Copying Is Not Theft by Nina Paley

Copying Is Not Theft by Nina Paley



wait, this is sarcasm right?

Darkmatter Artist

wait, this is sarcasm right?
— Hey, copying is fun! ; )


I’m with Nina. A copywrite-less world is a new frontier for creatives and traditional monetizing practices will have to be altered but markets will adapt in time. Oh brave new world which has such internets in it!


so you should be able to copy any movie, without paying for it.

great idea


Yup. I don’t have all the answers, but in general monetization for anything digital should come from capturing an audience through entertainment or service rather than selling physical goods. Some monetization avenues could be advertising, merchandising, sponsorship/donation, etc.


I completly agree. I don’t call it Pirate Copying, I call it Free Information. It will change, and artist will need to adapt to these new sets of rules…


cool. i hope this happens, and you can’t find work becuase everyone is so up their own asses with a feeling that they should have people’s hard work for free, just because it is available as 1s and 0s? save the college freshman ideology for digg.


A large percentage of the visual effects and motion graphics industry works in the commercial industry and on music videos – a system where copying and redistributing the product is often beneficial for the client. So it is with many movies, where more money is spent on the merchandise than is spent in the box office – enough so that it’s worth sinking 100 million bucks on a movie just so it could sell the toys. In that instance, it’s also beneficial to have people copy and distribute the film to the widest audience possible so more merchandise flies off the shelf.


Unfortunately this is not gonna work – just think for a second about material goods – does anyone really believe that anyone on this whole f…ing planet (including you and me) would pay for anything if taking it for free was ok? If this was the case with immaterial goods then we`ll see the whole media industry go down the toilet within weeks…

Bran Dougherty-Johnson

I think this is exactly what’s been happening for the last five years to the media industry. What Nina is arguing here is that ideas and concepts essentially are (or should be) free. The idea of a bicycle is something that anyone should be able to copy or make for themselves, BUT NOT taking an actual bicycle from someone.

I’m not sure I agree 100%, but over time, you see that successful ideas, techniques and concepts eventually go from the domain of one person (the inventor) into the larger public domain. And copyright itself is a relatively new idea.

Plagiarism and fraud are really different things though. Passing off the work of another as your own, I think is more akin to stealing.

Worthy of discussion, at any rate. I’ll follow this and see where Nina gets with the finished film, maybe we can talk to her here on the site about the idea.


If the video is sincere, it’s very simplistic.

The whole issue is the denial of income. If I produce a CD for sale, I need to sell a certain number to make money on it, because I have a mortgage and need to eat … as do the people I paid to help me make the CD. However, if I can only sell one CD and it gets copied to everyone else who gets to enjoy my music without giving me something in exchange, I’ll stop making CDs.

Because the CD was copied, I was denied income for that CD.

Most people aren’t copying to support musicians. They’re not copying to stick it to The Man. They’re not copying to suit some higher purpose. They’re copying because they don’t want to pay for their pleasure.

And that’s not very honorable, in my opinion.

I’d love to see a system where musicians see more income from the sale of their music, and labels see less. Maybe something like that will come of the copying situation. But I don’t see how freeloading (a better word than “theft”) helps musicians or other creative people.


I think the music industry is a very good example of where digital content will be heading in the coming years. While CD sales plummet downloading services like Bittorrent enables musicians to reach a much greater audience (as well as making a more adventurous public) which drives performance attendance and merchandising.

Perhaps torrenting isn’t totally positive yet as the markets/culture adjusts, and perhaps non-touring studio bands will be less viable, but growing pains are to be expected. The changes that have and will occur during the Digital Revolution will make the Industrial Revolution look like nothing. And let’s not even talk about what happens when everyone has a 3D printer and starts manufacturing at home.


I’m no expert, but even if you tour around the year I’d bet that money would not be as much as what you would make selling CDs or downloads. And I for one think non-touring bands should get their pay. Do you know how expensive touring is? This would make it so only rich artists could afford to tour. Even if your little band makes world wide fame from torrent downloads, they still may not have enough to tour.

This is a bad and dangerous idea simply because it would require such a huge change in our monetary and ethics systems that the “growing pains” would mean putting huge numbers of people out of work.

idk, am I missing something here?



Manufacturing at home will have a lot smaller impact then free digital content everywhere. Even when people get 3D printers, it will not allow them to easily make things like digital cameras, tvs, or other hardware. Plus this would require the expertise to design the item. And sooner or later there will be a desktop publishing app that will have paid content so you buy your object, print it, and now you have your new set of candle stick holders. So then you would be able to torrent new candlestick holders…. and then have to buy some more bonding agent for your printer. It’s still all about the money.

I think the underestimation here is people’s good will and that this would only be an “adjustment” when in reality is would be devastation.



Each CD that’s copied is not a loss of sale. A large percentage of people would like get something for free but would rather not have it at all if they were forced to pay for it. This is why every year the movie and music industry complain that piracy is costing them billions of dollars in lost sales, and yet still manage to have record sales every year. For an industry that’s as old as the movie industry (going on 70 years now), showing growth and record profits without a plateau is an amazing feat, and shows there’s a MUCH more complicated relationship with those industries and piracy than “a pirated CD = a lost sale” seeing as how piracy is at an all time high but so are the profits.


You can try to color it anyway you want but to copy other peoples work is wrong. I think Nina is trying to say distribution but got confused and called it copying.

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