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July 29, 2006




The Napster/Winchester comparison is fair: two companies whose product could be abused in the wrong hands. Then again, so can cigarettes (companies already paying), alcohol, automobiles, fast food, pharmaceuticals, and a whole plethora of things most people use responsibly to our collective betterment.

More eloquent voices than mine have railed against RIAA and their practices, so I won't add any commentary about them. There will always be people who see a tsunami in every unspilled glass of water. But civilization was built on a mutual trust in taking considered risks, and civilization quickly deteriorates when we try to solve everything with plalanxes of mercenaries attorneys.

Jon Strande


Well said. I'm not suggesting that we go after the gun companies, per-se. It just sort of dawned on me that what's sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander... or something like that. DOH!

Thank you for the comment! I really should try to repay the favor at some point, huh? ;-)


Jon - what a wonderful and so very thoughtful entry. glad to have you back in the "blogger scene" and that you enjoy your life and work (well, okay, this relates to an earlier entry)

Jon Strande

Andreas, hey there! Thank you so much. Yeah, life isn't bad right now, it's just been super busy and I've not had much time to blog. :-( Hopefully that is turning around.

Brian H.

The gun/Napster comparison is quite a stretch. The most obvious difference is consumer knowledge. No one buys a guy without knowing guns are lethal. Millions of people downloaded and uploaded songs illegally using Napster without knowing it was illegal. Napster didn't really warn people, gun makers and dealers do. Think about tobacco companies. They didn't get slammed because cigarettes cause cancer; they got slammed because they knew it, the public didn't, and the company didn't disclose it.

On top of this, you have to look at what the product is actually used for. The primary use of Napster was to transfer copyrighted music. The primary use of guns is not to commit crimes. Most people that own guns will never murder or rob someone using them. Most people that installed Napster used it for the sole purpose of trading copyrighted music.

The fact that record companies had record sales in that year is irrelevant.

Jon Strande

Brian, great comment - thank you for taking the time to write it. I get what you are saying and I agree that it is a stretch - consumer knowledge is critical. However, if you take it one step further; EVERYONE knows that, in the wrong hands, guns are bad. So, who is responsible for keeping guns out of those peoples hands? Again, I'm not saying that we should get rid of guns. What I'm suggesting is that shouldn't companies be held accountable for producing things that are harmful?

Christopher grove

OK, so if we say that the guns/Napster comparison is a stretch, how about a guns/CD or DVD burners comparison?
OK, you can save data onto CDs or DVDs, but just how many MS Word documents would it take to fill one blank DVD (whatever the format)?
And what really gets to me, is that on the one hand you have companies like Sony who produce, market and sell CD & DVD burners, and on the other hand Sony (being a record company) criticises piracy. Isn't that a touch hypocritical? Why sell the tools that allow copying of media if you don't want it to happen? You cannot have you cake, put the cherry on the top, eat it and then have another one. Sorry, but you just can't.
Maybe all of the companies with technology product divisions AND media content divisions should think about their group strategy BEFORE critising the general public for using the products that they've been marketed and sold. And I think that the people who are using media burners are holding these companies accountable, by their actions.

Christopher grove

Just in case my previous post seemed ambiguous, I'm not pro-piracy as such and just for the record I do buy original CDs instead of copying them. But that's simply a question of choice (I prefer having originals).
And I don't think that that takes anything away from my previous post.

Jon Strande

Chris, yeah, Sony is talking out of both sides of it's mouth, huh? This really goes back to the whole notion of the record companies are gripping on to a dying business model - where they make their money off CD's. Call me crazy, but $0.99 cents for a full song seems pretty reasonable after seeing what ringtones cost... $2.49? What the fuck is that? $2.49 for 10 seconds worth of a tune? And they're selling tons of these! Greed. They've learned nothing from the past... in the future they won't be able to charge those prices for ringtones and they will have missed a tremendous opportunity to market their artists and gain customer loyalty. What is that old saying? "Those with known histories are doomed to repeat it" or something like that?

Brian Yamabe

Just stumbled across this post. So I assume you would agree that AOL, Yahoo, et al should be held accountable for child pornography, mail fraud, etc. that their systems enable. Taken just a bit further, I assume that if your comments section were used to initiate a terrorist attack or hate crime you would immediate turn yourself in as an accessory.

Jon Strande

Brian, thanks for the thought provoking comment!

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