January 21st, 2012

Uh oh, he’s blogging. What happened?

I wrote this thing on Twitter this morning about the MegaUpload shutdown, and it’s gotten some crazy traction on the old internet. In addition, I’ve just done a couple of interviews for NPR on the subject, and I think I may have said some crazy, provocative things. There are many comments and questions out there already with more to come, and rather than have a bunch of separate discussions on a bunch of different social media platforms, I thought I would put some of my thoughts here.

First of all, I was being sarcastic. I did not see an uptick in sales because one piracy site got shut down, nor do I expect to.

Second, this was a tweet, so it was <=140 characters of ha ha, and not designed to be a thorough discussion of all the issues. I recognize these things are complicated. Obviously none of us knows the complete truth, but I'm guessing that the people who ran MegaUpload were knowingly profiting from the unauthorized download of other people's intellectual property (including mine). Probably they were making a lot of money that way. That's certainly illegal, and it doesn't exactly give them the moral high ground either. In fact, it's kind of a dick move. Essentially, they did bad things and they got in trouble for it. Here are the issues that, for me, make this complicated. Along with all the illegal stuff happening on MegaUpload was some amount of completely legal stuff. People used MegaUpload to send large files around. Some number of those files were personal files owned by the people sending them. I have no idea what the ratio was, and probably it would be impossible to figure that out with any certainty, but let's stipulate that it was a very large percentage of illegal activity, and only a very tiny percentage of the users were there for anything other than downloading content that they didn't buy. Still, today that tiny percentage had something taken away from them, without warning, maybe just a service they liked using, but maybe a piece of digital media that belonged to them - if they uploaded something and didn't keep a copy, that thing is now gone. Them's the breaks I guess, but in evaluating whether this shutdown was a net positive for us humans, you have to take that into account. Even some of the illegal usage was likely the kind of activity that approaches what I consider to be victimless piracy: people downloading stuff they already bought but lost, people downloading stuff they missed on TV and couldn't find on Netflix or iTunes, people downloading stuff they didn't like and regretted watching or hearing and never would have bought anyway, people downloading a Jonathan Coulton album (oh let's say, Artificial Heart, the new Jonathan Coulton album, which is an awesome Jonathan Coulton album called Artificial Heart) and loving it so much that in a year they decide to buy a ticket to a Jonathan Coulton show and walk up to the merch table and hand me $20. I know not everyone will think all of those things are victimless crimes, and even I can admit that some of them maybe kinda sorta have victims, but my point is that you can’t easily say that every illegal download is a lost sale, because it’s a lot more complicated than that. So when you evaluate the “damage” that a site like MegaUpload is causing, you have to think about these things too. The grand jury indictment against them says they’ve caused $500 million in damages to copyright owners. Given the complexity of actual usage on a site like MegaUpload, how can they possibly know that?

The real question in my mind these days, and what I was trying to get at with my little tweet, is: how much does piracy really hurt content creators (specifically, me)? Professional smart person Tim O’Reilly posted something that made me think about this question again in regards to SOPA/PIPA. He points out that any proponent of SOPA/PIPA starts with the assumption that all this piracy is causing great harm to lots of people and companies. Here’s his pull quote, taken from a recent statement about SOPA issued by the White House:

Let us be clear—online piracy is a real problem that harms the American economy, and threatens jobs for significant numbers of middle class workers and hurts some of our nation’s most creative and innovative companies and entrepreneurs. It harms everyone from struggling artists to production crews, and from startup social media companies to large movie studios. While we are strongly committed to the vigorous enforcement of intellectual property rights, existing tools are not strong enough to root out the worst online pirates beyond our borders.

Is it really as dire as all that? It’s an emergency is it? Tim points out that he and a lot of other content creators have been happily coexisting with piracy all this time, and I’m certainly one of them. Make good stuff, then make it easy for people to buy it. There’s your anti-piracy plan. The big content companies are TERRIBLE at doing both of these things, so it’s no wonder they’re not doing so well in the current environment. And right now everyone’s fighting to control distribution channels, which is why I can’t watch Star Wars on Netflix or iTunes. It’s fine if you want to have that fight, but don’t yell and scream about how you’re losing business to piracy when your stuff isn’t even available in the box I have on top of my TV. A lot of us have figured out how to do this.

So if you can stand me sounding a little crazy, listen: where is the proof that piracy causes economic harm to anyone? Looking at the music business, yes profits have gone down ever since Napster, but has anyone effectively demonstrated the causal link between that and piracy? There are many alternate theories (people buying songs and not whole albums, music sucking more, niches and indie acts becoming more viable, etc.). The Swiss government did a study and determined that unauthorized downloading (which 1/3 of their citizens do) does not create any loss in revenue for the entertainment industry. I remember but am now too lazy to find links to other studies that say the same thing. I can’t think of any study I’ve seen that demonstrates the opposite. If there is one, please point me to it. So I have a lot of trouble with the idea that the federal government is directing resources toward an ultimately ineffective game of piracy whack-a-mole (with some unknown amount of collateral damage to law-abiding citizens), when we are not even sure that piracy is a problem.

And if you can stand me sounding even crazier, here is this: making money from art is not a human right. It so happens that technological and societal blahbity bloos have conspired to create a situation where selling songs about monkeys and robots is a viable business, but for most of human history people have NOT paid for art. I don’t want this to happen again, and I would be very sad if this came to pass, but it’s not up to me to decide. We are constantly demonstrating through our actions what we believe to be the norms for acquiring and consuming content. Right now a lot of us think that it’s OK to download stuff through illegal sites under certain circumstances, and a lot of us think it’s totally fine to use those things to make videos and put them on YouTube even though YouTube profits from it. That’s not ME saying that, that’s US saying that – we’re a nation of pirates and infringers. Based on our behavior, you would not be wrong to deduce that some of us think funny videos on YouTube are more important than honoring intellectual property rights. This kind of thing has happened before. Entire industries rise and fall as the world changes and our priorities shift. Sorry.

I believe in copyright. I benefit from it. I don’t want it to go away. I love that we have laws and people to enforce them. But if I had to give up one thing, if I had to choose between copyright and the wild west, semi-lawless, innovation-fest that is the internet? I’ll take the internet every time.

Now you may comment. I’m going to watch this thread and respond when I can, and we’re going to have a nice discussion. We’re not going to have fights and call each other names, and if you’re a jerk, I’m going to delete the jerky things you say. (And if you infringe on my copyright I’m going to send federal agents to your home and throw your computers IN THE GARBAGE.)

442 responses to “MegaUpload”

  1. Martin says:

    I can’t add much to what you’ve said, other than “the internet will find a way”

  2. Joel P says:

    “Make good stuff, then make it easy for people to buy it. There’s your anti-piracy plan. The big content companies are TERRIBLE at doing both of these things, so it’s no wonder they’re not doing so well in the current environment.” Perfectly put.

  3. Wyatt says:

    Thank you, again, Mr. Coulton, for a reasonable and rational response.

  4. L'Hopital says:

    When are you doing a NY-area solo show? This post has made me want to buy a ticket and buy something that costs $20 at the merch table.

  5. mtgordon says:

    FWIW, bootlegs of your 2008-06-05 Cincinnati show had evidently on MegaUpload and are now no longer available. Time will tell whether they’re available elsewhere; it’s not like you’re selling those recordings. For completist fans, who do things like buy thumb drives and Level Four packages, this is a tragedy. As someone who has bought everything you’ve sold several times over, plus attended a bunch of shows and bought a ton of merch, I can assure you that you’re not losing money from my collecting bootlegs.

  6. Deb Johnson says:

    Yeah, pirates are the cockroaches of the internet. They’ll withstand a nuclear blast on the Internet. So, learn to live with them, co-exist and make money off the honest people. There are a lot of them out there. Way way way more than pirates. And the only ones getting hurt by SOPA/PIPA are the honest folks. The pirates will just find another way to get around what ever law is thrown. I still loved your tweet this morning. Made me chuckle.

  7. Jon says:

    If you put that rant in song form, I’d pay to hear it.

  8. Alexsander says:

    Well said, the government is going at this completely wrong. And who’s to say that they can censor the internet when the U.S. doesn’t own the WORLD WIDE web.

  9. Kschenke says:

    As a content provider (written more than anything) and someone who has just started a webseries that can only survive through Fair Use… thank you for saying all this. I love the internet and I’m willing to keep fighting for it.

  10. Mike says:

    Well said. As someone who relies on the Public Domain and independent filmmakers for a large part of my “art”, I’m not sure how shoring up institutions who hide their heads and fight every technological and cultural shift is helping anyone but large corporations. The Internet community has proven, time and time again, that it WILL support the audience. We are simply tired of supporting the middle man…

  11. Greg says:

    The other thing that this Mega Upload thing also proves, is that there are mechanisms in place to deal with piracy. It involves building a legal case against someone, and giving said person due process. I think the judicial branch of governments will get better at dealing with piracy, and I think that creators will get better at competing. It’s the Mediocre who will have the problems, and any business drive by risk assessment models, as all big companies are, will continue to be mediocre.

  12. Reklaw says:

    You can’t stop the signal.

  13. vince says:

    AWESOME!!!!! I’m so fucking tired of hearing people ignore exactly what you said!

  14. Kate Falanga says:

    I didn’t know you had a new album out so I just bought it in under 30 seconds and can now listen to it without moving from my chair or even thinking about it much. I think this proves your point.

  15. Alex says:

    I too find this issue to be complicated. On the one hand, I believe that people who create should be able to support themselves off of their creations. I used to pirate a lot of stuff, but then I actually had money coming in. I’ve starting actually buying things. I didn’t pirate just for the lulz, I didn’t have the money to pay for anything. In fact, I used to pirate your music, but then you offered the Artificial Heart bundles, and I had money to pay for it. So I bought the Level Four package, and it’s sitting on my desk right now, and I have to say I am VERY pleased with it. Not only did I get all this cool stuff, I got access to all of your songs, and I helped support you by paying for it.
    One of that hardest things for me was paying for content over the internet. Part of me is afraid of all this identity theft going around, and another part of me is worried about how much more complicated it is than to hand someone a few bills. But then I went and bought this Level Four package, and then I started buying games on Steam. And the weirdest thing is that now I’ve started paying for things, I don’t want to pirate anymore. I want the people who create these things to have my money because I want them to know that I want more of this. I guess my point is that people should be able to decide for themselves
    That’s my two cents.

  16. Jonathan,

    This is exactly why I like your music and especially you as a person, you really do understand how it is out there. Not many really understand the line that content providers walk. I write software and work in the media industry so I see both sides of the same coin. I just spoke to a friend about this, who works in the Anime industry, who is always hit hard with piracy. That industry is torn between fan subs and re-dubs which waters down professional attempts by studios. It has gotten so bad that quality US Anime distributors have fallen.

    It’s hard for all of us content creators but there are better ways to legislate laws than by the double-edged sword methods that SOPA and PIPA offer. As I pointed out someplace else:

    [quote]On the other hand PIPA and SOPA were horrible ideas because it did not tackle the core issue. PIPA and SOPA would’ve hurt me, a self-publisher, and me as a media personality. If someone posted a copyrighted picture as their avatar (which people do commonly) then SOPA can take my site down. Imagine if someone, heaven forbid, decided to sing their favorite song on YouTube.

    I am reminded of Arnel Pineda who is now the lead singer of Journey. He was found on YouTube singing Journey tunes. He has the chops to do it. Justin Bieber? Marc Martel (… All criminals in the eyes of SOPA (and possibly PIPA).[/quote]

    Honestly I feel true fans will support you through the good and bad in the end… With that said, come back to Ohio soon! I will gladly help Scarface sell more merch for you when he takes his break!

    Also, please spread my FB around. We want JoCo on Jimmy Fallon!


    Chris Haslage

  17. Kathleen says:

    Another thing people fail to take into account that it’s not a difference between paying and not paying for content, it’s paying and not consuming at all. For some people, if they can’t get it easily, they’ll probably just not watch the show or listen to the music, so it’s not as if each download is a loss of sale because without that avenue, the downloader may never have even bothered with the content in the first place.

    If your stuff hadn’t been on youtube [both through your channel and other people’s], I wouldn’t have started listening, and I wouldn’t have ended up being one of those people who walk up and buy your CD after the fact.

  18. Bryan says:

    I could not have possibly said it better, or agree more with every single letter of your post.

  19. Dave says:

    Jonathan, I think this is very reasonable, but it ignores the DISTRIBUTION of revenues. Even though the Entertainment sector as a whole might not be harmed some sectors within it are taking it on the chin (or up other body parts) as they exist solely to redistribute content for money. They take on risk and make a substantial upfront investment in questionable properties to make a profit.

    You are not a part of this particular sausage making process as you self-publish and bear the risk yourself, but some artists aren’t so daring. Is it fair to sign a deal, take an advance and record an album that ends up getting pirated only to take the money that would have been spent on the album (reimbursing the company that took a risk on your unproven talent and marketability) only to take that money in as a portion of a concert ticket?

  20. Adam says:

    Completely agree with you on this. It’s not really hurting sales because people who download illegally aren’t going to rush out and buy CDs/rush to iTunes and buy music. If they’re getting it for free they obviously don’t care that much about it, anyway and wouldn’t buy it if the option to download wasn’t available! Oh and on the note of SOPA/PIPA, it wouldn’t stop pirating at all. Funny how they can completely remove sites that link to infringing material, but those which actually host it wouldn’t be blocked – they’d just have their domain removed. Seems more like they were designed to censor anything without question than actually stop piracy.

  21. John Bullock says:

    Couldn’t have said it better. Anyone else think the way content providers blame piracy for drop in sales a little… collusion-y? I mean, they never seem to consider that people might not be buying as many albums or going to the cinema as often because those things aren’t worth the prices they charge anymore. There’s a lot more to take up our time these days, it’s naive and/or ignorant to think that piracy is the only thing devaluing your product.

  22. Yes – for most of human history people have not paid for art (though I’d argue quite a bit of art was found in crafts which people bought) and for quite a lot of human history, there wasn’t nearly as much art as we have now.

    I would agree the SOPA “cure” is far worse than the disease — it seems to take the position that dead people cannot really be considered sick — but I don’t think we need to jump off the “Art should be free” ledge, or “I only stole it cos it was hard to buy”. If we blow the SOPA argument so off base, it creates the impression that the choices are SOPA or people throwing trashcans through windows of stores, and I really don’t think those are the only two choices available.

  23. by_tor says:

    Well said, JoCo. The only song of yours I ever illegally downloaded was the one I couldn’t easily buy from you, the original version of Still Alive. I bought all your Thing A Week, I have a (sort of ) signed copy of the CD of Artificial Heart, and I have enjoyed you and P&S rockin’ the Union Chapel in London TWICE!

    I reckon online piracy probably accounted for some drop in sales but only a fraction of what is quoted by record companies.

    Right, enough of that. When are you bringing your band to the UK? I want to pay you money to play live again.

  24. Bear Field says:

    If was encouraging people to violate copyright (as opposed to just offering a service which turned out to be used by others to violate copyright), then they should be punished through the legal system. But, even if the allegations are proven, those who were using the service in a legal manner do NOT deserve to be punished by the effective expropriation of what is THEIR intellectual property. It seems to me they those persons may have grounds for seeking compensation from the Government.

  25. GBT says:

    Well said Mr Coulton, well said!

  26. zacbentz says:

    “There are many alternate theories (people buying songs and not whole albums, music sucking more, niches and indie acts becoming more viable, etc.).”

    For me, THIS is the point. It’s the major guys losing control over the game. That’s what they have a problem with, not so much the piracy end. Of course they can’t see this shift themselves and instead look to those who are still playing by (and breaking) the rules they DO understand. Despite having my music pirated (and even sold by pirates!), I’ve (more than once!) sold my music directly to fans who have paid 25 times the asking price. I don’t think a major outlet understands what that really means.

  27. Jen McCown says:

    One of the arguments I already hear coming is, “But you’re a big fancy pants star, of course piracy doesn’t hurt you. BUT WHAT ABOUT THE LITTLE GUY??” I’m one of the little guys. I have a weekly webshow that’s run 48 weeks a year for the lat 3 years, and we have a small following. We have had some of our stuff nabbed and posted elsewhere without attribution or consent. And it doesn’t hurt us. The people who find our stuff in the pirated places wouldn’t have heard of us in the first place if they didn’t stumble on it on the piracy site. I still don’t like it, and I send notices, but seriously…the few people who like us are pretty loyal, if you will, and they don’t bother running out to the wild wild Internet to find our stuff elsewhere.

    So, Resolved: Piracy is bad. But it doesn’t really hurt the big, medium, or little guys all that much.

    And I’m totally reading this blog post on my show tonight AND MAYBE I’LL FORGET TO ATTRIBUTE, MUAH-AH-AH! (Kidding, I excerpt and attribute/link back).

    Thanks for stuff.

  28. Adam says:

    This whole situation has raised a few questions in my mind and maybe as a copyright holder you would know the answer or have some insight to it. I have a hypathetical situation. Lets say an artist had their copyrighted content on megaupload, and after the siezure they can no longer access their only copies of their copyrighted material. This copyrighted material was not the material was not the cause of the siezure nor is the copyright holder part of the litigation which is going to be involved, i.e. RIAA vs Megaupload. What is the legal recourse for that copyright holder to get their property back? Is it legal for the DOJ to sieze property of an individual who is not involved in the litigation which caused the siezure? What is the recourse for said copyright holder to recoupe any lost profits because their material was taken? Imagine this was a bank, and we were dealing people’s money. Lets say that the mafia was using a bank to launder money and lets even say the bank owners were in on it. Does the DOJ have the right to sieze the money of every single account holder even if they have no evidence of involvement in the money laundering? Aren’t situations like this the reason we have safe harbor laws? Have I asked enough questions?

  29. Doug Belcher says:

    Really, anyone took that tweet for anything other than sarcastic or joking? I’m surprised because given the timing on the shutdown of the site and your tweet it could not have been anything other than a joke. I, for one, appreciated the joke and moved on.

  30. Jake says:

    These big industries just aren’t willing to change with the times it seems. Great read jon

  31. Cheyenne says:

    Mr Coulton… I agree 100% with what you said. We need to get rid of the other websites that are distributing albums for free.

  32. Krist S. says:

    Mr. Coulton, this is practically anthemic to what i believe many of us think; i’m very happy to see you pointing out studies like the one the Swiss Government did on internet piracy, and furthermore, that an artist such as yourself, one who anyone who may support acts like PIPA or SOPA, believe is suffering from such an action, has said such things. haha, you’ve proven to me once again to be not only a respectable artist, but a respectable social and political THINKER(and doer) as well.

  33. ROBOT COUNCIL LOCAL 0x1337 says:


  34. cedarwaxwing says:

    What a wonderfully thoughtful post. I saw your tweet this morning and wondered what the heck MegaUpload was and when I realized what it was had some of the same thoughts you outline in your post — especially about people who used it for legal upload/downloads.

    I also have conflicting thoughts downloading things. I don’t like it when my two teens watch movies or television shows from places other than legal ones, but I have downloaded movies (exactly three) that I cannot find anywhere else in any format for sale. I would have purchased them all if I had.

    You are right — it is complicated.

  35. P! says:

    The two most important touchstones you presented:

    “Make good stuff, then make it easy for people to buy it. There’s your anti-piracy plan.”


    “if I had to choose between copyright and the wild west, semi-lawless, innovation-fest that is the internet? I’ll take the internet every time.”

    Most of us can whine and cry about not having easy access to pirated content, but you as a content creator – of content people actually want – makes these views the most important in the matter.

    Thank you, JoCo.

  36. Sleepy says:

    I am glad you seemed to have really thought this out, and make the point of noting the complexity of the entire thing. So thank you Mr.Coulton for taking the time to write out your thoughts on this.

    With things like Spotify and Pandora I feel like piracy in terms of music is probably dwindling a bit, though I could be wrong.

    Spotify is all I really use for music now.

    As the head of Valve, Gabe Newell, often says it is a service issue.

    When you provide a good service the majority of people will not pirate anything. It is simply a matter of providing a better service than can be received from pirates, and earning the respect of the people who are buying your products.

    The only reason other things in our world aren’t pirated is because they aren’t in a digital format. If you could avoid paying your overpriced mechanic by “downloading” the parts you need somewhere else I think many people probably would, but not because they have an issue with paying, but because they feel they aren’t getting a good deal for the amount of money they are putting into it.

    I feel that people need to aim to provide a service that is better than piracy, which will raise the quality of services related to entertainment. The only thing that is unfortunate is that entertainment is the only real “sector” effected. If every form of job required a higher degree of service in order to compete with piracy we’d probably all be better off.

  37. Flaminnoraa says:

    The way I see it is if you have $10 and you have the option to buy or not buy an album, the likelihood of you buying it is hugely increased if you’ve heard it before and know you like it. That’s what downloading a “free” copy gives you. The issue is that once you have a copy of an album you may not see a benefit from buying a copy, and that’s clearly an issue with the services provided. iTunes has made a big step forward in allowing you to re-download purchases and also use the tracks you’ve bought on any media player. CD sales are declining due to people preferring digital copies, but what CDs provided that digital downloads tend not to is a sense of ownership over that copy, although obviously not the distribution rights. There’s so much scope for achieving this feeling; Maybe give people a type social media where they can show off their collection, or provide extended service to purchases such as demos of new tracks if they bought the previous CD. It’s a given that people won’t go on to buy albums they didn’t like after downloading, but making a sale through a buyers ignorance of the products poor quality isn’t any better than pirating an album anyway.

  38. Christian says:

    All of this is perfect, and what I was going to try and write up this weekend.

    Stolen content != lost sale, plain and simple. Ever since I first discovered the infinite pool of tunes on the internet way back when, I have discovered more bands and artists (like you) than I ever could have in a Best Buy Sunday ad, and have subsequently bought and supported all of those that I feel are putting out great music (like yourself). SO if anything, stolen content LEADS TO sales (just like you pointed out), whether it be a 1:1 return for the original content, or simply going to a show or buying a shirt.

    Not everyone does the same, though- that’s where things get tough. Some people see the internet as a giant grab bag- which it is! But I like to think that many are like me, doing what they can to support the artists they care about.

    As long as artists strive and continue to create a product that is worth owning and paying for, I will pay for it, even if it’s not rush-day delivery. I think that most people have a higher regard for a physical manifestation of a product, especially if it is something they care about enough. That’s why I have a tough time getting behind the *completely* digital market that is so inevitable- but that’s another discussion.

    Anyways, keep being awesome. Love my Level Four box. See you the next time you’re near Iowa.

  39. jadrie says:

    Thanks for writing this up, Jonathan. :)

    I’ll be honest, I first found you via a YouTube video of Code Monkey, redone as a WoW Machinima.

  40. Neil says:

    I believe EVERYONE I know would be more than happy to listen to adverts in exchange for content… like spotify…. yes maybe it wouldn’t be as much money per sound, per movie, per television show, but it would end the need for piracy if it were available to EVERYONE equally, internationally, like the internet, imagine the revenue though adverts that could be raised by GLOBAL audiences… and think of the exposure for gigs, future content… unparalleled… this should be the future….only reason it wont is because of greed of the few, affecting the free of the many

  41. Sonny says:

    Codemonkey agrees.

  42. ZaxKellens says:

    I agree with you totally and you’re even more awesome in my mind now (which I figured would be hard to do).

  43. SolomonGajda says:

    YES! Thanks for this! It makes me want to buy your songs. I think I’ll do that right now.

  44. Kholdstare89 says:

    Very well said, sir. I admit to having downloaded some of your music not so legally, but after having seen you in concert, I’ve paid for two copies of Artificial Heart, two copies of Best Show Ever, and a t-shirt, and I’ll certainly be buying more when the funds come my way. Quality content deserves reward. It also helps that you seem like a swell guy.

  45. lalophobia says:

    >the worst online pirates beyond our borders.

    The fun thing is that steam is proving this is not the case for games, and initiatives like spotify for music -that both took YEARS to get to the point where they were even allowed by the cartel to do the thing overseas – there is nothing for movies and shows aside pray to the gods the local networks will air something and when (in time versus it being released in the states) .. there just isn’t an alternative to that and piracy – There is just one thing in existence and that is provide an accessible service.

    it’s slightly hypocritical to blame people for pirating if you create a demand people will ‘steal’ for if you don’t give them the damn dru..uhm content.. on time and at an affordable rate and then turn around and cry when you habitually refuse to provide a good dealership uhm.. service.. .

  46. Chris says:

    Your point is a good one. An illegal cassette of the legendary Moxy Fruvous demo turned me into a lifelong fan and legal purchaser of every single thing they ever warbled together, including The C Album which had to be imported. If the bastards hadn’t broken up and were still touring, I’d be buying show tickets too. If you’re good, people ARE gonna buy your stuff.

    Live long, sir, and prosper, prosper, prosper.

  47. Andre says:

    Piracy is more of a problem for certain artists than others. The larger you are, the more people are going to pirate your stuff. When it comes down to niche and indie acts like you mentioned, you have a much more dedicated fan base who are going to want to pay that money for the album. Or the special edition, like when you released the various packages for Artificial Heart. That’s a great way to combat piracy, because it gives you something you can’t download. I’m currently thinking about buying a special edition vinyl of my favorite bands first album, and I don’t even own a record player. In my opinion, that’s the best way to combat piracy.

  48. Zeus says:

    I totally agree with your policy of “Make good stuff and make it easy to buy.” I used to illegally download games all the time until I found Steam for PC and GameFly’s “Keep” option for consoles. I don’t have a problem with paying for things, I just don’t want to have to leave the house or wait for it to be delivered.

  49. Meluna says:

    I would so much love to fling more than 20$ your way, good sir. But you happen to never have concerts in good old Europe.
    Also, doesn’t the take down of MegaUpload show that there already are enough tools to deal with such stuff available? Why do we need sth that lets big companies censor the internet for shits’n’giggles bypassing the legal system? I don’t recall reading any defense in that direction. Just ‘piracy smells of elderberries, we fight into your general direction, hurr’. The FBI just made the biggest statement AGAINST sopa/pipa.