I spent a good deal of today getting more stuff for my long neglected website. I have probably added about 33% of its total articles today alone. Part of this is being accomplished by me going back and reading my old LJ posts. One of which was me pointing out artists, movies, authors and so on whose stuff I read or watched or listened to illegally (whether by downloading it or someone who shared it with me or whatever) first and then went on to spend quite a bit of money on the media. The point is obvious. Illegal downloads are also a form of sampling, previewing and the like. In the original article, as now, I point out that if I like the media that I illegally sampled then I am going to buy it. I have done many times. I do not listen to the radio. I don't watch much TV (and almost none that would declare new music). Friends sending me mp3s or posting them on their Myspace pages (which isn't illegal, I know, but I am including here because it seems to fill the gap between illegal file sharing and allowed sharing) are 90% the way I hear new things. In fact, hands down, Youtube, which has come under fire several times, is the single biggest way I test out music before buying it.
In some ways, my specific case is mute. As of January 1st, 2008, my plan is to buy as few as possible (with optimal conditions being zero) RIAA backed albums. I'm not even downloading them. I don't want to give any false positives. With only a couple of excpetions, my message is that the RIAA is going to be my first consideration on whether I will buy an album, whether or not I like it will be second. I just buy the DVDs I want, and the majority of those are the sort of indie flicks or movies from the 90s or BBCAmerica things that the MPAA rarely pays attention to. Most of my time is spent reading nowadays anyhow, and I have enough books to last me to eternity. Hell, I don't download much at all anymore (notice the latest thing on the list is like 2004 when it came out, four years or so ago). The last three things I downloaded were two foreign movies unreleased in the States and pilot for a 90s show that never got off the ground. I don't really see myself ever downloading many things that aren't up for free or cheap ever again. The only exception tends to be foreign works that I have trouble finding a good importer for (or that, due to region codes on DVD players, I have no real way of getting a copy that I can see). I'm just past that stage. The wild and crazy college days of illegal downloading en masse have went by and by. But still, the point is valid.
But this is my case for illegal downloads, artists and musicians and writers and whatever that I went on to support because of practices that would be considered illegal. We are talking hundreds of dollars spent, easily. In some cases, I became a die hard fan. In some, it was a mix of legitimate methods and illegitimate. In some, a friend had downloaded it and got me to listen. In some cases, listening to one band led to another or watching one movie led to another. This is not a complete list, but just gives a wide mix of things made possible by means that the RIAA would have people sued for.
I just wanted to add that I know that others download with no intention of renumeration of any sort. I was just speaking for myself. That's about all I ever can do, anyhow.
Written by W Doug Bolden
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The longer, fuller version of this text can be found on my FAQ: "Can I Use Something I Found on the Site?".
"The hidden is greater than the seen."