Debunking Copyright Myths

 

Everyone Pirates

A common excuse is that ‘everyone is doing it’ – but recent research shows that only 46% of New Zealand’s population have ever illegally file-shared music, and 80% think that piracy is a form of theft. [Research soon to be published]

 

There Are No Good Legal Options in NZ

There are more legal options (even some you don’t have to pay for) available in NZ than ever before – just check out the Find Legal Services page for help choosing the right option for you and ensuring that the right people are getting paid for their hard work.

 

Piracy is a Victimless Crime

Piracy means that people are consuming copyrighted content without paying for it – even if not all of those pirating would otherwise pay for the content this has still resulted in significant decreases of revenue across content industries. The result of this is that there is less money to be spent on developing new artists and bringing new quality content to market – and less money to pay to those who work on that content, including those who are not the ‘stars’ themselves.

 

Piracy is Free

While you may not have to pay for pirated content directly, the owners of file-sharing sites and services often seek to make money through advertising. As these sites are illegal, much of the advertising on these sites is classed as ‘high-risk’ – that is, ads for unregulated gambling, the sex industry, scams and malware. You should be aware that you are funding the owners of these sites at the detriment of the content creators, and that your family being exposed to unsavoury content is the price you are paying.

 

If Piracy Was That Bad, It Would Be Stopped

Lack of enforcement is an issue, but both the content industries and government continue to work to develop the best ways to discourage the use of illegal file-sharing. In New Zealand, the main enforcement step at present is the Copyright Act’s  section 122 ‘graduated response’ system. Make no mistake – even if you aren’t caught file-sharing illegally, it is still against the law and still harmful to content creators.

 

The Graduated Response System Amounts to Guilt Upon Accusation

The graduated response system allows for challenges to notices issued, offers multiple opportunities to change behaviour and includes the option to have a hearing held – those caught by the regime are given many ways to avoid any liability and are only ‘guilty’ if they are unable to rebut the evidence gathered against them – as in other courts.

 

Piracy is ‘Sticking it to The Man’

While Recorded Music NZ handles the majority of broadcast music licensing in NZ, artists are free to conduct licensing contracts outside of that system by their own choice. Labels are the primary holders of copyright, but this is due to the significant investments ($4.5 billion annually) they place in artists and repertoire (A&R). This ability to invest is restricted by the reduced revenues resulting from piracy and prevents new artists from being discovered and developed.

 

Artists Just Want People To Listen To Their Music – File Sharing Helps This Happen

Artists do want you to listen to and enjoy their music – but copyright lets them choose how to release their creative work. Many artists today share previews and release some music for free, but the majority of artists simply can’t afford to release their music for free – they need to be paid for their work like anyone else, or they won’t be able to keep making the music you love.