Stop RisaIronic that I am interviewing a young musician for SaGeek MAG this month. This week www.mybroadband.co.za broke the story that RISA asserts it is illegal to convert a CD you bought to MP3 for playing in your mp3 player. Unfortunately a law penned in 1978 supports their assertion.

Working on my opinion piece for the MAG, I decided to check out their website, below are a few thoughts on one or two or more of their points re piracy.

RiSA Points, and comments

Bulleted below are the reasons RiSA gives why music piracy is a serious issue, and my comments in italics.

  • By buying pirate music you are supporting organised crime. In most countries a link between music piracy and organised crime exists; See Music piracy & Organised Crime.

    The idea of pirated music is that you don’t pay for it. You download free stuff. Where people do actually make low quality copies of the originals and sell them on the street corner you may be supporting organized crime, or just aiding in supporting the pirate music industry. Since the link they give on this bullet point is to an area on their site, I will go with citation needed.
  • A loss in income means a loss in jobs. Some major record companies have had to cut jobs worldwide, drop 20 percent of their recording artists and outsource their DVD and CD manufacturing, in part because of piracy;Loss of income to whom, exactly? I have spoken with enough struggling young artists to have come to the conclusion that a lot of the barriers that exist for young artists are put in place by the recording industry itself. I spent a few weeks with Jac Blanc from the Jac Blanc band two years ago, and he made it clear that their income came from gigs, not CD sales. In fact, he has since dumped his recording agent, and gone solo. The kicker? His newest album is available as a free download on his website, as well as a song or two from his upcoming album. Buying the CD is possible, and you can do that through his website. Check him out: www.jacblanc.co.za
  • It discourages investment in South Africa if a company’s intellectual property rights are not protected;

    Citation Needed, and in this case it is not the protection of property rights that are at issue, it is the protection of consumer rights. Why pay for content twice?

  • The artists receive no reward for their creativity and are not able to make a living;Well, if you look at how hard the artists work, and how little the reward it is they receive before they become famous I posit that there are more reasons than piracy for their lack of income.

Well those are the ones I am going with for now. Jac Blanc could not be contacted for comment, but Edward van der Merwe, a young man just making music for the joy of it, and who is seriously considering a career in music will send me an e-mail with his views on music piracy, and this law in particular.

Consumer outrage is also predicted to grow, and there is a Facebook group you can join that discusses this issue as well. JOIN THE GROUP HERE.

Edward will also be my featured interview for The SaGeek MAG for July, talking about the technology he uses to make his music. And the irony? He will be making some exclusive material available for download to SaGeek MAG readers. For free nogal.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it RiSA.

UPDATE: A young artist responds.

I called Edward earlier today and chatted to him about this, and he popped me this response on Facebook. Read it below, unedited. I am really looking forward to interviewing him!

Edward Says:


Publicity to a musician means a lot. It makes people know about their music, and thanks to piracy and copying and ripping of music, musicians get free advertisement. These days a lot of people hear a musician for the first time over someone else’s computer or mp3 player or over internet. Making copies of music does the musician a favor in terms of publicity and exposure. Yes, an amount of money is lost in it, but almost all early musicians will actually pay for that publicity and exposure. It’s similar to what we see during the birth of a new internet sensation. Let’s take Vernon Koekemoer for instance. Without him knowing it, a picture of him got spread all over the internet, and before he knew it, he was well known; he had a huge amount of publicity and exposure. Some musicians and artists and even restaurants use him now to get them more publicity. But before people had, even without his permission, spread him like wildfire, I’m sure he wasn’t that well known as he is today. Okay I know I’m a bit off topic here. I’m talking about piracy which has been illegal for a long time now, but to get to the point of discussion, which is that RiSA further interpreted the Copyright Act of 1978 so that we can’t make copies of our music even if we don’t mean to spread them, I’m going to get to the consumer’s point of view.
Most of us rip our cd’s on our mp3 players for the obvious reason of listening to the music we have bought in a cd store to listen to in the first place, just on our mp3 players. But now according to the interpreted Copyright Act of 1978, which states, “You may not make a copy of a sound recording without the permission of the author”, we can’t do that anymore. Year after year we have made copies of our cd’s on blank writable disks so we don’t have to risk the originals getting scratched or stolen. We have ripped cd’s to our computers so we have the luxury of not having to swap ten cd’s when we only want to listen to a certain track on ten different cd’s. But now, after all those years, RiSA wants us to know we have violated the Copyright Act of 1978, and they suggests we purchase music in digital format when we want to listen to it on mp3 players and on our computers etc even if we already own the cd, but what about the hundreds of genres of music that is available on cd only? RiSA couldn’t find a solution to that.

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