Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Debate: Part 6 - Affirmative Rebuttal

Affirmative Rebuttal
From Kevin McConnell

My rebuttal is solely directed at Philip's negative rebuttal. In this rebuttal I will focus on Philip's main arguments and state why they are flawed and consist of fallacies. Philip states the issue is "Wether piracy, in this case, should remain illegal?", this, in fact, is not the issue. Piracy will always be illegal, thats why it's piracy, the problem is distribution of media.

In Philip's first argument he states that buying a music CD then downloading a digital copy for yourself is wrong by saying "You bought one copy of the CD not an unlimited amount". For one thing this is a fallacy, the consumer has bought the album which is not piracy, but under current laws it is copyright infringement. I feel as long as the consumer bought the physical album they should be able to have a digital version of the same quality and format to complement their CD. In our day and age with MP3 sales on the rise and CD player sales are waning, a digital version is a good solution to curtail a majority of copyright infringement because consumers want CDs' for their cars and digital versions for their iPods. When you buy an album, you buy the songs on the album, this should be in any format. Artist shouldn't be able to charge for different versions of the same song. Daniel has a viable solution "If the record companies provide a key code with the CD, which would allow people to download the songs from the CD if they provide the right code". This is were Philip commits a fallacy, tu quoque, this is committed because Faris states "That is unsound because the artist is selling you one copy of the album, not an unlimited amount. It is not a membership when you buy something of an artist; it is just that specific thing. You do not just buy one thing and get the similar thing." The issue of downloading a digital version of an album and purchasing a physical copy of the album is still considered illegal, but with todays high-tech world the RIAA should reconsider the laws regarding this issue.

Philip brings up his next point of rebranding piracy and how it would not change how people view piracy. Rebranding piracy will change the public's view of copyright infringement as long it is not spun in a negative manner. If the public knew the laws regarding copying a CD for personal use the general consensus would be in favor of changing the laws. The image of internet pirates isn't very fitting with those who are caught, the RIAA focuses on family oriented, middle class citizens who pirated for personal use, in order to deter piracy. This enrages the public, the RIAA should focus on those who download and distribute digital media, this would deter piracy dramatically. Prosecuting the average family won't help the RIAA nor the artist image, the RIAA should go after the pirates who bring a camcorder into the movie theater or the peddlers on the street selling bootleg DVDs.

Philip's next point he brings up alleged an fallacy, the appeal to pity, however he continues of use the fallacies of generalization and bad analogy. Philip brings up an example of a women and her family was caught committing the act of piracy and was prosecuted, he said they should pay the price for breaking the law, I say who is this women where are his sources? Philip brought up a bad analogy of comparing this women to drug dealers by stating, "She knew before hand that there was a chance of being caught. It was a choice that she made and now her and her family have to live with the consequences. This is like saying that we should feel bad for drug dealers that get caught. This makes no sense." Philip, drug dealing is no way comparable to piracy or copyright infringement, you can't download a drug, copy, or share drugs over the internet.

Philip's next point regards my parter Mr.Gromak and his personal views on the RIAA and their ethics, Philip you state that Gromak's ethics are "truly messed up", this the well known fallacy of Ad Hominem, you are attacking the person, not the argument. I am not attacking you, I'm pointing out the flaws in your argument. Next you prove our point by stating that money the RIAA receives from court settlements does not going to the artist, but for "downloader hunting". Faris states "Although they are not reimbursing the artists nor the record labels, they are still helping to cut pirates down. If they help cut the illegal downloaders than they will be forced to buy the album which then will the record labels and artists regain somewhat a profit.", Faris, I'm sure that those who are prosecuted for pirating are not worrying that they have legally buy media, they now have more important issues. The artist's image is not improved, the loss is not regained, and piracy only alleviated by a fraction of a percentage.

I must admit Philip and his group's next point is correct, the revenue lost from piracy. The loss of revenue in United States alone is in the billions, but Philip fails to bring up the benefit of piracy to numerous companies. This companies are hardware manufactures and Operating System producers. This includes companies such as VoodooPC and Microsoft. According to Todd Hollenshead, CEO of iD Games states "There is hidden benefit of piracy... but for computer makers, not video game producers. There's a very real and admitted benefit to computer manufacturers -- but that doesn't mean that there also isn't a benefit for the video game makers themselves.", he follows with "Get PC makers to finance new games, pointing out that if they give out the games for free it will help drive more people to buy the next generation of high powered PCs that are needed to run the games. In that way, everyone can benefit.". Computer sales will increase if new hardware is required to run the programs. Computer manufactures are not the only ones to benefit from piracy, MP3 player manufactures such as Apple, sell more iPods to consumers who have pirated music in order to listen to songs with their device. Microsoft the manufacture and creator of the largest distributed operating system in the world, Windows, admits the company benefits from online piracy. The president of Microsoft Corporations' business division states " Our number one goal is that we want people to use our product. If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else, and that's because we understand that in the long run the fundamental asset is the install base of people who are using our products." If two of the largest companies in the computer industry benefit from piracy, their must be an angle that you guys are missing.

The problem is not piracy, but distribution of digital media, and it's blurred regulations regarding this new obstacle in technology. We must refocus on creating a solution to deter piracy, which will not come without compromise to consumers and artist.

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