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Bootlegged Music in Russia 888

Posted by samzenpus
from the even-the-russians-are-doing-it dept.
Guppy06 writes "MosNews.com has an interesting article on the thoughts and opinions of everyday Muscovites on the rampant music (et al) piracy in their country. It seems that some of them don't have much trouble justifying it to themselves, with quotes like 'Yes, I know that some of the sellers are here with burned CDs. But they have to earn a living too, I can understand them.' The article also mentions 'In a country where the average monthly salary is about $240, buying the latest album for $15 is a grotesque luxury, let alone spending $600 on Adobe Photoshop or a similar computer program.' Apparently, catchy slogans like 'Listen up, you pirate, I choose copyright!' just aren't working."
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Bootlegged Music in Russia

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  • Rampant Music! GASP! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Frennzy (730093)
    `Especially that 'et al' type of music.

    Man, I'm glad I don't live somewhere that I would have to listen to 'et al' music. And I'm sure there's a lot of people who agree with me, but don't have the space to be a signatory to that here...
  • by Dancin_Santa (265275) <DancinSanta@gmail.com> on Thursday October 21, 2004 @01:34AM (#10583325) Journal
    "Listen up, Russia. You signed the Bourne treaty, so start living up to your side of the bargain by eradicating these large-scale piracy rings or face the coming winter without trade partners."

    or

    "Information wants to be Free! That CD wants to cost 15 bucks!"

    or

    "In Capitalist America, nubile faux-lesbian rock groups ignore YOU!"
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 21, 2004 @01:59AM (#10583488)
      The United States has signed more than a few treaties which it ignores. The Geneva Conventions being the most recent example (thanks Bush, for Gitmo!).
      • by A beautiful mind (821714) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @03:23AM (#10583858)
        My Karma is "bad" ...

        The thing is i couldnt care less. If they "flamebait" comments like this, im actually proud to have "bad" karma. I have no idea where are the moderators are living, but when a heavily centralised goverment with a not rocket scientist leader to say the least thinks he knows better whats good for the world rather than following international "standards", then when someone points it out, shouldn't be considered flamebait.

        To stay Ontopic a bit, if you look at the russian music market, from a production perspective, then "illegal music pirates who endanger the world order" are actually competition. Competition with low prices. And how does the industry react? Not wanting to fix the issue, they shout "pirates" and "crime", instead of being competitive (which they could be). Why everyone's "pirating" music in russia? Yes, because its cheaper than buying it in a music store. But if you look at the figures, this is totally irrational. Around 1-5% of the price of the cds goes to the actual artist. Well, if the music industry would be smart enough to realise things, they would go competitive. It would mean lowering prices to their 1/5. Giving around 10%-20% of the price to artists, and having the benefits of mass-production, the recording industry would still stay competitive. The only reason they are not doing this is just out of pure greed and short sightness. They can keep this state up for a while, but not on a long term. Eventually someone will figure out a way to pay artists while getting round the music industry.

        Now you can hit the -6, Flamebait, Troll, reason of Apocalypse, etc button to rate my post.
        • If the music industry cannot be competitive while paying all their overhead (as bloated as it might be) and giving the artists 1-5%, how could they possibly stay competitive while raising their prices another 5-15%?

          So, hypothetically, say that Sony Music gets lean and mean and somehow manages to lower its CD prices by 50%, while increasing the royalties to the artist (to give everyone a warm fuzzy feeling when they buy a CD). That'd set a price at $4-8, which is *still* priced way out of realm of affordab
          • yes, but (Score:3, Insightful)

            by IshanCaspian (625325)
            They have quality and reliability on their side...as the iTunes store has shown, it is possible to compete with free. Piracy is more of a response to price-gouging than an attack on them for charging anything at all.

            Even if there is a legal technicality that distinguishes bootlegging from competition, remember that this is not true from the common person's perspective. Everyone hears music so much on the radio and in movies and from their friends, it really comes down to a price vs. hassle question of ho
          • a company that actually has to pay royalties to the artists *and* pay the salaries of all the people working to produce and distribute that music CAN NOT "compete" with someone who contributes 0% to the artist or the company that produces the album.

            Not so, say I. Imagine someone wanted to sell you a copy of something like a newspaper. Do you honestly think they would be able to produce a reasonable copy for less than the pittance you are paying now? Newspapers have people working for them, writing for
      • Geneva Conventions (Score:5, Insightful)

        by rjh (40933) <rjh@sixdemonbag.org> on Thursday October 21, 2004 @05:48AM (#10584384)
        First, the United States has not signed all the Geneva Conventions.

        Second, the Geneva Conventions are in some ways absolutely absurd. For instance, prisoners are supposed to be guaranteed athletic uniforms. In a lot of ways the Geneva Conventions are a reflection of a 1920s notion of how gentlemen ought to act to each other in a state of peace; they do not speak very much to the modern state of the world or to the modern state of war. Let's not forget that Geneva was drafted in the post-WW2 period by diplomats whose military experience and notions of 'the laws of war' were shaped by WW1.

        Third, Geneva sees the world in strict black and white. For Geneva to apply, you must be either a civilian or a uniformed soldier in the service of a recognized government. If you're neither a civilian nor a uniformed soldier in the service of a recognized government, Geneva considers you to be a spy and entirely outside the protections of the Geneva accords.

        So think about this: the detainees captured during combat operations in Afghanistan are not civilians. (Some may be, and we desperately need a legal process to determine who is a civilian and who is not; but I do not believe the majority of them are civilians.)

        The Taliban were not the recognized government of Afghanistan. Only one country in the world recognized their government as being legitimate, and anyone who suggests that the opinion of a generalissimo dictator (i.e., Pakistan's Musharraf) lends credibility to the Taliban-as-government idea has no credibility at all.

        Thus, no Taliban fighter could be considered a soldier under the Geneva Conventions. Even if the Taliban were a recognized government, they'd still fail because they didn't have uniforms. (A pedantic point? Sure. But that's law for you; law is nothing more than the rigorous application of pedantism.)

        Not only that, but the Taliban committed gross breaches of the laws of armed combat. They mixed in with civilians; they militarized noncombatant areas; they targeted medical personnel; they engaged in military operations against civilian targets. Under the Geneva Accords, they can be summarily executed for this without judicial process. After all, they're not in uniform, not in the service of a government, and not civilians--they're spies. Kill 'em without trials. It's legal.

        So when you start talking about Geneva, start thinking long and hard. Do you really want us to treat them in strict accordance with Geneva? Or do you want us to treat them in accordance with some nebulous 'standard' which far, far exceeds Geneva protections?

        If you want Geneva, fine. But don't go about talking how awful it is that Bush isn't strictly adhering to Geneva without understanding just how horrible Geneva allows us to be. I'm no fan of Bush, but I have to give him this: he's not summarily executing people in Gitmo. And under the law, he's allowed to.

        (Addendum: None of this is an argument to abandon Geneva. I'm only suggesting that we acknowledge Geneva's many shortcomings and understand what it actually says, not what we wish it to mean. If I had my way, NATO would agree on uniform standards for prisoners, both regular and irregulars, with severe penalties for violators. I don't trust the UN to form a new Geneva Convention, given that Geneva is fundamentally a human rights issue and Libya's the current chair of the UN Human Rights committee.)
        • "law is nothing more than the rigorous application of pedantism" You mean 'pedantry', not 'pedantism'.
        • by justins (80659)
          I'm no fan of Bush, but I have to give him this: he's not summarily executing people in Gitmo.

          How do you know?
    • by beholder (35083) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @04:04AM (#10584029)
      Actually, this goes both ways.

      I believe America has been blatanly violating Russian's copyright for a very large product category for many many years.

      What's the product you ask? Machine guns. Specifically, Kalashnikov design that had a world copyright (AK-47). US even resold unlicensed AK-47s to other countries.

      I think there was even an article on slashdot about it.

      Tit for tat? One Madonna for two pointy AK-47?
  • 15 bucks (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Coneasfast (690509) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @01:36AM (#10583338)
    15 bucks is a lot anywhere for a cd! personally, i don't think it's justified to spend that much on a cd that maybe has 1 or 2 songs worth listening too.

    that's why i like online music stores where you can get singles for $1. something like this could really kick of in russia, not sure what the internet usage is over there though.
    • Re:15 bucks (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Morkano (786068) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @01:40AM (#10583359)
      that's why i like online music stores where you can get singles for $1. something like this could really kick of in russia,

      $1 out of an average of $260/month income is still HUGE. The problem is it's way too expensive for them in general. Of course, if they lowered the prices for Russia, then we could just buy music and software there for peanuts, and the publishers would be fucked.
      • Re:15 bucks (Score:5, Insightful)

        by G-funk (22712) <josh@gfunk007.com> on Thursday October 21, 2004 @02:00AM (#10583493) Homepage Journal
        Of course, if they lowered the prices for Russia, then we could just buy music and software there for peanuts, and the publishers would be fucked.

        They're fucked anyway. And I say good riddance to them. What they did worked before the internet, but it doesn't now. They use mass media to control 13yo girls and buy popularity, they suffer when we use the same systems to get their content free. I'd sleep if there were never another new song recorded, there's so much out there I'll never come close to running out of new stuff to listen to. And the people who're in it for the music will still produce, and the people who want to see live acts, and want to support the acts they like, will still pay.
      • Re:15 bucks (Score:5, Funny)

        by NanoGator (522640) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @02:34AM (#10583662) Homepage Journal
        " and the publishers would be fucked."

        Damn you supply and demand!
      • Re:15 bucks (Score:3, Informative)

        by Sethb (9355)
        Yep, I just spent three weeks in Russia, and never even saw a legitimate CD or DVD in either Moscow or St. Petersburg. I went into a store called 505 [505.ru], which is just off Nevsky Prospekt in St. Petersburg, it's about the size of the average Sam Goody, and you can buy CDs, DVDs, PC CDROM/DVD-ROM games, Movies on MPEG4 discs, and even MP3 CD collections.

        The MP3 collections are kind of neat, you can buy oh, say, the Metallica CD, which is one disc, with every song Metallica ever published, plus cover art, lin
    • Re:15 bucks (Score:5, Informative)

      by Raztus (745280) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @01:44AM (#10583384)
      Something like this already exists...www.allofmp3.com. Sure, the target audience may be more foreigners than Russians, but the prices at which they sell music equal out to about the same as iTunes, on a Russian salary.
    • Re:15 bucks (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Z-MaxX (712880) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @01:57AM (#10583470) Journal
      I truly can't understand why a blockbuster Hollywood movie with the world's most famous actors, thousands of special effects created by the world's most powerful supercomputers, and a credits list that takes 5-10 minutes just to scroll by on the screen normally costs about $15, while a CD, often with already-released songs, and requiring only a singer, guitarist, drummer, etc., and a sound technician, costs the same amount. *What is up with that?!*
      • Re:15 bucks (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Seumas (6865) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @02:10AM (#10583536)
        I'm not sure what portion of a DVD's cost goes to cover promotion, but 50% of the cost of a CD does. So $10 of that $20 CD you might have just bought will go to cover things like apperances on MTV's TRL, appearances, radio play and other forms of advertising, which are usually handled by the record labels. In addition to that, the labels take cuts in other direct and indirect ways so that something like 70% of the points (a point is about 80 cents) on an album go to the label. The artist themselves usually get one or two points - so from that expensive album, they're getting 80 cents to $1.60. The cost to manufacture the CD and put the music on it and print the sleeve and wrap it is about 1 point.

        The reason they can afford to make DVDs for so cheap is probably because they've already factored the cost of promotion and other expenses into the movie itself and that is usually recovered in the box office long before it hits store shelves.

        That and the fact that I'm sure they've conducted expensive research that has surely shown consumers are willing to spend six hours worth of pay on a CD or DVD, but not anything more than that. $20 for a CD and $30 for a DVD might be the price break after which people begin to stop and think "wait, do I really want to dish out this much of my income for a movie I'll only watch one time?".

        I would find the cost of both DVD an CD to be acceptable if you were paying for the right to posess and view the content whenever you wanted for the rest of your life. But if your media is lost, stolen, damaged or wears out (or there hardware to play it is no longer made), then it's a rip off to have to pay for it all over again.

        Just imagine you're some Star Wars dork and you payd $30 for three star wars movies on VHS. Then you spend $30 on each for laser disc. Then you spend $30 each for DVD. Then someone stole those DVDs or they were damaged while you were moving out of your dorm and you had to spend another $30. That's $480 on just three star wars movies over time - and your life isn't even half over year. Just wait until the next "big amazing format" comes out and you have to upgrade again if you ever want to watch those movies. :)

        The best thing I've ever done is just give up buying DVDs and CDs and going to the theater. I have far more money in my pocket and can get more entertainment for the buck by purchasing used books at half the price.
        • Re:15 bucks (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 21, 2004 @02:42AM (#10583704)
          0.80 to 1.60 goes to the artist? Please. My friend's dad has put out 16 cd's since the late 60's/early 70's. He's still putting them out today, and he gets about 10 cents per album. This is common from others I've talked to in the industry. Luckily for him, he's just one guy. A band of 4 people have to split those profits. Selling a million records does not make you a whole lot of money.

          Interestingly enough, it's the shows and appearances that make them the most cash, not the records. Unfortunately, you can't sell many records without the backing of a big label because of the stronghold they have on the industry. Most artists would give their records away for free if they could gain more fans that way, then they would make even more off shows and appearances. But the record label charges for the albums, and it's impossible to get radio play on any popular station if you're independent. The record industry is a scam, and all signed artists know it. That's why you see some artists starting their own labels, both to make more for themselves, and to sign other bands and do the same to them. Dre, Eminem, Metallica... they all have their own labels, and they are all rolling in cash. But you've gotta be a superstar before you start a credible label or you will be ignored.

          It would be nice if some big names that have made their money got together and started a campaign to take down the labels, or at least start some kind of change for the better. Maybe come together and start their own label that didn't screw their talent and is not part of the 4 letter organization that we all love to hate.
          • Re:15 bucks (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Seumas (6865)
            My understanding (this was broken down to me by a radio guy, so he might not know quite as much as a label guy) is that artists almost aways get at least one point and sometimes two. But the artist still has their own expenses that have to come out of that $.80 to $1.60.

            If you're an average band and you pull 1 point (80 cents) per album, you are still going to have to pay your lawyer, travel expenses, equipment, studio time and sometimes even your own videos out of that. But from the standpoint of the albu
            • It's even worse than just that. Record companies can force their artists to use expensive packaging, put them into promo's they don't want to be part of, force them to make stupidly expensive videos, and all of this comes from the artists cut. They can charge you to place your CD is a fancy paper case with foldouts and hollograms on the front, then give that away in a promo, and since their giveaways you don't get any income from them...but still pay for their manufacture, and IIRC pay a royalty to the RIAA
          • Re:15 bucks (Score:5, Informative)

            by BlueStrat (756137) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @07:04AM (#10584672)
            I've posted this URL several times in various threads where music industry-artist relations come up. I'm a semi-pro (not sure what may formally qualify one to be called "pro"..I've made a living at it for significant periods, but not exclusively, so I include the "semi" tag) musician myself, and can attest to some of the facts in this excellent piece. Worth a read.

            http://www.negativland.com/albini.html [negativland.com]

            Strat
      • Re:15 bucks (Score:3, Insightful)

        by tobes (302057)
        Because, either way you're paying for the marketing. The costs to manufacture either product is probably negligible compared to the amount the entertainment industry spends marketing the end result.

        Getting on MTV, "music" magazines (think Rolling Stone), the radio etc. isn't cheap.
  • by mOoZik (698544) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @01:36AM (#10583339) Homepage
    ...EVERY single CD I found in shops were bootlegs. I couldn't believe that people were actually buying them. Some of them were so bad that you could see the inkjet printer lines on the cover/back. Needless to say, I didn't buy any of it, but in some places, people have no trouble with this kind of behaviour.

    • by Skuld-Chan (302449) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @01:48AM (#10583411)
      Whats funny is you don't have to go all that far to see this sort of thing. Last time I was in BC (in Vancouver) I saw pirated cd's, pirated dc games (in this case they were burned copies with nicely printed covers) and pirated VCD's - these were silver and had nice covers etc - but they sold for like 2$ usd.
    • I believe what music labels should do is sell localized versions of their music in these countries. What I mean by that is, companies need to sell their music at "localized" rates, so that instead of making no money from these sales, at least they could make some money. Just my two cents.
      • by mOoZik (698544) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @02:05AM (#10583517) Homepage
        Sure, but what's to keep people from importing these into the U.S.? Their domestic sales would suffer as a result.

    • by fmaxwell (249001) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @07:25AM (#10584741) Homepage Journal
      ...EVERY single CD I found in shops were bootlegs. I couldn't believe that people were actually buying them. Some of them were so bad that you could see the inkjet printer lines on the cover/back. Needless to say, I didn't buy any of it, but in some places, people have no trouble with this kind of behaviour.

      It's easy to take the moral high road when you earn more in two-three weeks than the average Russian person earns in a year, isn't it?

  • by lothar97 (768215) * <<gro.ikslegims> <ta> <newo>> on Thursday October 21, 2004 @01:36AM (#10583340) Homepage Journal
    I guess since things are so cheap in Russia, they get music downloads at $.01 per meg downloaded at allofmp3.com [allofmp3.com]. I wonder if they can afford that. Hey, wait, I can get downloads from there for the same price as the Russians as well!

    My research indicates that it's legit, and has been online for awhile. According to the copyright laws of the US, you can "import" things from outside the US, even if they violate US law if purchased here. As long as it's legit where you get it, and you import it for your personal use, you're OK. Kind of the same how you can buy bootlegs outside the US and bring them home. Heck, it even gets good reviews [thetechguide.com]

    Plus, they have not ripped me off since May, and so far no one has shown how this is illegal.

    While I know it's not Soviet Russia, it's damn cheap. You can download an album for $1.50- and it's legit.

    • by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @01:58AM (#10583484) Homepage
      My research indicates that it's legit, and has been online for awhile.

      It is NOT legal to download from them if you are in the US.

      Basically how this goes is that:

      1) It is infringing to reproduce the work in copies (17 USC 106(1)).

      2) Downloading constitutes reproduction of the work in a new copy given the definitions of the pertinent terms in the law (17 USC 101; Intellectual Reserve v. Utah Lighthouse Ministry, 75 F. Supp. 2d 1290 (D. Utah 1999) ("[A] copy of the [work] is made in the computer's random access memory (RAM), to permit viewing of the material. And in making a copy, even a temporary one, the person who browsed infringes the copyright.")).

      3) The downloader is the party that's responsible for the reproduction occuring (Marobie-FL v. NAFED, 983 F. Supp. 1167 (N.D. Ill. 1997)).

      According to the copyright laws of the US, you can "import" things from outside the US, even if they violate US law if purchased here.

      No, that's not true.

      1) Importation is, per 17 USC 602(a), an aspect of the distribution right at 17 USC 106(3), and therefore, any exemptions to the distribution right don't apply to the reality of the infringement being unlawful reproduction as shown conclusively above.

      2) Importation, being a form of distribution, requires a copy (which is defined in 17 USC 101 as a tangible object, such as a hard drive containing a work, as opposed to intangible bits all by themselves) to cross the border. This does not happen when you download, thus it's not importation.

      3) You can't read, or you're remarkably stupid, because while there is an exemption for some importation in 17 USC 602(a), that exemption does NOT apply to 17 USC 602(b) which ALSO prohibits importation. Specifically, it is always illegal to import a work that was made in a manner where, had US law applied, it would've been illegal, regardless of the local law where it was made.

      so far no one has shown how this is illegal.

      Well, now you can retract that statement, I guess.

      Enjoy.
      • "Specifically, it is always illegal to import a work that was made in a manner where, had US law applied, it would've been illegal, regardless of the local law where it was made."

        Wow, no wonder the Saudis *finally* abolished slavery in, what, 1964?

        Otherwise the yanks would have been legally unable to import their oil...
      • by Cryptnotic (154382) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @05:38AM (#10584352) Homepage
        It's not illegal because I don't WANT it to be illegal!

      • BS Argument (Score:4, Interesting)

        by gtaluvit (218726) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @07:32AM (#10584761)
        You could make a CD in Russia from their service and bring it into the US since it would then be a tangible object and be legit. There is no difference here.

        Not to mention, we have software "export" laws governing what crypto can go to other nations. By your argument, if I make that software available to someone in North Korea, I'm not exporting, I'm letting them reproduce.

        I noticed your arguments on this way back in September and you were one of only two people arguing that this was illegal yet you were nearly HALF the posts. I have no idea why you feel SO strongly on the subject but considering KCTL radio switched to using AllofMp3 (site down, can't confirm) for their content, I don't see where you have a leg to stand on.
        • Re:BS Argument (Score:3, Informative)

          by cpt kangarooski (3773)
          You could make a CD in Russia from their service and bring it into the US since it would then be a tangible object and be legit.

          No, that would violate 17 USC 602(b), actually and still be illegal to bring into the country.

          Not to mention, we have software "export" laws governing what crypto can go to other nations. By your argument, if I make that software available to someone in North Korea, I'm not exporting, I'm letting them reproduce.

          No, my argument stands nicely. A large part of my argument is th
      • by caudron (466327) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @09:09AM (#10585337) Homepage
        Well, I have to point out that you are still not providing proof for your claim, Cpt Kangarooski.

        Just as when we discussed this last time [slashdot.org], you are making a great number of substantial claims, but I've yet to see you cite case law that pertains. Citing IR v ULV doesn't make it more correct than the last time you tried to use that case to prove your point. In that case, the person seeling the material did not have license to do so. Not the case here. AllOfMP3 has license to sell the material. You should learn from previous arguments. That case bears no weight on this matter, but you knew that before you citing it this time since you've already been corrected.

        Also, stop calling people stupid. I can't stress enough how much this kind of thing produces the opposite of the intended result.
        • AllOfMP3 has license to sell the material.

          No, that's only in Russia. That license doesn't have any weight in the US. We've been over that too.

          This is why I avoid addressing whether allofmp3 is legal as to transactions entirely within Russia. I don't know, and I don't care. I merely discuss the matter as it pertains to US users, who are subject to US law, and don't get the benefits of Russian law.
  • The price of music (Score:4, Insightful)

    by erick99 (743982) <homerun@gmail.com> on Thursday October 21, 2004 @01:37AM (#10583343)
    An album costs 25% of a week's pay. The problem may start there. They simply can't do that. Why don't the music publishers price music a little more closely to a country's economy?
    • by Frennzy (730093) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @01:46AM (#10583399) Homepage
      because they are heartless, soul-sucking, brain-numbing Bastards.
    • by konekoniku (793686) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @01:49AM (#10583415)
      Because there will be smart opportunists out there practicing arbitrage, i.e., buying cheap music in poor economies and importing it into rich ones and taking advantage of the price differential to earn a profit.

      This is one of the reasons why pharmaceutical companies are so reluctant to sell AIDS drugs for cheap in developing African nations. They know almost no one in African countries can pay full price for their drugs, but they're afraid that if they lower the costs of their drugs in these developing nations, people will buy drugs there and import it back into the first world, cutting into the margins they need to cover the costs of development and to underwrite further research.
      • by suckmysav (763172) <suckmysav AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday October 21, 2004 @03:01AM (#10583783) Journal

        "cover the costs of development and to underwrite further research.

        I heard an interview on the radio a few weeks ago regarding just this. I cannot remember the interviewee's name, but I do recall that he was presented as a very credible person from a university who sits (or once sat) on the Pharmacutical Review Committee*. Of course, he may have had a barrow to push, but he certainly didn't overtly bash the drug industry during the interview. If I recall correctly he was being interviewed over the ramifications of the Australia-U.S. Free Trade Agreement and how it might affect Australia.

        Anyway, according to that chap, R&D costs account for about 10% of the retail price drugs are ultimately sold at.

        Proportionally, most of the costs of drugs (more than 50% IIRC) are taken up by advertising and marketing. He said that executive salaries generally cost the big drug companies more than their research does. He made a point of clarifying that he meant executive salaries, and that he was not referring to the salaries of the scientists at all.

        * In Australia, most drugs are placed into the Pharmacutical Benefit Scheme (PBS) which caps the cost of drugs to the consumer (the government makes up the difference) Consequently, any new drug that comes along has to apply to the PBS for entry onto the register, lest consumers be forced to pay full price (which would in turn mean far lower sales of the drug, very often ZERO sales). The PBS is overseen by a committee, which is made up of representatives from drug companies, academics, doctors and politicians. The committee decides on which drugs will be admitted and which will not. Hence, anybody who sits on the committee should have a fairly good idea of how the industry works.

      • by RayBender (525745) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @04:07AM (#10584045) Homepage
        they need to cover the costs of development and to underwrite further research.

        As you've no doubt been told a million times by now, the cost of research is dwarfed by the advertising budgets. This is because company execs have figured out that a dollar spent advertising a drug you already have for a new disease returns at least twice as much as that same dollar spent trying to develop new drugs. That's why heartburn became "acid reflux disease".

        The big, dark secret of the drug industry is that they just aren't very good at finding cures. I could name more than one large company with empty pipelines... This despite the fact that they receive what is in effect an enormous subsidy in the form of government-funded basic research. Part of the problem is that the for-profit modus operandi of "patent everything and let the lawyers sort it out" actually does more to stifle science than it does to stimulate it. Sure, there are now many companies that make their money selling licenced lab products and techniques to drug developers, but this just means that a lot of effort gets wasted in a) trying to do your science without infringing on 50 different patents, or b) raising funds so you can actually afford to pay for the one crucial step that would take 30 minutes in the lab with a heat-block and some enzyme.

    • Grey imports (Score:4, Informative)

      by Colin Smith (2679) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @01:56AM (#10583464)
      "Why don't the music publishers price music a little more closely to a country's economy?"

      Cos then you could buy the stuff cheap over there and ship it back home saving a bundle.

      Course that practice has been made illegal in the UK, the free market is wonderful, no?

      Guess what makes it illegal...

      Copyright designs and patents act 1988 and the Trade Marks Act 1994. It is illegal to import/distribute into the UK without the opyright or trade mark owner's consent. There's a bunch of additional stuff which makes it even more illegal to import software.

      Levi vs Tesco and Sony vs Tesco.

    • by Nermal6693 (622898)
      I went to Indonesia a few years ago, and you could pick up pirated movies for around $1 each. In order to compete, the studios offered licenced movies for about $5 each.
    • by Spy Hunter (317220) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @02:23AM (#10583609) Journal
      The MPAA tried to do that with DVDs, it's called the region system. You may have heard of it. Most Slashdotters aren't too fond of it. Since CDs don't have regions, if albums cost $2 each in Russia, they'd probably have a much harder time selling them for $15 in Europe or the US.
  • by Peyna (14792) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @01:37AM (#10583345) Homepage
    It seems that some of them don't have much trouble justifying it to themselves, with quotes like 'Yes, I know that some of the sellers are here with burned CDs. But they have to earn a living too, I can understand them.'

    While it's kind of a stretch, it's basically the same as "it's okay to steal a loaf of bread if you're hungry." (With the vendors being the thieves).
    • by danila (69889) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @05:15AM (#10584263) Homepage
      No. It's basically "It's okay to steal the leftovers from the trashcan if you are hungry". These people do not deprive anyone of anything, not even potential profits.

      Also please note that 240$ is the average salary, but Russian society has very uneven distribution of income today. The decile (sp?) coefficient for Moscow (incomes of top 10% divided by incomes of bottom 10%) is greater than 40 and is more than 15 in Russia overall.
  • by baywulf (214371) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @01:40AM (#10583364)
    People in some countries will argue they cannot afford to legally buy some software because the cost is very high compared to how much they get pain. But then there is nothing to prevent some company from developing software in the country that people can afford because the cost of development is cheaper there isn't it?
  • Well duh! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by roman_mir (125474) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @01:42AM (#10583374) Homepage Journal
    Apparently, catchy slogans like 'Listen up, you pirate, I choose copyright!' just aren't working." - what is so difficult to understand? In the former Soviet Republics there are hundreds of millions of poor people who their entire lives lived under opression of a corrupt 'communist' government. Nothing in that society belonged to anyone. Property rights are virtually non-existant. When the president of the Country puts the most famous, richest person in the country into a prison cell for basically just that - being rich and thus dangerous (well Hodorkovskiy sort of was aiming at the president's position) and the company is now going to be sold at 1/10th of the value to the buddies of the president and to those who will share some of the wealth, what the hell do you expect from the people? Respect copyrights? HA!

    It also works the other way around - when the people of a country, whose assets were supposedely owned by noone and everyone at once were 'freed' from the regime, and the valuable assets were divided among the top elite who had access to some money and were in power, and the average person was left in the cold with nothing at all, after slaving their entire lives for this regime, these are the people who allow Putin to be the president, obviously he is representative of the population and who is to say that anyone at all in that country would behave differently from Putin given the power, then what do you expect from those people?

    Generations of Soviets grew up with assumption that they had to steal from the state because the state stole from them. The sense of someone elses property is nonexistant. Mix this with the fact that making digital copies nowadays is cheaper than buying a loaf of bread and you have yourself a runaway copyright infringement process on 1/6th of the landmass of this planet.

  • by fulana_lover (652004) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @01:43AM (#10583380)
    those godless communist bastards are preying on our innocent capitalism aryan heros like 50 cent, eminem, and britney... think of the children!!!
  • by Saven Marek (739395) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @01:43AM (#10583381)
    > Apparently, catchy slogans like 'Listen up, you pirate, I choose copyright!' just aren't working

    Well if respecting copyright is a choice then why would anyone choose to pay?

    The iPod Lite Project [theipodliteproject.com] taking orders soon.
  • i for one... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by to be a troll (807210)
    am quite thankful for the Russian bootleg economy. When travelling through Nepal and India really the only music selection I had was that of Russian imported bootlegs. Which is actually quite vast!! as I recognized many (if not most) US titles... They were also priced cheaply enough that I would not be over-concious in keeping them protected while traveling... In fact it was there I first picked up and listened to an album by the band called Portisehead, whom to this day I would say is one of the best ban
  • by drgonzo59 (747139) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @01:44AM (#10583390)
    I grew up there and go back to visit once a year or so and that's just how things are over there. The communism has taught people that honesty and hard work doesn't pay, you can just stay home and the state (the rest of the people) will take care of you. After most have realized that, that is when the whole thing imploded in my oppinion. People learned that those who bribe, cheat and lie will always get ahead. Take my parents for example my dad is an engineer that has worked hard all his life and then overnight almost all our savings have turned into nothing and he lost his job. So now when the government comes up with slogans like "Copying Software is Wrong!" people just think "F*ck off, you screwed us, now everybody for themselves." So slogans like that won't work. Even the people who are supposed to enforce it probably don't see it as a problem and would go and buy burnt CDs when they shop for music. But on the other side, as far as music and software companies loosing money, I don't think they would make a whole lot of money if they ask for $600 for Adobe in that part of the world, people just wouldn't buy it, or find something cheaper. That was my 2 cents.


  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 21, 2004 @01:46AM (#10583398)
    It's hard to justify the cost of a CD (or DVD, etc) to anyone in any country, if they've done the math and figured out where the $16 to $20 from each CD is going. Break it down and you'll find that about 75% of the points are going to the label in one way or another. Worse, as much goes to pay for advertising and promotion of the CD as goes to all other places (artist, representation, printing and pressing, shipping) *COMBINED*.

    I found the best way to deal with this is just to avoid paying. I don't have cable anymore. I ditched it because the terrible programming wasn't worth $110/mo. I also don't buy DVDs or CDs and I don't go to the theater. Few movies are worth $10 per person these days. What, am I going to blow $20 so myself and a date can go watch Eurotrip? Get real.

    I've taken the money I would have spent on the MPAA/RIAA/BSA goons and redirected it toward buying USED books. Instead of $30 to buy the latest ridiculous Spielberg rehash (ooh, this time he added three lighting effects in this one scene that weren't there before!) - I can use that $30 to buy half a dozen good reads. I've been working my way through the Top 100 Science Fiction Books of All Time (excluding the ones I'd previously read). Much better value. And when I'm through, I can hand them off to someone else without worrying about the MPAA/RIAA/BSA sending the FBI to break down my door and put me in prison for four years without due process.
  • by teamhasnoi (554944) <.teamhasnoi. .at. .yahoo.com.> on Thursday October 21, 2004 @01:47AM (#10583408) Homepage Journal
    but a quick Google for average Russian wage provided : The average monthly wage in 2003 was 5,512 roubles (which amounts to 160 euros at the current exchange rate and about 450 euros when adjusted for purchasing power).

    Converted into US bucks - that's roughly 570 dollars a month.

    You can't tell me that any attempt by copyright holders is going to 'Stamp out Piracy' with 15 dollar CDs - unless they match the 3.50 'Nice Price'.

    Isn't there one person out of all the copyright holders who can wrap their head around that?

    I rate this article 4 1/2 'duhs', and rate the clueless morans printing up 'For great justice, make your time Pirate!' posters a +5 Ner.

  • by Seumas (6865) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @01:48AM (#10583410)
    Accidentally posted anon (and want to be able to see replies):

    It's hard to justify the cost of a CD (or DVD, etc) to anyone in any country, if they've done the math and figured out where the $16 to $20 from each CD is going. Break it down and you'll find that about 75% of the points are going to the label in one way or another. Worse, as much goes to pay for advertising and promotion of the CD as goes to all other places (artist, representation, printing and pressing, shipping) *COMBINED*.

    I found the best way to deal with this is just to avoid paying. I don't have cable anymore. I ditched it because the terrible programming wasn't worth $110/mo. I also don't buy DVDs or CDs and I don't go to the theater. Few movies are worth $10 per person these days. What, am I going to blow $20 so myself and a date can go watch Eurotrip? Get real.

    I've taken the money I would have spent on the MPAA/RIAA/BSA goons and redirected it toward buying USED books. Instead of $30 to buy the latest ridiculous Spielberg rehash (ooh, this time he added three lighting effects in this one scene that weren't there before!) - I can use that $30 to buy half a dozen good reads. I've been working my way through the Top 100 Science Fiction Books of All Time (excluding the ones I'd previously read). Much better value. And when I'm through, I can hand them off to someone else without worrying about the MPAA/RIAA/BSA sending the FBI to break down my door and put me in prison for four years without due process.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 21, 2004 @02:42AM (#10583706)
      am I going to blow $20 so myself and a date can go watch Eurotrip? Get real.

      Um dude if you're wondering why you can't get laid, here's one reason. If you don't think a date's worth $10, but you do think what you need is to buy the top 100 books USED and read them in your parent's basement you've got serious issues, and its probably a good thing you're unlikely to breed. You're not savvy, you're just plain CHEAP.
  • by reporter (666905) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @01:49AM (#10583414) Homepage
    In order to do a fair assessment of Russia, we must compare Russia against another state with a comparable standard of living. Let's bite the bullet and directly compare China and Russa.

    The Chinese deliberately steal Western software, videos, and music, make millions of copies of such intellectual property, and then proceed to export the illicit goods into the American market [duke.edu]. The pirated copies of, say, Windows XP compete directly against the real McCoy in the American market. The FBI have arrested numerous Chinese for pirating software, music, and videos.

    The piracy rate in Russia [state.gov] is 87%. The rate in China (which includes Taiwan province and Hong Kong) is 92%. The rate in Russia is lower than the rate in China; moreover, the Russians do not export the pirated software into the USA to compete against the original manufacturers of the software.

    Clearly, piracy in Russia is a problem but is nowhere near as bad as piracy in China.

  • by dasunt (249686) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @01:52AM (#10583435)

    Shot of a thin gaunt man dressed in an old jacket hawking CD's with Cyrillic lettering in the rain. The rooftop of an Orthodox Russian Church can be seen in the background.

    Announcer: This is Boris, a hardworking Russian music pirate. Every day he is on the streets, twelve, fourteen, or even fifteen hours, hawking his burned CDs of the latest hit albums from the US. He even has created his own mixes with high-quality jacket art that caters to the Russian market.

    Shot of a fat man driving a Ford SUV and eating from a bag of McDonald's food. In the interior of the SUV, an in-dash satellite radio and GPS system can be seen. In the back is an in-car DVD player.

    Announcer (cont.): This is John, an American music producer. Unlike Boris, he has a steady job, including health, vacation, and retirement. He only works a measily 8 hour day, and lives in a 3000 sq ft home, with central heat and air. Unlike Boris, who owns no vehicles, John owns a late-model SUV, which he parks in his own private three-stall garage.

    Shot of a typical upscale gated community in the US.

    Announcer (cont.): If you buy legitimate music, you are throwing your money to rich Americans who already have the good life.

    Shot of a Moscow slum.

    Announcer (cont.) But if you buy the latest songs from the Russian pirates on the street, your money stays in the Russian economy, benefitting many more people than just the pirate.

    Announcer (cont.): Please buy locally.

  • by psoriac (81188) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @01:55AM (#10583461)
    I just returned to the US from a vacation in China, and in many of the rural areas (near Yunan, Dali, I was in the southern area) 400 RMB a month is enough to eat, rent an apartment, buy clothes, and still afford a few vcds and dvds a month. That's roughly $50 USD. Do you seriously think those people are going to see a $9.99 USD CD and think "oh what a bargain!"? No, they'll grab the 7 RMB copy next to it instead.
  • Arrr! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Ziviyr (95582) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @01:58AM (#10583483) Homepage
    let alone spending $600 on Adobe Photoshop or a similar computer program

    Really, I'd rather pirate The GIMP than buy it for $600.
  • A Dream... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Brakz0rz (773616) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @02:07AM (#10583524) Journal
    I dream of a day when the big labels have been completely plundered and real music is again produced by artists/managers/promoters/executives that aren't becoming insanely rich beyond what they deserve. Britney (insert artist of your choice) has not EARNED her millions. Same for movies. I also hope television dies a slow painful death.

    If you watch Survivor (insert reality show of your choice) you are crapping on your own brain.

    So, kudos to the Russians from a Canadian who cares.
    • Re:A Dream... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DarkMantle (784415)
      As a musican I've researched the music industry, and decided I want nothing to do with it. I find it funny that Artists are the first on your list of the rich from album sales... Lets break it down...

      1.) Band signs deal with label
      2.) Label LOANS band money to record/produce their album, this also costs photography/grapic work for the jacket and disk.
      3.) Label LOANS band money to have disks made and marketed.
      4.) Label LOANS band money to make music video.
      5.) Band prays they sell CD's
      6.) Album starts s
  • Not just Russia (Score:5, Informative)

    by dedrop (308627) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @02:14AM (#10583560)
    I'm originally from Brazil, and go back every once in a while to visit family. The minimum salary there is on the order of $100/month, and piracy is also an everyday fact of life. My cousin tells me that when you buy a PS2 there, it comes pre-modded and with software to play DVDs from any region as part of the bundle; you actually can't buy a PS2 without it. Of course, the reason for this is because Sony never officially released the PS2 in Brazil (according to my cousin, this is because they knew that piracy was so prevalent as to make legitimate sales there unprofitable). For comparison, whereas a pirated game is roughly $10, an unpirated one is nearly $100.
  • Robin RIAA Hood (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mulletproof (513805) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @02:15AM (#10583562) Homepage Journal
    "Apparently, catchy slogans like 'Listen up, you pirate, I choose copyright!' just aren't working."

    Well, when your countries' finacial system is in shambles and legitimate opportunities to thrive are next to non-existant, I could see where one might look to alternate forms of income. It's not nessisarily right, but then it's also hard to feel sorry for the music industry, who will be making billions a year regardless.

    And WTF is so special about black caviar, anyway?
  • Downward pressure on wages (although no where near the levels in russia) has made music a luxury to a large portion of the population. Work for $6.25 an hour, 25 hours a week, and tell me if you can afford a 15-25$ cd.
  • Been there (Score:5, Informative)

    by ComputerSherpa (813913) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @02:30AM (#10583648) Homepage
    Having lived in Russia for nine years, I can say that you can't buy licensed music or movies there. It is simply not available. You go anywhere, to any store, and movies, games, and music CDs sell for about 100 rubles (~$3.30) each. It's really not an issue of whether it's justified or not-- it's an issue of whether you want the music/media or not. You simply can't buy CDs that are legal by American standards there.

    And regarding the possiblity of iTunes and company, Russia hasn't invented broadband yet. They're still using pulse-dialing for their phone lines, for crying out lound. (If you don't know what pulse-dialing is, go ask your dad. Or your grandpa.)

    • Re:Been where ? (Score:5, Informative)

      by nickol (208154) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @02:58AM (#10583769)
      Wrong. I tell you, the sufficient part, about 15% of my own music collection are perfectly legal CDs. Yes, some of them were purchased with BIG discounts, some are from 'cheap classic music' series, but the fact is : it is possible to buy licensed music in Russia.

      Stores with legal copies sells music that is hard to find in bootlegs. They almost divided the market and coexist in peace (a sort of).

      Broadband ? We do have broadband. Not so 'broad', but anyway... it's ADSL. Advertised everywhere, cost is $24 per month.

      Pulse-dialing ? Yes, it is the default. Call the phone company and they'll change it to tone dialing.

      There is only one sad thing - all this is in Moscow and St.Petersburg. The rest of the country is still unconnected.
    • Re:Been there (Score:3, Interesting)

      by nordicfrost (118437) *
      When I was in Estonia during the Soviet Union era (Just before the revolution), they had a lot of western music in the official stores. These were LP records, republished Beatles etc. Being from Norway, I had never, ever, seen a pirated record and thought it was quite cool! A friend of mine bought a LOT of records there and brought them home, as we are allowed to do here. But the most striking thing was the attitude to piracy. I ask if they knew that the creators of the content weren't getting paid when the
  • 240-15 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Southpaw018 (793465) * on Thursday October 21, 2004 @02:32AM (#10583654) Journal
    There's just something horribly, horribly wrong when IP "owners" are complaining that people won't respect their property when said people cannot even begin to consider doing so. They're dangling food in front of the faces of the hungry and complaining when some of it gets snatched away. That thought just makes me ill.
  • by OneArmedMan (606657) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @02:41AM (#10583699)
    as just 1$ a day you can help sponsor a RIAA Music Producer. With your help we can get them another Porche for the garage, that flat they have always wanted in the Bahama's, you could even help cover the cost for the private school tuition of their childeren, and other things their own goverment can not proivde.

    So please give generously help make the life of a RIAA Music producer better today.

    ---- ..

    Seriously tho the Russian guy on the street, and that is where most of them are, have had the shit end of the stick for the last 60'something years, and now the people up on high are pissing and moaning cause someone wants to listen to some tunes....

    get your prioities straight people!
  • by slavik1337 (705019) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @03:00AM (#10583776)
    I was born in Odessa, Ukraine ... which damn close to russia :P (I lived there for 11 years) and just about EVERYONE tries to make a living ... you know those plastics bags that every store gives u in US? in Ukraine you came with your own bags! or you bought plastic bags :-\ (you'd wash them, too) college students re-sell Turkish made ripoffs on markets because after going to a uni, there isn't much hope for them to earn an honest/legal living ...
  • by ceeam (39911) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @03:18AM (#10583836)
    1. I have yet to see a _legal_ foreign origins CD anywhere around here (except MS Windows Home Edition). If they don't want to (properly) sell them here they are better not to complain that people "pirate" them. Also - very few people have international credit cards to pay over Internet.
    2. Average salary is a bit of a myth. Hardware costs are higher here than in the "civilized" world but every household has a computer (those who want) and it's probably pretty pepped up.
    3. And yes - those russian companies that sell software (1C and stuff) have an ok business around here. I guess MS is also well in the black.
    4. Localization! If Autodesk makes a half-assed russian version of AutoCAD they better not expect people rushing to buy it when bootleg localizations are of better quality.
    5. Same about music - you do realize that songs in English for most people here are not quite as cool as they are for those who can understand lyrics. Would you buy Hindu songs at the same price?

    And anyway - what was the point of posting this article?
  • by SuperKendall (25149) * on Thursday October 21, 2004 @04:35AM (#10584135)
    The thing I find most amusing about the effort to stop piracy is this.

    The entertainment industry spends millions upon millions upon billions of dollars just trying to figure out what sells well. Omnipresent advertising saying how good something is, cover art designed by teams of marketing experts and run through focus groups. Music designed and tailored to appeal to people at the most fundamental levels.

    Now you take this product that companies have literally spent millions on in an effort to make it the most desirable thing on the planet. You take that same item, and put it in the middle of a population and price it so 90% of the people are not going to be able to afford it.

    Then you are surprised when all of the effort you put into making the product irresistible actually works? Even people with scruples have a breaking point, where they just throw them away. The products are designed to break you down and make you do something you were not planning on in the first place - it is all too easy for the human mind to turn that impulse to taking instead of a purchase, especially so if the purchase is not a practical option anyway.

    That's why iTunes works so well. It's a great channel for that impulse to be satisfied fairly cheaply (for a US or UK citizen). But in Russia, they'd have to price stuff at, well, AllOfMp3.com levels. And that might even work except I have to imagine that the percentage of people with decent internet connections is somewhat low. So street vendors and a whole industry springs up to take up the slack and cater to the impulses that the media companies worked so hard to induce.

    Now THAT to me is funny.
  • Funny thing in China (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 21, 2004 @04:56AM (#10584205)
    Since I am working and living in China I am used to the huge amount of DVD piracy here.

    We had some korean customers coming to the China office and over dinner we offered to take them to a good quality and very cheap pirate DVD store.

    The two koreans looked at eachother and then one replied:
    "Why buy DVDs when we can download for free ?"

    I guess the piracy industry is getting killed by Kazaa and eMule these days.

  • by hai.uchida (814492) <hai.uchida@gmail.com> on Thursday October 21, 2004 @05:57AM (#10584413)
    Bootleg foreign music is huge here, too. Ever been to a flea market in California, or Canal Street in New York, or any city's Chinatown, or a shop that sells Indian wares... You'll see racks and racks of obviously bootlegged audio and video tapes, CDs and DVDs with homemade covers. I'm sure Bollywood's version of the MPAA isn't happy that their movies are pirated, but what are they going to do? They don't have jurisdiction here.

  • by Loki_666 (824073) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @07:51AM (#10584826)
    Lived in russia (not Moscow or St Petersburg) now for just over 6 months.

    I still havnt seen a single legal copy of anything apart from Night Watch (big Russian blockbuster film... totally strange plot but enjoyed it anyway).

    When i buy games here (not really bought much music) they are usually on decent quality disks. Sometimes not, youve just got to learn which sellers to go to. Customer service is fantastic. You go up, ask for something. 90% of the time they do, or if they dont one of their mates will have it.. you should see them running around. Went and asked for UK version of X2: The threat. Guy ran around like crazy for 10 mins. Couldnt find it. Said come back tomorrow and the next day it was waiting for me. Most of the games/applications cost (in my city... cant say about moscow) between 60-160 roubles, which translates as roughly £1.20-3.20 or $2-5.5. This is an acceptable price for Russians. Read on one post that average salary is $240/month. I believe most people here are (officially) on less than that. Basic wage for a nurse here is around $50-$100/month. My mother-in-law as head of her department at the university is on $200/month. Of course everyone is on the take and generally supplement their incomes in various ways. The most obvious example is the road police. They will pull you for anything and everything. You can even get fined for having a dirty car or so ive heard. Anyway, they get a decent wage compared to many but the actual money they make is very good because you have a choice. Pay the official fine (and spend a day in a queue at the police headquarters - which is out on the edge of the city) or give them 50-100 roubles and go on your way. Obviously most people give the police money. Been pulled 3 times now. First was for parking in a no-parking zone (the no-parking signs are quite hard to spot sometimes... i think its deliberate). Was still new to russia and didnt understand they system and got robbed for 500 roubles. Next time was just a random passport/licence check, no fine. Next time they claimed i wasnt wearing a seatbelt. Now knowing how to behave i indignatly annouced that "... i am english... we always wear our seatbelts!!" And they let me go without a fine. The policeman still tried to get 10 roubles out of me but couldnt find a reason. Fortunatly i had washed the car recently :-)

    One thing to note is that the wife and I left the UK because we couldnt afford to live there. The cost of living is stupid. One of the richest countries in the world? My left bum cheek!! One of the most expensive more like. Both me and the wife had good jobs but by the end of each month we were scratching around for money. And dont even get me started on house prices. Because my wife is Russian and didnt have extended leave to remain they wouldnt take her income into consideration for a mortgage and on my wage alone (just to reiterate... it was a good wage) i could just about afford a one bedroom flat in a crappy part of town. At least here in Russia i have a good job which keeps our heads above water and a nice flat in the center of town. Ok, my car is a Lada but if youve drove on russian roads you will know if you have a foreign car the repair bills will kill you financially.

    Ok, got slightly off topic there but back to the main point. Russian people cant afford full price CDs/DVDs. If piracy in russia was somehow obliterated it wouldnt help sales of originals one bit. Who could afford to buy them?

    On the point about free trade (notice how companies are all for free trade when it benefits them, and run to the courts crying when they are big fat monopolies and rely on trade restrictions keeping their profits)... oops wandering again... If the company can afford to sell CDs for example $5 in China but charge $15 in the US then its blatantly obvious that they are ripping off those closer to home. Im sure that a lot of people on /. are aware that music and games in the UK cost on average twice what they cost in the US.

    Come the revoloution (what revoloution?) im sure the RIAA and MPAA will be the first against the wall....
  • by Keith_Beef (166050) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @10:13AM (#10586186)

    Look, the whole problem that the corporations (whether Music or Software) is that they see "piracy" as depriving them of revenue.

    The argument is, that if I couldn't get a "pirate" copy, then I would fork out the full price for an "official" copy; that my choosing a "pirate" over an "official" copy deprives the copyright owner of revenue.

    Of course, if I earn two thousand thalern a month, and can afford to spend twenty-five thalern on the new Britney album, but I choose to buy a "pirate" version for two-fifty, then the record company is right; I have deprived the delicious starlet of some revenue.

    However, if I earn 2000 finbinks a month, and when the choice is between spending 1000 finbinks on the "original" or 25 on a "pirate" copy, then there is no real choice. I'm going to buy the "pirate" copy. Since there was no way I was going to buy the "original", even in the absence of the copy, then there is no loss of revenue for the delicious starlet.

    Beef.

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