Morality of music downloading, and the economics of pharmaceuticals

To understand what I’m getting at, check out the following:

For the record, I check out YouTube videos daily myself.

I have no qualms about the copyright status of materials on YouTube.

They have algorithms in place to catch copyright infringement when videos are uploaded. If something gets through anyway, they immediately respond to the claims of the copyright owner to take down infringing material. YouTube is part of Google, and they don’t want to spend their profits paying lawyers to defend them against copyright infringement suits.

I’m not addressing Michelle Arnold’s article. But let me discuss my own experience. I’m an author. If someone turns my book into a PDF and posts it online, they’re stealing my customers for a book that took me up to one year to write. I’ve seen this happen to other authors. If a single person exports my ebook into a digital format, I won’t get a royalty. He’s taking money out of my pocket. If that person doesn’t want to pay for one of my books, he/she should check it out of the library. What’s the difference? The library bought my book. I can’t speak for musicians, but writers hate having their work stolen. I just apply the Golden Rule. I hope this helps. Feel free to disagree.


Agreed with that. If it’s on YouTube, you’re near guaranteed that it’s legal. And the rare case would be YouTube’s fault as it’s not possible for us to check every single song on YouTube to see if it’s okay.

As for the original question, I see consistency in Arnold’s position. It always goes according the law.

I can’t speak for the author. I can only say that the whole argument that downloading or sharing things electronically is theft is a bad one. Violating copyright law is definitely illegal. Your duty to follow that law is suspect.

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What do you mean? That copyright law is unfair or one is wrong by sharing/watching youtube videos?

Yes, copyright law is unfair. It wouldn’t be so bad if they had kept a reasonable limit to it. But now copyright long exceeds even the life of the creator.

I would say the worst example of this is the way it is applied in pharmaceuticals. There is all kinds of weird stuff going on with patents and intellectual property laws—people buying rights to generic drugs that are decades old and jacking the prices up on them? How does that even work?

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It’s a borderline racket. Having worked for a clinical research organization before I became a nurse, I saw it in action.

What they do is they tweak the drug so they can hold the patent on it for 10 to 15 more years. They get a patent on the key ingredient, which means a slight alteration that doesn’t change the action of the drug actually doesn’t change it, so the patent is renewed. (Awkward way of explaining it, but I’m struggling with it in print - sorry.)

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Another example is how Disney is still making money off of work done by people long dead. What is ironic is Disney made a lot of money by remaking or using the stories and characters from other authors to whom it never had to pay licensing fees. But hey, the CEO needs to make almost half a billion dollars for four years work while they fire their tech employees.


I know what you are trying to say. I wouldn’t even call it borderline. It is downright scandalous and it is enabled by a government that has been bought and paid for by those very companies.

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I say borderline because to a point it’s legitimate…but they should have to 'fess up the original patent.

Copyright infringement does occur. It seems money is the issue when people are making too much for it, for too long, or when people don’t want to go to sites where a song or two could be downloaded for money. And “fair use” is usually about money, followed by legitimate research. Youtube has a policy in place. Anyone can read it.

As far as books, I work at a company that publishes fiction. So imagine seeing a book where time and money were invested appearing on a “file sharing site” 30 days after publication. It’s wrong. It should not be encouraged.

As far as the US Patent and Trademark Office, a Patent Examiner has to look through previous patents to see if something new qualifies as something new. But I’m not a lawyer.

It doesn’t; there are no rights to generic drugs, and this hasn’t happened.

What has happened in recent years is the these suppliers of generic have jacked up prices.

While anyone can make a generic there is still the cost of starting up and proving that you did indeed make an equivalent, which in some cases laves the sole supplier.


There is also the application to a new purpose, which can extend the patent for some number of years (3? 5? it’s not my area of law). Although I know that recently, the manufacturer of Viagra ended up agreeing to terms that only extended the patent in other areas, and that generic sildenifil (?) can be used for the original purpose (well, the original patented purpose–I think the new use is a refinement of the actual intended use as a heart medication. It was actually clinical trials for that, when they found an “interesting” common side effect . . .:scream::thinking: [I wish I could make *that* kind of mistake!])

Doesn’t this give them a new patent on what they sell under the old trade name, with the original expiring–but no one bothering to make a generic, as it isn’t the same as what will now be prescribed (barring a grass roots prescription stampede for the generic name, but . . . )


Though a generic drug is often seen as less expensive than the original, under certain circumstances they can end up becoming far more expensive — particularly when companies seek to buy a drug that’s the only one of its kind to treat a specific ailment, the bill’s supporters say.

State Rep. Will Guzzardi’s bill would give the Illinois attorney general’s office the power to investigate price increases on generics when they surpass certain threshholds, such as a 30 percent jump in one year. | Sun-Times file photo

“They buy the exclusive rights to manufacture that drug and then raise the prices exorbitantly with no price controls whatsoever,” Guzzardi said.

One company might by the sole plant/equipment/whatever in current use, but that doesn’t give them a right to stop others from producing, regardless of that the good legislator says . . .

Oh, and the aDisney copyright extension (and there are ore working their way up as I type) are unconscionable.


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I was looking at other articles and I think you might be right and I was mistaken. Mea Culpa.

Part of my confusion has to do with Martin Shkreli, the price of epi-pens, and insulin skyrocketing. I may have misunderstood what I was reading when reading about these subjects. Pharma laws are really weird.

There is much in desperate need of reform.

In fairness, what appear to be “outrageous prices” for a dollar’s worth of chemicals sometimes are not. It takes, give or take, a billion dollars to produce a new drug. If it will benefit a million people over it’s protected period, it needs to charge a thousand dollars each jut to break even.

Now add that it really needs to pay for about ten drugs, as most don’t make it to market after hundreds of millions are spent.

So when we see “a hundred dollars fro a pill that costs 79 cents to make!”, that’s not the whole story.

However, when the costs of starting up another producer of a generic are enough to keep out a new entrant, and the sole producer charges monopoly prices, antitrust enforcement should occur (we don’t even need new laws; this is the illegal use of market power).

Also, using numbers from above, where the cost of development is about ten thousand a patient, yet production is a buck or so, other countries have in the past insisted on a price well below the average cost (call it $100). If the choice is no sale or $100, it is economically rational to take the $100–but in turn, their dumps an even higher average need cost on the US market.
I would strongly support a law requiring that a drug be made available in the US on the same terms as it is to any single-buyer country, such as Canada or some of the Western European countries.

Big pharma would probably even back me on this–currently, the other country can present the “sell at a loss, and lose, or not at all, and lose more” and the manufacturer really has no choice. This would change the dynamic, as “lose” gets replaced with "lose even more than if you didn’t sell’, as the US sales, too, would be at the lower price. This would make it possible for the vendor to hold the line and charge the same everywhere.

I’d also bar recognizing the cost of marketing directly to consumers (the “Ask your doctor about . . .” ads) as a deductible business expense. (Given the USSC error recognizing “commercial free speech”, it probably can’t be banned outright, but Congress has signifiant discretion in what can and can’t be expensed. ).

hawk, esq.

Oh, we so need to be rid of prescription drug commercials—they are a huge chunk of a Pharma company’s budget—plus they are awful. A bunch of smiling old people and then 45 seconds of hearing about horrible side effects. Plus, I don’t want to have to explain what Cialis is to my daughter if she ever asks. :slight_smile:

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Side effects include headaches, flatulence, and green knee blotches. Your head may fall off. Contact your doctor immediately if you find yourself running down the street naked more often than usual.


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