Author Topic: Downloading Music and Rights  (Read 68456 times)

michael sandler

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Re: Downloading Music and Rights
« Reply #40 on: April 21, 2009, 12:39:49 PM »
Over the years I've met a lot of big music fans who only download their music and never pay for any of it.  The trouble, aside from the obvious piracy/copyright issues, is that we've moved into a society where most people really don't care about the effort it takes to produce a memorable product...

By coincindence, the other day I saw a documentary about the 1970 Festival Express tour. What amazed me was that at each show, gangs of hippies showed up demanding free admission. Never mind the cost of putting on such a shindig or the fact that the musicians and promoters depended on that admission fee to make a living.

Same as it ever was.

MikeS

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Re: Downloading Music and Rights
« Reply #41 on: April 21, 2009, 03:36:36 PM »
That's an excellent conversation here, I've been very concerned about this matter lately, as anyone else who has even a small place in the music industry. It's obvious that everyone here is talking from their own perspective, and I don't see, in the responses to Immersion, a wilingness to understand the way of thinking that is the current, especially for the young generations, who are more accustomed to "music piracy" than anyone else. 

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.

It's also very important to be realistic; it's not music piracy that financially kills musicians, it's that people don't buy cds anymore. I would have bought exactly the same amount of music hadn't piracy existed, because the amount of money I spend in music has more or less stayed the same throughout these years, listening to a much wider amount of music has only allowed me to select much more carefully and attain only the pieces or art that are the most important to me, which I want to experience in the best audial and visual quality available. This, need to have a physical representation of something I love, and the knowledge that this system can only continue to function if the music producers receive back financial support, is what drives me to still buy music to this day, and this is exactly what I believe we, as the "music industry", should propagate to the music listeners and the world. Not the stern, conversative approach that considers downloading some music a theft, and will do everything it can in order to punish it, as all corporate labels do at this moment. The problem, of course, is that very few people think in the way that I have described, essentially because the majority's approach to art is much more superficial comparing to people in this forum, for example. The again, this is a bonus for small, specialized labels and genres. In any way, the tide has definitely changed and, independently of everyone's opinion, it doesn't seem to be going back in the immidiate future.

Musicians and labels got to find new ways in order to survive. I have personally given for free all albums of mine (as a musician, I mean) as a download to everyone that asked me; mainly because I believe that art is personal communication and this is what I was seeking at the time; however, I also provided the link to some mp3 blogs, and in result, while my work was practically unknown at that time, I recieved an influx or orders for some cassettes and cd-r I had released then. This proves that, unless the music is actually heard first, it can't be expected to sell, and that more and more people are buying music nowadays in the way that I have described: not as to listen to the music, they have already done so, but in order to attain it in the best quality available, and as a physical object which by "owning" represents their adoration towards it. Of course, it doesn't always work that way: there's a fine line between availability that helps and hurts an album. It's a very complex issue, but just think of the following: some blogs have more hits per day than a medium size ambient/drone/experimental label's website...

Finally, musicians and labels should always try to provide to the public new things that can't be reproduced. It really hurts when I see some cheap jewelcase releases with a 4-page booklet and mediocre layout: why would anyone want to own that? Also, live performances: that seems to be the only certain source of income for musicians at this time: the experience of a performance can never be really reproduced. I'd love to see performances of ambient artists but there are so few, especially of the Hypnos type, not the drone bands that are all over nowadays. And the list should definitely go on...

APK

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Re: Downloading Music and Rights
« Reply #42 on: April 21, 2009, 04:10:25 PM »
This is like starting the thread all over again.

Its a shame, buying an album used to be about the music, but now it's apparently all about the packaging :-\
« Last Edit: April 21, 2009, 04:20:15 PM by APK »
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Re: Downloading Music and Rights
« Reply #43 on: April 21, 2009, 05:08:19 PM »
Is it? I don't know, I'm not sure that everything I mentioned has been adressed before.
 
I don't think it can be just "about the packaging", even if file sharing continues to be thrive and be practised. Mp3 files that are available in blogs range around 256 kbps, which is a rather mediocre quality, at least regarding to the audiofile's needs. Also, a new digital format, that would would surpass the 44.1 khz 16 bit quality would be of great use to the industry, to do the same thing that blu-ray does to the dvd (don't forget that cds are falling and vinyl is rising because digital formats never actually surpassed true analog quality). Generally, I feel that physical media's biggest capacity for quality and immidiate access will always give them an edge over downloads, but then again, that only concers people that care about these things in the first place.

9dragons

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Re: Downloading Music and Rights
« Reply #44 on: April 21, 2009, 07:32:29 PM »
This is like starting the thread all over again.

Its a shame, buying an album used to be about the music, but now it's apparently all about the packaging :-\

I'm 36, my earliest intensive music buying time was mainly in the tape era, so I can't say this for sure, but it seems to me that with the first vinyl era, packaging played a huge role in people's enjoyment of music. Look how lavish and awesome, and how much care went into most vinyl album covers, not to mention the added value of the large image space itself. I think the death of the cd could in part be attributed to this downshift in packaging ethics. Really, we are getting much less for the same price these days. And cds certainly don't have the longevity of vinyl either. As a hyper visual and tactile person, the packaging is very important to me when I consider paying the little money I have to spare on an album. So, though I don't do the illegal download thing (I could count on one hand the amount of stuff I've downloaded, and of those albums, if I were to really like them, the real object would be purchased), the only way I can see to really fight it is to include something with your product that cannot be as easily reproduced as the musical data.

I'm just looking at the hard facts, and how small labels could perhaps overcome them.

I also see, that along with the vinyl renaissance, tapes are coming back! This is great for me, brings back some magic. How long has it been since our music had miniature screws holding its body together? Tapes used to pack a killer amount of art in such a small package. I particularly remember the multiple foldouts of those Derek Riggs cassette covers for Iron Maiden! That stuff was great. It shows me even more how depressing cd packaging has become in general. Again though, I am not saying this justifies downloading, from my personal perspective. But it may be what is driving some to take part in it.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2009, 07:34:59 PM by 9dragons »

ffcal

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Re: Downloading Music and Rights
« Reply #45 on: April 21, 2009, 09:31:27 PM »
I, too, have a fondness for vinyl and cassette, though I have to admit it's much more pleasant experience listening to Klaus Schulze and Eno on CD, as opposed to vinyl.  No more snaps, crackles and pops.

I think the decline of the CD has more to do with the fact that you can't really compete with "free."

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Paul Vnuk (Ma Ja Le)

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Re: Downloading Music and Rights
« Reply #46 on: April 21, 2009, 10:10:27 PM »
I really think Mike nailed it when he was talking about the false "noble" perception of this whole art & music being a right thing...

I am so sick of the whole "entitlement generation" with its, I deserve attitude.

All the arguments are just...justifications.

Almost every artist in history wanted to get paid and their end game goal was to SELL their work, (yes I am sure you can all state one or two who you think didn't). If not sell it then they looked for patrons to support them, even early jazz musicians did this.

Everyone needs money to survive and keep doing what they do.

So then on most forums (not this one so much as many ambient/space folks don't play live) everyone says, give the music away and then make your money by touring and merchandise. Ahhh ok, but then these same people bitch about ticket prices and the bands being greedy.

The bottom line is give me my music, make it great and give it to me cheap or free. You are trying to dictate the market based on your own values, not that value of the music or performance.

...now on to Mr. Immersion (I am proud you held your tongue John, but I cannot) you come off as self righteous and authoritarian in so many of your posts, and yet to many of us you have no clue.

You clearly want the world your way. According to you: Musicians do not deserve to get paid, we should all use cheap low end gear as that is all that today's music requires, anyone who uses a Mac is a rich, elitist idiot, we should never use compression to master and you want the secrets of creating depth of field floating...which for me raps up your clueless and arrogant package in a neat little bow. Did I miss anything?

You love to praise Steve Roach and how his music is the best there is and then you proceed to steal from him as you are not patient for the mail to arrive? (I am only borrowing this car for tonight officer, I have one on the way tomorrow). The ridiculous part is, why don't you e-mail Steve, tell him how much you love his music and then demand he give all of it to you for free as he does not deserve to make a living at it or recoup the cost of his studio gear, as you feel he should probably just use cheap software anyway...how dare he have a real synth and hi-end gear...oh wait aren't you saving up for an Eventide H-8000FW so you can have your floaty black hole reverb?

Sorry man, your arguments do not hold water or value. You just want what you feel you deserve. You need to think of an economic model in your new world order which offers, food, gear and housing to artists and musicians. Most artists and musicians I know do a better job with better tools and more importantly the free time to create it and living on ramin noodles and working a crappy 50 hr a week job may be great for a few years, no artist will sustain them selves forever in that model...but it sounds truly like you do not care.

You and your generation are not Robin Hood stealing food and money from the rich overlords to give to the poor, you are stealing works that someone else put money, blood, sweat, emotion and time into and that is something my friend that you and the world do not deserve as a right! If an artists choose to give away their craft, it is their right to do so, not the other way around.

...Mike and moderators, if this is out of line and too personal, feel free to delete it. I have vented and I will retreat again into the shadows...

Paul

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Re: Downloading Music and Rights
« Reply #47 on: April 21, 2009, 11:25:35 PM »
Immersion - It sounds like you believe that Mr Roach should have a day job too
and make music in his spare time - and that, therefore, works like "Mystic Chords"
should not exist.

I do not think so no. I am aware that too have a day job, and live an artistic life does not always work.
To be musician is a lifestyle... However, as I said, unless you have talent like Roach and do not own your own label, these is no
way you can survive on cd sells, that is the reality. Some pocket money from cd sells will not help. If you have your own label and release many cds
and you sell a lot, you might be able to survive...However, this will only work for a very few privileged artists... the common independent artist can never survive on cd sells... unless we close down internet of course, but then we still have the problem that the labels get the most part of the money....

As I said, earlier I think the state and politics is the solution....in my country the state takes responsibility...

judd stephens

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Re: Downloading Music and Rights
« Reply #48 on: April 21, 2009, 11:30:21 PM »
I've long been on the side that downloading music without the artist receiving money was unfair, or theft, bad karma, whatever the name shall be.  This thread makes me think about it deeper though.  Admittedly I don't know if I've formed this thought completely, but to what extent should the musician, or the law, decide that people can share? 

Seems like the main arguments against downloading are the artist loses money and the offense of feeling someone has stolen one's art and work.  Music has been compared to a commodity, an experience that one pays for.  Well, if I pay for that "experience", what exactly is mine, as the consumer?  And who are you to tell me who I can share that "experience" with?  I know that's a tough question to ask, trust me, but it begs the question, to what extent? 

If I share a dinner party with 10 guests while ambient music is playing, have those guests stolen something from a musician because they listened and enjoyed an experience without paying for it?  If no, why not?  Find that ridiculous, well what if I burned a few discs for some of them as a gift?  Let's say myself and a forum member have an e-mail discussion where we trade some music, as in burn it for each other.  Have we stolen something? 

Is there something deep down that judges "well sharing music is okay, as long as it doesn't affect my sales in a big way"?  Why would anonymity and ease of file sharing make that more immoral than trading tapes with friends back in the 80's?  If somehow the internet was regulated so that file-sharing was completely erradicated, wouldn't many people mail each other cd-r's and exchange that way?  Would that be less frowned upon, because it wouldn't be as prevalent and affect the artists bottom line as much?

People are saying "stealing is stealing" like that's an actual argument, and I do understand the feeling.  But if music is a commodity and experience, well they can be traded and shared.  If music is a product like so man are arguing, and I guess that's a fair argument, then tell me exactly what I own by purchasing "it".

judd stephens

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Re: Downloading Music and Rights
« Reply #49 on: April 22, 2009, 12:12:10 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. 

ffcal

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Re: Downloading Music and Rights
« Reply #50 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.

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

Brian Bieniowski

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Re: Downloading Music and Rights
« Reply #51 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 #52 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 »

APK

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Re: Downloading Music and Rights
« Reply #53 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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APK

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Re: Downloading Music and Rights
« Reply #54 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 #55 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.

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Wayne Higgins

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Re: Downloading Music and Rights
« Reply #56 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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Re: Downloading Music and Rights
« Reply #57 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 #58 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 #59 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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