AfterDawn: Tech news

P2P users set up a political party in Sweden

Written by Petteri Pyyny (Google+) @ 04 Jan 2006 0:24 User comments (47)

P2P users set up a political party in Sweden New political party has been set up in Sweden that plans to participate to country's upcoming general elections. The party is called Piratpartiet as in Pirate party and it aims to remove copyright laws from Sweden.
Party plans to remove all immaterial rights, including copyrights and patents and also plans to stop Sweden's participation in international copyright organizations, including WIPO and WTO and to make it illegal to put any restrictions on distribution of digital content (in form of DRM, copy protections, etc). Party also states that it plans to uphold and push even further the strict privacy laws currently in place in Sweden and to make it illegal to track or monitor citizens' communications online and offline.

People behind the party have made it very clear that their idea is not a joke. To register an official party in Sweden, party needs to get 1,500 signatures to support its cause. Organization already managed to gather over 4,000 signatures in first 24 hours and now is in process of validating the signatures. Once validated, it aims to register itself as an official party and to participate in next general elections with their rather interesting agenda.

Source: Piratpartiet (in Swedish)

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47 user comments

14.1.2006 0:42

Now thats what is needed someone to stand up to these companies and put them in there place

24.1.2006 1:00

A good idea I think. Ihe people need politicians who are willing to fight for the rights of the end-users and comsumers... ... but removing all immaterial rights. That is way too extreme. With a more moderate program the party would have a more serious tone and be more succesful. Just a prediction, it´ll be interesting to see how this develops.

34.1.2006 3:54

I agree, no one likes an extremist. Everything in moderation is healthy. If the US had a party to that extent in moderationn and had opsitive views on privacy issues and consumer rights vs corporate wants i would support it. HOw about we do start something like that?

44.1.2006 4:48

I´m not that familiar with how everyday politics in the US work, but isn´t it kind of hard to start parties there?

54.1.2006 4:48

Now we need this sort of thing happening all over..! -Mike

64.1.2006 6:09

think about the parties we do have in the US. The greenparty, neo nazi, etc. They do not necessarily get enough votes to run for office but none the less demand media attention at times. I will enform myself with this and get back to those intrested.

74.1.2006 6:34

COuldnt edit my last post but a thread has been started for a party like this in the US.

84.1.2006 7:28

I don't think it's extreme at all. It's the right touch to our current situation: a DVD costs $3 to make, but they're selling it for $20. Capitalism = theft. Why would you want this party to be more moderate? When political parties moderate their policies, you get situations like the United States, where we keep muttering to ourselves: "the lesser of two evils." The same thing happened in France, where you had two options: a well-known Nazi, and a politician with a thick history of embezzling from government funds (Chirac). Needless to say, their slogan was "Vote for the Thief, Not the Fascist." Moderating does not mean making your program appeal greater to the population. Moderating means putting the program's interests closer to those of big business, industrialists, and other exploiters of the majority. Maybe society will collapse without patents and copyrights. We'll just have to see. But, if people are serving time in prison right now for distributing patented material, for writing code to view DVDs, and for sharing music, then I have no problem watching the whole thing collapse.

94.1.2006 7:37

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA GOooooooooooooood luck. You have to understand that copyright and patents are ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL to keep a creative industry going. Do you think Merck would make/test any more drugs if it couldn't hold a monopoly for 7 years on that compound? THAT is how they pay for their overhead (i.e. paying ppl to do the painstaking research). Same with all industries. If you remove the lucrative end of it, then R&D is pointless undertaking for ANYBODY. EVERYONE will follow Dell's computer model and simply mimick what everyone else has already developed. If you want to lower the number of years for a patent-fine, but removing it altogether? lol And another thing, immaterial rights--would that include software? Good luck getting a new version of micro$hits windows, or <enter software title/video game here>. <Quote> eople behind the party have made it very clear that their idea is not a joke.</Quote> Sorry to flame this thread, but this IS a joke, it is the very definition of it. The reprucussions of something like this would be AMAZING.

104.1.2006 7:38

This seems like good news, although it's gonna be very very hard for any new party to get into power and implement the removal of copyright laws or any laws for that matter it does give hope to people that there is somebody out there it politics that's not after there digital rights, Good Luck to them and may groups like this spread around the world.

114.1.2006 8:05

Haha I love it, that would never happen in the states though.

124.1.2006 8:59

Does anybody believes that this movement will be undertaken under serius investigation? As we found all theese years this movement will be trated from the media and the oposition as an hilarious case. They have been much movements around the world in the past such as "hunter's party", "divorced men movement", etc. So if this movement is going to estabilish I believe that the integer figure of their percentage will be zero. Even more the first decimal cifre! Don't forget that also we are involved in the gears of the same machine since we demand from our politicians to refound our votes! An old joke for the end: In an assembly the spokeman stated that the 50% in the room was thieves. After a lot of noise he relaimed that the 50% in the room was not thieves! Happy new year

134.1.2006 9:53

I should start that idea in USA. I would get many votes and win many consumers hearts. But here is the catch, all politicians are going where the money pulls them. Will the general population give them money every month or will the business pay for the vote. You should know the answer.

144.1.2006 11:26

What is the estimated population for Sweden so we can know how big a part 4000 people is. It's obviously a big step considering it is the first 24 hours. Hopefully AD will keep us up to date on the subject.

154.1.2006 11:38

Removing the restrictions of digital copyrights are a good idea... However, the total removal of patents? Sounds like Communism... Persbian is correct in that patents are what make the world go around. To wage war on a patent as well... just seems a little ludicrous to me. Ever heard of the wolf in sheeps clothing?

164.1.2006 11:52

@DarkJello Sweden Population in 2004 9,006,405

174.1.2006 14:21

Finally some people that let their actions speak louder that words. To the rest of my Fellow Americans see there are people out there that are willing to do something about stupid laws and politics. Maybe we can learn something.

184.1.2006 15:19

all it takes is one country of people to say NO to these greedy money mummies and the rest of the world will start to follow and not be afraid of their rights also, this is by the way everyones freaken world and the people are allowed to be heard. GO SWEDEN

194.1.2006 18:33

Well, Well, Well. Capitalism--the economic system that is based on the basic concept that it takes money to make money, money being the engine that fuels the engine of modern life. "fair Use Rights" is worth fighting for, but the banning of patents and copyrights is unwise and counter to prosperity of the people who create the various things that make life more fun, enjoyable, safe or interesting. Movies, books and music are three areas that certainly need protection. If that protection does not exist, the financial incentives, which are what most talented artists need in order to continue to produce the work that they do, will dry up and kill their revenue stream that enabled them to focus on what they do best, create better and better stuff. Yes, the "free" artists that do it for their love of art and not financial gain, exist,--- but you're not on this forum to discuss how to make back up copies of a movie, book or song that someone made for "the love of it". The abolishing of patents and copyrights is absolutely short sighted and narrow minded. I'm not saying good music isn't being made in North Korea or Cuba, but I sure as heck ain't interested in buying any of it. Anything of an artistic nature that is good is worth paying for, at least once.

204.1.2006 18:57

A few comments to a few of the comments: "No one likes an extremist" We've had, on average, 23 hits a second to our web server. After 76 hours of operation of the web site, we have 4600 active and registered users in the discussion forums; a visible contingent of these are now building a nationwide organization. But in PARTICULAR, there was a poll in the Swedish tabloids the day after the web site opened, asking their readers whether they would consider voting for Piratpartiet. The poll closed with over 60% YES votes after a huge response. NO, I say again, NO existing party in Sweden gets a 60% approval rating. "Now we need this sort of thing happening all over..!" There are already four other fledgling pirate parties forming in other countries, and again, we're something like 80 hours out from the opening of the website. This IS happening all over. People are realizing that they CAN make a stand, and they are - by the thousands. Why don't you form your own, where you live? / Rick Falkvinge, founder of Piratpartiet

214.1.2006 20:06

Can you explain to me why you wish to rid your country of patents? I fully understand the reasoning behind getting rid of DRM and the like, but how do you feel that patents are part of the problem? Do you feel innovation should be punished? Just interested in a friendly debate, and await your reply.

224.1.2006 20:32

Key Issue, patents and copyrights are not a threat to "Fair use" but patents and copyrights are the incentive mechanisms that makes it possible for creative talents to dedicate their lives to developing new and better entertainment products and creations. We should keep Patents, Copyrights and Fair Use, and jettison the overreaching DRM extreminism that threatens to outlaw ALL fair use rights. Patents and copyrights are not an enemy of the entertainment buying public.

234.1.2006 20:34

@ munx: "If the US had a party to that extent. . . i would support it. HOw about we do start something like that?" Man, the US basically has two parties: democrat and republican. No other voice represents. You know how many major parties Canada has? Five. Now, I'm not supporting Canada, or any political system for that matter. I'm just saying that the US is polarized at its core, and that the Pirate Party ideal would have to adopted by one of two parties to get any recognition. I don't think that's gonna happen any time soon. @ Punkerz Let's not reduce anything here. The disc costs $3 to get to the shelves maybe, but the content on the discs costs significantly more to produce in most cases. @ mikecUSA: Touché. :) @ JXP2307: Right on.

244.1.2006 22:09

This idea seems to get more interesting by the minute. Many can obviously say that patents are important, but is it wrong to assume that we used to live without them? Did no patents stop Beethoven or Leonardo da Vinci? NO. It's a wild guess as to why the incredible advancement of human advancement has happened in the last couple of years, and it would be down-right obsurd as to say "the copyrights of those people gave them a leading edge". The only reason that people like Bill Gates and 50 Cent, or whoever, got to where they are is because they used another person's idea. It could be said for almost any further advancement in any field nowadays. Just about everything we have so far in life is just an evolved version of its predecessor; drugs, music, technology, copy-protection. This is just a case of having that other alternative; the one where it turns --usually the person who's in charge-- the world upsidedown. To see how much the group had grown in just the FIRST DAY! Imagine how this'll turn out in a matter of years, or even months! This is indeed very interesting to me. I for one am very anxious as to how this turns out, and am waiting for any other information and may even delve more into this subject. Hope to hear more of your progress, Mr. Falkvinge.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 04 Jan 2006 @ 22:12

254.1.2006 22:50

The thing is that you have to understand the situation in sweden. This party may seem extrem, but thats not the point. They are aiming to get atleast 4% wich is a tough task. Even with 4% they can not change the whole system but what they can do is to negotiate, in that case its not important how extrem they are but what they can accomplish. The situation in sweden is that the goverment ignores the people they are supposed to work for. Im not only talking about filesharing but the new directive that makes it easier to monitor citizens, where they are, who they contact and so on. Sweden has a recent history of registering peoples political opinions. This is developing in a very scary direction. Soon they can do anything to people and justify it as a hunt for evil terrorists.

264.1.2006 23:23

I was going to initially add something like what WuMing said to my original stretch, but failed to realize that this situation is taking place in Sweden. So, it would be true in fact that the citizens of Sweden to begin an outcry of their current government in a way they haven't tried before; in a way that benefits themselves and gives them leverage in its political branches as well. All the more reason to give this group the benefit-of-a-doubt, yes? They finally have something that show's their upmost concerns for their fellow people, and are trying to fight for their rights, regardless as to how unorthodox it may seem to some.

275.1.2006 2:11

Punkerz: Moderating,in this case, could also help make your goals seem more realistic - which could make the party more attractive from a consumers point of view and a true option in the elections. Right now the plan to remove immaterial rights only turns me off from supporting the party in real life (OK, I don´t live in Sweden yet - but in theory), since that way of thinking doesn´t refelct my view on how things work. Removing things like royalties means that a lot of people doing good work wouldn´t be paid for their work. They might receive compensation in some form, but I doubt that would keep people happy.

But in PARTICULAR, there was a poll in the Swedish tabloids the day after the web site opened, asking their readers whether they would consider voting for Piratpartiet. The poll closed with over 60% YES votes after a huge response. NO, I say again, NO existing party in Sweden gets a 60% approval rating.
Would consider is still a long way from getting people to actually support you in elections. I would definitely consider voting for a party like this since it might help protect my interests. That doesn´t mean that I could support the ideas brought forward without reservation in practice. Falkvinge: Lycka till med arbetet, fastän jag inte helhjärtat stöder det ni vill få till stånd.

285.1.2006 5:50

Ghostdog: "_Would_consider_ is still a long way from getting people to actually support you in elections." Very true. And thinking about it, it was a mistranslation - that English is much weaker than the Swedish "kan du tänka dig...?". A more correct English would probably be "Could you see yourself [voting for this party]?". Also, thanks for your line of support in Swedish. Rick

295.1.2006 6:32

Patents apply to things like car engines, CD players, DVD players, telephones, innovative telephones. Copywrights pertain to written works like songs, books and movies. Alexander graham bell changed the world with his invention of the telephone. Every phone made in america has to pay a fee for manufacturing the item. it's pennies per item, but that shit adds up real quick if the product is popular enuff. When someone invented the cell phone, they got a patent on that, and now the patent holder, the guy who changed the world with the cell phone makes pennies for every cell phone made. Why shouldn't the guy and eventually his family that outlives him get the prize for making the world a better place. patents go all the way back to before America was started, and yes, Shakespeare made money and his works were "protected in his day" and Mozart was definitely covered until he would sell his work and then the copyright holder, the patron that bought his work had the right to do what he wanted to do with the piece. That's where fair use comes in. If I buy a Cd, I should have the right to make a fair use copy for myself. The new idea is, even if I buy it I don't own it,a dn that's definitely not right. There needs to be a "Fair Use" Law, and a fair everything law, and that's what the Pirate Party Should be about in my opinion.

305.1.2006 7:24

ummm..hang on-we used to live without patents, so that makes it feasible? Bethoven, da vinci, etc? um, how many rock bands do we have aroudn now just trying to get a big payday and become rockstars? THEY WANT THE ROCKSTAR LIFE-where you think the money for that comes from? besides, your just looking at artists..try looking at actual important stuff, thats all bullshit entertainment cushy stuff. First, like i said, and noone has commented on, drugs would not be developed to treat any diseases without a) full gov't funding or b) patents to make privatization lucrative. Think of it this way, they make A LOT of money during the first i think 7 yrs and that offsets their costs and gives them a damn nice profit, but hey they deserve it, they saved/eased the lives of many ppl. After 7 years, the drug becomes INCREDIBLY affordable due to generics available-think aspirin or ur drug treatment of choice. Second, expanding to the realm of, say, industry, noone would make your precious ipods and vehicles if they wouldn't get rich off of it. I mean come the fuck on, your going to get NOTHING done in this world unless you provide some incentive, reward, or make it a mandatory part of the gov't to develop them (in which case ur paying for it ANYWAY!) DRM-fine watever, but patents/copyrights? good luck getting anybody with half a brain to consider that possibilty for more than a minute.

315.1.2006 7:55

You're right on. And I really think, in a not so obvious way, DRM is bordering on anti-capitalism, anti-consumerism. It's flat out protectionsism, and it's wierd, but the record companies and movie companies are using protectionism against-----their own customers. I buy a DVD, I want to back it up. So Instead of admitting that it is right, and a good thing, the DRM zealots brand all back-uppers as criminals. The world and the music biz was fine before Millenial DRM. The taping off the radio, and the friends swapping cassette tapes are both perfect illustrations of what mp3 is all about and in some sense what afterdawn is partially about. I think I-tunes is great because they include a "fair use" mentality when they authorize you to make three copies of every song or TV show you buy. That limits you're ability to pirate, unless your a fairly clever computer geek. So the music industry worry over piracy is addressed, and our desire for "fair use" at a "fair price" is satisfied. If DVD's were only 5 bucks a piece, I could afford to buy two of everything and wouldn't need a back up copy. Hell, for a really good movie Like Lords of the Rings, Star Wars, The Lucas Raiders Trilogy, Back To The Future, Goonies, I would buy 6 or 7 copies of each and hand themm out at christmas. At 17.99 and 19.99 or 23.99 I can only afford one and you can bet your sweet a** I'm going to back it up. Most people would rather rent than own anyway, and that's been the main reason to produce movies since the 1920's. People rent the movie in 1925 by plunking down 25 cents and then sitting through the Charlie Chaplin movie or Fritz Langs "Metropolis" and then leaving. So the movie that they make better be extra good or the public won't bother buying it. If the music or movie is good enough I'd pay more for that. If I could find a legitimate, restored DVD of song of the South" by Walt Disney, I'd gladly pay $50 for it. If I could find a pristine DVD of" Made In Heaven" starring Timothy Hutton, Kelly McGillis, Tom Petty, Ric Ocasek and Neil Young, I'd Pay $75 for it (it's My favorite movie) and I'd pay $500 for the entire ORIGINAL series with ORIGINAL song sets of the 80's sitcom WKRP in Cincinatti. BUUUUUUTT the stupid studio's won't make these available. I backed up my "Made in Heaven" from a Stereo VHS tape onto a DVD, I bought a bootleg of "Song Of The South" for $10.00 on DVD and I have no WKRP collection. So I guess my points are, the record and movie companies really produce a lot of sub-quality stuff, and they won't distribute really great stuff, and then they blame us when we find a solution to our needs that they were fully capable of meeting at a reasonable price, but their myopic protectionist vision chooses to denigrate us and then prosecute. Bailey Quarters forever!!!!! BOOGER BOOGER BOOGER! and I bet turkeys really can fly, but dropping them out of a WKRP Traffic Helicopter was just too goo a gag to pass up. Long Live Johnny Fever!

325.1.2006 9:03

this one is a dificult one because if copyrights and patents were abolished completely then there would be no more music or movies, well not good ones anyway there would be no longer an incentive to pay for movies or music so then there would be no longer an incentive to make movies or music, the whole think would come crashing down. i do however believe that music and movies should be alot cheaper the artists that make them get paid crazy amounts, nobody needs to make 20 million dollars for starring in a movie and nobody wants to pay $20 for a dvd. backing up your movies and music is completely legal anyway so long as you own the original (throw away the scratched up original and you should throw away the copy). basically it would be crazy to end copyright if sweden manages it then well done but if the same happened around the world then swedes would have nothing to copy anyway so the whole abolishment of copyright would be a useless waste of time remember it takes people paying for hollywoods crap for us to be able to download hollywoods crap and without some kind of punishment for getting caught everyone would do it and we would be in the same position of no incentive to make movies.

335.1.2006 9:05

The sad thing is that music is a great thing, a very beautiful artform. And swapping CD´s/MD´s with your friends or asking them to check out some new band you´ve found is a fun social activity. Music connects people better than a lot of things. And now all the companies who are going into panic-mode with all the DRM stuff are tainting the reputation and "feel" that music has. I don´t want to go through hell in order to get things to work... I just want to enjoy the music.

345.1.2006 13:33

You make a good point Ghostdog. Music and art should be about music and art, it's meant to be expressed, viewed and appreciated. Really thinking about it, it would be a little scary thinking about what would it be like to not have any copyrights or patents. It would make it perfectly legal for someone to take another persons hard-earned work and just put another name on it, and it could be done over and over. It would, in most cases, kill off any originality and have creativity loose it's leverage. Persbian makes a very good point. Most people get incentive to do something because they know that they can make money off of it and that they are protected by laws to have something that is original and secure to do. Most people do want the Rockstar lifestyle because of all the fame, girls, whatever. But that's the cut-off between originality and reproduction. Most artists nowadays are in it for the money. I'm just going to wait it out a bit and see what happenes with this, because this is still very interesting to me.

355.1.2006 13:42

Most everybody, that is not independently wealthy does what they do for the money. What's wrong with that? People all should have a job of one sort or another and support themselves when they reach legal age. Copyrights and patents help the truly original and creative, or simply the "performing" to do the kind of "job" that they "want". yes they all do it for the money, but so does everybody on this forum, unless they're physically unable(handicapped) or deadbeat lazy-arses.

365.1.2006 14:03

That's right mike, most everybody does what they do because of money. It just seems a little unfair to me why people like teachers and doctors get pretty much pennies for helping people, while drunken wastes of talent that look good get all the money for producing 2 one-hit-wonders. It's just a little sad to see how much a "convinience" can be paid while a real helper is not appreciated. Just my thoughts on the matter.

375.1.2006 15:34

If You've seen the movie Amadeus, that's the life of an Artist with no wealth, and I think most would agree he was more talented than any 10 rock stars. Mozart should have been rich, his talent warranted it--but back then, musicians were not rewarded the way that they are rewarded these days. It's a little odd to hear people complain about rich rock stars or movie stars, and hear them denigrated as no talent hacks, hey, the're making someones miserable life less miserable. That's as worthy of wealth as anything. They don't set monetary minimums or maximums on their incomes---we set it for them by what we purchase and what we skip on. Us, the entertainment buying public. That's democracy baby, that's freedom baby---that's who decides who gets paid what, and who will work for what---the market economy...not the government, and that's the way I like it!!!

385.1.2006 16:02

That's true. No argument there. Like they say, "Democracy isn't perfect, but it's the best we got."

396.1.2006 4:04

I agree with part of their agenda but not all of it. I think developers, writers have a write to copyright protection but I also think that people have a right to backup their software, CD/DVDs as well. I also think it should not be illegial to provide the tools to allow a person to backup their CDs/DVDs. I don't know how many times I have found a DVD or CD lying on the floor after my daughter has gotten done with it. I also find them lying all over the car some with obvious scratches on them. I remember in the DVD XCOPY case that the judge said you have a right to back up your DVDs but we will make sure you have no tools to do it with. He didn't actually say that but his rulings had that efffect. If the MPAA would just take the proper stance with regard to copyright protection these kind of parties wouldn't exist. Go after the individuals who are actually selling copies of movies, CDs, etc. illegially. I remember the studios started this stuff with VCRs but didn't get anywhere. If this was occuring today VCRs would be illegial. The movie studios figured out that you can buy Congressman and Senators as well as judges apparently.

409.1.2006 1:11

I agree with beeing able to Back up your DVD/CDS etc, but i think companies have a right to copyright their products no matter how greedy or nasty that company may be. Removing the software available to people when wainting to back up their DVDs/CDs is a stupid idea, surely with all the technology out there they will be abloe to come up with someway of stopping people P2P sharing, not that i want them too, i dont want them too at all, also i dont use Bearshare, Limewire, Kazaa "Of course" i dont ^^

419.1.2006 1:41

i'm not very familiar with sweden's laws about anything, but i don't think they're going to be able to change this

429.1.2006 3:16

I'd really like to see the outcome of this ... If what they want to do, worked, and if I was Swedish, they'd DEFINITELY get my vote. You can count on that !!!

439.1.2006 5:33

@ breticles Sweden has some very Progressive laws on some very controversial topics. I wrote a report on sex workers not too long ago, and found some interesting information on Sweden's laws. I'm not sure if the information is applicable now (Swedes, please correct me if I'm wrong), but it was current a few years ago. Half of prostitution is illegal in Sweden. How so? In the prostitute-john transaction, only the john is held accountable. Now, I'm not debating the legality of prostitution... but if you wanted to stop it in a country, that's the most creative and Progressive way to do it. Some sex workers enjoy their employment. But some prostitutes are forced to be prostitutes because of lack of options or because they will be beaten or killed by their pimps if they don't work. It makes no sense for laws to prosecute women who may not have a choice in the matter. Johns, on the other hand, always make the choice to use sex workers. In this case, Sweden is the only country I know of that doesn't blame the victims. What I mean to say is this: if Sweden runs with this, we may see some creative and Progressive legislation.

449.1.2006 11:31

where can we get Piratpartiet t-shirts

459.1.2006 12:57

On their way, expect them in a week or two. We have some more urgent stuff to take care of first.

4623.1.2006 16:29

I can't see how a million dollar income is a prerequisite for making good music. With filesharing networks, artists and consumers have cut out the middleman which is the "industry". This morass of bureaucrats and hotshot executives is no longer needed and should therefore not be allowed to profit from the works of struggling artists. Intellectual property and copyright is now obsolete and is only hindering the advancement of technology and art. Come September, whether the Pirates make the parliament or not, the established parties will at least be forced to discuss the issue. /future Pirate Party voter

4723.1.2006 19:30

well bim bam, the real issue is, should people make money off the music they create. I think that should be up to the individual artist. If they don't want to make money they can give their stuff away free over the internet. or they want to make money they can find a way to sell it on the internet. But the truth is, most musicians have no confidence in their ability to make a living as a musician so they truly "sell out" in the worst way. they find a decent day job and stick with it, and the vast majority of the listeners of the world never get to hear their artisticness. For an artist to make a decent living at all, they have to get paid, and not all musicians are actually good enough to actually write music other people will like enough to buy. That's where the dreaded record company comes in. They recruit the artist to make music in return for a decent payment, the average artist or group makes four times as much as what your average non-musicain makes at the local grocery store clerk or macdonalds or Sears of Best buy etc etc, and double what a career government worker makes. I'd say an average new artist 'discovered" and promoted in his first "record deal" can clear about $200,000 these days no matter what his record actually sells. The record company eats the lousy losses, but then recoups dough onthe hits. Without the record company there's be no Elvis, Stones, Beatles, Green Day, Kid Rock, Hank jr, Hank Sr, Seal, Billy Joel, Melissa Etheridge, Indigo GIrls, Ray Charles, Hell even Ani Defranco has a record company that she runs. Record company's and distributors are neccessary and copyrights and patents are necessary to protect their investments. Any successful, talented musician knows this, and any music appreciator ought to accept it. Pirates are selfish, short sighted and greedy in a way even they don't understand. They want to take money form the people who make popular music available. The new distributors are legit online music and movie services like i-tunes and stuff like that. But the record companies are the guys that fund the studio time and the signing bonuses that ultimately bring forward the next Green Day or Jay Z.

Michael Cowles
Springfield Virginia USA

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