The Swedes revere their beloved ABBA the same way Americans do the Boss. So it comes as no surprise one former band member is weighing in on the music copyright trial of the century currently taking place in the land of IKEA. On Tuesday, Björn Ulvaeus slammed supporters of the defendants in the case (The Pirate Bay), who "speak with trembling voices about their 'freedom' on the internet."
Pirate Bay, a BitTorrent site run by three young computer geeks and a businessman, face civil and criminal charges for alleged contributory copyright infringement. File sharing sites have come under fire for years as the recording industry struggles to maintain control over their published works. Not to mention their disappearing profits. Although the trial seems to be headed in favor of The Pirate Bay, Ulvaeus believes it's a battle that shouldn't exist at all.
Ulvaeus, co-producer of the blockbuster Mama Mia movie, pleaded the "cheap and lazy" masses to comprehend the idea that they weren't stealing from a mass media giant with no face, but from the original artist. "What you steal is something that once started as an idea coming from one single individual," he argued. Ulvaeus' statement, published on the Newsmill.se website, concluded by asking readers to put aside the question of whether the legislation being debated was relevant and ask themselves, "Is it really so damn difficult to pay your way?"
Doesn't ABBA's song "Money, Money, Money" make so much more sense now?
"Is it really so damn difficult to pay your way?", says the man who apparently finds it damn difficult to pay his taxes. According to the Swedish Tax Agency, Björn has paid 85,000,000 SEK (ca $9,800,000 or 7,600,000 €) less than he should.
“The rights to ABBA's sugary sweet yet undeniably catchy tunes, such as "Dancing Queen," "Mamma Mia" and "Waterloo," have been controlled by the Dutch company Fintage since 1990. Fintage then made an arrangement with a company called Stanova, which operates in the Netherlands Antilles, a Caribbean island group. According to Dagens Nyheter, Stanova also happens to be indirectly owned by Ulvaeus”.
Björn appealed however, and the Tax Agency could not prove that Björn personally owns the rights to ABBA tunes. Of course, this does not mean that Björn has done everything he can to avoid paying his taxes, so it seems that it indeed is “damn difficult to pay you way”.
Another ABBA-member, Anni-Frid “Frida” Reuss-Lyngstad was not so skilful at avoiding paying taxes. She, or rather the company for which she is the sole owner, had to pay an additional 12,000,000 SEK in taxes and interest.
"idea that they weren’t stealing from a mass media giant with no face, but from the original artist"
Of course they're taking potential profits from both the mass media giant with no face, AND the original artist. But I think the average person believes that the lion's share goes to the mass media giant, and a pittance to the original artist. I do believe people would be more likely to pay if they knew otherwise. But no one is releasing the details to convince them, because it turns out the average person is right.
Ideas are a dime a dozen. The profit-making is the production. And that is the mass media company.
And is it difficult to pay your way?
Says the guy with millions. He should open his eyes and realize that his lawsuit is silly. Stopping one website will stop nothing. This is the internet.
If I buy an apple, that's one less apple for someone else to buy.
If I download a file, it's not like there's one less file in the world.
Because of the internet, there is an infinite supply (while servers can be maintained) of whatever you can download.
Which means that it should be free, according to economics.
You guys are crazy. Stealing is stealing. Who cares if it's an individual or a company? It doesn't even matter whether the person your stealing from is a criminal (i.e. not paying taxes). It's still stealing from them. Just because the internet makes it easier doesn't make it right.
These arguments have been driving me crazy since they began years ago. They remind me of toddlers throwing a tantrum because they don't get what they want. They use every rationale that they can think of, especially how unfair it is, but they really just want their own way and don't care about anything else.
Companies are supposed to make a profit. If you like what they produce, pay for it. If not, then go start your own record company. You'll find out just how hard it is to be successful at it, then maybe you'll appreciate them enough to fork over the 99 cents.
This is coming from someone who hasn't liked much that has come out in the past 15 years. When I upgraded from cassette to MP3, I payed for it. I would not begrudge the artist who spent the time and effort (sometimes over a year) or the company who fronted the money (hundreds of thousands of dollars) the compensation they deserved.
IlyaK1986 your view of economics is limited and quite flawed.
Certainly there is a supply and demand component in economics that your apple analogy fits, but there are many things in the world that don't necessarily fit that model.
Sure, if you download a file there isn't one less file in the world. There is an infinite supply. However there is not an infinite supply of programmers, artists, musicians etc. who created that file. Those people all need to be paid. If they are not paid, they find another job that does pay them and future files no longer exist.
For every Björn Ulvaeus out there, there are hundreds or thousands of John Doe's who didn't make it. Taking 50 cents out of the pocket of Björn Ulvaeus is a drop in the bucket. But multiply that 50 cents times a few thousand or million. Then maybe take it out of the pocket of one of the John Doe's and suddenly a talented artist who would otherwise have been successful is now waiting tables to make ends meet.
Piracy will not destroy the big guys. What it means is that there is less money to spread around. Publishers/producers then have to evaluate the risk of supporting a new act. Less money = Less new acts. The new acts that have huge star potential make it. The acts with less star potential (but perhaps more talent) don't make it. But of course you never hear about them because they are washing dishes, not making music.
I work in the games industry. If you are going to tell me that my work should now be free and I shouldn't get paid, I will stop making games. And I am sure I am not the only one.
"...idea that they weren’t stealing from a mass media giant with no face, but from the original artist..."
are you kidding me? the only people stealing money from artists today are THE RECORDING COMPANIES.
get a clue people. information used to be a commodity when they could sell the MEDIUM it came on. this business model is DEAD. newspapers are facing the same reality. movies. music. all information is being returned to it's natural state and that is FREE. information is free. always has been. recording companies always made their money selling a storage medium for that information and nothing more.
the new music business model needs to revolve around merchandising and performance revenue. artists can record and distribute THEMSELVES NOW!
Wasnt there mention that some artists actually support piracy? That they like the spread of their content? ABBA makes me cringe anyway...
Honestly, I cant take music or movies seriously. Ill buy games for PC and Xbox 360 or whatever but music and movies just dont carry any longevity anymore. If the music industry wants more people buying songs...DROP THE PRICE. I dont care how nice you think a dollar is but Im not going to spend $20 for 20 songs when I can buy a good game with its own soundtrack, multiplayer, singleplayer, and game editors for the same price!
In dropping the price companies will attract more people. The 5 people buying at $1 will buy twice as many at $0.50 and then people willing to buy at a lower price will multiply. The same goes for movies. You watch movies once or twice or twenty times depending on how weird you are and then its done but games last much longer. Movies and music need to be gauged against games. If they dont stack up then lose the high prices.
Spotted Marley, why would a recording artist bother to front the money to record and distribute by themselves if they're going to have to just give it away. Don't give me the lame arguement about making their money by performing. To make a decent recording it costs money. How on earth can you justify not giving the artist any compensation for this?
Regardless of whether an artist's contract with their record company is good, stealing from the record company is still stealing from the artist (not to mention the poor sound technicians, mixers, engineers etc), they're just getting a smaller percentage of their small percentage. By drawing pictures of souless corporations, you are simply trying to justify your own bad behavior.
It's stealing because it's illegal: period. Just because you don't like or agree with the law doesn't give you the right to ignore it. Bittorrent sites are only proving that the law is difficult to enforce, not that what your doing is okay.
Incidentally, I would have to agree with some comments that the current business models are out of date and need to change. However free is unfortunately not the answer. Free Media = Bad Media more times than not. That doesn't mean that the stuff you pay for is all good, but I think the ratios are higher.
The answer is in On Demand services like Steam, Netflix etc. These services allow people to enjoy the games and movies that they want, when they want, without having to deal with annoying copyright issues. And everyone still gets paid.
The pro-piracy folks are just another consumer for a different market.
Consumer pirates would rather pay for blank DVD's and pay for cloning and compression software which breaks copyrights to create their own DVD, than to pay NetFlix $9.95 a month.
This debate seems more idealogical than practical. Those who comment here that "information is free" are creating statements based on ideology, and not historical reality.
Pirates don't seem to mind paying large corporations for blank DVD's. Pirates don't seem to mind paying other pirates for software that let's them clone a DVD.
Big corporations may want our money for a product, but pirates also want our money for thier products. Therefore, pirates are not idealogically pure as they would like the consumer to believe. Pirates are capitalists who want our money, while wanting to make us think they are serving a greater socialogical good.
Big corporations are good at marketing, and so are pirates.
I second the arguement that info isnt free. I made that clear of course with the pricing arguement but in any case I also agree with TheRhogue in that pirate will pay for blank discs. I laughed though when I saw him say they buy the DVD cloning software. BAHAHAHAHAHA. No...they pirate that too. Come on now. I dont mean to offend you but come on. They are pirates, they want to get everything they can for free and actually probably dont buy many DVDs either because they're all using virtual drives now. Get with the times.
Anyway, the whole problem goes back to the mentally unstable people at the companies thinking that media is still in. They cant sustain CDs and DVDs anymore. They're about to get schooled by the download market. They need to restructure. They just dont know how to balance it all out.
The best way to support artists and actors is to go to their concerts/plays/movies. All the arguments about pirating is ridiculous. There is always going to be pirating just like there is always going to be crime in general. Even if the cost of 1 song was lowered to 1 cent there would still be people who wouldn't want to pay for it. The problem is that the recording companies are charging way too much for their products. If they were to lower their price it wouldn't eliminate all piracy but I'd be willing to bet they would make much more money overall. Stealing takes place because things are wanted that are not within the means of the people that desire them (hence why teenagers with low income are among the highest percentage of piraters). The recording companies need to wise up and realize that the prices need to be adjusted. I think if they did this they would be surprised at the outcome.
Oh yes, piracy is destroying the entertainment industry. Despite the fact that a downloaded movie/game/song does not translate to lost sale. And then some fun facts! The Movie Industry gathered up record profits in 2008. Same goes for the Music Industry and the Gaming Industry. But wait, wasn't piracy supposed to be killing them? Isn't every downloaded free copy a lost sale? Hasn't internet piracy increased exponentially during the past couple of years?
So rationalize this, every sector of the Entertainment Industry has forged record breaking profits while the profileration of free music, movies and games has increased exponentially over the Internet, thanks to P2P networks. Some food for thought in my opinion.
When I can pay a reasonable price for a song online, somehwhere between five and 10 cents per song, directly from the artist without a hedgemony or monopoly intervening, I'll gladly buy your songs.
I have stopped buying CD's altogether; The last one was a used CD copy and I refuse to buy new.
I don't buy the piracy argument and I certain don't support techology embedded in the media designed to control or feed information back, especially if it is on MY hard drive.
I won't buy your music online.
I won't buy any Metallica music after their rant about piracy. If you want to lose potential customers, keep going in this vein.
Vote with your Wallets and Your feet.
Say you have an apple.
I take that apple away from you.
Now you no longer have the apple.
That is stealing.
So called digital piracy does not take anything away from either the creator nor the distributor.
If file sharing is piracy because of the loss of a hypothetical sale, then buying used music at a record shop must also be stealing. If I buy a second hand CD, neither the artist nor the publisher gets a cent from that transaction.
Here's a totally radical notion: what if the purpose of art and creativity is not just maximization of profit? What if human life is about more than how much money can I extract from everyone and keep for myself?
I file share software and music created by greedy people.
I donate money voluntarily to companies and people which choose to give music away free or create open source software.