White Collar Criminals

GREG PUCIATO AND ASH AVILDSEN FORM ANTI-PIRACY TAG-TEAM

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greg puciato

If Ash Avildsen is looking for some muscle in his corner for his ongoing anti-piracy battle, he should look no further than Dillinger Escape Plan frontman Greg Puciato, an artistic heavyweight with plenty of literal brawn to back it up. I can just see it… Avildsen and Puciato tag-teaming against a duo of bespectacled, basement-dwelling computer nerds… a fight for the ages! Dynamite moves! Steel chairs!

Tag-team member Puciato wrote a long blog entry on his own website over the weekend tackling the topic of music piracy, and his viewpoint, though nuanced and well-thought out, isn’t what you might expect from the ordinarily very liberal frontman. He makes a lot of really good points, and a few arguments that have glaring holes in them, but the entire blog entry is worth a read. Here’s the opening snippet:

I don’t see file sharing as an evil…it’s silly to say that it has any intrinsic properties of good and evil at all anyway. It’s just a new form of technology that evolved outside of what the record industry and intellectual property law structure was prepared for at the time. That having been said…I think it’s necessary to swim with the tide and not against it. I think it’s time to accept and acknowledge that the CD is a dead format. Maybe not dead in the way of the 8 track but dead in the way vinyl is. A CD now, should be thought of as a collector’s item, or a preferred way of listening if that is the individual’s preference, in which case he is already in the minority as most music is listened to via the MP3 format. A CD certainly sounds better than an MP3, just as a vinyl does, but it just lacks the infinitely superior convenience of the digital format.

As internet gets faster and hard drives get bigger, even 320 MP3s(which I am totally fine with for 90% of my listening) will be replaced by larger more sonically accurate files like WAVs or FLAC, so eventually a CD will hold no sonic vantage point at all, and will simply be a relic that we once used to transfer digital files. A relic that is no longer NEEDED, but like I said, may be “cool to have” in the way vinyl is. I buy vinyls and limited versions of albums that I really like or really mean something to me…and stick to MP3 for the rest. Most people who listen to pop music only listen to singles anyway, and for that point most pop artists only really make singles anyway…the rest of the album is padding around the singles. Chances are if I hear some one hit wonder pop song I don’t really want or need the album. So the digital format is simply far more suited for the majority of peoples’ tastes. A killer full album is rare, and I think people know that.

In particular I really like Puciato’s admission that the CD is a dead (or at the very least dying) format; it’s a cold, hard truth that few in the record industry will admit because of the enormous profit margin they generate, the existing business structure, and nostalgia for physical media. I think he slightly misses the mark when he equates stealing music to stealing a cup of coffee from a diner, mainly because as I’ve argued before the value of recorded music has been immensely inflated over the past 80 or so years, but it’d be incredibly difficult to argue that music piracy isn’t stealing in some capacity. He also makes a very compelling argument about torrent sites being treated like email sites with regards to how the law views monitoring piracy, but fails to establish a criteria for evaluation. Sharing one mp3 with a friend via email is different than posting up a full album on mediafire, sure, but how is it different (how do you measure)? What if someone sends an album via email, or a few files? Where is the line drawn?

I may not agree with all of Puciato’s points, but I do agree with many, and he’s written a helluva piece highly worth a read. I commend him for taking the time to put it all out there to generate conversation. Head on over to his website to read the entire piece, then come back here and tell us what you think.

-VN

Thanks: Tom Saunders

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