The Instigator
GarretKadeDupre
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
SaadTheWise
Con (against)
Winning
3 Points

Downloading Pirated Music Should Be Legal

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
SaadTheWise
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/3/2014 Category: Music
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,039 times Debate No: 43333
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (11)
Votes (1)

 

GarretKadeDupre

Pro

First round is acceptance.
SaadTheWise

Con

I believe there are two sides to this argument that should be addressed. First, the economic ramifications that result in pirated music.
Second the legal ramifications that could follow from such a ruling.

The economic ramifications can be easily understood by looking at the classic "Free Rider Problem" in economics. We do not see the effects of what piracy has on the economy largely because piracy still is a relatively uncommon crime. Music is a good that has a cost of production. If we allow anyone and everyone to pirate this good at will, the profit margin for this good will decrease to almost non existent. Thus, there would be no incentive for music to be produced at a high quality (except out of the creative will of the artist)

Second, if we set the legal precedent such that it is legal to steal digital intellectual property rights, industries such as video games and movies would also soon face the same problem. So then I ask you, would you really want piracy to be legal if you knew that the quality and production of the media you consume would drop dramatically?
Debate Round No. 1
GarretKadeDupre

Pro

We do not see the effects of what piracy has on the economy largely because piracy still is a relatively uncommon crime.”

It's not uncommon at all. According to a research paper by Colombia University:

  • Piracy is common.” Some 46% of adults have bought, copied, or downloaded unauthorized music, TV shows or movies. These practices correlate strongly with youth and moderately with higher incomes. Among 18-29 year olds, 70% have acquired music or video files this way.1

Music is a good that has a cost of production. If we allow anyone and everyone to pirate this good at will, the profit margin for this good will decrease to almost non existent.”

Most of an artist's revenue comes from sources that cannot be pirated, such as live concerts, so your claim is unfounded. According to a survey of 5,000 artists by the Northwestern University of Law, a measly 6% of a musician's total profit is derived from sound recordings:2



Furthermore, music piracy actually benefits artists. Pirated music is not lost money; it's actually increased recognition for the artist. Someone who is not willing to pay to test a certain type of music for the first time may be more than willing to try it for free. This person is now aware of an artist that he wasn't aware of before, and may purchase tickets to their concert. This same person is now also likely to spread the word about the artist to family and friends, whereas if the music could not have been obtained for free, he would not be able to do so.

if we set the legal precedent such that it is legal to steal digital intellectual property rights, industries such as video games and movies would also soon face the same problem.”

You say they'd face the “same problem,” but I've demonstrated that there is no problem.

Media piracy is free advertising for the product. It's a form of non-monetized demand that benefits both the producer and the consumer.

would you really want piracy to be legal if you knew that the quality and production of the media you consume would drop dramatically?”

Media piracy is almost de facto legal anyways, and I've only seen an increase in the quality and production of the media I consume, despite a steady growth in the rates of piracy alongside with it.

1http://piracy.americanassembly.org...

2http://papers.ssrn.com...

SaadTheWise

Con

I will address your counter points one by one. First,
"Piracy is common."
Your study admits that 46% of people have pirated, but this does not specify if they have pirated only once or are repeat offenders. For our argument, it is those who would be repeat offenders that do the most harm to profit margins.

"Most of an artist's revenue comes from sources that cannot be pirated"
This study suffers from making an overarching claim about what is a small and unknown sample population. I invite you to look at the top 5 artist who sell the most live shows.

Year Top 5 All-Time Grossing Tour Gross
2009 " 2011 U2 " 360 Tour $736 Million
2005 " 2007 The Rolling Stones " A Bigger Bang Tour $558 Million
2008 " 2010 AC/DC " Black Ice World Tour $441 Million
2008 " 2009 Madonna " Sticky & Sweet Tour $407 Million
2005 " 2006 U2 " Vertigo Tour $389 Million

All artists who have already had their exposure well before the piracy boom. What do you say to the new artists who will find it impossible to find exposure to an audience. Your argument also states that the artist makes money off of ticket sales and song purchases that people who otherwise wouldn't be exposed now make. But your argument assumes piracy is legal, and thus there is no profit to be made off music sales, a contradiction.

"Media piracy is free advertising for the product"
Piracy would still effect the other business I mentions just as much if not more, because the only source of income those industries have is the purchasing of their intellectual property. There are no live shows for the Movie or Video Game Industry to profit from.

"I've only seen an increase in the quality and production of the media I consume"
This is because as technology advances it becomes cheaper and easier to make quality sound. It is not a direct result piracy like you assume. If you eliminate the profits of the music industry you will see a dramatic drop off in production of the media you consume.

Please also address the legal precedent that this ruling would set for other industries that rely on Intellectual Property rights, and how judges would not rule piracy legal for other industries as well.
Debate Round No. 2
GarretKadeDupre

Pro

Your study admits that 46% of people have pirated, but this does not specify if they have pirated only once or are repeat offenders. For our argument, it is those who would be repeat offenders that do the most harm to profit margins.”

How many people are going to pirate a single song and never pirate again? Not many. It's reasonable to assume that the majority of that 46% are repeat offenders. Your claim from round 1 that piracy is uncommon is incorrect.

This study suffers from making an overarching claim about what is a small and unknown sample population.”

5,000 musicians is not a small or unknown sample population.

Year Top 5 All-Time Grossing Tour Gross
2009 " 2011 U2 " 360 Tour $736 Million
2005 " 2007 The Rolling Stones " A Bigger Bang Tour $558 Million
2008 " 2010 AC/DC " Black Ice World Tour $441 Million
2008 " 2009 Madonna " Sticky & Sweet Tour $407 Million
2005 " 2006 U2 " Vertigo Tour $389 Million”

Thanks for providing me with such useful statistics to illustrate my point: musicians make most of their money from live performances, and not recorded media.

What do you say to the new artists who will find it impossible to find exposure to an audience.”

I'm not aware of any new artists who are complaining about a lack of exposure.

Your argument also states that the artist makes money off of ticket sales and song purchases that people who otherwise wouldn't be exposed now make. But your argument assumes piracy is legal, and thus there is no profit to be made off music sales, a contradiction.”

My argument does not necessarily assume piracy is legal. Piracy happens whether it is legal or not. My point is that piracy is going on right now, yet artists still make money off of both concerts and digital downloads.

Piracy would still effect the other business I mentions just as much if not more”

Red Herring. This debate is about music piracy, not movie or game piracy.

There are no live shows for the Movie or Video Game Industry to profit from.”

There are movie premieres, and of course, there are also theaters.

In regards to video game piracy:

  • Console-based video game piracy on any scale is rare.”1

Please also address the legal precedent that this ruling would set for other industries that rely on Intellectual Property rights, and how judges would not rule piracy legal for other industries as well.”

Yet another Red Herring, but I'm going to take the bait one more time.

First of all, the movie industry hardly relies on Intellectual Property Rights; in fact, it grew to the size it is today by breaking Intellectual Property Laws!

2In brief: Thomas Edison patented so much cinematography equipment, that it was impossible to run a film-making business a century ago without paying Edison a whole lot of money... if you ran your filming business legally, that is.

Several entrepreneurs realized they could simply relocate to the other side of the United States, in California, far away from greedy Edison (who lived around New England). This was before the days of automobiles and planes, so Edison had a hard time traveling the breadth of the USA every-time he wanted to press charges for copyright infringement.

These people who illegally used Edison's equipment were commonly known as... “Pirates”!

Among these “pirates” were William Fox (founder of the Fox Film Corporation), Adolph Zukor (founder of the precursor to Paramount), and Harry Aitken (founder of Majestic Films). At least a couple of these names are probably very familiar to you.

They set up operations in California, pirating Edison's intellectual property. That's how Hollywood was born – through piracy.

Any argument from my opponent trying to say that piracy hurts the movie industry is ludicrous, given that the industry was born out of piracy.

I didn't even have to argue about anything other than music, though. Like I said before, the resolution is in regards to music piracy, not movie piracy, or game piracy, or Somalian piracy, or Pirates of the Caribbean.

1http://piracy.americanassembly.org...

2http://www.filmsite.org...

SaadTheWise

Con

I ask you to please keep your arguments more succinct for the sake of our readers and myself. I am of the opinion that less is more when it comes to information bloat.

I will be brief, but I am afraid most your counter points you once again make do not rely on sound logic.
1. As a mathematician I do not agree with you that it is reasonable to assume your 46% are repeat offenders. Statistics in its most raw form is void of making faulty assumptions. This is also only one flaw of many I chose to address with the study (again for sale of keeping things succinct).
2. It is true that the big players in the music industry make a good sum of their money from live performance, but as I showed in my previous post these are already established artists. Upcoming and independent artists would not be able to get themselves known since their only revenue would come from live performances (at very small venues for very cheap). The large companies could survive but the little guy would not stand a chance.
3. You would not hear of new artists complaining about a lack of exposure because by definition they would not be exposed for you to know about them.
4. The industry still makes money off of digital downloads because fortunately there are still people willing to pay and the number of people pirating is relatively low.
But to argue it does no harm is foolish. In fact "As a consequence of global and U.S.-based piracy of sound recordings, the U.S. economy loses $12.5 billion in total output annually. Output includes revenue and related measures of economic performance."
http://www.ipi.org...
5. 100% Pirating in the movie business implies no one would buy a ticket. And they make next to nothing on movie premiers.
6. Finally I do not see how you can make the connection between a business in its infancy relying on piracy to survive and the business model that currently stands today. I find it almost silly that you then use this to conclude piracy could not hurt the industry since it was born from it.

I also do not believe the legal ramifications of the industries to be a red herring, they are important consequences that would certainly follow if we were to rule piracy as legal (which we are arguing).
Debate Round No. 3
GarretKadeDupre

Pro

I ask you to please keep your arguments more succinct for the sake of our readers and myself.”

I'm not sure I understand your complaint about the length of my arguments. Much of the previous round was spent quoting you; besides, before you accepted this debate, you were informed that each round had a limit of 10,000 characters.

As a mathematician I do not agree with you that it is reasonable to assume your 46% are repeat offenders.”

Pirating 2 songs makes one a repeat offender. Please, use common sense when answering the following question: How many people pirate only 1 song in their entire lifetime?

It is true that the big players in the music industry make a good sum of their money from live performance, but as I showed in my previous post these are already established artists.”

You did not show anything other than the salaries of popular bands. I could post the salaries of Obama and other politicians and use that to argue that all civilians are poor, but it doesn't make for a convincing argument.

You would not hear of new artists complaining about a lack of exposure because by definition they would not be exposed for you to know about them.”

It's extremely free and simple to get enough exposure to complain about too little exposure. You can do it yourself very easily right now: by posting on this site's forum, which will turn up in a Google search.

The industry still makes money off of digital downloads because fortunately there are still people willing to pay and the number of people pirating is relatively low.”

But you said that piracy is uncommon. Now you're saying it's relatively low? Here is a quote from your own source:

There is little debate that U.S. sound recordings are "pirated" in vast numbers in the U.S. and in international markets.”

"As a consequence of global and U.S.-based piracy of sound recordings, the U.S. economy loses $12.5 billion in total output annually. Output includes revenue and related measures of economic performance." http://www.ipi.org......

That study is strongly biased. The author of the paper, Mr. Siwek, is clearly collecting a lot of money to do research for the International Intellectual Property Alliance; of course he's only going to publish research that supports the copyright industries. Here is a quote from your paper:

Mr. Siwek has published eleven studies on behalf of the International Intellectual Property Alliance ("IIPA") that analyzed in detail the economic importance of the U.S. "copyright" industries (including the sound recording industry) to the U.S. economy. In these studies, Mr. Siwek quantified the substantial contributions made by the copyright-based industries to U.S. economic growth, employment and foreign trade.” (emphasis mine)

100% Pirating in the movie business implies no one would buy a ticket. And they make next to nothing on movie premiers.”

Who said that there would be 100% pirating in the movie business? And movies rake in thousands of dollars at premieres, not “next to nothing”.

SaadTheWise

Con

1. I always found it easier to number each point rather than include the complete quote. Its unnecessary to post the same words twice when they are on record.

2. Again, when talking about case studies there is no "common sense" that you can assume. The fact still stands that your study you cite suffers from the assumption that 46% of the people all behaved in the same manner which is completely false. It can be just as likely from your study that only 1% of your 46% are repeat offenders, and we would have no way of knowing.

3. I wish I could include a study that showed artists performance income before piracy vs after, but there is sadly not enough work currently done in the area to use. But to ignore that even the top 40 live performances are majority old artists would be foolish[0]. Still, I think we are detracting from the original argument here. I originally stated that music does indeed take money to produce, and that legalizing piracy would take what money the music industry makes from digital album sales and eliminate it. My argument for this is strong, as seen by album sales in the U.S. (digital and physical). They are currently valued at 4,481.8 million dollars[1]. Foolishly you argue that by somehow eliminating this revenue artists would benefit.
[0] http://www.billboard.com...
[1]"RIAJ Yearbook 2013: IFPI 2011, 2012 Report: 29. Global Sales of Recorded Music (Page 24)". Recording Industry Association of Japan. Retrieved 2013-05-14.

4. I do not think you understand how a Google search works. Simply creating a site and naming it something people will search does in no way guarantee that it will be a top hit. Google organizes its searches by how many websites their hits have that are "connected" to relevant sites. To do this takes money and time. Two things that an up and coming artist does not have a lot of. Debate.org shows up because it is already high up on the Google hierarchy. For someone with little to no advertising money it would be extremely difficult to get oneself exposed. This is why digital downloads are crucial to new artists that can gain fast revenue from it.

5. Piracy is uncommon in that there is a small sample of the population that pirates a large amount of properties. Relatively low compared to what it would be if it were legalized. I say nothing controversial here.

6. Your accusation of the authors intent hold no water. This is an independent study done for a large firm, which is done all the time. I believe you are trying to say that there is funding bias in the study we speak of, but seeing as it is not specified whether or not this is a doubly blind study, we have no idea if what you say is true. What we do know is true is that the numbers I cite do indeed exist, and they do indeed show the magnitude of how detrimental piracy already is to economic growth. So I can see your concern in trying to refute my numbers, but they do not come out of thin air.

7. By assuming that piracy is legal I state there would be 100% piracy. I do not know why you would want me to assume people would pay for a movie if they could pirate it legally. Also what percentage is thousands of dollars to movies that must make millions of dollars to profit at all?

In conclusion: I believe my opponent uses arguments that have a large appeal to the pirating community, but suffer from some very basic mistakes. He twists the studies he cites to fit the needs of his numbers, despite the very clear ambiguities they state. He even goes so far as to argue that more piracy would lead to more income and economic growth. If this goes against your common sense, then you are in luck because there is good reason for such a feeling. I will concede that piracy would not effect all of the income that is made in the music industry, but I argue that it would be enough to stifle the growth and creativity of the industry.

This is my final rebuttal, and the next post of my opponent should be his last as well. Thank you very much for your points Pro, I always enjoy a fresh perspective. Finally, thank you to the reader for sifting through so much information and making an informed vote.
Debate Round No. 4
GarretKadeDupre

Pro

Its unnecessary to post the same words twice when they are on record.”

I disagree =)

It can be just as likely from your study that only 1% of your 46% are repeat offenders, and we would have no way of knowing.”

I'm sure the voters will strongly disagree with you here. I'm sorry, but it's just not reasonable to think that 99% of all music piracy is performed by people who pirate just a single song.

I wish I could include a study that showed artists performance income before piracy vs after, but there is sadly not enough work currently done in the area to use.”

That's not a good excuse.

I originally stated that music does indeed take money to produce, and that legalizing piracy would take what money the music industry makes from digital album sales and eliminate it. My argument for this is strong, as seen by album sales in the U.S. (digital and physical). They are currently valued at 4,481.8 million dollars[1].”

Legalizing piracy would not “eliminate” profits from digital music sales. This is obvious, since music piracy is almost de facto legal.

Foolishly you argue that by somehow eliminating this revenue artists would benefit.”

That's a strawman. I never argued that artists would benefit from the elimination of their digital sales.

Simply creating a site and naming it something people will search does in no way guarantee that it will be a top hit. Google organizes its searches by how many websites their hits have that are "connected" to relevant sites. To do this takes money and time. Two things that an up and coming artist does not have a lot of. Debate.org shows up because it is already high up on the Google hierarchy. For someone with little to no advertising money it would be extremely difficult to get oneself exposed. This is why digital downloads are crucial to new artists that can gain fast revenue from it.”

I do not think you understand how a Google search works.”

I do not think you understand how a Google search works. It's incredibly easy to get listed on Google. In fact, this very debate between you and I is the #1 hit on Google for the search: “Downloading Pirated Music Should Be Legal”.1

Piracy is uncommon in that there is a small sample of the population that pirates a large amount of properties.”

As I already pointed out, your own source from the previous round contradicts your claim that “piracy is uncommon”. There is also no reason to assume that most piracy is done by a small population.

I believe you are trying to say that there is funding bias in the study we speak of, but seeing as it is not specified whether or not this is a doubly blind study, we have no idea if what you say is true.”

And since it isn't specified whether or not it's a double blind study, we have no idea if what the study says is true.

By assuming that piracy is legal I state there would be 100% piracy.”

Baseless assertion.

I do not know why you would want me to assume people would pay for a movie if they could pirate it legally.”

It's difficult, if not at times impossible, to pirate a movie that is currently in theaters. And since people generally prefer the experience of going out to the movies to watch it on the gigantic screen, movies would continue to make lots of money.

Thanks to everyone for reading this debate. Vote Pro! Thank you =D

1http://lmgtfy.com...

SaadTheWise

Con

End Debate
Debate Round No. 5
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by GarretKadeDupre 3 years ago
GarretKadeDupre
Thank you!
Posted by proglib 3 years ago
proglib
Interesting debate.

I haven't had time to read all of the rounds, so I won't vote, but I appreciate seeing an intelligent debate like this.
Posted by GarretKadeDupre 3 years ago
GarretKadeDupre
SaadTheWise, go ahead and debate in the comments all you want. I have no qualms about it whatsoever since the last time my opponent did that and I complained, the general consensus was that it was perfectly fine

Since unfortunately there's not a rule about it (at least, not one that is ever enforced) I won't let it bother me
Posted by SaadTheWise 3 years ago
SaadTheWise
I dont believe you should be trying to convince any more people after you have made your argument Garret. Else I should be allowed a rebuttal for everyone you try to convince
Posted by GarretKadeDupre 3 years ago
GarretKadeDupre
donald.keller, exposure helps them by making people know about them (obviously) which leads to more people going to their live concerts and paying

Also, remember that I never argued artists would stop getting paid for their music if piracy were legal.

it's VERY easy to pirate 99% of music yet people still choose to pay for a lot of it
legalizing piracy would not shut down this avenue of revenue
Posted by donald.keller 3 years ago
donald.keller
@Whiteflame in your RFD... How's the exposure going to help them, seeing as they won't get paid for their work either way.
Posted by GarretKadeDupre 3 years ago
GarretKadeDupre
But I AM cherry picking your arguments to fit my needs :)

If I'm paraphrasing you, I make sure to let everyone know by using [...], etc.
Posted by SaadTheWise 3 years ago
SaadTheWise
Some advice on quoting people instead of numbering. If you do not include the entire quote, it will appear as if you are cherry picking their argument to fit your needs.
Posted by GarretKadeDupre 3 years ago
GarretKadeDupre
Please remember not to post any new arguments in the 4th round, since you went first! Just post rebuttals to my arguments.
Posted by GarretKadeDupre 3 years ago
GarretKadeDupre
Sounds good.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 3 years ago
whiteflame
GarretKadeDupreSaadTheWiseTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: My vote comes down to how well Pro affirms the resolution. Much as a discussion of burdens didn't happen, it is Pro's burden in the round to prove that legalization is OK, which requires that either there is no harm to pirating music, or there is a balance of harm and benefit that leads to a net 0 or greater. All Con has to do to close the first route is prove that there is some harm. He does so - the cost may not be the most essential to musicians, but it is a chunk of money, and it does make it harder for new musicians to make it early on. So now I need benefits, and I can't find them. The only benefit Pro cites is that they get exposure, but since he also spends much of his argument stating that they already have that exposure through Google (personally, I would have gone with YouTube, that's how people like Rebecca Black got famous... not that that's a good example...). If I accept both arguments, then there's maybe some limited benefit. That's not enough to win out.