OPINION

The Right To Buy Counterfeit Goods

July 02, 2008
Lekhni

I want the right to buy counterfeit goods. I will launch into a detailed argument shortly, but first, I will tell you why this post came about.

Courtesy New York TimesThe New York Times’s city blog had a recent article about an ad campaign on NYC pay phones, which tells you why buying counterfeit goods is bad. Apparently, it’s because you are supporting child labor, drug trafficking, organized crime and even worse.

And what, pray, is the “even worse”? The ad itself doesn't say, but the New York Times  helpfully suggests that it might be terrorism. Apparently, the terrorist cells involved in the Madrid train bombings were financed by, among other things, the sale of counterfeit CDs and stolen cars.

Well, all I can say is, I am glad they were not financed through the sale of tomato soup. Or dark chocolate. Or well, toothpaste. What would we all do then?

As for supporting child labor, I find it hard to believe that only counterfeit goods are produced using child labor? It’s true that sweatshops are not as prevalent now, many companies have policies against it, though I don't know if they are always strictly implemented. For instance, I cannot believe that Tirupur employs zero child labor. Not a single kid? Not even the tea/ coffee boy? Look at the bevy of brands which source from Tirupur though..

But leave alone the ridiculous ad. Why do decent, law-abiding people buy counterfeit goods?

There are two types of consumers who buy counterfeit goods. One category is the consumer who gets duped into buying counterfeit products unknowingly, while they intended to buy the original. That is cheating, and I am not strongly against consumers getting cheated.

But there is a second category - consumers who seek out and knowingly buy counterfeit products. They know these are knock-offs, and while these are law-abiding consumers who would never dream of doing anything wrong, they buy counterfeit products without a qualm. Why do they do that?

Three reasons:

(i) They cannot afford the brand name goods, but still aspire to owning the brand,
(ii) They believe that the price of the goods should be lower. Basically, it is a form of protest against perceived mis-pricing.
(iii) They cannot buy the original product either because it is not available or because there are some regulations that prevent them from purchasing it.

Reason 1: Obviously, these are aspirational buyers who would buy the original product if they could afford it. The Louis Vuitton bags that are sold in NYC sidewalks are lapped up by people because they would also like to share the experience of owning a Louis Vuitton bag. There is no issue of lost revenue to LVMH from these counterfeits, because none of these people can afford a Louis Vuitton bag, or is going to buy one at its current price.

Reason 2: It’s a form of protest. The people who buy pirated DVDs and books or download free music are actually making a statement that they believe these items are mis-priced. They are also willing to settle for slightly lower quality for the lower price.

Reason 3: The regulations are not in touch with everyday reality.

Growing up in pre-liberalized India, I heard a lot about the “Black Market”. I even had to write Hindi essays about the “Kala Bazaar” and how this was a grievous ill to society. The Black Market, in my mind, was a shady assortment of shops that people would venture into after dark, or perhaps it was only frequented by smugglers.

Yet, like most families I knew, we would buy sugar in the same “Black Market”, especially around festival time, because the ration sugar was quite inadequate.

We also had gold smugglers who were the staple of movie villainhood, and hawala merchants who would, no doubt, in some dark corner of a building, exchange your Rupees into grubby dollars.

But there was a reason why gold smugglers and hawala merchants thrived. Gold could not be imported freely – there was never enough gold to meet the demand.
RBI also had enormous restrictions on the amount of foreign currency one could take abroad. People who came to the US in the 70s tell us stories about how they were only allowed to bring in $7 into the US. Seven dollars. Imagine, they may have had enough money to tide them through their first meal in the US.

Now that gold can be imported freely and RBI has moved from a fixed to a floating exchange rate, and restrictions on students and tourists are much more relaxed, we don’t hear too much about the smugglers.

Let's face it - there is an economic reason why people buy counterfeit products. Unless companies address this reason, sale of counterfeit products is not going to go away. There is no point in having laws which are unrealistic and do not address the underlying issue.

Companies should recognize that counterfeiters are potential customers. The proportion of people who would switch from counterfeit to the original product (if the price is right) would be much higher than the conversion rate for walk-in customers. Think about it - who is more likely to buy Microsoft Vista - the person who is currently using a pirated version of Vista, or the person who is using Safari?

But why don't companies see these customers as a market segment?

Isn't the basic principle of marketing - to listen to what your customer is saying? The purchases of the counterfeit products of a company are trying to say something. But is anybody listening?

Lekhni completed her Masters in Business Administration from an Ivy League b-school and went on to work in (where else) Wall Street. One fine day, she was affected by the disorder known as Sudden Desperate Desire to Write (SDDW). So she blogs at The Imagined Universe and now spends her free time preparing business strategies to attract visitors to her blog.
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The Right To Buy Counterfeit Goods

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Author: Lekhni

 

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#1
temporal
URL
July 3, 2008
03:45 PM

lekhni:

That is cheating, and I am not strongly against consumers getting cheated.

hunh?

#2
temporal
URL
July 3, 2008
03:52 PM

lekhni:

Isn't the basic principle of marketing - to listen to what your customer is saying? The purchases of the counterfeit products of a company are trying to say something. But is anybody listening?

the issue here is copyright violation

whether you buy a cheap piaget watch to impress or a knocked down gucci or a pirated programme....it is stepping on the "rights" of the copyright owner

such actions deprive the rightful owners of the patents return on their investment

it is cheating and fraud, no matter which way the dice is rolled


#3
K. M.
URL
July 3, 2008
04:10 PM

"The purchases of the counterfeit products of a company are trying to say something."

Yes. They are saying that they have a right to products produced by others on terms that are not acceptable to the producers.
That is theft.

#4
smallsquirrel
July 3, 2008
04:42 PM

I wrote some big thing but it got eaten.

but suffice it to say that I thought this was ridiculous. people do get hurt. I think the author wanted us to be like "yeah, let's stick it to the man" which is a totally immature attitude, and also pretty ignorant of what really happens.

sad this author has an MBA. and when businesses figure out who she is an what she's written, they're not gonna hire her, either.

#5
Ritu
URL
July 3, 2008
10:44 PM

@ Lekhni

I think I agree with the basic premise of your piece. That if a certain product, service or utility is a victim of counterfeit, there might be a genuine reason behind it and addressing that reason might help resolve the problem.

However, beyond that basic premise, I find it difficult to go with the arguments you present for your case. Let me pick one which is probably my pet peeve and pet rant. That this one


Reason 2: It's a form of protest. The people who buy pirated DVDs and books or download free music are actually making a statement that they believe these items are mis-priced. They are also willing to settle for slightly lower quality for the lower price.



Do you really believe that one? People who download free music and films do it because they think it is stupid to pay for something that is available for free. Simple. People in my office think I am quaint and amusing when I talk about desisting from piracy. They genuinely don't understand why someone would pay money for buying music. The moot point is, if someone can get something free, without having to pay for it either in cash or in consequences they will grab it without guilt. I call it human nature.

#6
commonsense
July 3, 2008
11:33 PM

bottom line: a lot of non-counterfeit stuff is ridiculously overpriced

#7
Deepti Lamba
URL
July 4, 2008
12:10 AM

Best not to buy knock off bags - coz the ones who own the real stuff can make out counterfeit stuff a mile away, right SS?;)

#8
smallsquirrel
July 4, 2008
01:09 PM

common,,, yeah but just since it is overpriced that gives people the right to steal it?

come on.... you're not applying common sense here.

#9
commonsense
July 4, 2008
04:33 PM

SS,

I said nothing about "stealing"! however, those who wish to rationalize their actions will also point out that there's "stealing" and then there's "stealing" thru "price gouging" etc.

Hey SS, just because my id is CS, does it mean I have to apply it to EVERYTHING I write :)

#10
smallsquirrel
July 4, 2008
04:39 PM

dee, that is right! hee. yeah I mean it takes me approx 3 seconds to spot the fake goods... even the better quality ones.

common... oh but it IS stealing. how is buying pirated movies and music not stealing???? and price gouging... well, there will always be high-end items. you think Yves saint-laurent needs to be accessible to everyone? Meanwhile I do not think movies and music are overpriced, esp when you can download a song on iTunes for .99 cents and you can buy a movie legally for $9.99 or rent from nextflix for pennies. it is all a rationalization when people buy pirated goods, and bottom line it is illegal and hurts a lot of people, not just the big moviehouses and record labels.

#11
commonsense
July 4, 2008
04:45 PM

SS:

""Meanwhile I do not think movies and music are overpriced, esp when you can download a song on iTunes for .99 cents and you can buy a movie legally for $9.99 or rent from nextflix for pennies.""

True...but this is partly the effect of illegal downloads, napster in the past etc that is forcing prices down. The artists sure get a bum-rap financially, but the companies still rake in millions and sometimes rip of the artists, despite that! Not justiying "stealing" here....but, there's "stealing" and "stealing"...

#12
smallsquirrel
July 4, 2008
04:54 PM

we all have choices common. i am pissed off that milk is so expensive but that does not mean I get to go out and steal it. there have always been options. people are just lazy and selfish. you admit that people get hurt in the process, and I know you are not justifying it... but the author did. and *badly*

#13
commonsense
July 4, 2008
04:57 PM

hey, but everyone knows that a lot of the brand-name goods cost very little to produce and the mark-ups are enormous due to their symbolic rather than substantive value? nobody needs to read Naomi Klein's _No Logo_ to know this, although she has penned an absolutely brilliant book there! Indeed many sub-contractors produce generic stuff that are "branded" later. The most laughable exhibits are t-shirts with Armani Exchange (AX) etc. logos on them. Sure the qualit of a lot of "brand name" goods is very good, but what the heck, if someone is producing and buying knock-offs, so be it!

In terms of software etc. the incredible "price gouging" is the logic behind the movement known as "open source/ open access" that a lot of software companies hate. Sure they tout the benefits of "proprietary" software etc, but really, as many lawsuits against Msoft and other companies have shown, there is another way of doing business gouging consumers or killing legit non-robber-baron business.

#14
smallsquirrel
July 4, 2008
05:02 PM

we all have choices common. i am angry that milk is so expensive but that does not mean I get to go out and steal it. there have always been options. people are just lazy and selfish. you admit that people get hurt in the process, and I know you are not justifying it... but the author did. and *badly*

#15
commonsense
July 4, 2008
05:06 PM

""there is another way of doing business without gouging consumers or killing off legit non-robber-baron business"

Not justifying theft here! The robber-baron corporations are not at all the meek victims they pretend to be. and no, i'm not saying all corporations are necessarily evil. A semblance of balance.

I reckon there's a reason why pirates (the traditional sea pirates) have been the stuff of romanticised legends! Perhaps not quite Robin Hoods, but not always like the heartless Yakuza or the organized gangs of goondas either....

#16
commonsense
July 4, 2008
05:10 PM

SS,

As a kid I was angry that it was so hard to steal milk in India since it was usually attached to the cow...but not that hard to dilute it with water before selling it...at least in the past! Although some kids would literally attach their lips to goats' udders and had long sips until they experienced vertigo. I kid you not!!

#17
smallsquirrel
July 4, 2008
05:31 PM

now you are arguing against capitalism, common and that is a very different discussion. :)

I mean it has its good and bad points... and one of the bad points is that some things create their own market... as overpriced as it might be.

#18
commonsense
July 4, 2008
07:01 PM

SS,

True!

(Disgusting, revolting imagery alert for folks with weak stomachs)

BTW, some of the kids who were stealing milk directly from the goat, would indeed get vertigo. After an hour or so they would puke yougurt and only the really desperate kids would steal THAT! And the other kids watching the second theft would puke just at the sight. Not a pretty sight.

#19
smallsquirrel
July 4, 2008
07:58 PM

common, sorry but I fail to see how drinking milk from a goat would induce vertigo.... :)

#20
commonsense
July 4, 2008
09:11 PM

ah, good point SS. Initially, I failed to understand this too. but for a really good pint of goat's milk, one has to go under, lie on one's back, look up and suckle while observing the sky with full of all kinds of birds such as swallows, pigeons, vultures etc. circling around. The combination of trying to keep track of birdies circling the sky, drinking milk while looking up and trying to restrain the befuddled goats is enough to cause vertigo in some weak-stomached souls.

Alas, most of the vultures are now extinct in India. 95% disappeared in the last five years or so, due to some antibiotics that were fed to the cows/buffalos and that were then ingested by the vultures after them cattle kicked the bucket. Not sure what this means for the Parsis' tower of silence in Bombay....

#21
commonsense
July 4, 2008
09:14 PM

I love the advert that popped up here. "when you buy counterfeit goods, you support child labour". As in, if you buy the genuine shit you support non-child labour. moralizing crap, just like all those messages in the hotel bathrooms about "it's up to you to save this world. please use your towels until they stink sky high", accompanied by images of lush green forests and cheetahs etc.

#22
Ravi Kulkarni
July 5, 2008
06:53 PM

Dear CS and SS,

Good discussion here. I am on CS' side here. I agree that stealing can't be justified. However, it is not a true free market economy here in the US (and for the most part, world over). The dice so loaded in favor of the big companies, I would support some amount of bootlegging and piracy. There is no other way to teach them a lesson, our elected govt is not upto that task.

Ravi

#23
smallsquirrel
July 5, 2008
07:32 PM

ravi, you're not getting it. those movie takes millions to make and most of the time the movie houses do not recoup the money they laid out on them . there are some things that are way overpriced,but movies and music are not those things! plus, when you buy pirated items, you're not hurting the bottom line of those big companies, you're hurting the artists themselves or people who work on the movies.. mostly the little people. you're not "sticking it to the man"... you're just stealing!

#24
commonsense
July 5, 2008
08:08 PM

i don't have the figures handy, but buying pirated music and movies does hurt the companies, but not really. instead of making a few hundred million, they make a few thousands less. the artists are invariably ripped off, except for the legally savvy ones. the mark-ups are way too high. i wish i had the time to delve into the figures, but i recall reading a number of pieces on this.

just like all the copyright laws for photocopying journal articles etc. publishers sometimes charge something like 10,0000 dollars for a year's subscription for medical journals. aditi would know this. and do the authors of the articles get any money? nah! when putting a course pack together, the poor students have to pay more for the copyright fee than the cost of photocopying the articles they need for their courses. and no, the authors of those articles make nothing.

the dice is way too strongly loaded in favour of making loads of money. same with the whole debate over patented vs. generic drugs for major ailments...all companies want to claim that they are providing the best and they need to keep the costs up for more research etc. etc. They do have a point, but my point is that they are stretching the point beyond fairness when it comes to robbing others blind on pain of proprietary control.

an interesting title on this is _Copyright and Copy Wrongs_ and the movement, like Open Source Software and Open Access, called "CopyLeft".

I am still not defending "stealing", but claiming that SOME corporations (not ALL) do protest too much while claiming they are concerned about child-labour, the environment etc. etc....

#25
commonsense
July 5, 2008
08:56 PM

Hey SS,

I just remembered this "non-scientific" anectode. About ten years ago, I spent three days with Vinton Cerf (one of the inventors of the internet) and John Perry Barlow (the founder of the electronic frontier foundation) AND the songwriter for the rock group, _The Grateful Dead_ (boast alert!!). John Barlow said, unlike other rock groups and the recording companies they were enslaved to, _The Grateful Dead_ actually enouraged fans to make live recordings of their concerts. The result was the opposite of what the companies expected. Fans recorded the songs in live concert, got hooked to them and then went out to buy the commercial, better quality tapes. This was a business innovation, compared to the other rock groups and companies that took a punitive approach. That was then. Now, the digital era, with rewritable CDS/DVD's etc. is radically redifing old notions of bottlegging, pirating etc. Corporations that are stuck in a time-warp will lose out big time, while others such as youtube, with downloadable features now are the wave of the future. Yes, it is all still very volatile, fluid, liquid, but just a few years ago, technology companies were fighting tooth and nail to PREVENT the development of recordable CD's, DVD's etc., singing the same old tune about the artists getting hurt etc. The whole industry is moving on in very unexpected and sometimes expected ways. It is no longer such a linear scenario: recording without permission is theft. If that were the case, napster, i-tunes, recordable discs would have been still-born. After all is said and done, the price of these over-inflated beyond any fairness, will come down further and no, the corporations that are shedding tears will not totally disappear...they are way too strong and wily for that...and no, they should not disappear either...all a matter of a fine balance really

#26
smallsquirrel
July 5, 2008
09:05 PM

well, and mnay many artists are starting their own labels and encourage the sharing of their materials through many different means. that is the right of the individual artist. but it doesn't mean that when we disagree with things that we use illegal means to get around them... we should do exactly what those artists are doing and work to change the system.

#27
commonsense
July 5, 2008
10:21 PM

SS, you may not care, but I really don't disagree with you on this one. I agree that "stealing" and using "illegal" means are downright stinky. But thee is no reason to believe that corporations are exempt from such strategies. To the contrary, as any text on "white collar crime" or what is endearingly called "suite crime" clearly shows that such crimes, indeed this is what they are, are no match for "street crime", illegal downloading etc.

Artists whose work/movies are bootlegged are already raking in the big bucks and they really don't lose much. The stereotypical starving artists are usually flattered that somebody is actually bootlegging their stuff.

As for "brand name" goods, the name of the game really is to somehow prevent the riff-raff (so to speak, and that includes me) from getting their hands on this pricey stuff, as it spoils the image. Observe carefully an Armani or Gucci boutique. It is designed to intimidate those who would not imagine stepping in. The store clerks are trained be rude to those who they think will just buy the stuff once and in the process spoil the symbolic value of their product. All this is well documented in "management literature" and can be observed first hand too. A few years ago, a group of riff-raff who called themselves "the yobs" in the UK, decided on Burberry as their favourite substitute for lack of self-esteem. The value of Burberry plummeted. The non-riff-raff stoppd buying their products for a while. Recently Jaguar stopped producing their lowest end cars as the dreaded riff-raffs were buying and flaunting them. Recall the hoo-ha over an indian company buying Jaguar and Land Rover. It was as if the world as we know is was going to end. Why? Jaguar would still be Jaguar and LR would still be Land Rover. Why? The perceived decline in symbolic value. All a replay of the time when Japan and then Korea were buying up other brands...

LV bags are the biggest rip-offs, being the most highly priced piece of non-leather (except for a select few pieces) rexine, bought only for the intoxicating LV symbol. Knock-offs of LV, Prada or Rolexes, whatever, are bought primarily by folks who could never afford to buy the real stuff, so they do not really "steal"; what they do is this: in the eyes of the elites for who such products are essential for the lagging self-esteem, items within the reach of the masses lose their appeal. This is exactly what these companies are afraid off....not child labour or saving the environment etc. etc. etc.

Not that I presume you do not know all this and I do not at all intend to be self-righteous. I do enjoy some luxury once in a while. But I really don't feel too sorry for these mega-gouging corporations who are now jumping on the morality bandwagon to keep their coffer overflowing.

#28
commonsense
July 5, 2008
10:24 PM

SS, you may not care, but I really don't disagree with you on this one. I agree that "stealing" and using "illegal" means are downright stinky. But thee is no reason to believe that corporations are exempt from such strategies. To the contrary, as any text on "white collar crime" or what is endearingly called "suite crime" clearly shows that such crimes, indeed this is what they are, are no match for "street crime", illegal downloading etc.

Artists whose work/movies are bootlegged are already raking in the big bucks and they really don't lose much. The stereotypical starving artists are usually flattered that somebody is actually bootlegging their stuff.

As for "brand name" goods, the name of the game really is to somehow prevent the riff-raff (so to speak, and that includes me) from getting their hands on this pricey stuff, as it spoils the image. Observe carefully an Armani or Gucci boutique. It is designed to intimidate those who would not imagine stepping in. The store clerks are trained be rude to those who they think will just buy the stuff once and in the process spoil the symbolic value of their product. All this is well documented in "management literature" and can be observed first hand too. A few years ago, a group of riff-raff who called themselves "the yobs" in the UK, decided on Burberry as their favourite substitute for lack of self-esteem. The value of Burberry plummeted. The non-riff-raff stoppd buying their products for a while. Recently Jaguar stopped producing their lowest end cars as the dreaded riff-raffs were buying and flaunting them. Recall the hoo-ha over an indian company buying Jaguar and Land Rover. It was as if the world as we know is was going to end. Why? Jaguar would still be Jaguar and LR would still be Land Rover. Why? The perceived decline in symbolic value. All a replay of the time when Japan and then Korea were buying up other brands...

LV bags are the biggest rip-offs, being the most highly priced piece of non-leather (except for a select few pieces) rexine, bought only for the intoxicating LV symbol. Knock-offs of LV, Prada or Rolexes, whatever, are bought primarily by folks who could never afford to buy the real stuff, so they do not really "steal"; what they do is this: in the eyes of the elites for who such products are essential for the lagging self-esteem, items within the reach of the masses lose their appeal. This is exactly what these companies are afraid off....not child labour or saving the environment etc. etc. etc.

Not that I presume you do not know all this and I do not at all intend to be self-righteous. I do enjoy some luxury once in a while. But I really don't feel too sorry for these mega-gouging corporations who are now jumping on the morality bandwagon to keep their coffers overflowing and then some. It's all about the symbolic value of things. Oops, I do sound bloody self-righteous! Apologies in advance.

#29
commonsense
July 5, 2008
10:29 PM

SS, you may not care, but I really don't disagree with you on this one. I agree that "stealing" and using "illegal" means are downright stinky. But there is no reason why corporations should get away from stealing and engaging in illegal behaviour. There is a reason why anti-monopoly laws, anti-price fixing laws are in place, even though they are fairly toothless. To the contrary, as any text on "white collar crime" or what is endearingly called "suite crime" clearly shows that such crimes, indeed this is what they are, are no match for "street crime", illegal downloading etc.

Artists whose work/movies are bootlegged are already raking in the big bucks and they really don't lose much. The stereotypical starving artists are usually flattered that somebody is actually bootlegging their stuff.

As for "brand name" goods, the name of the game really is to somehow prevent the riff-raff (so to speak, and that includes me) from getting their hands on this pricey stuff, as it spoils the image. Observe carefully an Armani or Gucci boutique. It is designed to intimidate those who would not imagine stepping in. The store clerks are trained be rude to those who they think will just buy the stuff once and in the process spoil the symbolic value of their product. All this is well documented in "management literature" and can be observed first hand too. A few years ago, a group of riff-raff who called themselves "the yobs" in the UK, decided on Burberry as their favourite substitute for lack of self-esteem. The value of Burberry plummeted. The non-riff-raff stoppd buying their products for a while. Recently Jaguar stopped producing their lowest end cars as the dreaded riff-raffs were buying and flaunting them. Recall the hoo-ha over an indian company buying Jaguar and Land Rover. It was as if the world as we know is was going to end. Why? Jaguar would still be Jaguar and LR would still be Land Rover. Why? The perceived decline in symbolic value. All a replay of the time when Japan and then Korea were buying up other brands...

LV bags are the biggest rip-offs, being the most highly priced piece of non-leather (except for a select few pieces) rexine, bought only for the intoxicating LV symbol. Knock-offs of LV, Prada or Rolexes, whatever, are bought primarily by folks who could never afford to buy the real stuff, so they do not really "steal"; what they do is this: in the eyes of the elites for who such products are essential for the lagging self-esteem, items within the reach of the masses lose their appeal. This is exactly what these companies are afraid off....not child labour or saving the environment etc. etc. etc.

Not that I presume you do not know all this and I do not at all intend to be self-righteous. I do enjoy some luxury once in a while. But I really don't feel too sorry for these mega-gouging corporations who are now jumping on the morality bandwagon to keep their coffers overflowing and then some. It's all about the symbolic value of things. Oops, I do sound bloody self-righteous! Apologies in advance.

#30
commonsense
July 5, 2008
10:38 PM

damn, i am triply (is there such a word?) self-righteous? apologies to the editors and to the readers. and to the child-labourers who slave to convert my keystrokes into code, then into visuals.

#31
Ravi Kulkarni
July 5, 2008
11:12 PM

Dear SS,

In the same vein as CS, I don't support stealing, but when the dice is so loaded against the layperson, there is some justification for a rebellion. First I will give you an analogy.

Historically there have been revolutions, such as the French revolution, in which the masses decided to take the matter into their own hands, because the ruling class was perceived to be unjust. If you think the present situation is different, think again. Most of the laws made in this country and many other so-called democracies, including India, are totally influenced by one lobby or the other. While there is some lip service paid to the "good" of the citizen, the corporate lobbies are way too powerful, as they control all the three branches of the govt. Just observe how the supreme court often rules in favor of the corporations (remember Exxon Valdez?).

The powerful media control a lot of the outlets, such as radio stations, movie halls and the publishing companies. So it has not been that easy for an independent minded artist to come out with his or her own production. Thanks to the internet that's slowly changing for the better. Remember the hoopla about Dixie Chicks' political comments and the subsequent boycott by the Clearchannel owned radio stations?

In addition to their stranglehold on the outlets, they also control the legislative, the executive agenda as well as the judicial agenda by lobbying, corruption and other pressure tactics. So, while it is true that they pour millions into productions, it is also true that they pour further millions into influencing the decision makers (such as doctors) so that laypeople are forever disadvantaged.

This is runaway capitalism at its best. It is not just the media, but it has taken root everywhere you look. Whether it is defense, health, energy, education, infrastructure the same theme repeats over and over again. This is why I support Obama and not Hillary, but it remains to be seen whether he will be any better. If these forces are restrained by people now, soon it will be too late for the US and perhaps for a large part of the world.

Regards,

Ravi

#32
smallsquirrel
July 5, 2008
11:27 PM

yeah , sorry guys... we're not talking necessities here... we're talking "luxury" items. I simply don't have any sympathy.

#33
commonsense
July 5, 2008
11:31 PM

temporal:

""whether you buy a cheap piaget watch to impress or a knocked down gucci or a pirated programme....it is stepping on the "rights" of the copyright owner

such actions deprive the rightful owners of the patents return on their investment"'

all so true Temporal. However (and there's always a however) one should not and I don't think you do, assume that all laws are just just because they are on the law books! I mean, do I really violate anyone's copyrights just because i go up to a photocopier to copy an article in a library so I can take it home and pore over it in the toilet? Yet, most copiers in libraries have all these dire warnings about intellectual theft etc. etc. I am sure down the road, some corporations might even charge us royalities for rememebering what we have read, since we can reproduce it thru memory and therefore violate their proprietary rights. There is no end to this logic...even phrases and sentences are now being copyrighted, as we well know, "just do it"!, "I'm Loving it!" etc. etc. So, in the digital age, the question of "what is a document" is moot!Considering that almost everyone, including me is simply recycling ideas (also known as "plagiarism") even though we may not consciously do it nor recognize it as such, I am not quite sure what "copyright" or "copywrong" or "copyleft" quite means! Seriously, not being frivolous here!

#34
Ravi Kulkarni
July 5, 2008
11:39 PM

Dear SS,

Point well taken, but there is a fine line, and the runway capitalism knows no such bounds.

Ravi

#35
commonsense
July 6, 2008
12:04 AM

Ravi Kulkarni,

Thanks for your comments. It is as I see it, looking at the same coin from different angles. I think none of us disagree with each other (how about this slimy strategy of deflating criticism from SS and Temporal? :))

#36
Ravi Kulkarni
July 6, 2008
12:13 AM

Dear CS,

Shhhh, quietly. Don't give away all the tricks in one blog.

:)


Ravi

#37
Deepti Lamba
URL
July 6, 2008
01:13 AM

A bag is a bag at the end of the day and a diamond is no more than compressed carbon. I rather buy electronics with the same kind of money.



#38
smallsquirrel
July 6, 2008
09:20 AM

yo... no one deflated my criticism! LOL.

#39
commonsense
July 6, 2008
09:53 AM

SS,

Really, we are looking at both sides of the same coin. (You, however, happen to be peering at it from the wrong angle :) ;)

#40
commonsense
July 6, 2008
09:54 AM

SS,

Really, we are looking at both sides of the same coin. (You, however, happen to looking at the wrong side :) ;)

#41
commonsense
July 6, 2008
09:58 AM

together with me, my pc is going nuts

#42
smallsquirrel
July 6, 2008
09:59 AM

hmmm, I think it might be a bit more confusing than that though. dunno. anyway, yeah. whatever, stealing. bad. ugh.

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