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Who's the pirate?
by Thanos Kalamidas
2009-04-18 11:48:20
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The court in Stockholm, Sweden decided that the founders of The Pirate Bay are guilty and convicted them as organized team to a year sentence and 4.5 million Euros! Hooray and hip-hip they managed to hit the bad guys, the internet pirates and defend the rights of the holy cooperatives! Let’s all now pray that the executives of those cooperates will increase their profits, extra bonuses so they can buy another Ferrari and even better they can have another meeting in a paradise island!

Four or five years ago I wrote two articles, one having to do with how little artists and in this case musicians make after the record companies take their huge share that often leaves them with pennies and another article with my pirate memories before internet and all this talking about downloads but it seems that is time to talk about these things again, not in defense of the founders of The Pirate Bay but in defense of the people who are involved in this peculiar carousel.

First of all regarding the artists in the name of whom all this is about. Except some, very few exceptions in a society that counts thousands if not millions very few have seen the money, to quote a film where the actor was screaming …show me the money! The cooperatives not only suck everything from the artists but often they drawn them taking every single bit they can offer and then ruthlessly they throw them away. The very few who dared to say anything, tried to find justice they found themselves without work and this includes ever major names like George Michael who had a long time fight with SONY.

For every penny the discographic companies they spend they get it double on the way from the artists in too many ways. As I have said in the past I got a close friend who has enjoyed fame, gold and platinum records, gigs and concerts and he had to pay even the promotion photos to the cooperative. Even his agent who was suppose to defend his interests and negotiate for him with the cooperative it was somebody ‘suggested’ by the cooperative with the addition that there was no way for them to talk with anybody else. So much fair the big cooperatives that look for the interests of the artists.

My friend was busy making concerts all around for a whole year, he had one record that became platinum the very same year and when he was not making concerts he was promoting the record to televised shows the cooperative had arrange for him. Three years after he had to change career because the year of his pick his income was 3,000 Euros! And I’m really serious about it; I know because I have seen how much he earned. His biggest problem was that nobody believed him and he actually had to borrow money to survive.

The cooperatives apart of that are masters in cheating not only the artists (there they have become experts) but the audiences as well. I suppose many remember what happened with Milly Vanilli. Two attractive young men who were supposedly composing and singing all their songs and the cooperatives with a lot of help with their friends in the media made them super group with thousands of sales all around the world; until one day we all heard that there was no group and the two attractive men were pretending to sing. When they actually tried to sing everybody had to find a cover! They didn’t compose the songs and they didn’t write the lyrics. One of them died from drugs and the other lives between prison cells. Who is to blame? Of course the cooperatives! They created them and they are responsible for the deception. Did anybody accused them and sentenced them? Of course not, who’s touching the holy cooperatives?

The irony is that despite to what said at the time that one of the real singers caused the whole thing asking for recognition of her name the truth is that they used her as much they used the two young men but in her case it was a competitive cooperation that didn’t like all the sudden success! And how many more Milly Vanilli exist and we have no idea. How many singers have come the last decades make real success selling thousands of records and disappearing after the first record? What happened to their talent? Even now most of them are more known for their social life and scandals than their work, why most of them are like shooting stars? How many Milly Vanilly are around? Tens, hundreds, thousands? And how many real talents are buried in the name of the holy cooperatives protectors of the arts?

To get to the second part, when I was young back in late sixties and early seventies records were in analogy the same expensive as CDs are today, especially for the young people and the students; so we had our tape recorders. Some of you might remember them, the flat ones where a small ‘door’ opened on the top and you needed to press hard until you hear the characteristic sound the buttons. The same period there were a lot pirate (again the same word) radio stations, some might have already seen the film that came out lately about the boats with the pirate radios. So the DJs from those stations used to play the whole song and warn us giving us enough time to get ready and record it. My first Beatles, Doors and Jefferson Airplane records were recorded like that. Apparently nearly forty years after I still have as a memory a couple of those cassettes.

And then there were the luckier ones like me who had if anybody still remembers this huge furniture piece that had inside the record player, the radio and the cassette player all of the huge compared to today’s stereos. So me and my friends were buying a record and then one of us would record it to cassettes for the rest. I remember my first Camel record I must recorded over twenty times for different friends. Wasn’t that like downloading and file sharing? So the act they are after was something it always happened and it will always happen they like it or not and they couldn’t stop it in the past and will not stop it now. The only difference is that this time internet is a much easier victim. Whenever there is something that guarantees freedom scares them, scares the cooperatives and they fight it in any way they can even if that means a witch-hunt.

And finally some bitter truths. Internet has helped artists all around the world giving them the chance to present their work without the ruthless intercession of the cooperatives and this thing expands fast damaging the cooperatives greediness even with the freeware software. Artists have found in the internet a worm ground to expand their talents and show their work beyond commercial rules that profit only the few. The ones who have stopped artists of all forms of art to do something are the cooperatives and with that I don’t stop with music but in all kinds of art.

The second truth is more a question, if the states are so bothered about the interests of the people and against anything that cheats why do they leave the cooperatives check the sites I – I emphasize this I because it is for every I – visit and then target me personally with adverts and make again profit on my expense violating my right for privacy! I didn’t see any court in Stockholm or anywhere around the world bother or do something about it!

The past has proved that internet is like the ancient monster hydra, they cut one head and two grow in its place and as far the cooperatives is an irony when the thieves call others pirates!

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