a peek inside the fishbowl

16 Apr, 2013

Copycats and content thieves

Posted by andrea tomkins in: parenting|Publishing/writing/career stuff|Yaktivism

Awhile back I had a conversation with a young woman about her habit of downloading music without paying for it. She really didn’t think it was a big deal, after all, record companies make ZILLIONS of dollars right?

Hmm. Okaaaay. Maybe they’re the richest folks on the planet, but what about the writer of the song? How does illegally downloading a song affect that person? And how different is ripping a song of the Internet from pocketing a tube of lipgloss at the drugstore?

I don’t want to generalize but I’ve encountered way too many young people who don’t seem to understand that just because something is on the Internet, it doesn’t mean it’s there for the taking. I’ve also had to deal with this recently as it pertains to photography too, and as a person who creates content for a living, I am rather sensitive to the issue of people taking stuff that isn’t theirs. It’s wrong – and it’s stealing – no matter what kind of spin you put on it.

Anyway, yes. It’s been something I’ve been thinking a lot about, and it’s actually something that we talk a lot around here at Casa Fishbowl. You can read about how we’ve broached the topic over at MediaSmarts.ca this week.

I’d love to know if you have discussed copyright with your child. Like many issues that fall under the GENERAL LIFE EDUCATION category, it’s important to start those conversations when they’re little, because when they hit their teens, preaching, nagging, and finger wagging might fall on deaf ears. Sigh.

Related: Have you ever wondered if song writers can support themselves off of the royalties for one song? Well, here’s the answer you were looking for. And it’s pretty surprising.

1 Response to "Copycats and content thieves"

1 | Bob

April 16th, 2013 at 7:07 pm


It probably doesn’t surprise you to see a comment from me here. It’s easy to look at Bieber or Rihanna or Taylor Swift and the people who are the subjects of the hype machine and go “wow, they’re all Richie McRichersons.”

Here’s a news flash. Many of the people who you see on the cover of NOW in Toronto or Hour in Ottawa or are struggling to get by. They have day jobs as dog walkers or graphic designers or music teachers.

The average indie musician in Ontario makes less than $8K from music.

There are people (like me) who put on house concerts purely to ensure that indie artists get good gigs with clean sheets and good food and a “listening crowd.” And when I talk to people about those concerts, I say “BUY THE CD.” A lot of the time, the CDs artists sell from the stage are the difference between sleeping in the car and sleeping in a motel.

Record companies did a lot to alienate people, there’s no doubt. And they’re still jerks a lot of the time. But staealing music does way more damage to the artist than it does to the company.


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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark. We have two daughters: Emma (19) and Sarah (17). I am the managing editor of our community newspaper, the Kitchissippi Times. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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