Piracy and sg

Daniel Mount’s interview with some of gospel music’s leading men has generated an interesting, if somewhat misdirected, conversation about piracy and digitally provisioned music content (but honestly, though … a “serious problem” in sg? Really, Daniel?). David Bruce Murray takes the time to delve a bit more deeply into the vagaries of fair use and digital copyrights and generally fact-check some of the assertions in Mount’s interview. It’s all worth skimming through.

I don’t have a lot to offer here, other than to make a some what cranky point: I don’t really see the point of talking about piracy in sg when so little of the genre is available to purchase digitally in the first place (I’m with DBM on this one: music should be easier to buy than steal. Period). Indeed, in some respects, a real piracy problem in sg might be encouraging. There are worse things to be said of you than that you make music so good people want to steal it. The real problem in sg right now is not that people want to steal the music; it’s that not nearly enough people want to buy it either.

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Trackbacks & Pings

  1. www.southerngospelblog.com » Blog Archive » Availability of SG Downloads on 28 Mar 2007 at 8:25 pm

    […] Doug Harrison at the Averyfineline blog suggests that piracy in Southern Gospel is a moot point because so few SG albums are available for digital download. Now someone can purchase a CD and duplicate it illegally, and in SG that is probably a bigger problem than the digital downloads. […]

  2. www.southerngospelblog.com » Blog Archive » Availability of SG Downloads: Part 2 on 30 Mar 2007 at 12:40 am

    […] Doug Harrison at the Averyfineline blog suggests that piracy in Southern Gospel is a moot point because so few SG albums are available for digital download. I decided to check iTunes and eMusic to see what kind of selection they had. […]


  1. Practical Fellow wrote:

    If there’s any piracy in Southern Gospel, I’d say its by the artists and record companies that don’t pay royalties to the songwriters.

  2. RF wrote:

    Amen, PF.

    Trying to find digital music, even if you’re paying for it, is next to impossible. I looked for KH’s “Off the Record” for three months until I-Tunes finally decided to offer it. In many cases, that’s the only way I get new sg, unless I order directly from the goups which can be a long and laborious process.

    And if it’s a ministry, why all the gnashing of teeth over someone sharing?

    Just asking.

  3. GospelMusicFan wrote:

    I might want to like the host of this blog when I grow up someday on this issue.
    “Some of you are sticking your heads in the sand on the issue of piracy. Its almost like the foolish man building his house on the san. It happens all the time and Christians freely admit they do it on Christian’s websites and settings.”

  4. DAND wrote:

    The piracy issue is more than just dealing with digital music. Granted, digital music in the SG genre is new and hard to come by. However, there are other piracy issues mentioned in the blogs referenced here that are much more prevalent. Issues like copying tapes and CDs or “mix” tapes/CDs and giving to your friends, making copies of sheet music, etc. are piracy issues that have been around for a long time and, unfortunately, have become passe due to the focus on digital media. Certainly, digital music/video and the piracy of such is much more of an issue in the general mass market.

  5. Jim E. Davis wrote:

    Bravo! Avery’s post and accompanying comments are the very reason I visit here often. I love truth.

  6. Steve wrote:

    Off topic alert. Ok, I hadn’t tried to find any sg on iTunes for quite a while. After reading RF’s post I went to check out some of the KH clips.

    I was scrolling through their list of albums and noticed “White Christmas.” I probably expected to recognize most of the song titles, so my brain was probably trying to look at the fewest letters and words possible. Anyway, I did a double take when I (mis)read one song title - “Let’s Make a Baby.” Wha?!

    Oops. Funny how the mind works (or doesn’t sometimes).

    Now back to the relevant comments.

  7. Bob wrote:

    All that a lock does is keep and honest person honest!

    No matter what anyone in any business, be it recording, publishing, etc. tries someone out there will foil their effort and find a way.

    Regardless of how someone got the material, it WILL be pirated. The biggest question here is why aren’t more SG groups offering their product on iTunes and the likes?

    THE ANSWER! Less revenue! Instead of paying $15-20 for a cd with 10 songs, the buyer can choose the entire cd or just the selections they wish (and ifin you only want one - it is far cheaper than buying an entire CD for one track!)

    Until everyone (well, not EVERYONE, but most) in this industry gets their heads out of the sand on this - there will never be a proliferation of SG on places like iTunes. SG is full of hucksters and penny-pinchers…..

  8. Practical Fellow wrote:

    RF - in post #2 you said “if it’s a ministry, why all the gnashing of teeth over someone sharing? Just asking.”

    [deep breath] Preachers, evangelists, ministers, etc. presumably have a God-given calling, but in most cases they still get paid for their work. It doesn’t make their ministry any less annointed or effective. And Mastercard doesn’t let ministers off the hook when it comes to paying their bill. Neither does the electric company, the phone company, Wal-Mart or Starbucks.

    So with that concept in mind, if you work your fanny off to write, arrange and record a musical project then you have the right to earn money off of that work. Why should people who write and record sacred music have to give their music away? I get it that sometimes records are no longer in print and so you copy your buddy Leroy’s so you can enjoy the original live recording of “God Walks the Dark Hills”. But most of the time, people who pirate music just don’t want to pay. And in Christian circles they steal in the name of ‘ministry’ and put the artist on the spot for not being generous enough.

    [Sigh] Sorry if I spewed on you RF.

  9. dkd wrote:

    Practical Fellow:

  10. RF wrote:

    Not to worry PF.

    I was being silly and a smart alleck. That was my point. A lot of folks think that ministers and singers and others should do their work for free because they’re doing it for the Lord. I’m surprised no one else caught that.

    I’ve paid for every piece of music I have in my collection (except for gifts). I make extra copies for my car or to back up something I’m afraid will get damaged. I buy music on i-tunes and put them on my Nano. Although the RIAA would say that’s stealing, I don’t see it that way. I never make copies for my friends (they don’t ask anyway–there’s too many free sites where they can get it). File sharing is illegal. I’ll leave it at that. Are they robbing artists? I always think that a person who goes through that trouble to not buy music wouldn’t buy it anyway, but that’s just me.

  11. Al wrote:

    Remember Napster? I was surprised when a friend told me that my then-newest CD was available for download on Napster. Back then, you could access it to see how many times it - or songs from it - had been downloaded. When I saw the figure, I was shocked. I’m an independent artist, and the budget for my newest CD was between $35K and $40K. Thankfully the sales justify that. Major artists will have recording budgets a lot higher than that. But every single one of those downloads cost me the profit margin of each CD that otherwise would have sold. Now I’m going to BurnLounge, which is like iTunes just a lot less expensive to join. I still find it hard to believe that the people who would be interested in a Christian CD, or songs from one, would download a pirated copy. Color me naive, I guess.

  12. quartet-man wrote:

    I think those who copy CD’s for friends and those who get the songs for free are stealing. However, although against copyright laws, I don’t see that making copies of things out of print are taking money away from them because they are not trying to sell them. I guess one could argue that you may be taking away possible future earnings, but most of the time they have no plans to release them. :-) Also, the secondary market sells the originals and they see no money from them. (Although I am sure they would love to get a piece of that action too.)

  13. jb wrote:

    Lets face it, downloading and burning CD’s is going to happen. I’ve even burned a couple myself. I’ve even made a copy of sheet music so I could enlarge the print and read it. Did I feel like a thief, no….I was doing it for me and not selling it or giving it to anyone else. I guess I am just naive enough to think that there are a lot more problems out there than “piracy in SG”…

  14. quartet-man wrote:

    JB, you hit another nail on the head. Whether or not it is technically illegal, I see nothing wrong with making a backup of a cd, enlarging sheet music, making a copy to use instead of damaging the original etc. so as long as you are not doing it to keep from buying another copy (meaning both are in use at the same time.) Those may not be the proper legal ways, but it only makes sense if you have paid for it and are not costing them sales.

    If they say you are buying the CD, then copying it is not infringing on the CD. If they say you are buying the music on the CD, then you should have the right to use the music on other CD’s since you paid for it. :)

  15. David Bruce Murray wrote:

    From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use
    “For instance, the Audio Home Recording Act establishes that it is legal in some circumstances to make copies of audio recordings for noncommercial personal use.”

    You might also be interested in:

    A quote from that article states: “”[t]he purpose of[the Act] is to ensure the right of consumers to make analog or digital audio recordings of copyrighted music for their private, noncommercial use.”"

  16. David Bruce Murray wrote:

    The actual law itself is here:

  17. Joseph wrote:

    Hahahaha. How can SG music even be involved in piracy? Does anyone still have an 8-Track copier? I can’t believe it’s even an issue, judging that an SG demographic, IMO, has just realized what a CD is, yet still request tapes over the internet and at the record table. And when your demographic on the average is a 70 year old female (not a fact, yet I would like to know the facts), I don’t think piracy is really that big of a deal in SG. I think it’s a generation of elderly, which makes me refer to NQC as the National Nursing Home Convention, that might not be around next year to buy your product. If that is not a concern, then I want to see a motorized scooter race at NQC 2007. Please? There’s enough there to represent each driver in NASCAR. They can be painted, with little numbers. Why not?

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