P2P uploader hoaxes leading BitTorrent blog
2 + 2 = 10 for Torrentfreak
A German record label has been forced to deny it wants people to pirate its music after a blogger cooked up a story that it had uploaded its entire repertoire to Pirate Bay.
The story was first published by the BitTorrent fan blog Torrentfreak and written by its founder "Ernesto". His sole source for the fanciful tale, of how the founder of electro-industrial label Dependent Records had invited Pirate Bay users to plunder its artists' catalogues, was the notes accompanying each of the torrent tracker files. They read:
Hello, my name is Stefan Herwig. I closed down my record label >>Dependent Records<< for good. But since I want my music to be heard by the people out there, everything I have ever published is now available on >>The Pirate Bay<<.
This is a LEGAL torrent!
I am not asking you to give, I want you to take!
Unfortunately, the "stefan_herwig" of Pirate Bay is not the Stefan Herwig of Dependent Records. The morbid tabloid joke that some stories are "too good to check" was apparently true for Torrentfreak when it came to the hoaxer's invitation to take without giving.
"This move from Dependent Records seems to be a bit odd," "Ernesto" instead mused to his audience of Digg users.
The Real Stefan Herwig has spoken out against the effect he believes internet piracy has on independent music. When Dependent took the decision last year to stop releasing new music, he wrote: "We have lived for years now with the reality that much of our music is stolen, not purchased, and we have frankly had enough of it."
Real Stefan told The Reg today: "It's amazing that Torrentfreak did not check the facts at all. We couldn't do that [upload the catalogue] even if we wanted to, because the artists have rights to the music too." People who download Dependent music from Pirate Bay are still infringing copyright, he added.
Yet the myth was reproduced unchecked by several blogs and tin-pot "news" organisations, which prompted Herwig to ask "Ernesto" to correct the non-story and issue official statement on the Dependent Records website on Monday. It says:
The reaction of Torrentfreak.com founder and correspondent "Ernesto" was to note that since he has a full-time job, "doing extensive research is not always an option". He had apparently read news of the label's closing on the Dependent website and taken the Pirate Bay story at face value; the facts that the person pretending to be Stefan Herwig misspelled the name of the label in the original announcement, and that the official label website made no mention of this unusual offer, failed to raise any red flags with either Torrentfreak.com nor any of the other internet sites which reprinted the story verbatim.
"Ernesto" told us over email: "I've been emailing with Stefan back and forth, and have already apologized for any inconvenience I've caused However, I don't see his problem. I even said in the post that I wasn't sure if he was the real 'Stefan Herwig'.
"I did know that someone with the same name posted the torrents, I also confirmed that the label closed down. These two things, together with the fact that the entire catalogue was posted made me assume that it could be true." He described the statement on Dependent's website as "a bit childish".
Torrentfreak has not removed the story. Herwig said he "probably" won't sue, however. The blog may rue the boast on its "about" page that it is "referred to by the Guardian as 'more reliable than the BBC' - much read, often quoted". ®
I've heard so many people on forums saying
"I'm an amateur musician, and because of piracy I make no money. I might have to pack it in!"
Do these people not realise that amateur musicans and most indie bands have NEVER EVER made any money. 10 years ago these band simply had no market to reach. Pratically every sale they ever get they simply wouldn't have got back then, and the downloaded copies don't reflect a lost sale either.
You simply plug along, doing it for the love of the music or entertaining, and eventually, if you're REALLY good, you'll suddenly have money coming out of your arse.
A freind of mine is in a band: They played for years for nothing, practicing practically every day. Eventually they did get signed, and have done tours in the UK and the US, and other places, and they STILL haven't made any real money by the time you take all the studio time etc. out of it. Looks like some time this year they'll go into the black, and suddenly have 100's of thousands of pounds.
That's just the way it goes, and it always has.
Hopefully these small bands will realise it's the LABELS, PRODUCERS, STUDIOS etc. who are ripping them off, not piracy.
Interview with Stefan!
I just published an interview with Stefan titled "The story behind the hoax":
Re: Re: Theft
"Theft is when I take something from you. That implies that you don't have it anymore."
Correct. In this case the 'something' is potential sales. I am in the market of selling my music to people; if you give my music to people for free, you are lowering the probability that people will give me money. THAT is what you are stealing from me. Sure someone might be 'honest' and buy my CD after downloading it and that's great, however it is very likely that the majority wont as they have it already, and if they were honest, why are they on illegal download sites in the first place?. Of course we are talking 'ifs' and 'maybes', however that is what selling is about and it's why the placements of adverts and shops are such big business. It increases the probability of sales. Your argument is similar to that it's ok to take down gig posters or remove flyers from clubs because the person marketing the gig has lost nothing by you doing this. This is simply not the case as the promoter would suffer in lower attendance as a direct result. Smaller promoters might go out of business. Larger ones might be able to absorb the loss. Conversely downloading harms small artists more than big ones, however big artists have to start somewhere.
At the end of the day nobody asks the permission or artists to give away their music. If they did, that would be a different story entirely.
"And what are the means please?"
You buy a physical object called a 'CD' or you pay for a download. There is also nothing stopping you sending money direct to the artists (we like that one particularly). Money for T-Shirts and gig tickets are also always appreciated. There is an argument in that the more people who hear music are more likely to attend live shows regardless of how they obtained that music, however it's debatable and there are issues with physical location. There is also a psychological concept where people attribute more value to things depending on how difficult they were to obtain, meaning they treat 'free' music as throwaway and worthless.
I would have no problem with people downloading if they bought things however the problem is in a great number of cases they don't because they already have it. This takes us back to previews - you see a film trailer for example, you decide you want to pay to see the film. You hear a music preview, or (almost) the full track on the radio, you decide you want to buy it. People seem to think they have a right to take the entire work for a period of time to decide if they want to give the artist money. How many of them delete those albums they decide are not worth paying for?