Noble Savage: About the Fair Use Doctrine:From Tape-Trading to Downloading


Last Updated on 12:30 AM by Giorgos Tsekas

The law of fair use (fairusedoctrine) allows the use of copyrighted material (©) without requiring a license, or a cash equivalent for reviewing cases, annotations, journalism, education and research. The factors that determine the fair use are:

  1. Τhe purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for non profit educational purposes
  2. The nature of the copyrighted work
  3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
  4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work


Based on these factors, courts make decisions. Universal Studios sued Sony because some people were recording with video-recorders films from television. Sony was found innocent. After that, Sega sued Accolade because it was selling games that were compatible to the devices of Sega. Sega lost. The same experience had Atari from Nintendo (it’s called reverse engineering ).

And now we get to the chase … the Νapster case. Many have believed that Napster would be the end of copyrighted music, but the markets had another opinion. How possible would it be for a product or service to be let free and unrestrained without some entity gaining profit (if something is offered for free then you probably are the product)?  After a lot of fuss, andno valid conclusion from the first 3 factors of fair use, the music industry stepped on the fourth factor, the reduced income of artists and record companies. Income of artists…huh! If you receive as much as Matt Heafy from Trivium claimed to earn (1.31$) then fuck it up dude! According to Christian Cambas (Greece’s greatest dance music export), “… artists fail to talk about the money they (rightfully) make from merchandise (many times tax-free), sponsorships and other corporate tie-ins (which today are not that hard to achieve for a band / artist of any level), endorsements and all those things which sustain us artists APART from record / song sales, royalties of which most bands never see anyway. There is more to the music business than the recording industry and we all have other things to deal with besides piracy “.

Let’s see the sales in the U.S.A. market (larger market) where during the 90’s all indicators increased constantly. During the period 1999-2000 whenNapster popped out, sales decreased 1.5%. Singles fell 46%, but album sales rised up2.5%.  Do you see what was happening? Ephemeral genres of music like pop, r’n’b, house, radio rock etc. were destroyed by Napster. The Napster case highlighted the artistic and cultural impoverishment of society and all of those who want to call themselves artists, musicians, writers etc., as well as the fakeness of those who pull the strings behind the music markets. The cult of the ephemeral light style was collapsing. On the other hand, an artist who had something to say, as if by magic, could hear his/her music being played in all the corners of the world causing an increase in his/her album sales. Something similar was happening during the old glory days of  tape-trading. The Swiss government was the first to realize such thing, and they have recently changed their legislation allowing music to be downloaded as it ultimately improved the sales rates.

Last, but not least, the music industry has to accept the fact that for each 40 y.o. wealthy, fat, guru programmerwhoworks for them and devises control and security methods,  correspond hundreds of thousands of 16y.o. who will break and the hack the fuck out of this software. It is futile. Nobody can stop the way things evolve and progress.

Those who distribute music online are people who dig music and are potential buyers. If the music industry found a way to satisfy them, then we all would be happy. In order to do so, the music industry should first understand that sharing information is not only part of the culture of the Internet, but also of human nature. We are social beings, we live in societies, we need each other, and we need to share information, tools and products.  That’s how we survived as a race throughout time. Anything that goes against nature and life itself, sooner or later will be found under the guillotine!

What do we suggest?

  1. The price an album should fall to the degree that it would make no sense to download it.
  2. Think before you act. Downloading is ok, and in this article we have been discussing in favor of it so far … but, as with every aspect in life, overdoing leads to dissolution of balances. You, who claim that you love a band and fancy their music, before you save their new album in the folder C:\Metal_2o15 think about it for a while. I might be broke now and not able to buy their album, but when the live dates are announced I will go and see them play, or buy that cool t-shirt they sell online. Maintain the balance. Give as much as you get.
  3. When you get a job start replacing your downloads with originals. If you have a job, I’m sure are already doing so.


Sometimes With Frøst In My Keyboard, Sometimes With Sand. Πότε Στα Χιονισμένα Βουνά, Πότε Στη Καυτή Άμμο.

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