back to article Embrace chaos, beat pirates... buy my book, says Mason

The only way to be beat content pirates is to join them, claims author and digital strategist, Matt Mason. The author of The Pirate’s Dilemma – How Hackers, Punk Capitalists, Graffiti Millionaires and Other Youth Movements are Remixing Our Culture and Changing Our World, told an audience at MipTV that the limitless opportunity …


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  1. Anonymous Coward


    Someone tell El Reg's Andrew Orlowski so he can refute it!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I agree

    I paid for a movie from iTunes not long ago, the download speeds were terrible in comparison to torrents. If it offerd a better service with speed and accessability (global release dates etc) I'd be more inclined to pay for content. If a TV show comes out in america months before the UK and you can get it for free, at better speeds and equal quality with little risk, its a no brainer.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I agree

      Well, if you're a thief, it's "a no brainer". The rest of us just bitch about it until we can get it legally.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        No, a common mistake

        Not illegal, a copyright infringement

        1. Mr Tumnus


          "No, a common mistake. Not illegal, a copyright infringement"

          Copyright infringement IS illegal. I think you were going for "not theft", copyright infringement, but the basic fact that you're not paying to watch something that cost someone else money to produce still holds true. If you're fine with that, that's on your conscience. Nonetheless, it is illegal.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Mr Tumnus

            IANAL but I believe Copyright infringement and illegality are not the same thing.

            The copyright extends exclusive rights to commercially copy and distribute material for instance. It is these rights that are enforcable in law.

            However, infringement of the copyright of the material itself is just that. An infringement of copyright. It is not in itself illegal, therefore not a criminal act. A person could be sued under civil law for infringing the copyright, but they have not broken a law that is on the statute books.

            I am sure someone more legally minded can correct/clarify better explain the above, but that is my layman's understanding of it, and hence the asserion that it is not illegal.

            Conscience has nothing to do with it.

            1. ScottAS2

              IANAL but I know the difference between civil and criminal law

              You are confusing legal/illegal and civil/criminal law. Copyright infringement, despite the best efforts of lobbyists from content industries, remains a civil matter - any legal action must be initiated by the person who was wronged. Theft, on the other hand, is a matter of criminal law. Criminal offences are generally held to wrong society in general, and thus legal action is taken by the state on their behalf. Both are, however, equally illegal - they're just handled slightly differently.

              1. Anonymous Coward


                I do believe you are right.

                Many thanks.


    2. Deano2099

      TV really is different

      Because it's free anyway. Or paid for by a license fee which we're already paying.

      Torrenting it is really no different to watching it on TV and going out of the room while the adverts are on. If we could actually measure broadcast ratings accurately there might be an issue, but we can't. As long as anyone selected to have their watching monitored makes sure they have the TV on for anything they previously torrented it really is harmless.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm looking forward to reading his book

    just as soon as I've found a decent torrent of it

    1. There's a bee in my bot net

      Exactly what I was thinking...

      Though I would never condone such actions myself, after all you wouldn't steal a car would you? On the other hand if I could copy one...

      1. M man

        you can...sort off

        reprap it?

        (google workshop be afraid)

    2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      I think everyone was thinking that.

      In other news, it's kind of the 40th anniversary of [Steal This Book], which probably had most of the same ideas - mostly minus computers - but quite a different idea of what to do about it all.

      Thank you for stealing -this- book for me so that I could read the main points of it without, you know.

  4. JimC

    Innovate by copying...

    You can tell I'm an out of date dinosaur: I always figured you innovated by doing something new yourself, not by ripping off someone else.

    Thinks: maybe its the children of the Microsoft revolution... After all it so often workedf for them...

    1. asdf

      nah innovate in East Texas

      >You can tell I'm an out of date dinosaur: I always figured you innovated by doing something new yourself, not by ripping off someone else.

      The freetards are only a small part of the problem. Worse is the worthless patent attorney trolls putting a tax on anybody that does dare innovate. You can rule the world if you get just the right overly broad submarine patent that basically covers anything anybody would ever do.

    2. Mike VandeVelde

      shoulders of giants and all

      If you were born locked in a room and had no human interaction and came up with something new and useful, then that would be worth something. Otherwise I want what's owed to my ancestor's estate for the use of the fire she invented that made it all possible!!

  5. Agent Heggle

    Ah . . . freedom!

    @ JimC

    Thanks so much, JimC, you just gave me a great idea . . . tip o' the hat to you!

  6. penguin slapper


    The cashtards are the main problem. These people are so insane that they think that every human interaction should be monetised and profited from.

    People listen to pirate radio mainly because they play music people actually want to listen to (this is less valid in the light of spotify et al) but also because the DJ's are not spouting moronic, low quality humour and "one size fits all" dumbed down garbage.

    Once the 3d printer thing takes off there'll be no end to copying. The capitalist-retards will then, finally, be forced to come up with a new idea other than "give me some of your money even though I played no part in the creation of that which you seek to buy".

    1. JimC


      are bloody useful people if you are in any way creative. Because without them *you* have to do all the promotion, marketing, book keeping, invoicing and all the rest of it yourself, at which point you have very little time left to actually do anything creative.

      Civilisation works by specialisation: without specialisation you are left with a hunter gatherer culture where everyone has to go out and knock their own dinner on the head.

    2. ArmanX

      One quibble, here...

      Capitalism != Greed. Capitalism at its finest realizes that some things should, actually, be free - you actually make more money being friendly, open, and helpful, even though that means needing to pay employees more to keep them happy.

      The problems start when people try to use laws to enforce buying decisions, and short-circuit the system.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm all for chaos

    but phrases like "Punk Capitalists", "Remixing Our Culture" make me yearn for a bygone age.

    I am officially past it.

    1. Code Monkey


      Just because this tool has vomited a load of buzzwords all over his book cover does not mean we're past it. It just means it's another breathless technology fanboi book we can safely not bother reading.

    2. CD001

      To be fair

      He also used the term "Youth Movement" - which means he was last in one in 1963.

      You're not necessarily past it - I'm guessing you're just suffering from the same "urge to hit someone" I get when I have to listen to an ageing hippy who's been on the josticks and whale song trying to pretend they're "down wiv da kidz" and missing the mark by a cringeworthy margin ("Remixing our culture" my arse).

      1. Code Monkey
        Thumb Up

        '"Remixing our culture" my arse'


  8. Graham Bartlett

    @Penguin slapper

    So you'd like to go to work at your dayjob, and at the end of the month your employer says "we don't believe you should be profitting from this human interaction", you'd be fine with that?

    I've no problems with radio stations playing stuff for niche audiences who aren't satisfied by existing stations. Most internet radio manages this fairly well. The problem comes when the stations refuse to pay the artists. And of course more extremely where the artist's entire work is pirated for redistribution with no money going to them. (Yes, that's BitTorrent.)

    The problem is that it costs a *lot* of money to make a CD, especially a good one. Or to be more accurate, it costs a lot of money for the kit, and it then costs a lot of time for the people involved, during which time they need to find money for food, clothing, house, etc.. Established artists mostly don't need as much promotion budget after that, but up-and-coming artists do, otherwise no-one would ever hear about them. Unless you've got a rich daddy who can bankroll you (e.g. Rebecca Black), this money is stumped up by a music company who *needs* to get that money back. If they can't get paid for selling songs, there will *be* no more songs - or more accurately, there will be plenty of songs but you'll never get to hear them, bcos the people who've written the songs can't afford to record them.

    1. Mike VandeVelde

      keep your CDs

      I don't steal CDs. I can understand how if everyone stole CDs then pretty soon there would be no CDs to steal anymore.

      We're talking about music. No matter what you do, there will always be music. You could actually punish people for making music, and there would still be music.

      No tears for the buggy whip industry here, sorry.

  9. crowley
    Thumb Down


    [For example, he said, cinema box office receipts are still growing in some countries, in spite of movie piracy. Mason attributes this to the cinema experience: “If the experience keeps getting better and better, we’ll be okay,” he said.]

    Last 2 times I went to (different) cinemas, they hadn't even bothered to calibrate the projector to show the damn films in focus.

    1. Mr Tumnus

      What's your point?

      A cinema had a lazy camera operator? Two of them did?

      1. Graham Dawson Silver badge


        He forgot to pick up his 3D glasses.

  10. Ru

    Make money by selling niche content, you say?

    Didn't 'The Long Tail' cover this a few years back?

    Me, I'm a cashtard nowadays. I'm happy to pay for content that isn't lumbered with restrictions and isn't in some shitty format... problem is, so few people seem willing to sell me this stuff. Seems like lots of publishers have finally got to grips with selling MP3s online, but hardly anyone shifts lossless stuff like FLAC, ALAC, WAV, whatever.

    Here's me, willing to pay a premium for this stuff. And yet whenever I try to find it online, I just find page after page after page of torrent sites and dodgy russian businesses. Seems like half the music I buy nowadays is second hand; I'd much rather enrich the artists than ebay but it seems like my money ain't good enough.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not really worth it

      FLAC takes up so much more space, they'd need bigger drives and they'd use up more bandwidth supplying you with it. Either they're happy to take the loss or they bump up the price by a factor of ten. And nobody is going to pay a fiver for a single track that is indistinguishable from its 50p lossy cousin.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Its true

    I knew Stargate Universe was shit even before it had aired over here - brilliant!

  12. David Dawson

    Conflation of terms

    Piracy. This is the act of attacking/ boarding/ taking a vessel at sea.

    Its certainly criminal.

    Then we got pirate radio, which was called that due to its initial maritime nature. This was mainly due to transmitter/ frequency restrictions. This is a criminal offence in the UK under the Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006. It is NOT THEFT.

    Now we have piracy used in place of copyright infringment. This is _not_ criminal. It is a civil matter. This doesn't mean the same as legal, as it is, indeed, illegal, but under civil law.

    They are not the same thing, or even related. The first is theft/ violence, the second is breaking of a criminal law. The last, copyright infringement, is using something in a way not authorised by the state sanctioned copyright enforcement laws. It is NOT THEFT and no amount of bleating will make it so.

    Bah. The world is shit and run by bastards.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Value added?

    Has Matt Mason been to a cinema recently? I really like paying £40+ for me, the missus and two kids to go in, £10 for popcorn and £6 for Cokes, only to sit on a badly designed seat whilst some self-absorbed teenager laughs, shouts and farts throughout the film, usually right behind my head. Meanwhile I have to miss 5 minutes every 15 minutes or so to take one of the kids off for a pee. And then I come out of the cinema to find that some other teens have helped themselves to the 35p I had in change in my car's ashtray, breaking a window in the process.

    Yeah, I love the cinema, what an experience.

    And what value exactly can be added to music, books or software to get people to pay for them?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Buy your book? I'll check it out at the library for free.

    As you said, why sould I buy your book. I'll look for the pdf online. Or wait until I find it in a used book store or borrow it from a library.

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