Obama Issues Crackdown on Illegal Streaming: Is it the End of Internet Piracy?

What Really Happens if the Fed Makes Peer-to-Peer a Crime?

It seems like the Fed is ready to level the playing field between America’s newest major industry—Internet technology and one of its oldest—intellectual property, as Obama sets to put an end to piracy and torrent “streaming” of music.

Moses Avalon

Here’s one story you won’t see going viral on a geek blog near you: the Obama administration is going to make torrent streaming, also known as P2P (peer to peer)  sharing of music, a felony.  A felony.  This means, according to the Administration’s White Paper, recommending an upgrade to the act of illegal streaming of music to one of “financial espionage,” carrying prison time of up to 20 years.

This would apply to sites and people using, promoting (carrying ad-links) and hosting services like, the Pirate Bay, Utorrent, Bittorrent and Limewire derivatives.  But what about the sites that just side with P2P and its lifestyle, like, Pirate Party, Zeropaid, TechDirt and Boycott-RIAA?  Are they in danger too?

The White Paper, which makes the recommendations to Congress, includes as part of its focus, websites that “provide access to infringing products,” and would give local authorities “wiretap rights” in order to gather evidence.  In other words, sites promoting the P2P lifestyle, would be investigated the in same way as street gangs, terrorists and the Mafia.


In theory, copyright laws have always provided that infringement is a Federal crime for which you could go to jail, but so far, no one has, at least not unless they were running a factory that made 1000s of bootleg CDs.  As for the casual infringement by students or grandmothers, or even semi-pro infringements, our government has always given the taxpayer a rest allowing copyright laws to be sorted out in Civil court.

But, thanks to the Obama administration we are seeing “change you can believe in” in spades. In a review of the current state of intellectual property the Administration is recommending that Congress upgrade existing laws to make illegal streaming of content and providing access to “infringing products,” a felony.

Tech and torrent sites have remained silent on this major development for obvious reasons but most in the legal community are already seeing the ramifications.  The law firm of Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth wrote in their blog, “its real target is something along the lines of the illegal file sharing…”

This move is no shock to anyone who has been watching this space since the beginning of the ISP/content wars. Intellectual property is the nation’s number four export, responsible for almost a quarter of US’s eroding GNP. At the turn of the 1900s it was steel that made America “great,” then automobiles, then computers, and in the past ten years it’s been Internet technology.

During the internet’s formative years (1997-present) the Fed had been lazily semi-enforcing the DMCA to allow America’s newest industry to flourish unfettered. But Internet Service Providing has grown to a space worth in the 100s of Billions a year, dwarfing the music trade and the Fed is now leveling the playing field between America’s newest industry (IT) and one of its oldest— Copyrights.

As for the “community” and all who promote illegal streaming through blogs, are they also guilty of a crime covered under this policy?  Let’s see.


Twenty-somethings being hauled away in handcuffs, destruction of computers? Yeah, we’ll see some of that. But frankly, that kinda bores and saddens me, since many of the P2P users are themselves victims of the web-propaganda-machine that encourages them to “share music” in the first place.

These lifestyle sites are the real culprits; everyone from websites issuing disinformation about the music space to the servers that host services related to the torrent-sharing of music files. But, unless you’re a criminal lawyer you probably did not know that coaxing someone to commit a crime is a crime itself. This is why major magazines and newspapers stopped carrying the lucrative advertising for cigarettes: fear of being caught in the web of lawsuits and indictments levied at tobacco companies.

Freedom of the press is not absolute because illegal activity is not, “protected free speech.” You can not yell “fire” in a theater if there is none and you can not tell, coax or imply to people that it’s OK to steal/share music either, if it’s a crime. In the past there has been some ambiguity about the illegality of streaming and this allowed for “open debate.”  No more.  Now it will clearly be a crime and no different, legally, than a site that hosts “open debate” about the moral ambiguity of pedophilia.

Now, think of all the blogs that rally against the RIAA and the MPAA for “stretching the limits of copyright.” These sites promote an incorrect interpretation of copyright law, thus fostering a lifestyle where readers commit an ongoing crime.  Not only do you start to get the picture of how widely Federal authorities can stretch, but also of the litany of civil lawsuits by parents against these sites for inciting their child to break the law.


My guess is that no one is really going to jail for 20 years, but you’ll start seeing less and less positive spin on P2P almost immediately. Blogs who play fast and loose with copyright “facts” and assert that P2P is OK because soon the music biz will be dead anyway, are going to get strangely quiet on the subject. (See list here)

What will they write about next? Who knows and frankly who cares. These guys are no different in my view than racist blogs inciting gay-bashing, and Antisemitism or “Freedom” blogs that are vestibules for home-grown terrorism.

Think I’m stretching it a bit? We’ll see.  Even Google is adapting their policies. Now that they have been identified as the largest torrent site on the planet, in the Isohunt torrent lawsuit, Google will begin ranking pro P2P lifestyle sites lower and lower, until they just flat out refuse to list them at all.

But what do they know?

To everything turn, turn, turn.

Mo out

79 responses to “Obama Issues Crackdown on Illegal Streaming: Is it the End of Internet Piracy?”

  1. Randy Lee says:

    What really happens? The Democrats get kicked out of office in the next elections. That’ll be a good thing; heck, maybe we can go to war somewhere else, oh yeah, and no more rock ‘n roll – it’s the Devil’s music. Keep sweeping Mo, that beach is almost clean.

    • Moses Avalon says:

      @randy and anyone else playing the “liberal” card in this argument.

      This is a bi-partisan issue. If the GOP wins in 2012, expect them to take it to even greater extremes and make P2P a Capital offense.

  2. randy lin says:

    dear moses,
    the torrent P2P thing has me caught in the middle. as a freedom loving person, i support these P2P people in spirit.
    but as a tunecore artist, i hope people actually BUY my work. i mean, it costs me time and money (in home recording equipment) to make my songs, then i only get 70 cents for a download sold and the rest copied from that download ad infinitum without any compensation? something’s gotta be done.
    i wrote a guitar book that i would have put on the net for sale already, but i KNOW it will be a free PDF the very next day.
    this all said, i DO NOT want to see people going to jail for 20 years for downloading a song! i definitely don’t want to see “per instance” added to those charges and people spending 100 years in a federal prison (in which there is NO parole, look it up)!

  3. Beg Paynus says:

    Nice fear campaign you got going here buddy.

  4. Simon says:

    I don’t think Bittorrent will go for one, the protocol and software itself is very useful for distributing large files at low costs and as such has a fairly large amount of legal use too (eg software companies using it to distribute free trials/free versions of its software). It’s the illegal torrents that should (and most likely will) be targeted.

    Otherwise it’d be good to finally see the states taking it seriously but don’t expect a smooth ride. You’ve got the same problem we’ve had over here (UK) over the last year or so – we now have the ability to theoretically crack down on piracy through monitoring with the Digital Economy Act, but unless the ISPs are willing to help you have a problem – even if the legally have to. If what’s happened over here’s anything to go by you’ll have a raft of legal challenges, defiance and general wrangling over it before you get any sort of implementation, and what that might look like, who knows?

    Making it illegal is one thing: enforcing it is entirely another. But it’s definitely sounding like a step in the right direction. Anything the ROW does is relatively futile until the largest (or second largest) music economy gets on board.

  5. Buck Futt says:

    You’re officially a loon, Moses. Not one of those things is going to happen.

  6. marco says:

    Send all these fuckin shittie pc geeks to buy REAL cd’s and vinyl .
    I couldn’t care LESS about pc industry,I want GOOD music to win all over else.
    Listening to an mp3 file is like having sex with 3 condoms,just losers would do that

  7. nick says:

    make it a capital offence NOW! Hang em from the lampposts, there are far too many people on the planet anyway, need some sort of criteria for population reduction, as a musician who’s income has been decimated by torrenting, I think it’s a much better criteria than wealth, oil reserves or religion…….

  8. Nathan says:

    Moses, let me show to you what the white paper actually says:

    “One recent technological change is the illegal streaming of content. Existing law provides felony penalties for willful copyright infringement, but felony penalties are predicated on the defendant either illegally reproducing or distributing the copyrighted work.2 Questions have arisen about whether streaming constitutes the
    distribution of copyrighted works (and thereby is a felony) and/or performance of those works (and thereby is a not a felony). These questions have impaired the criminal enforcement of copyright laws. To ensure that Federal copyright law keeps pace with infringers, and to ensure that DOJ and U.S. law enforcement agencies are able to effectively combat infringement involving new technology, the Administration recommends that Congress clarify that infringement by streaming, or by means of other similar new technology, is a felony in appropriate circumstances.”

    Currently there is felony and non-felony infringement. Felony-level infringement requires a higher bar of activity than non-felony infringement (commercial motives, etc). The felony infringement statute does not include infringement of the public performance right, only reproduction and distribution. There is a general consensus that streaming is a public performance, not a reproduction or distribution.

    The white paper is effectively suggesting that we bring the public performance right into the felony-triggering statute.

    There is nothing in there that will implicate anything having to do with BitTorrent, any infringement that happens over P2P is an infringement of the reproduction right, NOT the public performance rights, so it is already covered by the criminal statute.

    Please check your stories before posting.

    • Moses Avalon says:


      Its a darn good thing i have readers like you so you can tell everyone what it “actually says.”

      I “approved” your response just to show the rest of my 100,000 readers that there are folks who want to ignore the White Paper’s clear intent and instead debate the minutiae it’s vocabulary. I read the entire White Paper. It says a lot. Your pulling one paragraph with one section and then saying that that is what is “actually” says is poof of the type of denial that I was expecting from P2P sympathizers.

      The White Paper’s intent is clear: Obama wants Congress to expand the existing law to give local and Federal authorities tools to stop P2P. Why didn’t you post the section on Wire tap permissions, extended jail time and its other fascistic recommendations? I suspect it’s because you just want to be contrary.

      Will most of the these site owners go to jail for 20 years? No, I doubt even one will, but the message being sent is not to them, Nathan, it’s to the ISPs; they stand to lose billions in fines if they host or as the White Paper says , “provide access” to “infringing services.” There isn’t a lawyer who’s written about this who disagrees on the Paper’s intent: it is to shut down P2P and that means illegal use of bit torrent.

  9. Mike says:

    This is INSANE…I’m a musician, and an IT guy. It scares me on both ends. I don’t want to see my Fans go to jail for liking my tunes too much, and sharing a few. And, I don’t want to be a web-developer for my “musician websites” company, cause there’s too much at steak now. They’ll be hacking me from both sides of the coin. It’s is really scary. I liked the internet when it was more free. I see music sharing like playing your tune in the background, and talking to your friend on the phone. They can hear it….is that stealing? Hmmm.

    Moses, that’s for always keeping us in the loop.


  10. Steve Johnson says:

    You’re an idiot. Stop blogging, cause you obviously have NO CLUE about laws or economics.

    Here is a better quote from the article YOU CITED:

    “Of course, despite the fact that these recommendations come from the White House, they are nothing more than recommendations.”

    You are a terrorist in your own right, since you obviously like to twist the truth about things. Goggle WAS NOT identified as the largest bittorrent site, like you claim. If you actually read the article, IsoHunt was trying to pass the buck on Google…unsuccessfully.

    Also, the article about Google filtering torrents is BS!!!! Did you actually try and do a search? I did. Got Bittorrent as my first result for “torrent”. So much for your fascist propaganda.

    Go crawl in a hole.

    • Moses Avalon says:

      @steve Johnson

      Ah, Steve you remind me of the denyiers who thought the RIAA demand letters were a joke and threw them in the trash, only to be hauled into court months later. I feel bad for you, because you will wake up one day and realize that you’ve been misslead by people you trusted, people who told you everything would be OK. Except those people are not going to pay your legal bills, are they? Wake up friend, don’t be a victim. See who the real fascists are. Be on the side of he angels: the side of truth, art and love. The side of music.

  11. Nathan says:

    Read my comment again. I said that BitTorrent activity is ALREADY COVERED by the criminal statute through its implication of the reproduction right. The white paper’s section on streaming is targeting sites that stream TV shows and movies without a license.

    • Moses Avalon says:


      That is flat out untrue. Of course it mentions video, but in several sections it specifically identifies music piracy as a major cause of concern. But that’s why I put the link to the paper on the article. To give people the opportunity to read it for themselves and interpret it themselves. The real question you are ignoring is why don’t we see any peices on this development from the P2P community? Gee I wonder.

  12. marco says:

    F–K downloading !!!!

  13. Alfred says:

    “Be on the side of he angels: the side of truth, art and love. The side of music.”

    Music (or any other form of creative media) will never die because of piracy. Real creative souls don’t stop making art because they aren’t making money from it, capitalists do. The angels are the people for whom art is not a business, and they do not care about piracy.

    • Moses Avalon says:


      (Real creative souls don’t stop making art because they aren’t making money from it,)

      No, but they have no incentive or ability to promote it unless there is a way to recoup. Which means, in many cases, the world is often deprived of their greatness. I know many a great artist that will never be known because if this dynamic. Money may be the root of eveil, but its also the yeast that raises conciousness and motivates greatness. Sad, but it’s true.

  14. Nathan says:

    Here’s a comparatively cogent analysis of the streaming recommendation from “the P2P community” that you say have ignored this: http://torrentfreak.com/white-house-streaming-should-be-a-felony-wiretap-infringers-110316/

    …looks like the P2P community was on this four days before you were.

    • Moses Avalon says:


      No, I just a bit more time to check my facts and make sure the legal analisys reflected the consensus: that indeed P2P was and is the unmentioned target of this paper. It is.

  15. Timothy says:

    Musicians who claim your PROFIT is going down due to piracy. No it’s not, good musicians get tons of exposure on Piracy sites an those new fans go and see them live, which is what real working musicians do. If you’re a studio musician, you’re doing it wrong.

    Hell as a Pirate I would see the corporate world completely severed from so called Intellectual content. They’ve literally f–ed every industry they’ve touched.

    Free software and small companies produce much better content and will always get paid by those who recognize it. See LINUX, and free software like Spybot, or Bit torrent, Open Office, Gimp etc. etc.

  16. Hunter says:

    “No, but they have no incentive or ability to promote it unless there is a way to recoup. Which means, in many cases, the world is often deprived of their greatness.”

    There’s actually a really great documentary you should watch. It’s called “D.I.Y or DIE : Burn this DVD”
    Which has unknowns, as well as a member of GWAR and the frontman of Minor Threat.

    But basically what I gleaned from it was that the D.I.Y community would completely disagree with you.. and there’s a lot of great art/music coming out of that community. I’d be ecstatic if people were sharing my music. A lot of musicians offer there music for free now anyways.. from small self-recorders (like myself) to the indie giant Radiohead.The music industry just needs to adapt and change.

    Good article though, very informative.

    • Moses Avalon says:


      Thanks I’ll check it out. My response that you quoted was a general one. And while I don’t think the DIY community (if you can call it that) would “completely” disagree with me, I see your point. Many of my clients are DIYers. They all talk to me about one thing– wishing they could make more money from their music, not how to get more exposure.so, I’m just going off what I hear, but I know that my experiences are not the totality of all things, as yours are not, I suspect.

  17. HerpDerp says:

    Europe wins again,take that Amerifats.

  18. Andrew says:

    Herp Derp…

    It is not about that.
    You fed into the europe vs america vs who ever else thing. In the end..its all of us people…who rise or fall..together or apart.

    Look the individuals who contribute to this economy faltering. American, European whatever country who cares.. I think its a great idea to uphold copyright laws and get musicians back in a position of making a living for what we offer to society..and we offer something very important. So..Whatever continent you reside on.. if your a musician, writer, movie maker etc etc adn all teh millions of occupations associated… you need to put that division crap aside. You cant legalize theft….or make it socially acceptable.

    If you think its so fat over here…why dont you try living here. WOUld you like me to throw some cliche name out about Europe…not everyone is a cliche.

    it isnt all that fat for all of us…Im sure Europe is no picnic either.

    Lose the hate you’ll be better off and so will we.


    From a person who lives in a country called America.

  19. trekman says:

    There are a LOT of overseas (non USA) websites that are used for downloading copyrighted materials. How will they be able to stop that? The people running those dont fall under U.S. law?

    • Moses Avalon says:


      I covered that, but my guess would be that the broad language of the recommendation, if followed, would allow local and Federal authorities to issue summons to the local hosting companies that alow the site to be experienced in the US territories. Just a guess.

  20. I am surprised to see my blog “Recording Industry vs The People” termed a site which “sides” with “p2p” and its “lifestyle”. I am a lawyer. It is a legal blog. It deals with the law.

    I “side” with people who are victimized by (a) false statements of fact, (b) spurious legal theories, and (c) abuse of our judicial system.

    As should you.

    • Moses Avalon says:


      I lamented a bit over including you, and if you really think it unfair I can amend, but most of the time when I look at your site your brand of “objective” journalism seems to have a bias in favor of P2P, just as my “objective” journalism has a bias against it. I like your site but in the context of this article, any site that has a bias towards favoring p2p is in the cross hairs. As thus far, that’s the way I see your site. It’s a judgment call that I’m willing to admit might be in error, but this way you get some traffic and you can let the readers decide.

  21. As an artist and record company owner, I would be all for this. I talked to some teenage kids recently who said that they never buy music and don’t know any of their friends that do, or would. I asked why, they said that if they can download it for free then why not? This was very useful information from the new generation. I also asked if they couldn’t find the music they wanted for free, would they purchase it? Their answer was yes, probably.

    As far as the DIYers are concerned, nothing stops them continuing to give away their music for free, they can still do that as much as they want, but it also means that we are protected if we choose not to. How much protection of course remains to be seen, But if it helps ‘somewhat’, we will be going in the right direction. Thanks Mo for this.

  22. Schmevin says:

    All of these ‘musicians’ need to knock the chip off their shoulder and stop pretending that they’re going to be rockstars someday because of album sales. Whining about how you’re going bankrupt because of downloads is ludicrous and unrealistic. If there weren’t a way to download your music, kids probably still wouldn’t buy your CDs, for the simple fact that NOBODY buys CDs anymore, regardless of downloads. Not to mention multiple studies have shown that people who engage in downloading music actually buy MORE music merchandise than those who don’t (http://arstechnica.com/media/news/2009/04/study-pirates-buy-tons-more-music-than-average-folks.ars).

    I’m in a band too, and I happen to think that ‘illegal’ filesharing is wonderful. It has allowed thousands and possibly millions of people to listen to artists who they would never have been able to otherwise, due to lack of any sort of outlet for the artist, or lack of purchasing power for the consumer. I put my band’s records up for download as much as I can, because that way I know some kid might actually listen to it and maybe come to a show, where he’ll spend money on merch (which equates to more dollars in my pocket. CDs sold at shows have a higher profit margin, because I don’t have to pay anyone else to host them or pay anyone for the ‘service’ of allowing others to download the music a la iTunes).

    Anyone who says that P2P sharing has somehow hurt the music industry is misinformed and hasn’t been paying enough attention. What’s hurting the music industry is their business model, and the fact that the industry itself isn’t about music at all, but about making money and selling people bullshit that they don’t want anyway.

    This article says it best: http://prorevnews.blogspot.com/2011/01/i-cant-hear-music-theres-lawyer-in-my.html

    Inform yourselves, and most importantly, stop whining and blaming your audience for your problems. Adapt to the realities of the present, and take advantage of the fact that nowadays, you don’t have to have a record contract to make your music available to practically everyone on the planet. Put in your hard work, and stop griping about the fact that you don’t make any money. Artists have never made any money. And if it bothers you that much that you aren’t getting filthy rich from your musical efforts, start writing vacuous pop hits like Katy Perry and Lady Gaga. That’s where the money’s been for the past 30 years anyways.

  23. Moses my blog was created to help lawyers and pro se litigants defend the Big 4 lawsuits, through the sharing of litigation information about the RIAA’s lawsuits.

    My only “biases” are towards the law being applied fairly and against bullying of any kind. You can look through every page I have ever written on that blog, from 2005 to the present, and you will never see a word promoting or encouraging the “p2p lifestyle”.

    The only non-legal, or “lifestyle”, material is that I occasionally encourage (a) consumers to buy from independent musicians and other outlets rather than from the Big 4 record companies, and (b) musicians to market their music directly and through independent channels, rather than sign with the Big 4 record companies.

  24. Johnny K Ganon says:

    Mr.Obama is doing exactly what I believe The People have elected him to do,that is to care their interests as a society and a nation,after nearly 10 years of neglect by their previous elected candidate.Bush hijacked The People of the U.S.,concentrating solely on secret society’s,multi-national and personal interests.He ignored Health,Environment and National Socio-Economic issues…and more….
    Finally,the U.S. has a just President with morals helping the simple,honest and hard working man….here…here!

  25. ThaJoker says:


    I’m not sure you can make the argument that teenagers would ever buy music at this point. Even if I can’t stream it, I can burn cds for friends.. it’s not that hard.
    Most Teenagers have no money to spend on CDs.. So even if they couldn’t download it themselves, they wouldn’t be spending their nonexistent money on CDs anyhow.

    And this law is not a step in the right direction. The people that are downloading the music are the people interested in listening to it. If your entire clientele is being slammed with lawsuits and jail time, nobody is going to buy your CDs.

  26. Trudee says:

    too bad P2P doesn’t also mean pay 2 play!


  27. just a thought says:

    i just came across this by chance but it made me think that since music is such a huge industry in america,
    this might be a way of stimulating the economy. yes you wont be getting all the free music you want but the fact is that just about everyone listens to music, and this could be a good way to get the ball rolling.

    p.s. duh i dont want to go to prison for something small like a download. i dont want that to happen to anyone so dont pull that card on me. this is just a thought, read it with an open mind.

  28. Chris says:

    I am an artist who releases my stuff for free from the start, with an additional “name your price” option and I recommend others do the same. More people listen that way, they don’t feel bad for downloading without paying, and shouldn’t it be more about the music than money anyways?

    I spend money on music whenever I can, but they act like if they do this, suddenly there will be a lot more money in the music industry. There won’t. Who the hell thinks everyone is gonna start buying music suddenly when no one has money? It’s stupid.

  29. random says:

    The age of records was a brief interlude in the history of music. For the first time, a recording of a musician could be easily distributed. But, it was expensive and it took companies printing thousands of vinyl records to make it happen.

    This created a brief interlude where such a thing as a record company could exist. They didn’t exist before. As far as I know, there were no record companies in Shakespearean England. And, they won’t exist in the future.

    What we are seeing right now is a bunch of jerks with power and money trying to force the world not to trash-can them and their obsolete business models that only really worked when recordings needed to be pressed onto vinyl.

    What’s really sad about that is that the main way record companies ever made money was by shafting over the musicians. So freaking funny to hear them claiming they are doing this for the good of the musicians these days. When did a record company ever do anything out of any motive than personal greed?

  30. Fuzzbucket says:

    God Moses. I wish your blog had a forum to go along with it. There are a number of comments I’d love to respond to.

    Anyway, I’m all about protecting copyrights, but the idea that anyone could be convicted of a crime for simply talking or writing about something, no matter how heinous I may find their viewpoint, is scary beyond belief to me. It clearly goes against the concept of “Freedom of Speech”. Thought Police anyone?

    Also fascism is defined as the “ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power”, so I’m not sure who you think is the fascist in this scenario: The government over-reaching in service to private interests or the “everything should be free” life-stylers.

    And to Timothy who said that “If you’re a studio musician, you’re doing it wrong”…

    Seriously??? You haven’t got a clue about the level of talent and expertise it takes to become an
    in-demand session player.

  31. Anon says:

    it seems strange for the american gov’t to spend so much time and money on protecting the interests of a wealthy minority while an ever increasing majority of its people are shifting their attitudes regarding file sharing. There’s also a growing consensus of the public and the media that the business model used by the distribution companies is seriously outdated. Add questionable research promoted by the private interest groups that appears to be heavily slanted (if not outright false) towards convincing gov’ts to adopt more and more invasive laws….
    Piracy will never entirely go away, but can be reduced drastically if they adjust their business to deliver what their customers are looking for.

    In the end the DMCA and any other US law only extends as far as your borders.

  32. Maria says:

    It’s always interesting to read musicians who support illegal downloading with the notion that all those free downloads will produce more people at their shows. Let’s hope that they don’t break a hand (or worse) and not be able to play those shows. They don’t think about that…

    The idea that giving up recorded music income will be replaced by touring revenue is like thinking that life will always be good times. Recorded music income is an important revenue stream. I feel relieved that the Obama administration realizes that too!

  33. thajoker says:

    @Maria you couldn’t be more wrong.

    The majority of a cd sale or a record sale or what have you goes to the label. Most musicians (that I know) make the bulk of their money on shows and selling merch. Yeah if you break your hand you can’t work. But having CDs never was and isn’t a stable form of income either.

    Record companies are an antiquated middleman.


    • Moses Avalon says:


      Maria, is right and you need to do a bit more research. It’s true that artists make more touring than on record sales– in the years that they tour. But the vast, vast, vast majority of artists do NOT tour year after year. What carries them over in the off-peek years is the sale and license of their songs and masters. That is what P2P is eroding.

      And using Techdirt as a source for your position is not surprising. Mike (techdirt editor) really does not know the music business as well as he thinks he does. I do not believe he’s ever produced a record, managed an artist or worked for a label, publisher or PRO– ever. His knowledge is purely anecdotal. Case in point the article you’ve linked to is based on a very one-sided example (and one that was inspired by my book, Confessions of a Record Producer.)

      As the person who is responsible for that data that that pie chart skews, I can tell you that most artists do not fit the profile outlined in it. Their percentages are higher and if they are song writers they may not make much in record sales but they make a fortune in songwriting royalties. They also incur substantially less risk than the label, who bankrolls their careers and often gets back zilch. P2P erodes this as well.

      The readers of my blog, Moses Supposes are, conversely to the average Techdirt reader, very well educated about the music business and actually are the ones that both make money and are victimized by the recent developments. But “thajoker’ you are welcome to hang with us here and hopefully you’ll learn a thing or two. Then you can post my piece on Techdirt’s page.

  34. ahungrymusician says:

    @thajoker take out the record company and you take out one more source of investment into growing acts – you take out one more source of funding into making the recordings that are, however you spin it, still the way the vast majority of people discover acts. And recordings *do* require investment – good equipment, quality producer, good recording environment, quality musicians (if applicable). The amount of people who seem to think musicians can make amazing records in their bedrooms these days is beyond a joke.

    I would also like to say something to the people promoting free releases: Please stop. You’re doing noone any favours, least of all yourselves. My guess is you’re either not living off your music, you have a significant legacy catalogue and reputation or you live in a shed eating peanuts. The reality for the vast, vast majority of musicians and artists is that giving away music is not viable, even if you don’t promote a recording and you do make some reasonable money from live shows and merch (v unlikely) you still have to pay to distribute the MP3s, to make the recording in the first place. It’s a black hole most musicians can ill-afford and the giving away of music only serves to devalue the music of every, yes every musician around. The record companies and retailers already did this to us, please can we not shoot ourselves in the foot too?

  35. Moses Avalon says:

    The debate rages on elsewhere. Check out this tread.


  36. p2puser says:

    This story factually incorrect the White House white paper isn’t really about P2P but about streaming and i find your hypocripsy breathtaking werent you the same person who defended Eminem for his lyrics about wanting to see the president dead? and didnt you say it was “freedom of speech”? and didnt you also say that napster was made a scapegoat for the music industry?, but now you say p2p technology should be a crime!.

    You also make stupid and libelous comments about p2p realted blogs being no different to racist blogs inciting gay-bashing, and Antisemitism or “Freedom” blogs that are vestibules for home-grown terrorism ,that is a disgusting statement which hold no ground.

    The problem here isnt p2p technology but the Copyright monopoly that limits what people may do with things they have legitimately bought.

    Too often, we hear the copyright lobby talk about property theft and about how they are being robbed when someone makes a copy. This is well, factually incorrect.

    This is only propaganda to justify the monopoly but when you look at the copyright monopoly in reality, it is just a limitation of property rights.

    For instance

    When I buy a car i hand over money for which I get my car and a receipt. My car has been mass-produced at a factory. After the money has changed hands, this particular car is mine.
    There are many more like it, but this one is mine and the receipt proves it.

    As this car is mine, there are a number of things I can do with it. I can take it apart , i can sell, give away, put out as exhibits. I can examine its construction, and do whatever I like with it, particularly including selling it.

    All of this is normal for property. It is mine; I may do what I like with it.

    When I buy a movie, I hand over money and I get the DVD and a receipt. This movie has been mass-produced at a factory. After the money has changed hands, this particular movie is mine. There are many more like it, but this one is mine and the receipt proves it.

    Despite the fact that this copy of the movie is mine, there are a number of things that I may not do with it, prohibited by the copyright monopoly thats held by somebody else. I may not use pieces of the movie for a new hobby. I may not examine its construction.

    These rights would be normal for property, but the copyright monopoly is a limitation on my property rights for items I have legitimately bought.

    There is a clear definition of property, and the receipt says I own the DVD and every part of the shape making up the DVD is mine.

    The copyright monopoly however, limits how I can use my own property.

    This doesn’t mean that the copyright monopoly is bad. It does mean that the monopoly cannot be defended from the standpoint that property rights are good.

    The copyright monopoly is just a limitation of property rights.

    • Moses Avalon says:


      The story is not factually incorrect. You have a reading disorder, but that is to be expected from a “p2p user” who thinks music should be free. I don’t state that the White Paper says “P2P.” I know it does not. I state that he legal community is interpreting it that way. I’m just a journalist– moron.

  37. p2puser says:

    Resorting to childish name calling isnt a very mature way of having an adult discussion!

    Where in my post do i say that music should be free? the simple fact is i havent and i dont think it should be free but limiting what i can do with a cd/ dvd that i have legitimately bought is not what the consumers want and is resticting my rights as a consumer.

    You say that [quote]I don’t state that the White Paper says “P2P.” I know it does not[quote]

    This is a line from the above post doesnt it worry you that you contradict yourself ?

    [quote]Moses Avalon
    Here’s one story you won’t see going viral on a geek blog near you: the Obama administration is going to make torrent streaming, also known as P2P (peer to peer) sharing of music, a felony.[quote]

    How is criminalising your consumer base supposed to encourage more people to buy rather than download ? the simple fact is the music industry are stuck in the 1950’s , this is the time of the digital age and if these compaines dont give the consumers what they want when they want it they will simply go elsewhere!

  38. Wynand Winterbach says:

    P2P describes the topology of how resources are shared on a network. Although files can be shared (legally or illegally) this way, P2P is in no way synonymous with file sharing. The Skype network is based on a P2P design (http://www.skype.com/intl/en-us/support/user-guides/p2pexplained/). In fact, the domain name system (the one that converts mosesavalon.com to the “true” server address is also a P2P system. It is unlikely that the abstract concept of P2P will be considered illegal or that it would even be regulated in any way. This does not rule out regulation of popular file sharing P2P networks but I cannot see how this would make anyone careful about mentioning the P word.

    Also, it’s a stretch to say that anyone rallying against the RIAA or MPAA is promoting an incorrect interpretation of copyright law. Criticism of a law is not tantamount to advocating that it should be broken.

  39. p2puser says:


    Resorting to childish name calling or deleting posts isnt the way to have an adult discussion.

    Can you quote me where i said that “music should be free” ? no you cant because i didnt.

    Can you tell me how you think criminalizing your consumer base will increase sales of cd’s / dvd’s ?. The problem isnt “p2p” or “streaming” the problem is that the entertainment industries are stuck in the 1950’s , we live in a digital era and the simple facts are people want on-demand content and if the big companies cant give it to them when they want it then they will find it elsewhere.

    Long gone are the days when you had to queue outside large stores waiting for that new cd.

  40. connie says:

    I find it astonishing that any government would be willing to criminalize its citizens in the interests of big business.

    When will the administration learn that they were elected to represent the people not the entertainment industries.

    We used to be the land of the free but not anymore.

    ‘going to make torrent streaming, also known as P2P sharing ‘

    It makes you wonder who the real target is, filesharers or indie bands/sites.
    Such a move wouldnt make much of a dent in illicit p2p as people would just work around it. What it would do is close down legit distribution channels for the big 4’s competition, indie bands that have been successful wont have that platform anymore.

    The one thing the big 4 are going to be more worried about more than anything and thats successful (and talented) acts on the major’s roster cutting them out of the loop and moves such as this would leave the distribution channels in the hands of the major labels making cutting them out of the loop look unattractive.

  41. Andrew says:

    You guys do realize that China has already gotten their local major search engines and portal sites to eliminate all music downloads banks, links and maybe movies ones too.

  42. dave says:

    We’re fighting for freedom around the world, but taking freedom away in our own country.

    The only thing this law will do is make all our children felons!

  43. hank says:

    The music industry is suffering because they only put out garbage that appeals to tweens/teens… They shove their garbage down our collective throats (cough cough lady gaga, bieber, miley, etc) and expect us to want to pay them for this service? I haven’t downloaded any mainstream music in years. It’s all rubbish why would i bother. If i want to listen to some real music i will listen to Floyd, or real bands that seem to not exist anymore because of the corporatism taking over the music industry.

  44. mehh says:

    No matter what law they pass they wont make me buy cd’s or stop downloading why you might ask , because i refuse to spend my hard earned $ on a cd that has 1 decent song and the rest is full of junk.

    I’ll buy cd’s when they supply something i actually want to listen too!

  45. J. says:

    Hey, I’m a first time reader here. Very interesting post! I think you might have oversimplified this white paper a bit, and this is what’s being disputed here. I think I can offer a bit of insight that hasn’t been mentioned yet, so here you go!

    Though it’s said in the White House paper that piracy is most certainly on Obama’s agenda, I think the conclusions you’re drawing from it are a bit off. Streaming is illegal broadcasting (one person showing live, infringing content to a mass audience), and the laws incriminating it are similar to the laws against, say, pirate radio. P2P, however, is more like counterfeiting (at no cost and often no price to the end user), and its regulation is an entirely different beast.

    I am not a lawyer or an expert on the subject, but I’m sure you understand the difference between regulation of radio broadcasts and the regulation of CDs. Though the two are related through the content being distributed, and the regulation of radio affects the regulation of CDs, there are key differences in their regulation, and this white paper deals with the former illegal channel (streams) and not the latter.

    I think that the way you tried to explain this in layman’s terms might be a bit incorrect or oversimplified, though most of the implications are spot on. This white paper certainly sets the tone of the Obama administration’s approach to piracy, but it’s concerning the broadcasting of infringing content, not the counterfeiting of infringing content.

    Oh, and one last thing: mind explaining how you think this will affect journalism that endorses P2P as a means of distribution? From my understanding of the First Amendment and the regulation of the mass media, discussing the legality of P2P isn’t explicitly illegal. I think sites like TorrentFreak are analogous to publications about, say, guns. Guns themselves aren’t explicitly illegal, and journalism that describes and advocates their legal use aren’t illegal, although guns are strongly correlated to violent crime and there are numerous laws criminalizing their misuse, much like P2P.

    Thanks for reading!

  46. pfft says:

    It doesnt matter whats in the best interests of the people …money talks.

    Isnt democracy great, think i might go live in china.

  47. Isakill says:

    Moses, you sir are [totally wrong].
    Lobbyists unfortunately have gotten their greedy meathooks into government, that’s what we as Americans have allowed to happen. We’re allowing the most ignorant amongst us to lead us. They are completely uninformed of both sides of the argument, and it’s zealots like you and your cronies here on this site that fuel the fire of the condition known as ignorance. In all these one-sided arguments I keep hearing this sentence thrown around: “One download equates one lost sale.” This fodder is so far from the truth that it sickens me that I have to share oxygen with the humans that spew this filth. You want to know what equates to a lost sale? A opened CD/DVD thrown in a store’s bathroom trash bin or hidden behind other merchandise until it’s found by the store’s employees. What’s the punishment for a person that has stolen one of these objects IF they are caught? Is it a felony? no.. It’s no more than the person returning the merchandise for it to be defected out by the store and thrown out in the daily trash. But yet you morons expect jail time for someone that downloads a song that as statistics have countlessly shown (hence the untold story of this whole conundrum) that a majority of the users go out and dump their hard earned money on said CD/DVD and not hide from the cameras in some retail store. Your crony-ism on this subject is killing everyone’s freedoms. BTW, why not look into those things called a EULA (End User License Agreement) they all tell you that you can’t possibly own the piece of software/digital media that you shelled out for. Sure you own the tangible object.. But the digital part is still the express property of the corporation that published it.
    Also, to the complete and utter mentally challenged halfwit up there that said ISOhunt was trying to pass the buck on Google… Gary Fung wasn’t doing that. ISOhunt is a search engine just LIKE Google. With Google actually having orders of magnitude more results than ISOhunt.
    Get informed. Idiots.

  48. lucy says:

    Thank you Mr Obama for giving the feds the right to kick my door down and seize my belongings without a warrent.

    Thank you Mr Obama for giving the feds the right to eavesdrop on all my communcations at will.

    Thank you Mr Obama for giving the feds the right to size my blog domain just because its hosted on the same server as a p2p blog.

    Thank you Mr Obama for giving the feds the right to potentially criminalize my children for sharing a cd with their friends.

    Makes me proud to be American.

  49. Don says:

    How can you say “most teenagers have no money to buy CDs?” The youth market, sadly, has been the demographic of choice for decades, and from dealing with a lot of them in the studio, I can tell you they have plenty of access to money. Ever since Elvis Presley hit the scene, it can’t be denied that young people are the major buyers of music. So that kills that argument, because it’s still true. It’s only because it’s being made available for free, usually against the wishes of the artists, that these kids don’t buy it. Besides, a lot of them still do.
    What’s hard to understand is this crop of musicians that has appeared that think it’s wrong to make money from your art. It’s so consistently wrong-headed that it amazes me. What happens if you are working your ass off to eke out a living, playing live shows as many nights a week as you can, trying to sell a few CDs, but then the first person that buys one, because he likes it, puts it online and burns copies for everyone else…..THEN suddenly you get seriously ill. Most musicians don’t have health insurance, and now you’re in trouble and who is going to help you? You didn’t make enough money to save any. You’re screwed. That’s just one real-life scenario that nobody seems to think about these days. And remember, not just old washed up musicians get sick or injured. What if your kid gets seriously ill. Family members. There are a lot of reason artists need to make money just like everyone else
    P2P…just because everyone’s doing it doesn’t make it right. Why is basic honesty so hard for people to grasp nowadays. And even if you have a grudge against the labels, whom you have probably never even dealt with, STEALING music is hurting the artists too. Give your music away if you aren’t good enough to sell it, but don’t give away the art of people who don’t allow it.

  50. Fuzzbucket says:

    lucy said:

    “Thank you Mr Obama for giving the feds the right to kick my door down and seize my belongings without a warrent.

    Thank you Mr Obama for giving the feds the right to eavesdrop on all my communcations at will.”

    Actually you should be thanking Bush, Cheney, Rove & Rumsfeld for these things.

  51. Moon says:

    Funny you should paint Mike Masnick as clueless when it comes to the music business. Just look at how royally you guys ‘with a clue’ f—ed it up when all you needed was an economist like Mike who would explain the incentives to you.

    And keep mentioning that 100,000 readers of yours it’s always fun to see someone make a fool out of himself with a proper audience. Even more will come back to taunt you when

    a) none of what you predicted will come true
    b) none of it will make the slightest dent in piracy

    Oh yeah, and don’t forget to shut down Blizzard too, they also use P2P to spread their software. LOL!

  52. Sandra says:

    This story seems to be similar to the industry wanting to forbid video recorders (Sony) or MP3 players (Rio).

    Didn’t happen.

    Same here: P2P will live on as it has substantial non-infringing use.

  53. lucy says:


    Yea i know it was bush and co who inflicted such a oppresive law upon the citizens of this coumtry but ive seen no sign that mr obama wants to repeal them infact i see the opposite and he is carrying on from where bush left off!

    They are all the same regardless of what party they belong too ..money talks and democracy suffers as a result.

  54. james says:

    So here’s what happens….Lets say this happens like you think it will….the people will find another distribution method that avoids the law. Then it will take a literal “Act of Congress” which will take at least 10 years to address that new method. Meantime life goes on.

    You must be getting paid off of some music royalties.

  55. […] music producer goes on to compare what such blogs/sites do with hate-mongering: “These guys are no different in my view than […]

  56. […] “Blogs who play fast and loose with copyright ‘facts’ and assert that P2P is OK because soon the music biz will be dead anyway, are going to get strangely quiet on the subject,” he writes. […]

  57. […] Obama wants to make sharing files a felony with prison up to 20 years […]

  58. Hooker Jay says:

    You know, something tells me that this has absolutely zero to do with music, copyrights, and the like. Instead, it has more to do with the President trying to shield and insulate the elites from embarrassment, and he’s just shellacking it all with a very wide brush to foster and facilitate false hope and false change. You know, much like “the public option” and closing Gitmo. Hey, why close Gitmo when you’ve got Quantico … 😉

    Groups like Anonymous and Wikileaks — the latter being what Jay Rosen accurately called “the world’s first stateless news organization” — is a much bigger threat to politicians and corporate interests right now. They have global power to “afflict the comfortable” as admirably demonstrated in Egypt, and more recently in a post-earthquake Japan when it revealed that the Fukushima nuclear plant was a 2 year long accident waiting to happen. They have far more control over the narrative than the euphemistically labeled “establishment press” and Julian Assange has already made it clear that Wikileaks is built like any common torrent site.

    Everybody knows Bittorrent sites are like cockroaches: take one down, ten thousand show up for the funeral. That means if Wikileaks goes down, groups like Anonymous and The Pirate Bay will ensure it comes back within hours or days, and much more secure and resilient. Assange himself is already on record saying that there’s is no other protocol and transfer mechanism to backup and archive Wikileaks’s vast data than P2P and that’s where the pirates, hackers, and script kiddies come into the fray in the event Wikileaks goes dark.

    Of course, it goes without saying that Wilileaks (or bloggers/citizen media) wouldn’t exist today if it weren’t for the fact that the establishment press abandoned their jobs along time ago; they insulate, shield, and protect the comfortable more than they ever did. Ever since free unfettered and unfiltered access to information exploded with the internet, America’s corporate establishment press hasn’t been able to do its job for fear of losing its job, resulting in a clap-happy press that can no longer tell the friggin’ difference between a FREE press and a STATE press. And like the parakeets they are, they been spewing no shortage of froth, foam, and fatwahs on Assange and Wikileaks right along with this Administration and the DOD …

    And yes, Mo is right: had this legislation came from a rightwing President, heads would certainly roll. Most likely from a hatchet as dull as Glen Beck’s wits. But if this President really wanted to be clear and transparent, he should’ve named this “The Let’s Play Whack-A-Mole With Wikileaks’ Enablers Act In Order To Placate The RIAA/MPAA” because that’s about all I’d expect out of it in the grand scheme of things. And if a few small fry torrent sites end up getting caught up in that wide net, well it’s not the first time President Obama and the Democrats played the dozens like fiddles in a GEICO commercial to keep up appearances. If anything, the DNC is the BASF of Politics: “We Didn’t Invent The GOPs Policies — We’re Only Making Them Better!”

  59. Joe Smith says:

    What about Google? The parent directory is source for a large portion of pirated media.

  60. Mercy@Nikenya.com says:

    life has to continue, as many wait the same to yield fruits, the act of congress maybe in Obama’s mind, is just a view and not something yet to amend or amended.

  61. Jack says:

    Why do people think it is ok to steal music online? If you walked in to a store and took a CD (or any other idem) would that be ok? No, and you would get arrested…the same should be true for the internet…Lots of people make their living off of music sales (whether it be the artist, the records company and their employees or the retailers themselves), and by downloading illegally you are stealing from them.

    • David says:

      that argument will never work, these industries have to keep up with the times and develop new ways to sell their stuff. They could open p2p sites themselves and live off the advertising, or release all their media free and say “buy a copy if you like it” (this does work look at authors like Scott Sigler who releases all his work freely, and then you can buy if if you want to)

      You cant expect people to ignore the free outlet because some consider it morally/legally wrong. I for one do not have a moral problem downloading tv series, for I make myself feel better by saying ‘I missed it when it was aired for free’ and I’m sure others say that about their music and radio, where you could just tape the songs off the radio (like our parents before us).

  62. Blaze Master says:

    FUCK THIS and the SYSTEM WHORES , unless they create free internet culture and tools for us to make our own stuff piracy wont dissapear and hands off from fansubs. THE SYSTEM WHORES will pay dearly for entering our teritory we are the next generation after all. If Obama wants a war he will have a war…unless they’re generous enought to share some of theire content online with the global community. Why should we be the ones to back down? Sharing culture isn’t wrong and you better learn that the rule of money is coming to an end soon….INTERNET SHALL BEGIN A REVOLUTION

  63. Blaze Master says:

    WE WILL DESTROY THE INDUSTRY IF FORCED TO PROTECT OUR GLOBAL MOVEMENT WE ARE NOT ONLY ANONYMOUS WE ARE MORE WE ARE THE WATCHERS THAT SEE EVERYTHING YOU DO WE ARE NEAR OBAMA AND NEAR EVERYSINGLE INDUSTRIALIST AND WE HAVE THE POWER TO PULL THE PLUG OUT FROM THEIRE LITTLE PROFIT MACHINES, Mr Obama you should be wise enought to not mess with us we are near than you think we are the ones that created you and the ones that can destroy we are the voters and these that create scandals we know all of you’re secrets its time to come clean …lets see how much the industry steals from the people

  64. Blaze Master says:

    Don’t think of us as criminals this is a lack of respect , its enought to say we have the power that you thought you had we have you’re money ! we the people are employed in you’re structures its simple to disturb things at that level after all its never the CEO that runs things but a guy that repairs the cables if we cut you’re cables there won’t be anything you do…you’re money will evaporate this is our final warning

  65. Blaze Master says:

    It was our movement that forced the Pope to retire and we can do much more we are plenty and more powerfull than Anonymous , Im just a single beeing but there are others like me that can do much more and much worse, were a globall community that considers internet our domain what we ackquired belongs to us and we demand the construction of the FREE INTERNET CULTURE and the ability to share the stuff we like even if we don’t own the “copy rights” otherwise we will wage and win that war just as we did with the vatican it is we who decide these little things were a “military” XD Bye bye Industry

    • Moses Avalon says:

      Hey Blaze, do you realize that the artilce you are commenting on is almost three years old? In that time The Industry did NOT die. It got stronger. Anonymous guys are going to jail, record sales are up, piracy is waaay down, Limewire a d Kazaa are both DOA, Pirate Bay dudes are going to prison. What revolution are you thinking of? The one where the labels take back control of music retail?

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