Posts Tagged ‘piracy’

Russian piracy on the high seas

September 23, 2013

A Greenpeace ship, the Arctic Sunrise, has been atttacked and boarded by the Russians, its crew held hostage.

It’s been 100 hours since we heard from Alex. A colleague and a friend, is one of 30 people being held prisoner aboard the Arctic Sunrise. Alex was one of the three activists who locked themselves in the communications room to get the message out, right before armed forces broke in and cut our contact with the ship.

Russian media have reported that the Arctic Sunrise will be towed into the port of Murmansk on Tuesday. The activists have not been formally charged with anything yet. Let’s use these last few critical hours to pressure the Russian authorities to release Alex and the 29 others.

Please send an urgent email to the Russian embassy to release our activists. More than 300,000 have been sent already, and every message counts.

Seizing our ship in international waters is illegal. And the detention of peaceful protestors without charge is wrong. But it’s not too late for the Russian authorities to set them free.

Instead of protecting Arctic oil drillers, governments around the world should be protecting us from the threat that companies like Gazprom and Shell pose to us all.

Alex risked her liberty for all of us, now it’s time for us to stand up for her and help free the Arctic 30.

Steve Lawson on books, music, communication and sharing

April 22, 2012

A somewhat rambling and poorly recorded talk, nevertheless well worth watching and listening to what Steve Lawson has to say.

A book is a book. A Kindle is not a book.

We can share a book, we cannot share a Kindle, we even have difficulty (or at least it is made difficult) to share the contents of a Kindle.

Nothing is as good at being a book as a book is

We like to share books. We give them away, we lend them to friends, we donate them to charity shops.

Monday 23 April 2012 is St George’s Day. Monday night is World Book Night. A million books, 25 titles, are to be given away.

We take book sharing as part of our book reading culture. We even established institutions to encouraging book sharing enacted legislation, they are called libraries.

If book sharing is an accepted part of our cultural life, why is such a fuss made of music sharing, or at least a fuss is made by corporate music companies and the lobbyists who whore for them?

Last Friday I was at a concert by The Sixteen at Croydon Minster. I would love to be able to share the music I heard, but I cannot, as The Sixteen have not made it available for sharing. It is not as though The Sixteen do not wish to share their music, that is why they are embarking on a Choral Pilgrimage, but not everyone has the privilege to attend one of the cathedrals where they are playing.

The Sixteen – Croydon Minster – Choral Pilgrimage 2012

That is why I love bandcamp. It makes sharing easy, it makes it possible to listen on-line, and if you wish to buy some music you can do so with the assurance that the money you pay goes straight into the pocket of the musicians, not to enrich a greedy global corporation.

It is through bandcamp that I came across two excellent albums 11 Reasons Why 3 is Greater than Everything and Believe in Peace by Steve Lawson. I then found he had an excellent blog. It is through Steve Lawson I came across Lobelia and her excellent album Beautifully Undone.

I have had a presence on the web for well over a decade. A long time ago. At the time I did not even have an e-mail address. There were few of us there in those days.

It is a long time since I looked at the site, but visitors to the site were averaging around 300 a week. Only visits to index pages are being counted, not to individual pages, thus the real count could be ten times, a hundreds time, maybe more.

For the last few years I have had a blog and been on twitter.

Visits to the blog, and these are unique visits (you are only counted once no matter how many times you visit), were running at 100-200 a day. That was before I visited Bassano del Grappa last month, since then it has been running at 200-300 a month. There are also periodic spikes, the count then slowly drops over the next few days, settling at a usually higher level than before.

The story of the Japanese girl whose dream came true hit over a thousand in a few days.

A Japanese girl’s dream come true

Last week St Cuthbert’s Bible proved very popular. So far almost a thousand visits.

Few people make effective use of social networking which is why the good examples stand out.

Social networking is not broadcast.

  • broadcast one to many
  • network many to many
  • social interaction

And therein lies the clue, interaction.

The number of followers is a very crude measure, and the measure it is logarithmic not linear. That is if the number goes up ten fold, the measure goes up by one point. Steve Lawson has roughly double the number of followers of The Sixteen, thus one point ahead.

Do people respond to what you tweet, do they re-tweet?

If you read something worth reading, then do the courtesy of tweeting to your followers. Maybe one day they will return the courtesy (though most lack etiquette to do so).

Tweetlevel gives a rough idea of twitter influence, but should not be taken too seriously, and certainly do not tweet, never tweet, to effect a metric.

Different sites should link to and interact with each other.

Tweet a link for the article on a blog. Facebook is a walled garden, construct tunnels through the wall. If you have an album of photos of the latest gig, a link to where you wrote about it on your blog, links from individual photos to twitpic, a link from twitter to the album.

I came across this video of Steve Lawson giving a talk via a link on twitter.

Comments are responded to, unless diatribe, then deleted. But NEVER respond to trolls. Ignore, and block as spam.

Search on google

  • Montegrappa The Alchemist

and note occupancy of most of the Top Ten places.

MySpace, I am at a loss why anyone is on MySpace, except as a legacy from days gone by. Masochistic behaviour to put music on MySpace but not on bandcamp. I can only assume you want no one to listen to it.

Writers write to be read, musicians play to be heard.

Unless we share, how do we find new books, new music?

The big global corporations are collapsing because they are not needed any more. The only people who do not seem to have woken up to this are the mainstream media who keep running the same old tired stories about piracy destroying the music business, as though stuck in a groove on an old 78. Maybe the music industry is being destroyed, and good riddance if it is, but it is not piracy, it is merely kicking down a rotten edifice, the industry is self-imploding and the music industry should not be confused with music, music is doing just fine. Oh did I forget to mention that the main-stream media is owned lock stock and barrel by the same media conglomerates who own the big record labels.

Music does not exist to enrich mega-corporations. These mega-corporations could collapse tomorrow, as could the chain record stores like HMV, and it would have no effect on music. In fact, if there was an effect, it would be to plough money back into music.

Steve Lawson @solobasssteve is a solo bass player, he also writes an excellent blog.

Tim Berners-Lee: Don’t let record labels upset web openness

April 19, 2012
Tim Berners-Lee

Tim Berners-Lee

We mustn’t allow record companies’ fear that their business model isn’t working to upset the openness of the internet, Tim Berners-Lee told in a press conference at W3C.

The inventor of the web was referring to recent controversial pieces of legislation, including Sopa and Pipa in the US, and Acta globally, which have all sought to clamp down on piracy and have all been strongly supported by record labels.

“Record labels have a very strong voice when it comes to arguing for their particular business model, which is in fact out of date,” he said. “The result is that laws have been created which make out as if the only problem on the internet is teenagers stealing music. The world is bigger than that. The internet is bigger than the music industry. The economic impact of the internet is bigger than the music industry.”

He said that most of the things that are taking place on the internet are social, and downloading and listening to music is just a small part of that. He said that record companies and other organisations seeking these pieces of legislation shouldn’t be allowed to “take away the rule that you should only punish someone after appropriate court proceedings.”

Berners-Lee supports any platform that allows people to pay for music online and said that there should be more ways of “getting money back to the person who creates” content, including paying for music and donating to blogs. However, he said that “this doesn’t necessarily need to be a system created by the big record labels”.

— Olivia Solon

Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, talking to Wired.

The major record labels are greedy bullying thugs who are trying to destroy the internet and criminalise sharing.

Tim Berners-Lee wishes to see the means of “getting money back to the person who creates” content. It already exists: Bandcamp connects creative artists directly with those who love music, makes it easy to share, easy to listen, easy to download, and if you wish to pay, easy to pay and the money goes direct to the creative artist, not to a greedy global corporation.

Web freedom faces greatest threat ever
Sharing of data between facebook and third parties
The cultural industry
Slow music
Community supported music
Why I’ve Taken My Music Off Spotify…
A Little “Buy Music With Bandcamp” Primer…
Tweet-Rant #2 : 23 Tweets About Bandcamp
Paulo Coelho featured on FrostWire
Piracy is the new airwaves

Photographing your furniture may be a breach of copyright!

February 14, 2012

Photographing your own furniture may be a breach of copyright!

It is getting to be bloody ridiculous. We recently had a jerk claiming copyright to the image of London Red Bus.

Copyright abuse over who owns the image of a London red bus

Now we have a case where the French courts have found in favour of the Le Corbusier, take a photo of their furniture, or even have their furniture make an appearance in your photos, and you will find yourself in breach of copyright.

This is an e-mail sent out by Getty Images warning of possible risk of copyright breach:

Attention all Flickr Collection on Getty Images Contributors!

You may have heard about a recent case (actually more than one case) where Getty Images and some of our photographers have had claims lodged against us in French court for images which include designer furniture, even as a minor part of the image.

This is a serious issue that involves potential liability for you as photographers.

The French courts have found in favor of the Le Corbusier rights-holders who initiated these claims. While we disagree with the decision and we are appealing it, we are very mindful that for now, it is a valid decision. It is critical that you understand that any claim like this one is extremely serious and requires action on your part in order to protect your interests, not just ours. We will continue to fight this decision, but in the meantime we must continue to actively pull content from our site that may be deemed infringing. We simply cannot identify all problematic images as quickly without your active participation. And quick action is vital.

Most importantly, if you believe that any of the images you have uploaded to us might possibly include any designer furniture, please email the Getty Images ID numbers to [email redacted] as soon as possible! The sooner we can identify and remove potentially infringing images the better we can reduce potential legal problems.

We are including links to information and FAQs that give more information on this issue and we strongly request that you read them and study the visual guides included.

You can also read the original Le Corbusier complaint here:

In English

Original in French (clearer photos)

Please note: because we are still engaged in litigation, we are very limited in what comments we can make or questions we can answer. If you do have questions please email [email redacted] especially for any specific images you believe may be a problem.

This is only for images you have on the site. We cannot answer questions about images you have posted on Flickr or elsewhere.

Thank you for your help and attention to this very important matter.

I would not know a piece of Le Corbusier furniture if I tripped over it. But let us, for the sake of argument, assume I am at an upmarket hotel and take a picture of someone sat on Le Corbusier furniture and post on the net. I would immediately be in breach of copyright. Throw in Acta, and I am thrown in prison.

I can only suggest we flood the net with pictures of Le Corbusier.

We cannot sit idly by and be dictated to, criminalised by the Copyright Mafia.

Copyright Mafia boss rails against democracy

It is imperative that we stop Acta.

Say NO to ACTA

Top Story in The Sue Searle Daily (Tuesday 14 February 2012).


February 7, 2012

We like to share. We are social creatures. It is part of the human condition. It is what makes us who we are.

When we read a book it is because someone has given, lent or recommended it to us. If were are very lucky we may have met the author.

When I go away I like to take books with me to read. I then give them away.

In hotels we often find books others have left behind.

My introduction to Paulo Coelho was an attractive Lithuanian girl sat by a river reading The Zahir.

Synchronicity and Paulo Coelho

Paulo Coelho likes to share. That is why he writes.

He recently uploaded The Way of the Bow to FrostWire, free for anyone to download.

Paulo Coelho featured on FrostWire

These are the download statistics for the last few days (from FrostClick):

Sunday (2321 GMT), 7,020 downloads, downloading 24, sharing 974

Monday (1835 GMT) 11,713 downloads, downloading 17, sharing 910

Tuesday (1829 GMT) 12,409 downloads, downloading 22, sharing 1,057

Paulo Coelho only sold a few thousand copies of The Alchemist in Russia, until a pirate copy appeared on the net.

In 1999, when I was first published in Russia ( with a print- run of 3,000), the country was suffering a severe paper shortage. By chance, I discovered a ‘ pirate’ edition of The Alchemist and posted it on my web page.

A year later, when the crisis was resolved, I sold 10,000 copies of the print edition. By 2002, I had sold a million copies in Russia, and I have now sold 12 million.

When I traveled across Russia by train, I met several people who told me that they had first discovered my work through the ‘ pirated’ edition I posted on my website. Nowadays, I run a ‘Pirate Coelho’ website, giving links to any books of mine that are available on file- sharing sites. And my sales continue to grow — nearly 140 million copies world wide.

Paulo Coelho is banned in Iran. His response, to make available free downloads in Farsi.

Aleph in Farsi

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley arose from a late night story telling on the shores of Lake Geneva.

We cannot like a piece of music until we have heard it.

I am happy to share music with others. If that makes me a pirate, then I am proud to be a pirate.

When I saw The Sixteen in concert in Guildford Cathedral last October, I asked was they on youtube? Officially no, but yes, you will find us there. I asked in order that I may share.

The Sixteen – Miserere Mei Deus – Allegri
St James Cathedral – Victoria – The Sixteen

A couple of years ago I was in Brighton and found Brighton Books open (not usually open on a Sunday). I asked of the music they were playing. Unlimited Art by Jacob’s Stories. I was pointed in the direction of Resident Records from where I could obtain a copy.

I gave copies to friends, I went back and bought a few more copies to give away.

Jacob’s Stories led to Mechanical Bride and Stewart Warwick. Stewart Warwick led to Shadowboxer. Shadowboxer led to BandCamp. BandCamp led to their blog, and the blog led to Gabriel Kahane through featured album of the week Where are the Arms.

Bandcamp connects creative artists with those who may appreciate their work, thus bypassing the music industry. But it does far, far more.

It gives the creative artist a presence on the internet. It allows sharing. We can listen to the music on-line. We can share. Click on share, and you can share on twitter, post onto to you and your friends facebook wall, copy the embedded code and you can embed the code on your blog. And you can download the music (often for free), buy albums, real albums not digital downloads, and the digital downloads are available as high quality audio, not mushy, low quality, highly compressed mp3 files. [see mp3 v FLAC]

I expected BandCamp to post on facebook an image of the album cover, nothing more. Why a little play button? I clicked. It changes into a little media player, listen to the entire album as often as you like. This is going to help creative artists and destroy the music industry. Yippeee!

To keep it clean and simple, no volume control. Use volume control on computer. It is also to encourage downloads.

And when the little media player appears to replace the image of the cover, it lets you not only listen, but share with others and download.

The embed code for a blog lets you choose from about half a dozen options how it will be displayed, including track lists if you desire.

I am amazed at the amount of money flowing through Bandcamp direct into the pockets of artists. $13,935,756 to date $1,038,844 in the past 30 days. Albums outsell tracks 5 to 1, in the rest of the music buying world, tracks outsell albums 16 to 1.

BandCamp is a good example of how websites have evolved into something different, probably the main difference between web 1.0 and web 2.0.

Web 1.0 you landed on a website and hopefully accessed or acquired some information. I say hopefully, as too often so badly designed that you give up as you were wasting your time. A good web 1.0 design had sharing, ie it gave you something, but not social interaction. Web 2.0, this blog is an example, has interaction, social dialogue takes place. We see that even more so with twitter and a very good example is Paulo Coelho’s blog.

Few understand, let alone make effective use of web 2.0. It is not broadcast, one to many. Social network: social interaction, network, many to many.

Tweet level gives some measure of the effective use made of twitter (and it is not simply a crude measure of the number of followers. [see Can we rank twitter streams?]

@keithpp 62.2

@paulocoelho 92.6

Paulo Coelho, Neil Young, Neil Gaiman, and many others, all recognise the value of sharing. Neil Young calls piracy the new radio, as that’s how music gets around.

Piracy is the new airwaves

Those who bleat about sharing, who through flawed thinking think it is bad, should heed the words of Andrew Dubber (see Hear / Like / Buy):

Music is pretty much unique when it comes to media consumption. You don’t buy a movie ticket because you liked the film so much, and while you might buy a book because you enjoyed reading it so much at the library, typically you’ll purchase first, then consume … But music is different — and radio proves that. By far the most reliable way to promote music is to have people hear it. Repeatedly, if possible — and for free. After a while, if you’re lucky, people get to know and love the music. Sooner or later, they’re going to want to own it…whether it’s a pop tune, a heavily political punk album, or an experimental, avant-garde suite — the key is very simple: people have to hear music, then they will grow to like it, and then finally, if you’re lucky, they will engage in an economic relationship in order to consume (not just buy and listen to) that music. That’s the order it has to happen in. It can’t happen in any other order. There’s no point in hoping that people will buy the music, then hear it, then like it. They just won’t. Nobody really wants to buy a piece of music they don’t know — let alone one they haven’t heard. Especially if it’s by someone who lies outside their usual frame of reference. And a 30-second sample is a waste of your time and bandwidth. It’s worse than useless. That’s not enough to get to like your music. Let them hear it, keep it, live with it. And then bring them back as a fan.

But the music industry and Hollywood, very often the same global corporations, do not like sharing, they wish to criminalise sharing. The tried with Sopa, cooked up in back room deals with corrupt politicians on the take and failed miserably. They are trying again with Acta, an international treaty that will criminalise sharing, would disconnect from the net those who share. We killed Sopa and we must kill Acta.

Say NO to ACTA

Paulo Coelho featured on FrostWire

February 5, 2012
The Way of the Bow -- Paulo Coelho

The Way of the Bow -- Paulo Coelho

I appear to have forfeited my recording deal because I won’t do reality TV. No one needs to make an album that badly. Tea anyone? — Alison Moyet

Thank you Paulo Coelho, you are a gift to mankind. — FrostWire

And remember, DO NOT PAY A DIME FOR FROSTWIRE, EVER. You can use it all you want in as many computers as you want, it’s absolutely free. — FrostWire

Artists: sell your music & merch directly to your fans. — bandcamp

Fans: discover new music & directly support the artists who make it. — bandcamp

The uses we make of this world are, in reality, the rules and laws which we agree; and not the reverse. — Laetitia Kava

I had never heard of FrostWire until Paulo Coelho mentioned on twitter that he had placed The Way of the Bow there for free download. It had been previously available as free download on his blog.

Paulo Coelho featured on FrostWire
Paulo Coelho’s The Way of the Bow to be featured on FrostWire
Paulo Coelho: The Way of the Bow – an inspirational short read

Checking stats this evening on FrostClick (2321 GMT), 7,020 downloads, downloading 24, sharing 974.

FrostWire is a free, open source BitTorrent client first released in September 2004. Developed in Java by the FrostWire Project. FrostWire was spun off from an earlier project that was shut down by the music industry.

Another download system I have recently come across, thanks to ShadowBoxer who have placed their excellent EP Two Cities for download, is BandCamp.

Shadowboxer – Chase and Status – Time
Shadowboxer – Scott Matthews – Elusive

With Two Cities, you decide what you wish to pay. You can download for free if you wish.

Marcel Legane lets you download his Heart Life EP for £3 or for £4 you can download and he will send you an actual real physical album, signed limited edition.

Bandcamp connects creative artists with those who may appreciate their work, thus bypassing the music industry. But it does far, far more.

What is surprising is the amount of revenue being generated on bandcamp.

Cheaper than Free

I do not download music. The quality is too poor due to the use of lossy digital compression. BandCamp is offering high quality digital downloads (file size large).

We like to share, as human beings, we are social animals, that is what helped our brains expand and us evolve (though I do wonder with many people).

If we look at musicians from the 1960s who are still around, they played music because that is what they enjoyed doing, it was not to become mega stars or celebrities or to become rich and famous. That playing music earned them some money enabled them to carry on doing what they loved doing.

Paulo Coelho, Neil Young, Michael Moore recognise this need to share. They want people to be aware of their work.

Paulo Coelho calls on readers to pirate books
Piracy is the new airwaves

We read a book that we are given, lent or recommended to read by a friend. Or if we are very lucky we meet the author.

My first encounter with Paulo Coelho was meeting a lovely Lithuania girl sat by a river reading The Zahir. I was curious what had her so entranced. We had a long conversation about writers. I have since not only read all the books by Paulo Coelho but actually met him.

Synchronicity and Paulo Coelho
Paulo Coelho Press Conference at Pera Palace Hotel
Paulo Coelho’s St Joseph’s Day Party at Pera Palace Hotel

I had never heard of Orhan Pamuk until my lovely Russian friend Alissa recommended that I read My Name is Red.

A little over a year ago, I met Canon Andrew White. I bought all his books, which I read, then gave as Christmas presents to my lovely but sadly mad friend Sian. A year later we met again and I bought six copies of Faith Under Fire, one for myself, the others to be given away as presents.

Dinner with Canon Andrew White
Canon Andrew White at Guildford Baptist Church
Canon Andrew White at the Boiler Room

Fulla tells her story in Suffer the Children. We are now in regular contact and we will meet in Brighton in September at a conference on Iraq organised by Canon Andrew White.

Little known author Neil Gaiman persuaded his publisher to make available one of his books for free download for a month. Monitoring only sales in independent bookshops they found sales increased by 300%!

Paulo Coelho had only sold a few thousand copies of The Alchemist in Russia, his publisher was no longer interested, until a pirate copy was posted on the net, sales then became millions!

In 1999, when I was first published in Russia ( with a print- run of 3,000), the country was suffering a severe paper shortage. By chance, I discovered a ‘ pirate’ edition of The Alchemist and posted it on my web page.

A year later, when the crisis was resolved, I sold 10,000 copies of the print edition. By 2002, I had sold a million copies in Russia, and I have now sold 12 million.

When I traveled across Russia by train, I met several people who told me that they had first discovered my work through the ‘ pirated’ edition I posted on my website. Nowadays, I run a ‘Pirate Coelho’ website, giving links to any books of mine that are available on file- sharing sites. And my sales continue to grow — nearly 140 million copies world wide.

Writers do not slave away in their garrets wishing no one would read their works. They write because they have a story to tell, they want to be read.

The music industry and now publishing is in crisis because of greed. There is no nurturing of talent. It is the latest me-too, copycat, blockbuster mega-selling act, book, then on to the next, mindless brain-numbing book, act. Moronic TV shows like X-Factor encourages the dumbing down, me-too I want to be rich and famous celebrity no talent culture.

Alison Moyet was refused a recording contract because she refused to degrade herself and appear on a crap reality TV show.

We were angry over Sopa, we are even angrier over Acta, we are seething with anger. Sopa was defeated and so will be Acta. We will not allow Hollywood and the music industry to control the internet. We will continue to share. If sharing is piracy, then I am proud to be a pirate. Sharing is not theft.

Say NO to ACTA
The cultural industry
Documented@Davos: SOPA Panel
Defend our freedom to share (or why SOPA is a bad idea)
Thoughts of Paulo Coelho on Sopa

A couple of years ago I picked up Unlimited Art by Jacob’s Stories. I got Unlimited Art from Resident Records in Brighton, having been pointed in their direction by Brighton Books, where I first heard Unlimited Art. I got home from Brighton some time after midnight, listened to Unlimited Art until the early hours of the morning. I gave copies to friends. Can you buy us a copy next time you are in Brighton? I bought several copies to give away as presents.

Next time I was in Brighton, I asked in Resident Records, anything else by Jacob’s Stories? No, but you will like Mechanical Bride.

Last Easter, I asked again. No, but we expect something later in the year. I picked up a copy of The Ordeal by Stuart Warwick. Stuart Warwick was founder of Brighton band Jacob’s Stories. Or maybe it was the year before, I lose track of time.

Brighton Books, Resident Records are a rarity, another good reason to visit Brighton. The reason independent bookshops and record shops are a rarity is because they have been destroyed by the greed of the music and publishing business.

A quarter of independent bookshops lost in last five years

Who needs a record label? Shadowboxer are doing ok without. Watch them in a recording studio and see the sheer joy on their faces.

Maybe Shadowboxer can show Alison Moyet how it is done without needing a record label, without a degrading appearance on a reality TV show.

Big business has alienated those who buy by treating them as criminals. Alienated those who have talent as they are incapable of recognising talent.

What the internet demonstrates, via systems like FrostWire and BandCamp, those who create can communicate directly with those who appreciate what they create. To Big business both are simply a source of money, a product, a brand, a commodity, all consumed by easily manipulated mindless consumers who can be sold the latest fad. It could be a can of baked beans for all they care, so long as it has a monetary value attached, the bigger the price tag the better.

We make the rules, not Big Business. By making use of services like FrostWire and BandCamp, by sharing, by telling our friends to do the same, we can bypass Big Business and put them out of business.

We need more creative people to make use of platforms like FrostWire and BandCamp. And for us to support them when they do.

Well done Paulo Coelho for setting an example by putting The Way of the Bow on FrostWire for free download.

Top Story in Creative Industry Articles (Wednesday 8 February 2012).

Top Story in Creative Industry Articles (Thursday 9 February 2012).

Piracy is the new airwaves

February 2, 2012
Piracy is the new radio -- Neil Young

Piracy is the new radio -- Neil Young

I look at the internet as the new radio. I look at the radio as gone. […] Piracy is the new radio. That’s how music gets around. — Neil Young

Neil Young is right when he refers to piracy as the new radio.

Neil Young is right — piracy is the new radio
Neil Young on music and Steve Jobs: ‘piracy is the new radio’

Neil Young calls piracy “the new radio” because it’s “how music gets around”.

Hard to believe but the music industry used to pay radio stations to play their music. They paid so we could hear their music for free. It was a discredited system called payola. They also used to go and buy records in record shops known to be sampled to produce the Top 20.

We like to share. Though I wish the brain-dead morons would not share their bad taste as they drive around town with what laughingly is called music blasting out, or disturb me when travelling by public transport.

As children we used to stick a mike in front of the radio and record to tape. Then a pair of crocodile clips were affixed to the speaker cables. Eventually out came the soldering iron, holes drilled in the cabinet and little terminals to connect to.

The music industry, and more lately Hollywood, likes to equate pirate copies to lost sales. Pure nonsense of course.

We like to share.

I rarely listen to the radio. Or rather I listen to speech radio with occasionally music programmes. I hate music stations and the garbage they play. An exception was the late Charlie Gillett and his excellent World Music slot on BBC World Service. And guess what, the BBC in an act of crass stupidity, axed his programme to save money.

BBC Radio 3 and World Service DJ Charlie Gillett dies

I used to help run a pirate radio station. Occasionally there were raids by the police, but we were in a labyrinth, we knew our way around, they did not. On rare occasions, I had the late night slot. Sharing with the world, or at least our handful of listeners, my immaculate taste in music.

What was I doing playing music on my late slot? I was sharing with those who cared to listen in. Maybe they even liked what I liked.

I have always shared. That is how I first came across Neil Young, listening to a friend’s albums at university. It still gives me the shivers when I hear those early Neil Young albums.

Neil Young – Heart Of Gold
Neil Young – Old Man
Neil Young – A man needs a maid

Another friend had a vast collection of music, from Neil Young to early music groups and everything in between, he had even written a book on music Popular music. He would always give me music to take away to listen to. Try this, he would say. Would I have come across Gotan Project or Astor Piazzolla? Well actually yes, but only because I was at a concert by Zum.

Gotan Project – Santa Maria
Gotan Project – Una musica brutal
Monica Bellucci – Heart tango
Gotan Project – La Gloria

A couple of years ago I was in Brighton and found Brighton Books open (not usually open on a Sunday). I asked what was the music playing. That is how I came across Jacob’s Stories. You will only find it in Resident Records, I was told. I walked down the street and wandered around the shop. Not able to find what I was looking for, I asked. The helpful assistant laid his hand on what I was after.

I walked back to Iydea to examine my purchase. It is vinyl, I discovered, then on closer examination, saw it was a jet black CD made to look like vinyl, it even had grooves! Worried it would not play, I asked the bookshop would they play it. Yes, it played.

Unlimited Art is a limited edition CD. The cover made from hand-woven grass. Inside, a unique piece of art. I ran off copies and passed to friends. They liked so much that I was asked to buy copies next time I was in Brighton. I liked so much I bought copies to give as presents.

Resident Records is a rarity, an independent record shop. An independent record shop with a good selection of music, staff who know and love music.

Last year I asked was there anything new out Jacob’s Stories? That was Easter. No, they said, try later in the year, as we are expecting a new release. September I picked up The Ordeal by Stuart Warwick. Stuart Warwick was the founder of Jacob’s Stories.

Stuart Warwick – Ex-Gay

Ben’s Records in Guildford is another independent record shop worthy of a visit.

I do not know if it is still there but around the back of Waterloo Station there used to be a fantastic independent record shop. You did not walk out with a couple of CDs, you would walk out with an armful. Such was the turnover of this shop, that if you visited in the morning (I do not think he opened until lunchtime) then again in the evening, you would find a whole new stock to browse.

If you want to look at at falling record sales, look no further than the death of independent record shops. We are now seeing the same with independent bookshops, a quarter have gone in the last few years. Killed by the music and publishing industries.

A quarter of independent bookshops lost in last five years

Musicians were paid, ie commissioned, to perform, or were travelling minstrels who played and hoped we liked what we heard and gave them some money, or at least something to eat and drink and a bed for the night

Sheet music helped spread the fame of a musician. No photocopiers and scanners but you can guarantee scribes were hard at work running off copies for their friends.

When Mozart toured Europe, would his fame have spread before him were it not for sheet music?

Records, wind-up gramophones, the wireless, helped spread the fame of musicians far beyond the concert hall and music hall.

Last October I saw The Sixteen in Concert at Guildford Cathedral. A little stall selling their music. Are you on youtube, I asked? No, not officially, but yes, you will find us there. The reason I asked was that I could share with others what I had heard.

The Sixteen – Miserere Mei Deus – Allegri
St James Cathedral – Victoria – The Sixteen

Shadowboxer show a way forward. Their live sessions at Surrey University are fantastic. Not only excellent musically, but excellent arrangement, production and excellent filming of the sessions. You can download their EP Two Cities and you decide the price. At times very reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac when I saw them in the early 1970s. Their cover versions are vastly superior to the originals. Shadowboxer have no record label. Who needs a record label? What could a record label offer them when they have achieved so much without? They produce and perform their excellent music, then make use of the net and word-of-mouth.

Shadowboxer – Chase and Status – Time
Shadowboxer – Scott Matthews – Elusive

One author I know, she will remain nameless to save her from embarrassment, hates second-hand books. To her, every second-hand book sold, is a lost sale. How short sighted can you get! The second-hand book sales are helping to spread the word of an otherwise unknown author.

Last year I heard a woman complain that people had the gall to reproduce her poetry on the net. I had never heard of her or her poetry. You stupid woman, I thought. If people like your poetry sufficient that they will take the trouble to reproduce and share with others, be grateful, they are doing you a favour.

If I find poetry I like, I reproduce it. I say who it is by, where it can be found if in a published collection. I get thanked!

Artists thank me when I reproduce their work. For them it is a free global exhibition, a window to the world.

Every day I have been out this week I have picked up books by Paulo Coelho and a couple of other writers. These I will give away. Sometimes I leave as BookCrossing books.

Paulo Coelho is only too happy to see his books pirated. He knows it will lead to more people reading his books.

Paulo Coelho calls on readers to pirate books

Little known author Neil Gaiman was opposed to piracy, until he woke up one day to the fact that it led to exposure, exposure leads to more readers.

Gaiman: SOPA and PIPA are on the wrong side of history

At a recent music-industry conference in Europe, the CEO of superstar game company Rovio (creator of Angry Birds) said that piracy “may not be a bad thing” because it increases demand for the official version of the company’s products.

Angry Birds boss: ‘Piracy may not be a bad thing: it can get us more business’

The ones who bleat about piracy are not the artists, it is the industry. The same industry that has killed music and seems to be determined to do the same to books.

With Amazon offering to publish unknown authors, the publishing industry is going to wake up one day and find it no longer exists.

Information flows, that is what information does. At the height of the Soviet Gulags, Solzhenitsyn was able to smuggle out his writing on little scraps of paper. The might of the Stalin police state could not stop the flow of information, so what hope the greed-driven Hollywood movie moguls of stopping the flow of information on the internet, a system designed purely to facilitate the flow of information? They tried with Sopa and Pipa and look where it got them. They are now trying again with Acta, an international treaty to control the net.

Say NO to ACTA

I do not download music, and no way would I pay to download music. The reason is simple and nothing to do with piracy. The quality is so poor. But having said that, check out bandcamp, quality audio files (large size) and they link bands directly with their fans.

Paulo Coelho featured on FrostWire

Paulo Coelho calls on readers to pirate books

February 1, 2012
Paulo Coelho book signing in 2006

Paulo Coelho book signing in 2006

Multimillion-selling author links with Pirate Bay, saying ‘the more people “pirate” a book, the better’

Bestselling Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho is joining in with a new promotion on the notorious file-sharing site the Pirate Bay, and calling on “pirates of the world” to “unite and pirate everything I’ve ever written”.

Coelho has long been a supporter of illegal downloads of his writing, ever since a pirated Russian edition of The Alchemist was posted online in 1999 and, far from damaging sales in the country, sent them soaring to a million copies by 2002 and more than 12m today. His latest move goes a step further, however, joining in with a new programme on The Pirate Bay and exhorting readers to download all his work for free.

Signing off as “The Pirate Coelho”, the author told readers on his blog about “a new and interesting system to promote the arts” on The Pirate Bay. “Do you have a band? Are you an aspiring movie producer? A comedian? A cartoon artist? They will replace the front page logo with a link to your work,” wrote Coelho. “As soon as I learned about it, I decided to participate. Several of my books are there, and … the physical sales of my books are growing since my readers post them in P2P sites.”

“Welcome,” said Coelho, “to download my books for free and, if you enjoy them, buy a hard copy – the way we have to tell to the industry that greed leads to nowhere.”

From his debut The Alchemist, a fable of a young Andalucian shepherd boy, to his most recent book Aleph, which describes “a remarkable and transformative journey of self- discovery”, Coelho’s spiritual writing has sold 300m copies around the world. The author has said in the past that “you can add another 20% for pirated editions”.

His link-up with The Pirate Bay was widely praised by readers, who described him as a visionary (“maybe I won’t buy a book from you right now (because I already have like 5), but I will tell every person I know about this”), a “role model for all of mankind” and a hero. “Ahoy Mr. Coelho, You sir are right, by downloading your books I was determined to buy the hard copy! If I wasn’t a pirate I never would read your books! I consider it a preview, if you like it, buy it!” said one reader.

Last month Coelho laid out his opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act, calling it a “REAL DANGER, not only for Americans, but for all of us, as the law – if approved – will affect the whole planet”.

Although Coelho admitted that as an author he should be defending intellectual property, he went on to call on the “pirates of the world” to “unite and pirate everything” he has ever written.

“The good old days, when each idea had an owner, are gone forever. First, because all anyone ever does is recycle the same four themes: a love story between two people, a love triangle, the struggle for power, and the story of a journey. Second, because all writers want what they write to be read, whether in a newspaper, blog, pamphlet, or on a wall,” he said. “The more often we hear a song on the radio, the keener we are to buy the CD. It’s the same with literature. The more people ‘pirate’ a book, the better. If they like the beginning, they’ll buy the whole book the next day, because there’s nothing more tiring than reading long screeds of text on a computer screen.”

— Alison Flood

First published in The Guardian (Wednesday 1 February 2012)

Paulo Coelho exposes the lie peddled by Hollywood and the music industry that piracy harms artists. Paulo Coelho was one of the strongest critics of Sopa that would have censored the Internet.

Top Story in Beyond The Dawn Music News (Wednesday 1 February 2012).

Promo Bay
The cultural industry
Documented@Davos: SOPA Panel
Thoughts of Paulo Coelho on Sopa

Promo Bay

January 30, 2012

The Pirate Bay starts today a new and interesting system to promote arts.

Do you have a band? Are you an aspiring movie producer? A comedian? A cartoon artist?

They will replace the front page logo with a link to your work.

As soon as I learned about it, I decided to participate. Several of my books are there, and as I said in a previous post, My thoughts on SOPA, the physical sales of my books are growing since my readers post them in P2P sites.

Welcome to download my books for free and, if you enjoy them, buy a hard copy – the way we have to tell to the industry that greed leads to nowhere.

The Pirate Coelho

Posted by Paulo Coelho on his blog.

We have seen many independent bookshops close. They have not closed because of piracy, or because people no longer read or love books.

A quarter of independent bookshops lost in last five years

They have closed because of greed.

They have closed because the publishing industry is following the lead of Hollywood and the music industry. They no longer nurture talent. They look for the latest blockbuster, which is then offered to supermarkets and bookshop chains at massive discounts with which the independents cannot compete.

When Hollywood and the music industry start bleating about starving artists, we know they are lying.

Sopa, which appears to have been killed stone dead, was about control of the internet. If there are those who are making big bucks out of piracy, then go after the money, but do not criminalise ordinary folk who wish to share.

Writers, artists, muscians want to create, they wish to share what they create.

The cultural industry
Documented@Davos: SOPA Panel
Thoughts of Paulo Coelho on Sopa

Who stole my story?

April 28, 2011

When I was active on Myspace (I am not anymore), “Fly me to the moon” (Frank Sinatra) was deleted from my profile.

So who deleted the song? The answer is simple: greed and ignorance.

Greed that does not understand that this world has changed. Ignorance that thinks that, if the music is available for free, people are not going to buy the CD.

A] some will say :
you are rich enough to afford having your texts here for free.
It is true that I am rich (as were Frank Sinatra, and his heirs), but this is not the point. The point is that we want to first and foremost SHARE something. If you go to most of the pages, what will you see? Fantastic pictures, great blogs, amazing photos. For free. My texts are for free here. And you can reproduce them anywhere provided that you name the author.

B] The industry will say:
artists cannot survive without being paid.
But the industry is thinking on the opposite direction of our reality today. I follow Hilal on Twitter (even if she tweets once a year…). Hilal is from Turkey, but lives in Russia (and she is the main character in O Aleph, Elif in Turkey). She first read a pirate edition of The Alchemist. Hilal download the text, read it, decided to buy the book. Up to today, I have over 12.000.000 hard copies sold in Russia, and counting.

C] I also decided to create “The Pirate Coelho”, an non-official fan page that allows people to download the full texts in different languages. I am selling more books now than ever. (Where is it? Well, not difficult to find…)

D] How did all these social communities start?
At first it was just wanting to chat with another person. But chatting isn’t enough – we have to share the music, the book or the film that we love. When there was no law against it, this information was exchanged freely. Finally, when the entertainment industry caught on, the repression began.

E] Art is not an orange.
If you buy an orange and eat it, you have to buy another one, and then it makes sense that oranges should not be given for free, because the consumer consumes the product. Art is about beauty. Music is about beauty. If I visit a page and I like the music, I am sure I will buy the CD, because I want to know more about the work of the artist.

F] A woman went to a market and saw two jars.
She asked the vendor for the price:: “ten coins”, he answered.
The woman was surprised: “but one of these jars has been painted by an artist!”
The vendor replied: ” I am selling jars. Beauty has no price.”

Posted by Paulo Coelho on his blog.

I could not agree more. It is greed and ignorance that has destroyed the music industry, the film industry is going the same way and it looks like the publishing industry is fast catching up.

The music industry bleats about poor struggling artists. Since when has the music industry cared about poor struggling artists?

The music industry is a business, nothing more. It is looking for the next big hit, then on to the next.

It unfairly equates blank CD sales with lost album sales. It used to do the same with cassette sales. The film industry does the same with blank DVD sales.

These must be the only industries that treat their potential customers as criminals.

Nothing annoys me more than when I buy, yes buy, a DVD and I am forced, yes forced, to watch a video implying I am a criminal.

I am quite happy to copy CDs. That I have done so does not mean a sale as been lost, as I probably would not have bought it anyway. On the other hand, having copied it and liked it, I may go out and buy it, or maybe something else by that artist.

The publishing industry seems to be going the same way. Always on the look out for the next big blockbuster. Look at all the me-too Da Vinci Codes that suddenly appeared. We now have every Scandinavian writer being called the next Stieg Larsson.

We used to have gentleman publishers, men who knew their writers, appreciated good writing. Now, if those names exist at all, they are imprints of global corporations.

I used to occasionally write on a freelance basis for magazines, but it was such a hassle getting paid and being restricted on what to write, how many words to use, I now write for free.

My blog is a mix of what I write and other people’s work, but where I re-publish what someone else has written or created, they are always credited and a link goes to where the original may be found. All I ask if my work is reproduced, is that they show the same degree of courtesy (unless of course it is a commercial publication, and then I expect to be paid the going rate). I have had my work blatantly ripped off by the mainstream press and their lazy journalists.

Intellectual Property Rights are being abused by Big Business and the rich who can afford the lawyers and the bribes to lawmakers and politicians.

Intellectual Property Rights was intended to reward creative work, to grant a monopoly for a limited period.

But should it be used for what is discovered or found? Should life be patented? Should gene sequences that exist in nature or have formed part of a traditional practice, suddenly overnight be the private commercial property of a Global Corporation?

What we are seeing is the privatisation of our Global Commons of our Common Heritage.

We have Big Business trying to steal our cultural heritage. Who owns Snow White, the people of Europe as part of their cultural heritage or Walt Disney?

I first came across Paulo Coelho a couple of years ago when I came across a Lithuanian girl engrossed in one of his books. Since then I have read all, given many away to friends, even to strangers.

Are we to ban libraries, secondhand bookshops?

I wrote in this subject at the beginning of this month. I had a response from someone called Siobhan. [see Pirate Coelho/ help your community]

While I agree that it was good to release the books in Farsi, I think Paolo Coelho is being incredibly naive to think that everyone who downloads his book for free will go out and buy a copy to show the publishing industry that they have nothing to worry about from scribid type websites. It’s like after shoplifting a lemon and eating it going back and buying another lemon to show the shop that you could have paid for it all along. It’s just stupid.

It is not the same as shoplifting. Theft is to deprive someone of something. If I steal your car, you do not have the use of your car. If I copy your CD we both have the pleasure of listening to it.

Paulo Coelho has sold in Russia 12 million hardbacks and counting!

At times the claims of piracy hits unbelievable levels of hysteria as with a recent ill-informed rant in the Daily Mail. [see Google threatens to destroy not only pop sensation Adele, but Britain’s film and music industries]

Fighting the Copyright Ratchet Racket
Using trade marks to fence off the commons

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