Economic and Game Theory
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"Why Napster is Right" by Michele Boldrin and David K. Levine at <http://www.econ.umn.edu/~mboldrin/Issues/Napster/napster1.html>.
to the authors, why is downloading copyrighted music not "theft?"
The authors point out that theft in the ordinary
sense of the word means depriving the owner of the use of the object of his
property or, at least, greatly reducing his access to it.
Contesting that If someone steals your MP3 player, you can no longer use
it. Whether you use it, resell it, or just throw
it away, it is theft. In this sense "intellectual property" is quite
different than property of material objects.
b. How do the
authors argue that allowing music to be resold does not eliminate the incentive
to produce further good music? The
authors do this by pointing out historical examples of literature and art, and
arguing that the thought of them not recieving future royalties would not have
stopped them from making the art work.
c. What is one
reason that the United States has pulled ahead of Europe and Japan in recent
of the reasons that the United States has pulled ahead of Europe and Japan in
recent years is that their monopolists have been far more successful in
enlisting the government to suppress new technologies.
briefly explain whether you agree or disagree with this article.
This article is very good.
I enjoyed reading the various arguments put forth by the author.
However, I disagree with them on several fronts.
However, I also agree with them on many arguments as well.
For starters, this article seems to very anti-RIAA, which I am not, as I
have realized what these authors seem to fail to realize.
And that is the fact that Record Companies are an integral part of the
music chain, one of which most musicians praise for doing the tasks!
The RIAA is an important part of the final musical product that we have
in our homes. Many people, such as
these authors seem to take this for granted.
The record companies have always existed because history has proven that
artists are generally too busy being rock stars, or too lazy to handle all of
the technical aspects of the music business(marketing, finance, promotion,
packaging and distribution,etc) All
of these things are absolutely crucial facets to the final music product that
you and I enjoy. Contrary to the
popular and trendy beleif that artists never see any of the money the RIAA
collects, The RIAA does in fact distribute the royalties to the artists, there
are hundreds of laws, regulations and musicians overseeing this process.
The authors state
“…Strangely enough I can make copies of my Armani's suit, as long as I do
not put an Armani label on it, but I cannot do the same with my CDs. Why?”
This is a common misconception, these authors are not taking into the
account the enormous amounts of rare/fragile intellectual time and labor, and
hence value, put into these different products.
They also say
Why indeed should I not sell on the Internet the music I have purchased,
in direct competition with the "producer" (if you can call the RIAA
a producer of anything except misleading hot air)? This is where the
second part of the RIAA argument comes in: you should not have the right to
resell the music because, by breaking the monopoly, you eliminate
the incentive to produce further good music. What is at issue, then,
is not "theft", but rather the legal protection of a monopoly.
This is totally untrue. See
above critical roles of the record companies and RIAA which is now run entirely
by musicians! Also a new
organization has recently been developed called Sound Exchange which further
levels the playing field of royalties…Most musicians commend the RIAA for
helping them do a tasks otherwise unattainable by them(collecting royalties,
marketing, mgnt, promotion) Musicians
see the cut that the RIAA gets and are perfectly OKAY with that…after all they
are a service that needs to get paid right?
Now to the krux of
this article which is that That is copyright law should explicitly allow
consumers who have legally obtained music to copy and resell it.
This is totally ridiculous. These
authors are seriously confused if they think this will help musicians and good
music prosper. It doesn’t take a
Phd in Economics to understand that if everyone had the rights to sell
anybody’s intellectual property, then rewards and stimulus would fall. I suggest that the authors try to understand the concepts of
setup costs, scale of manufacturing, time and inspiration needs of intellectual
property. The music business is
very different than the automobile business, as far as levels of inspiration and
artistry are concerned. In the
automobile industry you don’t have as many people relying directly on
inspiration stimulous as in the music industry. Intellectual property business is a radically different
business than most, I myself would gladly pay any amount of money to keep the
inspiration for the artists growing. I
would never even think to resell for a profit something that someone has spent
vast amounts of unique and inspirational time and effort into as in the fragile
line of work of music…This type of work is very different from others in my