edgar Bronfman, the head of the world’s fourth largest music company, at the Reuters Summit whether any of his seven kids stole music.

“I’m fairly certain that they have, and I’m fairly certain that they’ve suffered the consequences.”

We couldn’t begin to guess what that means. He explained to our Second Life reporter, Adam Pasick:

“I explained to them what I believe is right, that the principle is that stealing music is stealing music. Frankly, right is right and wrong is wrong, particularly when a parent is talking to a child. A bright line around moral responsibility is very important. I can assure you they no longer do that.”

Great, but what did he do to them?

“I think I’ll keep that within the family.”

Pasick’s Second Life interview with Bronfman

(Photo: Reuters) (left to right: Bronfman, Pasick)

Comments

So the concequences for 14 year old Susie Q. Public downloading some stupid song that she could have legally taped off of the radio are that her parents and her a put through a protracted form of legal extortion, resulting in the depletion of their family’s life savings and plunged into debt, perhaps permanently effecting the child’s future education. The concequences for this guy… he has to give a stern lecture. Now we know why everyone loves record company weasels!

Posted by iburl | Report as abusive
 

If he didn’t donate their college funds to his company and trample their futures, he didn’t punish them appropriately.

Posted by Paul | Report as abusive
 

I bet he didn’t try and sue em’ in court like he would everyone else!

Posted by Linden | Report as abusive
 

Record executives should be jailed for violating their customers’ civil rights with these unfounded lawsuits. (Are they even checking if users are just replacing tracks from scratched CDs they legitimately own?)That people are allowed to equate copyright infringement with stealing, and not be called out as absurdists immediately thereafter, is the fault of the journalist. In this sad case, the journalist even does it himself! Hey, you there! Stop that!The notion of “intellectual property” only exists to confuse people: there really is no such thing! Trademark law, patent law, and copyright law are all real (and separate) bodies of law, and violating them is no more theft than it is arson or assault.You devalue the _actual_ concept of physical property when you apply its terminology to infinitely replicateable things like computer data files.

Posted by Finite | Report as abusive
 

BWAHAHAHA!! I just read “moral responsibility” and “music industry” in the same article! The folks that have brought us such ‘morally responsible’ artists as: 2 Live Crew, Marilyn Manson, Motley Crue, ‘Ol Dirty Bastard and ON AND ON AND ON..These losers would hang your children over a nickel. Here’s to this corrupt and creatively BANKRUPT industry to continuing to circle the abyss while technology leaves them further in the vapors..Cheers..

Posted by Chevs | Report as abusive
 

“A bright line around moral responsibility is very important.”Is it morally responsible for the recording industry to take the largest cut from the efforts of artists?

Posted by Jeremy | Report as abusive
 

OK This guy Bronfman is an easy target. But don’t expect him to turn in his children to the police for downloading songs. Would you turn in yours?With regard to Finite’s “intellectual property,” observations, as a writer and graphic designer I expect the copyright laws to protect me from those who would use my work illegally, whether it is part of a book or a website or a recorded product. I want to be paid for the property I create. In many cases, this payment is made through a royalty based on property use. When a song is dowloaded instead of purchased, it deprives everyone in the process of their share of the profit. (By the way, how big that share may be is not the issue. Music industry percentages of the profit are negotiated with the artists and are what they are. If artists want to earn more, they can change companies, self-publish, or renegotiate.) What’s important is the ethical issue of whether it is right to cut the owners of property out of hte loop just because you can.As for downloading to replace a damaged track on a CD If we buy a car and hit a tree with it do we expect the manufacturer to pay for the repair? In the days before digital media, if we scratched our vinyl LP did we expect to get a free replacement. Of course not. Why then should it be considered OK to download a replacement track for a damaged CD?Lets get real. This thread is about bashing the music industry about trying to stem the flow of profits out of their pockets through illegal channels. They may be going way overboard on the punishment of the little people who do it, but how can they not pursue a remedy to a huge abuse of their property rights?

Posted by RGSmith | Report as abusive
 

I wouldn’t doubt it at all that this guy has his own iPod full of illegal MP3′s.

Posted by Dazz | Report as abusive
 

I don’t know, I think Ill keep that within the family, maybe it means he just gave them a stern lecture. Knowing the record industries though, I imagined he exsanguinated them. Someone ought to get the cops to check for bodies. Record industry execs have neither soul nor morality, so it’s hardly beyond them.

Posted by Mishra | Report as abusive
 

“Is it morally responsible for the recording industry to take the largest cut from the efforts of artists?”It won’t be morally responsible when artists themselves front up the advance, the recording costs, the marketing costs, the video costs (the most expensive cost for any artist), production costs, and all the other expenses in between.Seriously, bother to do some homework on what record companies actually do for an artist and what they spend before you start bitching about how they rip off the artist.

Posted by Steve | Report as abusive
 

He probably made them listen to rap music for 10 hours straight. That’s when he was sure they’d “never do it again.”

Posted by Mark | Report as abusive
 

First of all, I don’t own any form of portable digital music players. I don’t care much for the music and movies that have been released in the past few years, let alone have a desire to own copies. With that out of the way I would like to rebut some of Mr. RGSmith’s arguments as I find quite a few of them disagreeable.”But dont expect him to turn in his children to the police for downloading songs. Would you turn in yours?” – If I had kids, absolutely not! But it sounds like you are asking us to show sympathy to a guy because he has a kid… or to a kid because he has a dad. I could basically argue that we should ease off of murderers if they have parents. Now, let’s think about everyone else’s kids who are getting sued up the whazoo.”When a song is dowloaded instead of purchased, it deprives everyone in the process of their share of the profit.” – I find this argument to be logically unsound and I’m tired of hearing it. If a song is downloaded, it does not prove the downloader would not have bought the song in the first place, nor does it prevent the person from buying the song from a music store in the future.”If we buy a car and hit a tree with it do we expect the manufacturer to pay for the repair?” – A terrible analogy. The cost to cover a car is way more than a single copy of song. You don’t see people buying insurance policies when they buy songs do you? Since Mr. RGSmith is a writer, I’ll use books and articles as an analogy. What must you do when you copy or quote pages of books and news articles? Back in grade school, I only had to cite the source to prevent any legal action. Also, teachers would photocopy the content of these authors and illustrators over and over to pass out to the kids, and I would never hear about any lawyer knocking at their doors. Why is that? I mean, it’s happening in public schools as opposed to the privacy of a person’s bedroom.”They may be going way overboard on the punishment of the little people who do it, but how can they not pursue a remedy to a huge abuse of their property rights?” – Now I actually do agree with this, but I trully believe there are “better” ways of going about this then suing everyone. It makes alot of money, but generates alot of bad publicity and puts them under tight scrutiny.

Posted by JoeFish | Report as abusive
 

In response to the comments about taping off the radio and replacing scratched cd’s:Let’s remember – no one is being sued for DOWNLOADING music. That’s just what the media outlets report.They are being sued for UPLOADING or SHARING music.The simple reason being that they don’t have to deal with ANY fair use issues if they just sue uploaders. Uploading is illegal however you look at it and it’s a slam dunk to litigate against.

Posted by Think about it | Report as abusive
 

Rules and laws must be strictly followed and abuses severely punished…..for others. This is like the politicians who preach and regulate ethical and moral behaviour and then want special disposition for themselves (and their funders) when they are found wanting.

Posted by PR | Report as abusive
 

Thank god I live in Canada.

Posted by MS | Report as abusive
 

Right is right, wrong is wrong… Ok, total agreement… But what do right and wrong mean? In the law point of view? Morally speaking? Familly rules transgression?

Posted by lau | Report as abusive
 

Right is right, and wrong is wrong. So if downloading music illegally means I can get sued, then you should sue your children.soCan anyone tell me why I would buy music from extortionists like this? Why do you? All their money comes from US, so why give it to them?

Posted by HAYSOOS | Report as abusive
 

I don’t even know what to say to this. Way over my little head.

 

To RGSmith, I say: When it has been revealed that you, as a record executive, have a child who has done exactly the same thing your company has sued much financially worse-off people for doing, you need to do something a little stronger than simply say “I’d rather keep her punishment in the family”. if we are to believe his argument against illegal downloading, then what his child has done is absolutely no different to stealing something out of the store. Now, would a parent give their child up to the authorities for shoplifting out of Macy’s? I think a lot more of them would. And I think Bronfman thinks it’s OK to imply to the world that he wouldn’t pursue legal action against his children for downloading illegally because – duhhh – it’s really not in the same league. At all.And to everyone (RG included), I say: But none of this is even the point. 99% of the arguing on this board right now is completely pointless. What’s right, what’s wrong. FREE DOWNLOADING IS HERE TO STAY. period. If they could have figured out how to stop it, they would have. But they can’t. So with that in mind, what can record companies do to protect themselves? I think an excellent safeguard is to require their artists to start making good, soulful, honest, intelligent, wholesome, progressive MUSIC again instead of the lifesucking trash that they are pumping into the world culture, diluting every genre across the board. I think that would be an excellent way to kick things off, if not solve the problem entirely. I download music illegally all the time, but when an album has great artwork, sounds great and professional, and is chock full of excellent songs, I go get it immediately. Problem is, no MAJOR label has released a record in I don’t know how long that has made me do that. Now whose fault is that? The consumer? Music is just not worth as much to the average joe as it used to be. So that’s a detail you corporate guys may want to work on…. what else can they do to protect themself?best thing they can do is stop making crap music and stop spending so much money on making albums. that’s all over now. it’s back to quality music, which costs nothing.

 

People may not be getting SUED for downloading, but they sure are going to prison for it. I spent two years in prison for conspiracy to willfully commit copyright infringement. Keep in mind too that it was CONSPIRACY. So I guess I wasn’t convicted for downloading either. I was convicted of thinking about doing it, planning to do it, or as they call it, conspiring to do it.Uploading adds more time to the sentence under the federal guidelines.I think his kids deserve a good couple years in prison to make sure we’re all equal here.

Posted by No Thanks | Report as abusive
 

Downloading is not stealing. It is only a violation of the copyrightlaws.

Posted by Mr Correct | Report as abusive
 

Do you think we can sue this guy out of existance on BEHALF of the RIAA :-)

Posted by Anon | Report as abusive
 

if this moron was a copmputer file, I would downloaded him, spread him, and deleted him. He is destroying the music world, and have some serious issues

Posted by espen nystad | Report as abusive
 

# Finite says:December 4th, 2006 at 1:00 am GMTYou devalue the _actual_ concept of physical property when you apply its terminology to infinitely replicateable things like computer data files.That’s where DRM comes in. So it’s no longer replicateable…

Posted by HackAR | Report as abusive
 

I think that people do it all the time, and after a while get used to the fact of getting away with “murder”. There should be a limit to what people can do.

 

There should be a warning issued together with every downloadable song.Subsequently when there is a voilation, stern warning coud be issued before any litigation proceedings.Otherwise we will make all lawyers fat!!

 

The recording industry has to be composed of the most stupid, vindictive people of all time.Imagine you are a college student that gets sued. What happens after that? All of your friends find out “Dude, check this out, I’m getting sued for downloading music.” (hahahaha…laughter and disbelief ensue]. Now all of your friends and all of their friends instantly HATE the recording industry and will think of them as the ENEMY FOREVER. Remember what it was like to be in college?That’s just wonderful marketing, getting young people to hate your company early in life. The recording industry is screwed.Which makes a happy ending to their grip on popular music, don’t you think?

Posted by Craig | Report as abusive
 

For No Thanks, who wrote “People may not be getting SUED for downloading, but they sure are going to prison for it. I spent two years in prison for conspiracy to willfully commit copyright infringement.” What country was this in? If it is not asking too much, would you provide more details about your experience so others may learn how to protect themselves. TIA.

Posted by blackhat | Report as abusive
 

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/