Bittorrent Billboard ads spoofed by pro-copyright group #rightthemusic

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Remember when Bittorrent ran these outdoor ads? It began as a tease, with big brother watching you paranoia, as the line "Your data should belong to the NSA," was the show stopper. When the reveal showed it was Bittorrent, nobody was impressed. Least of all musician David Lowery who pointed out that Bittorrent does nothing for your data privacy, even TorrentFreak knows full well that regular BitTorrent transfers through uTorrent or other clients lack any form of privacy, because that's how the software works, duh. So while that straw man may have been a really dumb one to hang your hat on in a campaign, there's more.

 A pro-copyright group has spoofed the billboards with banners instead, in particular the "Artists need to play by the rules options." One banner responds with "Instead of paying artists, we spent money on banners" The banners, seen on, The Drudge Report, Mashable, FileHippo, GrooveShark, MediaFire and more places, takes you to Tom Megginson the ethical ad man says "It sounds like the copyright battle is coming soon to some ads near you". This does look like the firsts shots fired back since the widely mocked don't copy that floppy sequel. Since Bittorrent are trying to re-brand themselves as a decentralized, artist-owned publishing platform: a zero-cost alternative for media distribution it's only fair that people notice "zero cost" also means "Zero income" because "zero moneys" are actually changing hands. Artists need alternatives? How about one where they get paid? That alternative seems to have been taken off the table by everyone whose living does not depend on it. Checking you'll find links to many resources and news stories demonstrating the real damage copyright infringement has done. And in other news, today the popular Canadian Bittorrent site isoHunt was shutdown, and is forced to pay $110 million in damages. Because hosting all these free innocent links delivering free music for free to people apparently makes you stinky filthy rich, while the creators and artists who made the content shared via these links get none of it. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. You know what I think artists need? Someone on their side.

Update October 19 Oh look! We were linked by Torrentfreak last night from: Angry Artists Attack BitTorrent With Spoofed Billboards, which explains why people were yelling anti-copyright clichés to @adland on twitter last night.

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Bloodshoteveryday's picture

As a recording musician, as well as a music appreciator; I can truly say that any "artist" who truly opposes free music/art is not an artist at all, but a shallow product. Art is not a product to be sold, if one is to create a song that can be defined as art, and was created to invoke emotion in it's audience, there is no amount of money that can ever be paid that would be worth that song. A song is written to convey a message, or in some cases; such as "pop music", of which the artistic value is questionable as it has been reverted to simple entertainment; it is not something to be bought, it is something to listen to.
If an artist truly wants someone to hear their words, an artist can not then say "But give me money first." and expect people to continue to say "Wow, that's deep." All that person is, is a corporate shill; far from an artist, and their words are meaningless; pirate music, stream music; support musicians by seeing them live as if you'd be walking into a museum of art to see a famous painting; appreciate them as you see fit and most of all, enjoy.

Piracy saved music, without piracy; the only words that would be getting out are the words of the few who haven't been drowned out by the mass media and menial dick and fart jokes of the mainstream. Anyone who denies this is taking what they have been allowed for granted, and should leave the conversation immediately.

Bloodshoteveryday's picture

I'm replying to this initial comment I posted simply because I realize how wrong I was about several points; more or less, it wasn't exactly the best argument to make here; nor was it formulated properly, my responses to other replies are general revisions, whether you agree with them or not; I acknowledge how asinine this original post was, unfortunately I can't delete it, heh.

(Mainly because I really don't want to have to reply to any more people making the same argument.)

Accipiter's picture

Okay, Bloodshoteveryday, if "Art is not a product to be sold", then how do you suppose we make a living? As a visual artist, I can tell you that art takes up almost my entire day. I create about 12 hours, with 4 hours of eating/sleeping/breaks. I can't 'have a day job' and still be able to grow as an artist. I need to work all day every day on art to develop my skills and cultivate my inspiration. I assume being a musician is the same way.

The real world isn't ideal. Artists NEED to sell their work to survive. We're not fairies that survive on dewdrops that can just wave our magic for the world to enjoy. Trust me, I wish I could just make art all day and give it away for free because I LOVE seeing people get joy from my work. But I HAVE to sell prints, I HAVE to charge for commissions because otherwise, I'm starving and have no place to sleep or work. We have to eat just like everyone else, and the only way to support ourselves is to sell our work.

Musicians deserve to be paid for their work. If they could support themselves entirely by live shows, that would be great, but that's not how the real world works. Most musicians I know say live show don't pay anywhere near enough to make a living. They need to sell CDs, or digital files, to be able to make ends meet. It's really unfortunate that people seem to think that everyone else deserves to be paid for their work, except for artists. We're expected to just sprinkle our work out there for everyone to enjoy, but how DARE we ask for money to pay our bills. Just be a starving artist and ENJOY it, dammit. Right?

Accipiter's picture

" I create about 12 hours, with 4 hours of eating/sleeping/breaks." Should have been "eating/exercise/breaks", with 8 hours of sleep. Obviously today I got less :|

kidsleepy's picture

"Piracy saved music, without piracy; the only words that would be getting out are the words of the few who haven't been drowned out by the mass media and menial dick and fart jokes of the mainstream."

Uh...have you never heard of college radio? Because there are hundreds of college radio stations that paid licenses to play non mainstream music which in turn paid royalty to artists. Not all of whom are on big labels, either, mind you. And those stations existed long before the internet and continue to do so. Also, bands can get the word out to millions simply by streaming music on their own websites, and tweeting people to listen. I don't see why it is unreasonable to want to receive some sort of compensation for your content creation-- in whatever form that compensation comes.

Speaking of which, I'm interested to know. Because you have a very strong stance that other people's art should never be tied to economy, is there one instance in history you can name where an artist who wasn't already independently wealthy accepted no patronage for their work? Be it food, room and board or money? I'm scratching my head here and I can name none. I should caveat it too and say these are artists who made the choice as opposed to having had the choice made for them by people who decide not to pay. Obviously if an artist creates something they can (and often do) whatever they want with it. The decision shouldn't be made by someone else.

But an artist giving everything they do away for free? Hm...can't really name any. And obviously there's a difference between the type of artist you have described (which I can name none) and artists who can't sell their work but try to, like Van Gogh. He tried constantly to sell his work but only managed to sell one painting during his life.

Bloodshoteveryday's picture

College radio? Yes, I have heard of college radio; however, however; radio really isn't the best medium, nor can I imagine a time when it ever was. Unless you spend hours listening to a good college radio station, writing down the lyrics to type into a search engine and perhaps MAYBE find a band that appeals to you, I doubt anyone could possibly gain the informational output they'd find on a forum, or a giant playlist; among other things. I can see college radio being viable to some degree, however it's impossible to be worth as much as what we have now due to it's limitations.

Dabitch's picture

You listen in a rather odd fashion. I simply commute, have my fave college station on. Once a song really gets to me I pay alert attention to what the DJ says later, or grab my Shazam while it's playing. I bought the entire album "The awesome wave" by Alt-J, based on one listen in the car, as the station DJ said they had been amazingly tight band live too. So there I am, clicking "buy album" on my Google Play in my phone, in the parking lot. What century do you live in? Also iTunesAmazon and I bet you could pirate the whole thing too if you insist but I'm WAY too lazy to go hunting for that on my computer, when I can just click a button, part with a few bucks, and have it in my playlists on my favorite listening device right now.

kidsleepy's picture

You know what else, too? the majority of those college stations? They have apps. You can take them with you. A lot of them are live streaming, because they paid for the license to do so. Crazy right?

AnonymousCoward's picture

Ummm... have you ever heard of Shazam? It's really not all that hard to find new great music off of college radio stations.

Robert's picture

"As a recording musician, as well as a music appreciator; I can truly say that any "artist" who truly opposes free music/art is not an artist at all, but a shallow product. Art is not a product to be sold, if one is to create a song that can be defined as art, and was created to invoke emotion in it's audience, there is no amount of money that can ever be paid that would be worth that song."

This is an incredibly sophomoric proclamation; in effect, you are telling every musician, visual artist, etc. that to be a true artist, they must remain impoverished, that they must have a "day job" in order to survive, and that they are not allowed to be rewarded for their hard work and talent. Simply ridiculous.

If you wish to making a living by flipping burgers or being a stock broker, while spending an hour or two or three at night recording in your home studio, then that's your choice. Knock yourself out.

You seem to value art, but you clearly loathe those who make it -- apparently, including yourself. To say that no artist deserves to be paid shows that you simply have deep-seated self-worth issues.

All artists who work at their art deserve to be rewarded, and rewarded well -- not just paid a few cents in a cup on the street.

All art deserves support. Good art deserves reward, and artists deserve to be paid well enough to devote their time to their art. Not to mention reimbursing them for the many costs involved.

An artist owns their work. If they want to be paid for it, you declare that they must surrender it to you for free, or they are not truly an artist. What a childish crock. You are obviously part of the generation what has utterly ZERO clue what ownership, and work really are. You see the world as owing you everything you ask for, simply because you exist. You need not work for anything, and so, if you don't have to work for anything, then you think you have the right to steal whatever you want. Because the world owes it to you.

Perhaps if you are lucky, and everyone around you is lucky, one day you will grow up.

I for one won't be holding my breath.

Bloodshoteveryday's picture

I was admittedly surprised with the responses I ended up with due to my prior comment; however I found them to be very well thought out, and I stand corrected on most of my points, however; I do have a revised response to this, which may not follow the same mindset that I went into this with, thank you for the informative reply.

I find your reply to be somewhat funny, considering you seem to understand how harsh reality is; yet still seem to have views that cling to a thoroughly difficult and unrealistic ideal. I will admit however, that my comment was rather vague/broad at the same time as to who it was directed to; and I won't make any excuses there. I'll correct my statement here, and go against what I said initially; rather than saying they aren't "true artists", I will admit that if you want to sell your music; go right ahead, that's good; it's also good to vary your options.
However, I'll correct my argument by saying that wanting to have your music sold and bought does not invalidate the "other" mentality that music and art should be easily accessible. If your true fans want to purchase your music, that is awesome; if you're one of the lucky ones who gain some degree of mainstream success and don't end up just getting a teaching job or audio tech (at the very least, if at all) with whatever education you may or may not have chosen to obtain, then hell; go for it, go get the money you earned with your hard earned work.
As for the "deep-seated self worth issues", I view music in an obviously different way than yourself; if I did produce music I felt was worth selling I'd never think something so outlandish as "I am going to gain a profitable audience, this is set in stone; this is my future." That is downright unrealistic, and if one is to go about producing music in a way that can possibly work, I personally think it'd be best to be at least a little less than starry-eyed about it. I just find it to be close to an impossibility for someone to realistically pursue creative music, while retaining their happiness and well-being in a normal lifestyle. I do not believe it is impossible, however; I do believe that it is best to have options. If my music actually was well-received to the point of being profitable, perhaps maybe I would "sell" it, but my stance is that even with that; I should not be against piracy and free media in any form, because it is all around detrimental and keeps audience to a minimum.

To respond to your last comment regarding the "generation" I live in, I take it back; if you produce music that is meaningful and sell it; then you are in fact an artist. I do not know exactly what I was saying to begin with on that end, I went about this without a clear head apparently; I don't think the world owes me anything, the world doesn't owe anyone anything. However, I do believe that the things that are established currently should not be denied; I personally like the way things are.

If you enjoy a song, you can easily obtain the entire album the song is on; and enjoy the music. If you like the band, you can go get in a car and take a drive to wherever they are playing and pay admission to see them live on a scheduled date. However, even if piracy was god forbid ever legally enforced through some good old fashioned "big brother monitoring"; I highly doubt the landscape would change for the people who are having their albums pirated short of many people not hearing their music because they wouldn't have bothered to listen to begin with.

I recognize how juvenile my post was to begin with; you have clearly pointed this out, my general stance has not changed; because there is no need for it to change. The way things are now is excellent, and they should not be altered; whether by an agenda, or an artist's will.

kidsleepy's picture

They way things are, are excellent except for any artist wanting to make a living. And I'm not talking about becoming so rich you can afford to live in the Hollywood Hills for the rest of his life and then tell people you don't mind if you steal their music like Moby.

I'm talking about that hundreds if not thousands of Indie Rock bands like Guided By Voices and R Stevie Moore and people like DTCV and Post Honeymoon who never had for one moment anidea they'd become filthy rich but would just like to pay their rent. Those bands cannot all summarily be dismissed as being "not worth listening to," as a. that is a subjective argument and b. elitist.

I am in no way devaluing the fact technology has given us access to the most music in history. Never have never will. That would be stupid. I can't wait to see a sustainable business model for streaming services that don't rely on investments from big record labels (Pandora) or paying out so little in royalties that artists don't even want to be on the site. (Spotify)

What I am really trying to understand is why there is a contingency of people are happy that the music industry-- which employs people at all economic strata-- has shrunk. It's like being happy the textile industry in America collapsed and thousands of people are now unemployed, because you can get free Gap t-shirts.

Again i'm not talking about lost revenue here. The revenue isn't lost, it's merely diverted. I'm talking the number of people employed. Yeah you can say on one level that's collateral damage as a result of 'progress,' but I have never before seen so many people cheering this damage, as if its some self-righteous move to get rid of them. Hell, people aren't even as militant when it comes to Big Oil.

I'm also trying to understand why artists have been so duped into giving up a sustainable income in exchange for merely the potential that millions of people might hear their music at best, or the promise of 'millions and millions of views on youtube.' or I simply do not see a reason either rationale should be applauded as a motivation to create content.

I also believe it's an extremely elitist attitude that is firmly rooted in racism. Who else but an upper class white American would pretend to level the playing field by making it so that only privileged white Americans could possibly afford to work for free?

Are you going to go into some economically devastated area like Detroit and tell an R&B hopeful that instead of playing the Apollo Theater it would be way better to busk in the subway for free because "you'll reach so many more people that way?" Or a native tribe in Papua New Guinea that Carnegie Hall might pay you for a night but you're better off giving your music away for free on soundcloud so "millions can enjoy it?" Oh, but first you should ask your local Peace Corps volunteer to borrow your computer since you don't have one.

But that's exactly the implication. It's either people don't want to see a successful cultural base (a cultural base that can sustain itself without second and third jobs not related to their art) or they want to make it as hard as possible for one group to succeed either through cultural imperialism, elitism or racism. They can always hide behind "you're a Luddite," ad hominem attacks, or "sell more t-shirts," as a pathetic excuse for an alternative, but those are merely justifications and excuses for their total lack of ethics and desire for Free Goods, All The Time.™

Regardless of motivation behind the zeitgeist, I have never seen a period in history with so many people applauding widespread economic degeneration before. Where we willingly put the creator out of business or force them to seek extra employment, so a tiny group of people who didn't make the content can profit so largely because they have a server. It's disturbing.

Dabitch's picture

And on that note, here's Kim Dotcom's house:

melissa w's picture

I'm doing research for a debate class in my school and this is the most interesting campaign as its position is against BitTorrent. Thank u for sharing.

Researchers's picture

I never heard of either of these campaigns before. Wild.