Walk the Fucking Plank, Josh Pyke.

It’s hot again. This is not unexpected, but it is fucking unpleasant. It’s breathless and sweaty, moist. Moist enough that every time you fart you have to wonder for a moment whether you just shat yourself. And it’s a quiet heat, everything beaten into a submissive silence, the obmutescence punctuated only by the occasional whine of a mosquito. This presents a dilemma: let the little fucker feed on you, or slap at it, movement enough to start off a whole new wave of perspiration?

Everything comes in waves; the heat of summer and the tentative approaches of the mosquito; the conservative backlash against marriage equality; the consumption of wine. Actually the wine is more like a tide, one that flows and rarely, if ever, ebbs. To a marginally lesser degree, the same thing could be said of all this castigation of music piracy.

There’s a constant drone going on in the background, the blathering of the recording industry. After a while it becomes part of the landscape, almost pleasant in it’s constancy, like the lapping against the shore of a dark sea of wine. But every now and then, like the roar of a breaking heat wave, the cry is raised anew, the hackneyed melody belted out by Josh Pyke, or some other two-bit monument to derivative mediocrity.

Thief! Thief! is the cry. You’re mocking all our hard work, you’re stealing our sales.

Far be it from me to downplay the toil that goes into an artist’s work, the long nights, the inclement attitudes to our livers, and the proverbial blood, sweat, and fucking tears, but I’m pretty sure there’s a difference between larceny and copyright infringement. That would be why one is called larceny, and the other is… not.

But pedantry aside, there’s no denying that copyright infringement is taking something without paying for it, and there’s also no denying that the creator of the work in question deserves to get paid for it… though, it has to be said, some artists deserve the pay a lot fucking less than others, but unfortunately a) pay-scales are rarely based on the talent of the artist as opposed to the talent of the marketing team, and b) a lot of people have absolutely fucking deplorable taste in music, which perpetuates not only the careers of talentless musical hacks, but the industry that supports them, feeds upon them, furthers the shrivelling of their naïve, wretched little souls.

Unfortunately for those inclined to occupy a soapbox as well as a stage, it’s really only the afore-mentioned recording industry cunts that have anything to whinge about. Now, musicians, you’ve probably heard this before, but at the risk of redundancy I’ll say it again:

Music piracy is. Not. Affecting. Your. Sales. There’s no more to be said.

Oh, Really? How many fucking studies, independent ones with no vested interests whatsoever, do you need to confirm this? They have been undertaken since way back in the Napster days.

You remember Napster right? Those pioneers of music piracy, that came and put an end to the halcyon days of Compact Discs, in which no one ever engaged in the illegal copying of music, in copyright infringement. Of course, they might have engaged in larceny, back when you could actually go into a shop and walk out with music in a physical format.

Now, certainly Josh Pyke might argue that the illegal copy of one of his albums I have represents a sale that he otherwise might have received the benefit of. And perhaps once in a while (for the sake of argument, and given it is Josh Pyke we’re talking about, let’s be generous and say maybe once in every 100,000,000 illegal copies of his work) someone might otherwise have actually gone out and bought the fucking thing.

The reality of the situation though, is that if I wanted to have a bit of a listen and see what he was like, I would have just found someone stupid enough to have bought one of his CDs and borrowed it. I would then have very quickly have burned it returned it, and forgotten it ever existed. The reason, the only reason, I still have it on my hard drive, is that I haven’t yet reached the point where I need that space to store something worthwhile.

Conversely, however, I have illegally copied countless albums that I have loved, loved! And the vast majority of those I have gone out and bought, because I completely believe in supporting (talented, worthwhile) artists who work their arses off to do what they love. Ok, so occasionally I have copied stuff I haven’t then gone out and bought. But I will rave about how good they are to anyone and everyone, and, well, fuck me if that isn’t doing an artist a service. No music man? Don’t agree? Ever legally borrowed a book from a public library that you have really liked and subsequently recommended it to someone? Did you pay for it? Then shut the fuck up.

The only reason, THE ONLY FUCKING REASON, anyone has a remotely legitimate to decry the copying and sharing of music, is because the are exploitative, corporate cocksucking, record industry cunt whose six or seven figure salary, cocaine sniffing, yachting lifestyle might be in jeopardy if they lose their stranglehold on the industry… which is what is liable to happen if they no longer control the movement of every little bit of music out there.

Like the glorious days of old, of open ocean and the snap of canvas in the wind, of salt spray and bowsprits carving the swell, the pirates of today are agents of freedom, allowing people to take what they will, to enjoy what is good, and to spread the wealth beyond the greedy fists of the plutocrats that would tell us all who is talented, what is hot, and which fucking albums to listen to.

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~ by Gethin A. Lynes on February 22nd, 2012.

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