Author Topic: Downloading Music and Rights  (Read 41078 times)

ffcal

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Re: Downloading Music and Rights
« Reply #60 on: April 22, 2009, 12:52:54 AM »
I'm wondering how many people who say "taking something from me that I did not freely give to you is stealing" also disapprove of the income tax?   ;D 
Oh wait that's right... that tax money just goes back to help the poor people of society... right. 

Sorry Judd, not really following you on this one.  The analogy I would make is the person who sneaks into a concert that others paid for.  The logical extension of your argument would be that that's OK, too.  But why stop there?  Why not sneak onto a flight that others paid for?  No harm, no foul?  Sounds like way too much relativism for me.

Another thing.  At various times, we pay for services that may be intangible, like medical advice.  It has value, though not a physical form.

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« Last Edit: April 22, 2009, 01:24:50 AM by ffcal »

Immersion

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Re: Downloading Music and Rights
« Reply #61 on: April 22, 2009, 01:29:35 AM »


I believe art, thought, and intellectual property in general is something which is too much important to be treated like a simple commodity. Obtaining the essence of a work (the actual music of a cd, the text of an e-book) does not constitute theft according to my ethics, and that comes from someone that is a musician and a label owner at the same time (I have financed about 7 releases in total, some mine, some of other people). While all the arguments made in favour of the intellectual property holders are no doubt correct - one should not produce something without receiving back something, again) I believe the cultural benefits attainted by the "liberation" of art and information are way more important. I've been a part of the generation that grew up with music piracy (I'm 25 years old) and I just own a 10% percent of all the music I have ever listened; being totally honest with myself, I have to say that I could never have enough money in my life to attain the same amount of musical knowledge. And I own about 800 cds, Lps, and cassettes altogether... I have also produced a great part of my music with the help of pirated music software (I know talking about these things in a public forum is a taboo, but I feel it's very important for this conversation). I would never have made the music I've made or have the knowledge I have without internet and file sharing. And exactly the same happens with most people in my generation, who I noticed have became people with quite high knowledge, character and artistic thought because of this situation.


Well written, I agree with you there.... We share the same philosophy of cultural liberation...and in general..we live in the same world....

Brian Bieniowski

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Re: Downloading Music and Rights
« Reply #62 on: April 22, 2009, 05:55:05 AM »
I believe art, thought, and intellectual property in general is something which is too much important to be treated like a simple commodity. Obtaining the essence of a work (the actual music of a cd, the text of an e-book) does not constitute theft according to my ethics, and that comes from someone that is a musician and a label owner at the same time (I have financed about 7 releases in total, some mine, some of other people). While all the arguments made in favour of the intellectual property holders are no doubt correct - one should not produce something without receiving back something, again) I believe the cultural benefits attainted by the "liberation" of art and information are way more important. I've been a part of the generation that grew up with music piracy (I'm 25 years old) and I just own a 10% percent of all the music I have ever listened; being totally honest with myself, I have to say that I could never have enough money in my life to attain the same amount of musical knowledge. And I own about 800 cds, Lps, and cassettes altogether... I have also produced a great part of my music with the help of pirated music software (I know talking about these things in a public forum is a taboo, but I feel it's very important for this conversation). I would never have made the music I've made or have the knowledge I have without internet and file sharing. And exactly the same happens with most people in my generation, who I noticed have became people with quite high knowledge, character and artistic thought because of this situation.

I thought I'd respond to this one, because I'm ostensibly almost part of your generation (I'm 32) and because I find this kind of talk of alternate ethics and cultural/technical appropriation sneakily narcissistic and worth bringing up.  I'm not going to harp on the ethics issues because this part of the argument is clear: if you don't conform to common laws, even if you're right (and I don't believe you are), you are still "jumping somebody else's train" so to speak.  You shouldn't steal what doesn't belong to you, and the end does not justify the means.  The art you are creating and the enjoyment you are having are based on somebody's labor—labor they expected to get paid to do, to feed families and pay taxes and drive compact cars to work to support their art.

I think the more interesting thing to discuss is a not-so-subtle implication of entitlement (which is absolutely generational), and also the argument that these things should be made free (software, the world's music supply, etc.) so that you can create art with total freedom and artistic abandon, and thereby advance art and human culture through your own efforts.  Am I misreading what you're typing there?

Ignoring the fact that protecting intellectual property (and I'm not talking RIAA here) has undoubtedly benefited more artists over the years than it has suppressed (first example that springs to mind is the terrible case of the creators of Superman), there is the plain fact that all artists prior to today's generation managed to somehow create great art, music, films, and culture without every part of culture at their disposal (and ignoring that limitations might create better art than a lack of limitations would).  Perhaps we are moving more toward an art culture of synthesis, where you take preexisting things and make new things from them ... somehow, I don't think so.  Guys who sample old records are still making rap and techno, etc.  Not exactly great leaps forward in terms of advancing art now that both have been around for 20+ years.

What baffles me a bit is the implication that this New Art to be created is so Necessary and so Important, in this age of cultural overproduction (let's admit it—do we really "need" as much ambient music as we already have?), that it is somehow okay to overthrow the current structure where people are able to earn money for their artistic pursuits—which may not work, since the advent of the internet, but which is able to change to work better over time, if run properly—to have that imaginary art to come that will change the earth?  And you need 8000 LPs and 15000 books to do it, and you need them for free?  Surely, with talent and effort, 8 LPs and 12 books would be enough ... how much did Picasso have?  And how much of those 8000 and 15000 can you truly digest and use, given that you, like most of us, are probably not a genius?

Really, it just sounds, to me, (and I don't know you guys at all, of course), that you only want to do what you want to do, you want instant gratification, and you don't want to have to take the necessary steps (paying for music and software and media) to do so.  I think this magical future art is just an excuse—I'm still waiting to see it.

Bill Binkelman

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Re: Downloading Music and Rights
« Reply #63 on: April 22, 2009, 06:07:59 AM »
My post has been moved - by me - to a new thread - thanks to APK for the suggestion/prodding...
« Last Edit: April 22, 2009, 01:25:20 PM by Bill Binkelman »

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Re: Downloading Music and Rights
« Reply #64 on: April 22, 2009, 06:18:31 AM »
Bill: you could start your own topic on this if you want to get clear feedback.
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Re: Downloading Music and Rights
« Reply #65 on: April 22, 2009, 06:20:22 AM »
"Really, it just sounds, to me, (and I don't know you guys at all, of course), that you only want to do what you want to do, you want instant gratification, and you don't want to have to take the necessary steps (paying for music and software and media) to do so.  I think this magical future art is just an excuse—I'm still waiting to see it."

Well said, Brian.
And as you also pointed out this future is not just about "freeing music" but pretty much freeing anything that can be taken for free digitally -- including movies, software, and books ... and in the latter cases it probably includes non-art works ('cause, hey, its all pirated). This isn't a utopian vision, its not a rational vision at all, its just taking stuff for free in the name of sticking it to the man .... even if "the man" is actually just a guy in the street like you and me, and not some capitalist cigar smoking rich git.

I also suspect that the internet of the future might vary quite a bit from its current very open trajectory.
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Paul Vnuk (Ma Ja Le)

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Re: Downloading Music and Rights
« Reply #66 on: April 22, 2009, 06:27:34 AM »
I also resent the woah is me attitude of, if I did not "steal" software for free, I would not be able to create music. Boo Hoo, if it is that important to you, get a second job for 6 months and save up to buy the software. If someone wants to play guitar is it ok to steal one as it is their fundamental right to be a musician? You are right, this is 100% generational. A generation who has grown up never being told no, or that there are rules or boundaries or ethics other than your own. In know this is a generalization, but sadly not far from the truth.

...and Bill please start a new topic as I am very interested in your discussion.

PV
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Wayne Higgins

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Re: Downloading Music and Rights
« Reply #67 on: April 22, 2009, 07:02:51 AM »
I really like threads like this.  Everyone jumps in and I get lots of ideas.  I also start researching things on other sites to see what is going down elsewhere. 

I'm not sure how generational it all is.  I usually agree with PV, but I seem to remember from the 1960's that there were quite a few people that seemed to confuse freedom in life with free without payment.  If you want something, you have to pay for it.  If you take it without paying for it, it is stealing.   It's rumored that God wrote that one down on a stone tablet a few years back.  It's up to you to offer something for free.  I don't think it hurts anyone to offer something for free that isn't being bought anyway.

OK, I'll humor the generational idea, but I will have to throw in the geographical one as well.  For example Paul is American, Immersion is Swedish.  In America, most of us work.  Some of us love money, some of us love things.  Some of us collect things for the sake of collecting.  I have never been to Sweden, and can't say anything about the place or the people.  I will only comment on Immersions statement of young people who don't want to work, that want to live in freedom.  What?

The idea that there is already enough ambient, rap, books, art, in the world, you might as well put a gun to our heads and put us in the work camps to dig ditches until we die.  I have never read more bullshit in one statement in my life.  Sorry if I come off as strongly opinionated on that one, but hopefully, there will NEVER be enough art in the world, let alone too much.

An argument that was discussed at the conference in Nashville consisted of one side saying that work should be protected, while another side said that the current licensing system was constricting the artist.  I can't answer that one myself.  Yes, currently, it is nearly impossible for a collage artist to do any work.  Rap, hip hop, mixing has become a question of is it theft or art.  I don't appreciate any talent in slicing and dicing other peoples art to make something new, but that's just my opinion.  The scary part is that it is getting to the point that if a jazz musician is improving and throws in a bar from previously written music, that musician is liable.  Ouch.

ditto for me too, Bill, start a new thread!

One more thing, http://www.hypnos.com/smf/index.php?topic=1842.0
Last nights live performance.  Free, no t-shirts were sold.  I even bought my own diner there.  The person responsible for playing there sent me a nice note about it this morning.

Keep at it guys. ;)
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Brian Bieniowski

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Re: Downloading Music and Rights
« Reply #68 on: April 22, 2009, 07:12:50 AM »
The idea that there is already enough ambient, rap, books, art, in the world, you might as well put a gun to our heads and put us in the work camps to dig ditches until we die.  I have never read more bullshit in one statement in my life.  Sorry if I come off as strongly opinionated on that one, but hopefully, there will NEVER be enough art in the world, let alone too much.

I figured that might rankle a few folks on a board populated by many ambient musicians. ;)  Still I think it's a facet to the topic worth considering.  Not that you SHOULDN'T be able to create music, etc.—that's not something I'm suggesting.  But I am interested in thinking about the effects of endless choice and endless variety on beings who are not necessarily psychologically equipped to "handle" or process either.  Is having 30 different styles of jeans to choose from in a store "healthy" or "necessary" to be a happy human?  It may be an uncomfortable topic, but it's one to consider.  I believe there was a book written about this very topic recently—I'll try to find the title.

Brian Bieniowski

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Re: Downloading Music and Rights
« Reply #69 on: April 22, 2009, 07:20:14 AM »
Here it is: The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less

http://tiny.pl/zc8v

Obviously, personal limits come into play, too.  Do I really "need" 2500 sci-fi paperbacks?  Why, yes, yes I do.   ;D

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Re: Downloading Music and Rights
« Reply #70 on: April 22, 2009, 07:21:51 AM »
Stuff is more precious & special when there is less of it.
Proliferation is not necessarily a good thing.
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Wayne Higgins

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Re: Downloading Music and Rights
« Reply #71 on: April 22, 2009, 07:31:08 AM »
Brian Bieniowski
Quote
Not that you SHOULDN'T be able to create music, etc.—that's not something I'm suggesting.  But I am interested in thinking about the effects of endless choice and endless variety on beings who are not necessarily psychologically equipped to "handle" or process either.  Is having 30 different styles of jeans to choose from in a store "healthy" or "necessary" to be a happy human?  It may be an uncomfortable topic, but it's one to consider.  I believe there was a book written about this very topic recently—I'll try to find the title.

Oh, OK.  I got it.  Sorry for putting the gloves on.  (I rode the Vulcan to work this morning, brings out the beast in me.) 8)

I will have to agree, considering that the biggest dilemma in my dad's inhieritance was "What the @#!$ am I going to do with 800 Hot Wheels cars?!?" 
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Re: Downloading Music and Rights
« Reply #72 on: April 22, 2009, 08:15:06 AM »
I have to say that these last responses were the kind of responses I was expecting while writing that first post, I knew it wouldn't make me exactly popular here, but I think it is important that the "other side" is represented in this argument. I do not primarily consider art as labour, but as an expression, that does not "demand" back anything of material nature, except communication and an exchange of ideas, perceptions and experiences. I'm not infuriated when someone "illegaly" downloads my music, but I am on the opposite very glad, in that it succeeds in finding an audience, in that it succeeds in affecting human beings even in such a small ways. That reflects my personal opinion on how art "should" be, but, of course, the problem (and I acknowledge that) is that not everyone shares it. I wrote in the first post that when someone offers something, then one is entitled to demand "something" back. This "something" is a financial compensation for a lot of people, which is something that even though I don't share, I try to respect, and that's why I still continue to buy (a lot of) albums to this day, as I have clearly stated in the first post (this also applies to software - I have donated to and registered some plug ins that I regularly use, and will soon buy the DAW I have came to use more after a period of experimentation). Is listening to some music that you're not going to end purchasing because you didn't find it good enough that much of a crime? It could be considered as a "spiritual crime" perhaps, but if some guy meets Steve Roach tommorow and tells to the man "Hey, I've downloaded most of your music and I was deeply affected by it, it changed the way I see music" do you think he'll be mad at him? I don't know, I can't speak for the man. But I know that this fan will eventually buy some of Steve Roach's music, because he'll eventually understand that art except expression IS also labour, and if the musician doesn't get back at least of portion of what he gives back to the public, he'll soon cease to do so. And if one doesn't understand this, he should be made so. Not with lawsuits, but with reason. Does this sound idealist and idyllic? Perhaps it does, but its realization constitutes a world that is culturally, artistically and ethically much more advanced, in my personal opinion. Brian Bienowski is correct in that it is not necessary to have everything at your disposal in order to create great art (or, as a "consumer", to be affected on a personal and cultural level) but I think it is obvious that a greater availability only widens these potentials, it doesn't hurt them. It is not necessary to digest all of this art, one can tell soon enough if something's worth your attention (downloading some music works kind of like a preview anyway, like listening to some streaming songs off myspace - if it's not your thing, you'll delete it right away). Of course, all of this has negative aspects as well, overconsumerism being the most obvious one. As Paul Vnuk also said, the amoralism of the generation that has learned to take and never give back is another one. These are major problems that deserve to be fought however, rather than working as an easy excuse to revert to the previous situation.

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Re: Downloading Music and Rights
« Reply #73 on: April 22, 2009, 08:18:38 AM »
Still at it, huh?  ;)

Well, if any one on this forum would like to dialogue off-line about this topic in a tangential way (or I can open a new topic), I am making a formal presentation at INATS (Intl New Age Trade Show) at the end of June with Suzanne Doucet, titled "How to Sell CDs in a Download Society." I'm starting to piece together my data and will also be contacting some folks via email asking if they want to participate in a survey monkey about sales of physical CDs versus digital, etc. My presentation will focus on what store owners (who make up the bulk of the audience) can do to compete with downloads, e.g. atmosphere, service, etc.

Anyway, if this is of interest to any of you, I'd welcome your opinions, feedback, including your thoughts as a CONSUMER of music (e.g. what would entice you to go to a store to buy music), I'd love to have some of your time between now and the early part of June.

Until then, carry on, chaps. This isn't the most entertaining reading in this topic (so many points repeated over and over) but I can't blame you all for your passion. At least you guys are worked up about something. :)

Very interesting Bill!  Speaking of the whole Store thing, what does everyone think about the used record store concept?  This has always intrigued me in regards to this topic.  So everyone is concerned with piracy and the record labels and artists losing money from the sales, but once these discs are sold to the Used Record Store, those profits cease to exist for them yet people make money off the sale of the disc!  Now days, you can even sell used MP3 online that were legally purchased!  I have had friends who were are real purists and always want to make sure that the artists get their fare share, but then turn around and buy all their discs at used record stores!  Make to sense to me!  Since Bill brought up the physical store into the topic, I thought I'd see what others had to say.  Do you buy used CDs?  Do you send money to the artists for their cut?  Probably not...  Again, as we have seen, there are so many dimensions to this issue!

Best,
Nathan
« Last Edit: April 22, 2009, 08:20:48 AM by bunkdata »

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Re: Downloading Music and Rights
« Reply #74 on: April 22, 2009, 08:32:39 AM »
I don't disagree with the suggestion there's a sort of glut of ambient music in recent years.  I really can't keep up with everything coming out recently, so I mostly  try to keep track of the work of artists in the following order:

1. Current Hypnos artists
3. Prospective Hypnos artists
2. Former Hypnos artists who are still active
3. Artists whose work comes highly recommended, usually on this Forum
4. Artists whose work is on labels I respect
5. Everybody else

#5 is such a huge category that I barely have a chance to dip a toe in that water, and concentrate on keeping up as much as possible with the first 4.

I don't know how radio DJs or music reviewers sort through all the stuff.  Every time I log into myspace I have another dozen inquiries from people I've never heard of saying "I make ambient music, maybe you'd like to release my CD?  Please listen to my myspace jukebox clips." 

In the old days, it was a P.O. box full of DAT tape demos from people I've never heard of... then after that, a P.O. box full of CDR demos from people I've never heard of.
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Re: Downloading Music and Rights
« Reply #75 on: April 22, 2009, 08:48:14 AM »
Is listening to some music that you're not going to end purchasing because you didn't find it good enough that much of a crime? It could be considered as a "spiritual crime" perhaps, but if some guy meets Steve Roach tommorow and tells to the man "Hey, I've downloaded most of your music and I was deeply affected by it, it changed the way I see music" do you think he'll be mad at him? I don't know, I can't speak for the man.

I can't really speak for Steve, but I feel pretty certain he would be shocked to have someone tell him this.  If someone told me they were "deeply affected" by my work, but they had never bothered to purchase a single CD, I'd think here's a pretty selfish person who not only doesn't purchase most of their music, but doesn't even support the work that really means something to them.

I honestly CAN see how people can rationalize pirating the newest Britney Spears album or whatever... she's already a millionaire, how much of a difference will it make if I buy one copy, the major labels are giant evil corporations anyway, etc. 

I can even see how people can take a "try before you buy" attitude, downloading a lot of material and buying legit copies of the stuff they like most.

But the idea that people can rationalize pirating the music of an indie artist or label that's bringing in so little money as to barely break even, one of their favorite artists or labels... how does that rationalization go, exactly?  The $12 is more important to me than it is to him, besides they didn't actually SEE me download it so there's no proof, anyway the record industry is so corrupt you have to fight against ALL commercial releases, or what?

I know you were just offering an example, but I'd say you probably shouldn't walk up to Steve Roach or anyone else and say "Your work deeply affected me but not enough that I was willing to sacrifice anything at all in order to obtain it."
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Wayne Higgins

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Re: Downloading Music and Rights
« Reply #76 on: April 22, 2009, 09:15:58 AM »
Buying a used cd is like buying anything used.  Should Ford get a share of the money made off the third sale of a 1978 Mustang?  I buy used vinyl because you can't find Canned Heat in the new vinyl section of the store.  As far as used cd's, I have complained many times about going into cd stores and finding 10 different versions of The Doobbie Brothers Greatest Hits, but not one copy of "The Captain and Me", which I have to find on new vinyl.  The old fashioned Wayne would rather buy music in stores that searching the internet for a download or even finding the disc on Amazon.  Which is the reason why I stopped buying cds over the past year.  There is nothing to buy.

What infuriated me was to know that I went through the effort to send my discs to CDBaby, paid the money for the bar code, did everything the way they wanted me too, because they seemed like "cool guys pulling for the musician", and then found that when Mirko bought his copy, they sent it to him without the jewel case.  So, what did they do with it?  Ok, so it's only 10 cents, but...WTF?  The thieves are everywhere.

 5. Everybody else.
I sometimes think that the only people who listen to ambient music make ambient music.
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Re: Downloading Music and Rights
« Reply #77 on: April 22, 2009, 09:18:51 AM »
I know you were just offering an example, but I'd say you probably shouldn't walk up to Steve Roach or anyone else and say "Your work deeply affected me but not enough that I was willing to sacrifice anything at all in order to obtain it"

Well, the biggest problem is that this rationalization doesn't happen in the first place, because young generations have little or no interest at all in the concept of intellectual property, as they've come to consider downloading as something that's totally natural. My example was deliberately extreme (well, let's consider that this poor fan messed up, being in awe while meeting such a great musician  ;D) so as to portray my belief that personal communication can be sometimes a much greater reward than album royalties and so on. Of course mr. Steve would get shocked, but I would like to believe that he would gently suggest the guy to go buy some actual copies of his albums "because it's the right thing to do, and you know, I have to pay my bills" not tell him to f*** off or something. Then, perhaps all would go in the right way.

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Re: Downloading Music and Rights
« Reply #78 on: April 22, 2009, 10:08:03 AM »
I sometimes think that the only people who listen to ambient music make ambient music.

I know the feeling.  It's like that with science fiction readers, though I have to admit that I generally only hear from the self-avowed writers so I may be biased.  There was definitely a moment where everybody seemed to say, "Hey, I can write this stuff too!"

In regard to buying used CDs: I have to admit it's occurred to me that this digs into artist profits, yet I buy used CDs on a regular basis and used books almost exclusively unless it's comic books/graphic novels.  Oddly enough, for me, it seems to hinge on the price point of the item.  If the label sells the single-disc for $12-$15, I always purchase directly from a label or online shop (I never go to record stores any more, but that's only because they hardly carry what I want to buy).  Most of the stuff I've purchased used over the last five years was stuff that was out of print or on major labels (like a Tim Buckley or Nick Drake album, for example).  If indie labels decided that the price point for a new disc was $18 or more (and I'm extremely skeptical of this trend toward special packaging, limited editions, and collectors sets justifying inflated prices for single albums), I'd probably be more inclined to buy used when available in good condition.

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Re: Downloading Music and Rights
« Reply #79 on: April 22, 2009, 10:15:32 AM »
Buying a used cd is like buying anything used.  Should Ford get a share of the money made off the third sale of a 1978 Mustang?

I think used CD's are in a grey area.  If I spent $10 on a cd, then didn't like it, I should be able to resell it to someone else who may appreciate it.  But what if I make a copy for myself, then resell it?  A strange aspect of all this is the experience of hearing the music.  It's like seeing a play; if it sucked, do I get my money back?  I can't "resell" my experience - I saw the play, and can't "unsee" it.  Isn't that part of my risk going into it?  Places like Soleilmoon have a money-back guarantee - if you buy a disk, then don't like it, they'll give you a refund.  But what if I like it, then get bored with it in two years?  If I paid for the music, didn't I get two years of enjoyment out of it?  Am I now entitled to sell the medium, because I'm bored with the content?

Did I buy the medium, or the music?  
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