The random witterings of Jonathan Morris, writer.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

One Man's Rubbish


Many things annoy me about the people who argue in favour of unrestricted ‘file-sharing’; their smug someone-else-can-pay manner, their obliviousness to common sense, basic economics and morality, and the way everything is reduced to an ‘ad hominem’ argument of I-think-this-specific-artist-is-crap-so-they-don’t-deserve-to-be-so-rich.

It’s been the ruination of the music industry, television and films are going the same way, and literature will be next. Already some sod has made my books available for torrent. Well, excuse me, but if my work is out of print I want it to stay that way; I want people scouring auction sites and second-hand book shops; either that or give me some money.

But anyway, the argument I really hate is the one that goes along the lines of;

“The music industry has been ripping off fans for years; I bought an album on the basis of hearing one track and it turned out to be rubbish.

Excuse me? This person bought a crap album – for, say, £10 – on the basis of hearing one track and they’re prepared to boast about it in public? They’re prepared to stand up and say ‘I am a complete and utter mug’? Whatever next? 'My mum chooses my clothes for me?' 'I require written instructions in order to wipe my own bottom?'

They never say which album it is, of course, do they? Because that would expose them to ridicule – “What, you mean Right Said Fred’s Up didn’t live up to your expectations?’ – or contrary opinions – ‘Excuse me, I think you’ll find that the The Las is full of shoegazey scouse-rock classics’.

These people do not deserve to be listened to. They clearly have questionable judgement. These, after all, are people who buy albums without asking to hear them in the shop (something you’ve been able to do since the days of wax cylinders), who hand over their crispy tenners without reading reviews or soliciting opinions from friends, who don’t listen to the track previews on Amazon, iTunes, myspace or elsewhere.

I’m racking my brains to think of any albums I’ve bought on the basis of one track. White Town’s album, maybe, but that only cost me one quid. Forever Changes by Love, possibly, possibly not. Oh, and The Who Sell Out, that was bollocks. Curse you, music industry, for taking my hard-earned cash and forcing me to buy an album full of crap – I shall now feel entirely justified in stealing music for ever more.

1 comment:

  1. While it is, of course, wrong that someone has made your books available on bittorrent without your permission, I'm not convinced that it will have hurt your sales.

    Hugo nominated Science Fiction writer Cory Doctorow releases all of his novels as free downloads, simultaneous with their print publication. I can't explain his reasons better than he can himself: http://www.forbes.com/2006/11/30/cory-doctorow-copyright-tech-media_cz_cd_books06_1201doctorow.html The short version? He thinks it helps him sell more books.

    I'd also point to the examples of Lungbarrow and the Dying Days, two Doctor Who novels which have been available in legitimate free eBook editions on the BBC's website for years. You'd imagine that no one would want to buy those books any more - and yet they're still selling for over £50 each on eBay.

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