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Digital Piracy Is Okay
Only free distribution of information can stop these corporate whores!

"... if you wanna record this song and you wanna put it on a world wide web — on the internet, so all your friends could listen to it - as long as you buy the album in September — we don't give a fuck my friends!"

An Inversion of Digital Piracy Is Evil, where downloading something not only doesn't mean you're a reprobate, but is actually encouraged by the artist. Compare Digital Distribution, for when they want you to download it but still expect you to pay for it.

See also Keep Circulating the Tapes and Information Wants to Be Free.

(Only add examples where the creator of a work has endorsed piracy of their own product. This is not a forum for discussion about piracy.)

Examples

    open/close all folders 

     Encouraged 
  • Trent Reznor has encouraged fans to download his music, since he hates the ridiculous price tag the record companies tack onto it.
    • As apart of an Alternate Reality Game, Reznor and his crew left various USB drives containing new songs in various areas of venues, with the specific intention that they be leaked as apart of the game. Instead, those who leaked the files were hit with cease and desist notices from the RIAA, despite Reznor and his label specifically notifying them of the game and files. Needless to say, Reznor was furious, and along with further Executive Meddling of his music, is the reason he went independent after Year Zero was released.
    • Reznor once blasted his record company for inflating the price of CDs in regions with a bigger fanbase, claiming "as a reward for being a 'true fan' you get ripped off", and urging fans at a concert in Australia to "steal" his songs. Since then, he's left record labels and now acts as a free agent with an emphasis on digital distribution, putting out an album with a "pay-what-you-want" system (Ghosts I-IV), and one for free (The Slip).
    • In the same breath, Reznor commented that it's OK to download his music because "he's rich" and then went on to say that it was his call, not the fans or the company, to make that offer. A lot of other artists are not in the position he is in and he asked that they be given the same courtesy
    • It should also be noted that, while only the first nine tracks to the album (Ghosts I) were made available on the band's website at the time of the album's release, you can legally download the whole album for free. Ghosts I-IV is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike license, in effect allowing anyone to legally share the entire album without any repercussions, as well as allowing people to remix the album's content (so long as it's for a non-commercial use, credit is given to the original artist, and the remixes are placed under the same license as the original album).
    • Reznor is actually an avowed pirate, being a member of former music torrenting site Oink.CD and actually said that labels could do better to actually try and match said sites.
      • He also has an account on The Pirate Bay, seed0, which he used to upload a few Nine Inch Nails live stuff, as well as obscurities and the nearly lost "Broken" movie, as an ISO file no less, with DVD menus (it was formerly a low-quality VHS Keep Circulating the Tapes thing).
  • After unfinished material leaked, System of a Down said they didn't care if people downloaded their music, but requested people wait until they were finished with it.
    • One of their releases is called Steal This Album! for a reason.
  • There are rumours Britney Spears leaks her own demos and she doesn't seem bothered by album leaks,
  • The creators of the film The Man from Earth encouraged people to download the movie using bittorrent.
  • Neil Gaiman
    • Also Brazilian best-seller writer Paulo Coelho, who even was promoted by Pirate Bay.
  • The German metal group Eisbrecher included blank CDs in with the first 5000 copies of their self-titled album, basically saying to fans "Copy this".
  • Michael Moore was very supportive of people who downloaded his film Fahrenheit 9/11 off the Internet, but it probably didn't hurt that it grossed over $222 million during its theatrical run anyway.
  • Best Brains Inc., the guys who brought you Mystery Science Theater 3000, encouraged viewers to Keep Circulating the Tapes back in the before times when digital piracy was in its infancy. Even now they're still easy about it and want people to be able to get a hold of MST3K episodes which weren't released on DVD by allowing the Digital Archive Project to distribute most episodes and uploading a few themselves to Google Video.
  • Nerdcore hip hop artist MC Lars has a song entitled 'Download This Song' that is, more or less, a complaint against the monopoly of sorts of the record labels and urges the listener to download music as a means of breaking said monopoly.
  • Electronic musician Renard Queenston stated on his site's FAQ that he endorses pirating his music, as it helps get his name out, and people who pirate his music will eventually come around to support the artist.
  • English hip-hop artist Dan Bull is loved on the internet for his song Dear Lily, a Take That at Lily Allen for opposing piracy. The entire song supports filesharing and attacks record labels.
  • Encouraged by Iron Maiden when they performed in Gothenburg in 2005, a concert which aired live in the Scandinavian countries.
    Bruce Dickinson: If you're watching this and you're bootlegging it, make sure that you send it to all of your friends, not just the Swedish ones.
  • Encouraged by Dead Kennedys with the cassette edition of their EP In God We Trust, Inc. Its B-side had a label stating, "Home taping is killing record industry profits! We left this side blank so you can help."
  • Eyeshine puts a fake FBI disclosure on their CDs, of note the one from Red Stripes White Lights: "FBI Warning: Illegal distribution is a criminal offense punishable by DEATH. Just kidding, make sure all your friends get a copy."
  • Joss Whedon normally is no better than neutral on piracy, but was angry when due to real life school violence and Moral Guardians' influence, the WB network refused to air the finale for Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 3 until months later, as the previous episode had left fans hanging (to be fair, said episode ended with blowing up the school, although it was Giles, a faculty member, who did that). (Joss had no objection to the delay of "Earshot" for similar reasons as that was more of a standalone episode). He was quoted about the Season 3 finale as telling fans to "Pirate the damn thing!"
  • The person behind Mother 3 encourages the Fan Translation of the game, since it'll never get an international release.
  • In an interview, Steve Smith commented that The Red Green Show has gained its largest following ever since it went off the air thanks to people posting clips of it on YouTube. He is presently working to get all 300 episodes on YouTube and has considered bringing Red Green back as a web series, saying that the older he gets, the harder it is to work with a standard TV network.
  • Straight No Chasers encourages their live audiences to record them.
  • Most people consider Machina I: the Machines of God to be The Smashing Pumpkins' final album before they broke up. This is because Billy Corgan wanted to release its sequel, for free, to anyone who purchased the first one. When the label wouldn't let him, he pressed a mere 25 vinyl copies of Machina II and distributed them to friends, family and chosen fans, with specific orders to upload the entire album to the Internet without restriction.
  • Mark E. Smith and The Fall encouraged fans to make their own recordings of live shows.
  • Sort-of counter-example: because of legal entanglements with his label, DJ Danger Mouse (the man behind the infamous Beatles/Jay-Z mash-up album The Grey Album) couldn't release his album Dark Night of the Soul, a collaboration between himself, film director David Lynch and late alternative rock musician Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse. Well, to be specific, he couldn't release the music. So instead, he released the album — with full artwork — as a blank CD so that people who acquired the music from less-than-legal sources could burn the music to the CD.
  • According to musician Amanda Palmer, "The fact that a couple of hundred thousand of people in America are listening to my record but only, like, whatever, about 25,000 have actually gone into a store and bought it, that's awesome." In general, she encourages free downloading of her work and sees it as the future of music.
    • There's also her infamous email where she claims she made $19,000 in 10 hours hawking merchandise via Twitter, but $0 from a month's CD sales of her major-label album.
  • Robin Pecknold, lead singer for the indie folk band Fleet Foxes, not only advocates file sharing but listened to most of his musical inspirations via Napster downloads.
  • A non-music example remarked on by Rock Paper Shotgun: the creator of McPixel caught people downloading it illegally from The Pirate Bay. Instead of trying to prosecute, he turned the torrents into a marketing tool, leaving comments and gift codes saying, "I am actually excited about this!" and "I am just one man making games for a living, so feel free to give me all your money if you like the game!" TPB's organizers picked up on it and modified their logo to resemble part of McPixel's.
  • The designers of Eclipse Phase offer free PD Fs of their game modules on their personal blogs. And they seem to be Anarchists judging from their tendency to gush about the Anarchist faction in the game, who incidentally have no respect for copyrights (even the anarcho-capitalists).
  • There is a webserver hosting all of Rammsteins early work. When asked to take it down by various lawyers (several times a year), the owners respond with a personal letter from the band who allowed them to host it since long before they were as famous as they are now, and they are still fine with it.
  • On the These Days Special Edition album (P)(c)2010 is a previously unreleased recording of "This ain't a love song"(track 13: live, recorded during the These Days tour)Jon Bon Jovi introduces the song as follows "I don't wanna go home yet. .*cheering*.. we got a new record that's comin' out in a coupla weeks, err, is it OK I'd like to play ya something off the new album if that's cool." *begins to strum the guitar* -(00:16) unclear, May be Richie Sambora saying something in the background or JBJ muttering away from the microphone- "all you bootleggers roll your tapes then this is the first single it's called; This ain't a love song."
  • Charlie Brooker has said this in regards to Screenwipe within its first episode, stating how the show will never get a DVD release at all by virtue of its liberal usage of licensed music.
  • Brainwave is completely okay with piracy, since they release all of their music on a pay what you want system anyway.
  • Every album by every alias of Jonah Dempcy, with the exception of one collaboritive single, has been released entirely for free.
  • Entertainment for the Braindead has also released everything for free.
  • All of the netbloc artists
  • Mike Doughty, at most of his recent shows, encouraged the audience to steal his album Yes and Also Yes, and then burn copies for friends so they could steal it too. He did say, though, that buying it was also super-cool, since it helps pay his bills. His explanation being that he already has an established audience who he knows will always buy his music and attend concerts; he'd rather non-fans hear his stuff for free and then they can buy it later if they wish.
  • Instead of providing a demo, the info page for InFlux instead links to a torrent so you can "Try Before You Buy" it. One developer even offered to upload a proper torrent if the linked one didn't work.
  • Jean Michel Jarre encouraged his fans to record and bootleg his concerts and make remixes and covers of his music.
    • Hardly any of his concerts after 1990 got any official releases anyway, so it's not like there is material bootlegged that's also commercially available. In fact, thanks to the high quality of some of the bootlegs, Jarre doesn't have to go through the hassles of making official live albums and videos anymore. Also, with the exception of Jarre In China 2004 (and this only thanks to massive fan intervention), no official Jarre concert release has ever been in full length and unedited, leaving fans discontent and complaining; unofficial bootlegs, in contrast, preserve the concerts as they really were and are more likely to satisfy the fans. And the "pirated" radio broadcasts of Jarre concerts with official releases make fewer fans beg for Jarre to re-release the latter uncut.
    • He even encouraged them to bootleg one of his albums. However, that was Music For Supermarkets of which only one (1) record had been pressed and played on the radio once back in 1983, and the master tapes have been destroyed in order to make more copies impossible, so this was actually the only way for Jarre fans to obtain the album except for the guy who bought it at its auction for 65,000 Francs.
  • Machinae Supremacy has officially (and unofficially) released their music on The Pirate Bay and are proud supporters of file sharing. On-stage at MAG Fest 2014, they even announced to members of the audience that if they haven't heard of them before, "don't worry, our music is on the Pirate Bay."
  • Goth punk band One-Eyed Doll have all of their music up for "pay-what-you-want" and have stated they don't mind at all if you don't pay anything for it. No torrents of their music exist (as why would they need to exist if their music can be downloaded for free from the source) but if they did, it clearly wouldn't matter to the band.
  • Scott Mitchell Putesky, also known as Daisy Berkowitz, the ousted co-founder of Marilyn Manson, not only often uploads old Spooky Kids demos for songs that he doesn't have the right for, but also has uploaded all the remastered versions of the songs he does have the rights for (which he won in a lawsuit). Marilyn Manson himself has silently approved of the uploading of the demos, as when Scott uses or releases stuff he doesn't approve of (namely, the Antichrist Superstar demo tape), he has it taken down and tells the main fanforum, Provider Module, to ban links to the stuff, and the time Scott used Manson's art on a Spooky Kids CD, he sued.
    • Additionally, Manson himself may have come up with the most absurd countermeasure to bootleg C Ds. While normally he doesn't do anything, a few live C Ds from his early days popped up a few years ago, so he bought them all and sells them himself now. They're even on Spotify.
    • It's believed that the leak of "The High End of Low" demos was actually done by Manson and Twiggy, especially since one of the songs has Arnold Schwarzenegger quotes edited into it for kicks. That said, he's not cool with people leaking songs before they're supposed to be out, or if they're not supposed to get out at all.
  • The author of Hero's Chains seeds a torrent of the first book. His stated opinion is that there's no difference between pirating his book and checking it out from a library.

     Neutral 
  • Microsoft is famous for saying, "If You're Going To Pirate Software, Pirate Ours"
  • Notch has has said that he OK is with some people pirating Minecraft, and is a member of the Pirate Party
    • This attitude does not reflect Mojang's official stance, however, especially since the new launcher for the game now checks to see whether or not you are a legit user.
  • There is an "FBI Warning" at the beginning of almost every commercial VHS tape warning about the penalties for copyright infringement. One video tape released by the Insane Clown Posse instead began with an "ICP Warning" that basically said that since they stole the contents themselves, they don't care if you copy the video and can't do anything about it if you did.
    • When ICP released The Wraith: Shangri-La, they placed a disclaimer on their website saying they didn't care if you downloaded it, they just asked that downloaders listen to the songs in the listed order.
  • Christian rock band Relient K inverted this in the song Scene and Herd:
    Odds are that you probably
    magically got this song for free (heh)
    I'm not sure if it bothers me -
    it seems fine!
  • Quite early in the main rulebook for Cthulhu Tech, it gives you a short "If You Downloaded This Book" lecture, saying, in short, "If you like it, buy it, otherwise we'll likely go out of business". Several sourcebooks later, this seems to have worked.
  • Maid RPG has a message that says that if you download the book, don't just keep it gathering dust in your harddisk, play it with friends.
  • After awhile, Bethesda pretty much ignored piracy of Arena and Daggerfall. Eventually, they made them full-fledged Freeware to Keep Circulating the Tapes.
    • This is actually the basic stance of a fair portion of the gaming industry — the allowing element for the more careful portions of the Abandonware community is that more than a few companies or market organizations have more-or-less openly said they don't actually care about piracy if the game is old enough and not sold (Bethesda is not one of those — they were quite clear they didn't want Arena or Daggerfall to be pirated).
  • Jonathan Coulton stated on his website that he doesn't mind people downloading his songs, although he would prefer if they at least donate some money for them when and if they can.
  • Jim Sterling has zig-zagged this. He has endorsed piracy for some works...but will lapse into the Digital Piracy Is Evil when DRM-free games like World of Goo report 90% piracy rates or when a good number of people still pirate the Humble Bundle despite its low price.
    • To clarify: he's against it when the game in question is an indie game with no publisher that needs all the money it can get, but okay with it when the company who owns the IP is just a publisher and the money isn't going to the creator.
  • For the most part it seems the indie game makers don't mind piracy. When Giant Bomb discussed McPixel (see above), they noted that due to their smaller budgets most only need to sell a few thousand in order to turn a profit. As such, indie game makers are likely to view small amounts of piracy as a way to potentially spread the word about the game.
  • Disturbed has stated from time to time that, as much as Warner Music Group likes to make a fuss about it, the members of the band themselves don't care much about people downloading their songs
    • Linkin Park has the same viewpoint. When Minutes to Midnight was leaked, their only response was to advise people to listen to the tracks in order and ask that they buy the album anyway for all the non-musical stuff they put into it.
  • Most tokusatsu creators, such as the Toei Company (Super Sentai and Kamen Rider), don't mind English-language fansubs of their work, since they've never really tried to market outside of East Asia, and Power Rangers has kind of guaranteed that Super Sentai won't ever get a foothold in North America or Europe anyway (similarly, Saban's Masked Rider and Kamen Rider Dragon Knight kind of left an adaptation of Kamen Rider stillborn for a long while.) Toei knows about the fansubbing communities, and will occasionally ask that something be taken down if a series gets an official release, but otherwise are indifferent or even possibly a little flattered that their work is getting respect outside of Japan.
  • Roger Waters (formerly of Pink Floyd) doesn't mind fans who make and post videos of his The Wall 2012 shows. He only asked them not to whenever the show was being filmed for a DVD release. It wasn't because of piracy, but because the lights and flashes from their cameras would have a nasty effect on the projections.
  • When Animal Collective's album Strawberry Jam leaked and the band was asked about it, singer/drummer Panda Bear's response was: "The only thing we're really upset about with the leak is that it's only parts of it. I think there are six songs out there now. People aren't even able to get the full experience of the album, which bums us all out quite a bit. So if you're listening leakers, put up those other three songs, man, pronto."
  • Radiohead are arguably the Trope Codifiers for "legal" digital distribution. Their 2000 album, Kid A was available for streaming from their website before its official release, and their 2007 album In Rainbows was released for sale on a "pay-what-you-want" system, but they've since indicated that they will not pursue it further.
    • Their 2001 album, Amnesiac was leaked by a third party before its release, which angered the band; however, they were not upset because of the download, but because they hadn't set the final mix yet.
    • When bootlegs of early live performances of Kid A songs made their way to the internet, the members of the band were both surprised and pleased when fans at concerts already knew the words to these new songs that had only been played once or twice previously. Colin Greenwood told a BBC reporter:
    Colin Greenwood: we played in Barcelona and the next day the entire performance was up on Napster. Three weeks later when we got to play in Israel the audience knew the words to all the new songs and it was wonderful.
    • The band has not only approved but contributed audio masters to two different fan filmed concert DVDs, provided they not be sold for profit.
  • Radiohead may have popularised the method, but Massive Attack were the first band to host their upcoming album Mezzanine on their website for free, in 1998.
  • Carpe Fulgur has credited pirates with boosting the sales of Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale, due to people who "have been 'demoing' the game and then purchasing it".
  • Devin Townsend has said on his Twitter feed that he's not really bothered by people pirating his music because he still gets support from people who want him to continue performing music, which he regards as "a good job we're damn lucky to have. Ultimately, at the end of the day, I write music for ME because it's what I LOVE. And if it ever turns around financially, great... Why the hell would you want to be a musician if having people listen is so conditional? Support if you want, it costs a lot, but I luv it."
  • Before Simon Viklund released an official soundtrack for the video game PAYDAY: The Heist, a few people ripped music from the game and uploaded them online. After the soundtrack became official, Simon did not mind that his music was uploaded to other sites and believes that those versions acted as previews to his work and people would still buy his soundtrack if they liked it enough.
  • When their 2005 album Z was bundled with a copy protection scheme by the distributors of their label, indie rockers My Morning Jacket provided tips on their website on how to circumvent it, and offered to burn copies of the album free of copy protection for fans that wanted them.
  • Streetlight Manifesto doesn't care if you buy the album from them or torrent it, they just don't want their record label getting any money. Frontman Tomas "Toh Kay" Kalnoky talks about it here.
  • One of the DVD commentaries for Family Guy has the staff take a friendly jab at people who illegally downloaded the DVD, saying "For the people who illegally downloaded this DVD, you little peckers, we know where you are!"

     In-Universe 
  • Animal Crossing's K.K. Slider outright gives you illegal copies of his songs after performing them, having a clear hatred for his record label.
  • An issue of She-Hulk featured a cyborg shoplifting. The New Warriors showed up to catch her but couldn't believe she had broke in just to steal music albums, telling her instead to download them.
  • In Metal Saga, you can "illegally download" music from jukeboxes around the world, and nobody seems to care. Justified in that the people have more important things to worry about, such as all the assorted robots, monsters, and deadly criminals wandering what's left of the world.

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